I was planning on starting this in week 4, but wanting to know what the Pythagorean expectation was of various teams made me interested in crunching some numbers. I’m not pleased with the solution to the homemade Sagarin. More games would lead to a better result. And I see no real value in adding 2011 data to 2012; see how much good that approach will get you, in figuring out how well the Saints have played.
By many measures (median, pythagorean, SRS) Houston is the best team in football.
To explain the columns above, 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, analyzed via this Perl implementation. MOV is margin of victory, or point spread divided by games played. SOS is strength of schedule. SRS is the simple ranking.
Dallas, interestingly, is not the worst of the 2-1 teams by Pythagorean, Philadelphia is. And Tennessee at 1-2 isn’t quite as lively in many metrics as New Orleans. Even at 0-3, the New Orleans Pythagorean is approaching 40%. Tennessee has an anemic 22% by contrast.