To explain the columns below, Median is a median point spread, and can be used to get a feel for how good a team is without overly weighting a blowout win or blowout loss. HS is Brian Burke’s Homemade Sagarin, as implemented in Maggie Xiong’s PDL::Stats. Pred is the predicted Pythagorean expectation. The exponent for this measure is fitted to the data set itself. SOS, SRS, and MOV are the simple ranking components. MOV is margin of victory, or point spread divided by games played. SOS is strength of schedule. SRS is the simple ranking.
At this time of year, there are two groups of aspiring teams, the ones with 3 losses or fewer, and the ones with 5 losses or more. Houston has an effective replacement for their starting quarterback, and they won this week. Chicago has yet to find such a replacement. Injuries, and injury replacements become critical this time of year.
Once again, different teams top different metrics. New England leads the medians, San Francisco leads the Pythagoreans (Green Bay is merely third in this metric), and Green Bay has a substantial lead in SRS.
Airwaves in Atlanta are full of the possibility of Atlanta playing in host Dallas (or New York) for the playoffs. I suspect the notion of playing New Orleans (a distinct possibility at this point) doesn’t appeal to Atlanta fans. If you calculate playoff odds based on home field advantage, playoff experience, and current SOS, then Atlanta has a 46% chance of beating Dallas and a 56% chance of beating New York. In the playoffs, using currents SOSs, Atlanta has a 47% chance of beating New Orleans.
Looking at playoff odds in this way, one potential upset would be Detroit playing a host San Francisco. Now the season hasn’t ended today and to get to a San Francisco, Detroit would have to win one game. But Detroit has played a tough schedule, and if its schedule advantages continue through the season, Detroit would be favored against San Francisco (61%) even though the 49ers would have home field advantage. Detroit would have to get there, though. Using current SOS values, I calculate Detroit’s odds against New Orleans as 40% and against Dallas, 33%.