We have come to the end of the 2012 season. A season of which I hope includes the reemergence of a Seattle Seahawks football team that will last for many years. Seattle finished the 2012 season ranked second in the power polls, right behind Denver. The NFC West also finished as the strongest division despite a dismal season in Arizona. The Rams improved greatly and moved into the top half of the league.
In the final week of play many teams stayed ranked in the spot or just moved one spot up or down. The biggest move was by the Titans who jumped five places to finish at 23rd. The Steelers moved up three spots to 15th, and the Cowboys and Browns both fell three places to finish 17th and 26th, respectively.
The top twelve rankings all belong to playoff teams however the seeding is quite different.
The table above shows the order of how NFC and AFC teams would be seeded according to the final rankings. Of course, seeding is determined over an entire season so it’s just a demonstration of the current strength or weakness of a team and where they are in the playoffs. The AFC is nearly identical to the order of AFC teams ranked by 12thManRising’s writers.
In the NFC you can see that the teams that finished strongest are more mismatched when compared to their playoff seed. Seattle is arguably the hottest NFC team right now and they are seeded fifth with a game this Sunday at Washington. The Falcons have been somewhat inconsistent in the end of the season but have the ability. Of course Matt Ryan still needs to win his first playoff game. San Francisco also gets a bye but is battling some injuries and the loss of Mario Manningham following the game in Seattle. Both those teams have home field but are very beatable after a bye week. Seattle on the other hand will have win on the road in the playoffs which hasn’t been done since the ’90s. This is a big test for a very dynamic football team who will be playing a similarly hot Redskins team.
I’m going to breeze through some of the other highlights. The NFC West finished as the strongest division, followed by the NFC North, which makes sense since both divisions also sent two teams each to the postseason.
The weakest divisions were the AFC West and AFC East. Each of them had only one team above .500. The NFC West had two teams well over .500 and a third team that was just half of a game below due to a tie.
Here are charts showing the AFC West and East (the divisions with the least parity) followed by the NFC East (the division with the most parity).
I think that’s enough charts for now. I hope this was useful or at least entertaining for the 2012 season. That’s all until next September.
After a few weeks with the same three teams at the top of the rankings, we have two new faces this week. After getting thoroughly demolished by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, the Texans dropped three places to fourth. The Niners also suffered a brutal defeat at the hands of the new number two, the Giants, and consequently fell three spots to sixth. The new top five are the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, and Baltimore Ravens.
The Seahawks moved up three places to seventh, right behind the Niners (6th) and most certainly swap positions, if nothing else, after their matchup in San Francisco this Thursday. The Cardinals fell four spots to 12th, after an overtime defeat to Buffalo. The Rams also slipped four spots to 20th after losing 14-17 in Miami. The Rams have a better team than many think, but struggle putting up enough points. The Cardinals also face questions at QB going forward with the injury of Kevin Kolb.
I saw many comments over the last few days that the Falcons are not the best team in the NFL right now. While you might be able to create hypothetical games that the Falcons may lose, they can only play the schedule they are given, and it would require evidence that currently doesn’t exist to drop them out of first place. A one loss team could potentially move into first, but because the Texans were beat so soundly (and are seriously missing Brian Cushing) it’d be very hard to keep them in first place. The Falcons also have the weakest strength of schedule (.353) for the rest of the season. Consequently, all six writers had the Falcons at number one this week.
There were six teams that generated a difference of opinion of at least nine spots.
Chiefs (13): 19th by Scott , 32nd by Keith.
Vikings (11): 4th by Keith, 15th by Scott.
Lions (11): 12th by Scott, 23rd by Jason.
Jets (10): 18th by Keith, 28th by Scott.
Ravens (9): 2nd by Keith and Nick, 11th by Scott.
Steelers (9): 11th by Nick, 20th by Keith.
The Bears were ranked third by two of us, and third by the other four.
Teams that fell were the Vikings (-1), Raiders (-2), Saints (-2), Cowboys (-2), Bengals (-2), Chiefs (-3), Chargers (-3), Steelers (-3), 49ers (-3), Texans (-3), Panthers (-4), Colts (-4), Rams (-4), Cardinals (-4), and Patriots (-5).
Teams that gained in the rankings were the Jets (+7), Giants (+5), Redskins (+5), Packers (+4), Bills (+4), Bears (+3), Seahawks (+3), Broncos (+3), Dolphins (+3), Lions (+3), Titans (+3), Falcons (+1), Buccaneers (+1).
The Ravens, Eagles, Browns, Jaguars all maintained their positions.
*If people would like to see charts of other divisions or any other sort of charting please let me know in the comments section.
I apologize for the two week hiatus on posting 12th Man Rising’s writer power poll rankings. I do have Week Five’s rankings however, so let’s get to it.
Generally speaking, there wasn’t a lot of significant upward movement. The biggest climb was the Dolphins who rose six places to 20th, following their win over Bengals. Three teams gained five places, the Steelers, Colts, and Raiders to 11th, 22nd, and 26th, respectively. The Steelers beat the Eagles and the Colts upset the Packers. The Raiders had a bye but moved up by virtue of the Chiefs, Bills, Jets, Titans, Browns, and Jaguars all losing. Having a bye was probably the best think Oakland could have done for this week.
Six teams jumped four places (Patriots, Giants, Seahawks, Vikings, and Rams) all following victories in week five. The Rams defeated one of three remaining undefeated teams in the Cardinals and demonstrated that they are no longer going to be kicked around and taken for a guaranteed two wins every season.
Falling eight spots to 15th were the Eagles who got beat by the Steelers in a close game. The Eagles have failed to show any offensive consistency and Vick seems to have lost some of his explosive play-making ability. The Bills dropped seven places to 28th after getting destroyed by the third ranked 49ers. The Bengals slipped five places to 17th, and the Cardinals and Jets both fell four places after losing in week five to 8th and 29th, respectively.
Five of the six contributors had the Texans, Falcons, and 49ers ranked in order as the top three teams in the NFL which is hard to argue with considering the Texans and Falcons are the last two undefeated teams remaining. Both teams are also very balanced on offense and defense and preseason picks by many to win their divisions.
The Seahawks were ranked as high as 9th and as low as 15th while averaging out to tenth. This largely has to do with Seattle’s defensive dominance and ability to prevent teams from scoring touchdowns which allows the floundering offense to win close games. If the Seahawks can develop any sort of offensive production in the red zone it wouldn’t be hard for them to quickly move up the list. The next two games are against the top five Patriots (4th) and the 49ers (3rd) which would undoubtedly reorganize the top of the rankings if Seattle were to win them and (hopefully) get its first division win.
Once again there was a lot of movement in the 12 Man Rising’s power poll. The Houston Texans moved up a spot and claimed first place by only one point over the San Francisco 49ers, who moved up two spots to second. The Patriots slid four spots to fifth after losing at home to the Cardinals who are currently sitting at ninth after moving up nine spots. The Eagles also moved up nine spots after winning a close game against the Ravens, who are now seventh after falling four places.
The biggest movers this week were the Eagles, Seahawks, Bills, and Cardinals all moving up nine spots. The Chargers jumped eight places to 11th. The Panthers also moved up six places to 20th.
The losers in the second week were the Bears and Jets, both sliding down nine places to 17th and 19th respectively. The Chiefs dropped eight after losing to the Bills and now sit at 29th after going 0-2 on the season. The Broncos and Cowboys both suffered hard losses and fell seven places to 14th and 16th, respectively.
Another thing that stands out to me is that there is still a lot of movement week-to-week. This should settle out after teams settle into their “range” and the preseason expectations are met or missed. The NFC West went 4-0 last weekend for the first time in several years and that is reflected in the rankings with each team moving up at least two spots. The NFC West has a much tougher week three schedule with Rams @ Bears, Seahawks vs. Packers, Cardinals vs. Eagles. The 49ers play the Vikings and have the easiest match-up by far. The Vikings rank 30th, while the Eagles and Patriots are top ten, and the Bears are 19th.
If the Seahawks and Cardinals can manage to win this week, I would expect to see them keep climbing, while the Packers would almost certainly slide out of the top ten, after going 0-2 against the NFC West.
Here are the very belated 12th Man Rising’s staff writers’ power poll ranking following the first week of football. As you can see, there was quite a bit of movement for some teams as the league gets sorted out, and I suspect there will also be a fair amount of movement in the rankings following this week as well.
Hawks of a Feather
Five of the six writers had the Patriots, Texans, Ravens, and 49ers in their top five. The 49ers moved up four spots after week one, demonstrating that they haven’t fallen very far, if at all, after last season. The Packers, meanwhile, fell four spots to fifth.
Movin’ On Up
The teams that gained the most after their first game of the season were Jets and Redskins, each moving up ten spots to tenth and twelfth, respectively. The Jets looked very good against the Bills, hanging 48 on them. The Bills aren’t a very strong opponent, however, and my hunch is that the Jets will start sliding down the rankings as the season goes on.
The Redskins looked impressive in Robert Griffin’s debut. They appear to have found a solid starting running back in Alfred Morris, as well. The Redskins play in a very tough division, but I expect them to make some statements during the season. Mike Shanahan is also somewhat of a wildcard as he is known for making unconventional roster decisions during the season.
Other big movers were the Cowboys (up nine spots), Vikings (up eight), Rams (up seven), and the Cardinals (up five).
The Biggest Losers
The teams that fell the furthest after week one are the Bengals and the Giants. Both teams slipped eight spots to 22nd and 14th, respectively. The Bills tumbled seven spots to 30th. The Steelers also fell six places to 11th and Seahawks, also falling six places to 17th. This is probably a more realistic placement for the Seahawks.
I know that I factored in a lot of optimism to my initial poll and have consequently had it knocked out of me, courtesy of Arizona, and adjusted my ranking of the Hawks downward to a more reasonable 18th. The lowest ranking they received was 21st and the highest was 12th.
The team that had the biggest difference of opinions between where they ranked and an actual vote were the Bengals who rank 22nd but received a vote for 32nd. The Cowboys ranked 9th but received a vote at 18th for a difference of nine spots. The Rams also had a large difference of opinion, a high of 16th to a low of 28th for a maximum differential of nine spots. The Falcons came in at sixth, receiving rankings as high as third and as low as 14th.
That’s it for this late edition of 12th Man Rising’s power polls. Stay tuned next week when the polls will be updated for week two, likely on Wednesday.
I realize that the first game was in fact played last night, but because it was played a day earlier than normal, I’m going to give myself a pardon. This season the staff writers of 12thmanrising.com are participating in a weekly power poll. The results will typically be posted before the Thursday night game and reflect rankings based on the previous week’s games.
Now, without further ado, I give you the preseason polls.
Quickly looking at the top ten, you might see a few surprises. The Eagles are only ranked 15th, while the Seahawks are 10th. This might be due to the focus and nature of the sight, but I also think it reflects how difficult it is to beat the Seahawks. They might not win, but they are not a team that gets pushed over. Especially at home. The Giants are at 6th which I believe accurately reflects their status. They won the Super Bowl last year but barely made it into the playoffs. The last team anybody wants to see on their schedule at this point is clearly Green Bay who are sitting at the top of the list.
The Rams, Dolphins, and Vikings all very much out of favor and have a lot to prove this season. The Cardinals were also not very well ranked, coming in at 25th. There is definitely some stratification in the NFC West according to our writers. The Niners are the highest ranked team in the division (8th), which after going 13-3 last season, I think is justified.
I imagine after the first few weeks, there will be some significant changes in the list as teams sort each other out. Teams that have question marks at quarterback or other key parts of their offense obviously fell down the list (Raiders, Bills, Cardinals, Browns, Colts, Dolphins, Rams, Jaguars, and Redskins). You might wonder why the Seahawks are not included, and I can say at least for my part, even though they are starting a rookie quarterback, they have veterans starting in most of the other offensive positions and a proven defense that can help them stay in games. That being said, I have no doubt that the Hawks would quickly tumble down the rankings if they don’t take care of business against the Cardinals and Cowboys in the first two weeks.