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NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Are the Green Bay Packers the Best By the Numbers?

Matt TruebloodSenior Analyst INovember 23, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Are the Green Bay Packers the Best By the Numbers?

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The Green Bay Packers have found their stride, and the rest of the league may have a long two months ahead. Aaron Rodgers threw for 301 yards and four touchdowns Sunday as Green Bay steamrolled Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings; Greg Jennings snagged three of the scoring passes himself. Clay Matthews registered a sack, giving him 11.5 already, and Tramon Williams intercepted his fourth pass of the season.

    The Packers have won their last two contests by a combined 66 points and now stand at 7-3, ready top challenge the Falcons for NFC supremacy next week in Atlanta. That game could determine who has home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

    Meanwhile, the New England Patriots managed to take down the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, keeping pace with the New York Jets at 8-2. Those two teams look more and more every week like the class of the AFC, and are ticketed for a big showdown on Dec. 6 in Foxboro.

    These head-to-head matches of top-tier teams are a great way to see firsthand who is better. But when such determinate games are not available, a good secondary guide is to turn to the numbers.

    Who eats up yardage on offense? Whose defense is stingiest? Who is dominating the turnover battle? Who has benefited from an easy schedule, and whose has been a nightmare? Statistics can answer all of these questions and more clearly show us who the best teams in the league are.

    Therefore, let's look strictly at the numbers accrued by each team this season, and decide who we think is the best. Forget projections of future improvement--if a team is still underachieving by now, maybe that is not going to change. We will use simple math to weight the performance of each team in a variety of categories, then see who comes out looking a bit better than we thought.

A Quick Note: How We Build These Rankings

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    As I said, these rankings will reflect the statistical composites of each team, based on how much given stats impact the squad's chances of winning. Each team will get ratings based on their ability to, for instance, win the turnover battle or gain yardage efficiently through the air.

    For each category, we will award up to six points based on how the team has performed relative to the rest of the league. Then, we can weight each category so that really crucial stats (like special teams touchdown differentials and turnover efficiency) are worth more than less impactful ones like field goal percentage. Thus, some categories can actually be worth more than six points to elite teams: Michael Vick's Eagles, for instance, dominate the turnover battle and earn 7.5 points in that category.

    I'll itemize each team's performance in each of our categories to make clearer where certain teams are vulnerable, and where they are excellent.

32. Arizona Cardinals

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Turnovers: 2.5 pts

    Passing yards/attempt: 2.2 pts

    Rushing yards per attempt: 4.6 pts

    Opponents' passing yards per attempt: 2.3 points

    Opponents' rushing yards per attempt: 3.3 points

    Third down conversion percentage: 2.6 points

    Opponents' third down conversion percentage: 3.9 pts

    Strength of Schedule adjustment: -2.0 pts

    Total: 19.4 pts

31. St. Louis Rams

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    TO: 5.0

    Pass YPA: 2.2

    Rush YPA: 3.45

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 3.3

    3D Conv. %: 3.9

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 5.2

    SoS Adj: -4.0

    Total: 22.5

30. Seattle Seahawks

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    TO: 3.75

    Pass YPA: 3.3

    Rush YPA: 2.3

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 4.4

    3D Conv. %: 3.9

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 5.2

    SoS adj: -3.5

    Total: 22.8

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    TO: 2.5

    Pass YPA: 4.4

    Rush YPA: 4.6

    Opp Pass YPA: 1.15

    Opp Rush YPA: 3.3

    3D Conv. %: 3.9

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 2.6

    SoS adj: 1.0

    Total: 23.45

28. San Francisco 49ers

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    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    TO: 3.75

    Pass YPA: 3.3

    Rush YPA: 3.45

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 4.4

    3D Conv. %: 2.6

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 5.2

    SoS adj: -2.3

    Total: 23.85

27. Carolina Panthers

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    TO: 2.5

    Pass YPA: 2.2

    Rush YPA: 3.45

    Opp Pass YPA: 4.6

    Opp Rush YPA: 4.4

    3D Conv. %: 2.6

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 5.2

    SoS adj: -1.1

    Total: 23.85

26. Denver Broncos

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    TO: 3.75

    Pass YPA: 5.5

    Rush YPA: 1.15

    Opp Pass YPA: 2.3

    Opp Rush YPA: 3.3

    3D Conv. %: 3.9

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 3.9

    SoS adj: 0.5

    Total: 24.3

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    TO: 5.0

    Pass YPA: 4.4

    Rush YPA: 4.6

    Opp Pass YPA: 4.6

    Opp Rush YPA: 2.2

    3D Conv. %: 5.2

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 2.6

    SoS adj: -4.2

    Total: 24.4

24. Oakland Raiders

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    TO: 3.75

    Pass YPA: 3.3

    Rush YPA: 5.75

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 2.2

    3D Conv. %: 2.6

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 6.5

    SoS adj: -2.4

    Total: 25.15

23. Detroit Lions

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    TO: 5.0

    Pass YPA: 2.2

    Rush YPA: 2.3

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 2.2

    3D Conv. %: 3.9

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 5.2

    SoS adj: 1.6

    Total: 25.85

22. Minnesota Vikings

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    TO: 1.25

    Pass YPA: 3.3

    Rush YPA: 4.6

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 4.4

    3D Conv. %: 3.9

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 2.6

    SoS adj: 2.8

    Total: 26.3

21. Indianapolis Colts

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    TO: 5.0

    Pass YPA: 3.3

    Rush YPA: 2.3

    Opp Pass YPA: 4.6

    Opp Rush YPA: 1.1

    3D Conv. %: 6.5

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 3.9

    SoS adj: -0.1

    Total: 26.6

20. Dallas Cowboys

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    TO: 3.75

    Pass YPA: 4.4

    Rush YPA: 2.3

    Opp Pass YPA: 2.3

    Opp Rush YPA: 3.3

    3D Conv. %: 5.2

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 3.9

    SoS adj: 1.7

    Total: 26.85

19. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    TO: 3.75

    Pass YPA: 3.3

    Rush YPA: 3.45

    Opp Pass YPA: 4.6

    Opp Rush YPA: 3.3

    3D Conv. %: 3.9

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 3.9

    SoS adj: 1.2

    Total: 27.4

18. Buffalo Bills

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    TO: 3.75

    Pass YPA: 3.3

    Rush YPA: 4.6

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 2.2

    3D Conv. %: 5.2

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 2.6

    SoS adj: 3.0

    Total: 28.1

17. Washington Redskins

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    TO: 5.0

    Pass YPA: 4.4

    Rush YPA: 3.45

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 1.1

    3D Conv. %: 1.3

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 6.5

    SoS adj: 2.9

    Total: 28.3

16. New Orleans Saints

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    TO: 3.75

    Pass YPA: 4.4

    Rush YPA: 3.45

    Opp Pass YPA: 5.75

    Opp Rush YPA: 3.3

    3D Conv. %: 7.8

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 5.2

    SoS adj: -4.9

    Total: 28.75

15. Baltimore Ravens

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    TO: 3.75

    Pass YPA: 4.4

    Rush YPA: 2.3

    Opp Pass YPA: 4.6

    Opp Rush YPA: 3.3

    3D Conv. %: 5.2

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 5.2

    SoS adj: 0.4

    Total: 29.15

14. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    TO: 5.0

    Pass YPA: 4.4

    Rush YPA: 5.75

    Opp Pass YPA: 4.6

    Opp Rush YPA: 3.3

    3D Conv. %: 3.9

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 5.2

    SoS adj: -2.8

    Total: 29.35

13. Atlanta Falcons

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    TO: 6.25

    Pass YPA: 3.3

    Rush YPA: 4.6

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 3.3

    3D Conv. %: 7.8

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 2.6

    SoS adj: -0.9

    Total: 30.4

12. Tennessee Titans

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    TO: 5.0

    Pass YPA: 4.4

    Rush YPA: 4.6

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 4.4

    3D Conv. %: 3.9

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 3.9

    SoS adj: 0.9

    Total: 30.55

11. New York Giants

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    TO: 2.5

    Pass YPA: 4.4

    Rush YPA: 4.6

    Opp Pass YPA: 4.6

    Opp Rush YPA: 4.4

    3D Conv. %: 3.9

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 7.8

    SoS adj: -0.7

    Total: 31.5

10. New England Patriots

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    TO: 6.25

    Pass YPA: 4.4

    Rush YPA: 4.6

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 3.3

    3D Conv. %: 6.5

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 1.3

    SoS adj: 2.2

    Total: 32.0

9. Houston Texans

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    TO: 3.75

    Pass YPA: 5.5

    Rush YPA: 5.75

    Opp Pass YPA: 2.3

    Opp Rush YPA: 4.4

    3D Conv. %: 5.2

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 3.9

    SoS adj: 1.5

    Total: 32.3

8. Cleveland Browns

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    TO: 5.0

    Pass YPA: 3.3

    Rush YPA: 4.6

    Opp Pass YPA: 3.45

    Opp Rush YPA: 4.4

    3D Conv. %: 5.2

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 3.9

    SoS adj: 2.6

    Total: 32.45

7. Chicago Bears

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    TO: 5.0

    Pass YPA: 4.4

    Rush YPA: 3.45

    Opp Pass YPA: 6.9

    Opp Rush YPA: 5.5

    3D Conv. %: 2.6

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 6.5

    SoS adj: -1.7

    Total: 32.65

6. Miami Dolphins

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    TO: 3.75

    Pass YPA: 3.3

    Rush YPA: 3.45

    Opp Pass YPA: 4.6

    Opp Rush YPA: 4.4

    3D Conv. %: 5.2

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 3.9

    SoS adj: 4.1

    Total: 32.7

5. San Diego Chargers

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    TO: 2.5

    Pass YPA: 6.6

    Rush YPA: 3.45

    Opp Pass YPA: 5.75

    Opp Rush YPA: 5.5

    3D Conv. %: 6.5

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 5.2

    SoS adj: -2.2

    Total: 33.3

4. Green Bay Packers

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    Jim Prisching/Getty Images

    TO: 6.25

    Pass YPA: 5.5

    Rush YPA: 3.45

    Opp Pass YPA: 5.75

    Opp Rush YPA: 3.3

    3D Conv. %: 5.2

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 3.9

    SoS adj: 0.8

    Total: 34.15

3. New York Jets

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    TO: 5.0

    Pass YPA: 3.3

    Rush YPA: 4.6

    Opp Pass YPA: 4.6

    Opp Rush YPA: 5.5

    3D Conv. %: 5.2

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 5.2

    SoS adj: 1.4

    Total: 34.8

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    TO: 6.25

    Pass YPA: 5.5

    Rush YPA: 3.45

    Opp Pass YPA: 4.6

    Opp Rush YPA: 6.6

    3D Conv. %: 3.9

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 6.5

    SoS adj: 2.0

    Total: 38.8

1. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    TO: 7.5

    Pass YPA: 5.5

    Rush YPA: 6.9

    Opp Pass YPA: 4.6

    Opp Rush YPA: 4.4

    3D Conv. %: 5.2

    Opp 3D Conv. %: 5.2

    SoS adj: 1.8

    Total: 41.1

What Did We Learn?

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    Michael Heiman/Getty Images

    Anytime you try to capture the essence of football in numerical terms, you're going to get some results that look a little fishy. The Browns seem a strange member of the top ten, while the Colts at 21 look a little underrated. That's okay. All this is meant to show us, really, is how these teams stack up together in that which is most easily measurable. The rest is impossible to predict, anyway.

    Pennsylvania seems to be the Mecca of NFL football at the moment, with the dominant scores the Eagles and Steelers posted in this system. It's probably unfair to count Vick's rushing stats, because they so help Philly's yardage per attempt--but then, it's pretty unfair for those who have to try and stop Michael Vick, too.

    Two team to keep close eyes on down the stretch are Miami and Houston, who seem unlikely playoff candidates but have plenty of opportunities to spoil others' parties and (as this system shows) stack up well.

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