NFL Power Rankings - Week Eight

John Gress

Despite having to rely on a last-second Robbie Gould field goal to beat the Panthers, the Bears remain in the top-5 of our power rankings'collection, with some insight via Aikman and DVOA.

Just win, baby. Better an ugly win then a pretty loss. A win is a win is a win. Whatever utterances you've spewed since watching the Bears eek out a victory at home against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, it remains true that the Bears may have won ugly, but at least they won. The 1-6 Panthers put up a great fight against the Bears, just like the Jaguars did against the Packers, and the Seahawks did to the Lions. But, all three NFC North teams came away from Sunday with victories, leaving the Thursday night loss by the Vikings as the only blemish for the Black and Blue division this week. What did the power ranking pundits think of the Bears and the rest of the NFC North this week. Let's take a look:

SBNation Yahoo! ESPN PFT NFL.com Aikman

Bears (6-1)

4 (4) 3 (4) 5 (5) 4 (3) 4 (4) 3 (1)
Vikings (5-3) 11 (9) 13 (11) 11 (9) 13(10) 12 (10) 14 (9)
Packers (4-3) 7 (5) 7 (7) 6 (7) 6 (6) 6 (6) 8 (7)
Lions (3-4) 19 (24) 14 (21) 17 (19) 16 (24) 18 (24) 12 (14)
Best Falcons Falcons Falcons Falcons Falcons Pats
Worst Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs

The rankings reflect how well received the offense's comeback was after looking so out of sync early on, and of course, by the defense and Tim Jennings.

SB Nation was impressed by the offense's ability to come back against the Panthers:

Jay Cutler led two second-half touchdown drives and moved the team close enough to kick the game winner to hold off a Carolina upset at Soldier Field.

And ProFootballTalk named Jay Cutler the Bears' MVP for the first half of the season (with Superfans shoutout!):

Jay Cutler, because he's got the Superfans saying "Da Bears" again before taking a drink.

You probably noticed the last column, "Aikman," which is the Aikman Efficiency Rating System. The system, according to this New York Times article, measures:

The Aikman statistics are yards per rush and yards per pass; third-down conversions; total first downs; adjusted points (total scoring minus points from returns and safeties); red-zone performance; and turnovers. They are, in essence, flip-flopped to generate the defensive A.E.R.'s.

Since most power rankings generally reflect the win-loss record of teams, and the subjective measure of how well or how badly they played in their last game, the Aikman Rating is a nice counterbalance (not unlike Football Outsiders DVOA) since it utilizes measurable statistical data. That explains how last week the Bears were at the top of the rankings overall, and this week slip to third behind the Patriots (who destroyed the Rams) and the Texans (on the bye). The Bears are still at the top of the Aikman defensive rankings, but are currently 17th on offense.

Football Outsiders (check out their site if you never have before, you'll get lost in delicious statistical goodness) utilizes DVOA (Defensive Value Over Average) to measure the most efficient teams based on the quality of their opponents. Basically, if you play a terrible team, like the Chiefs, you should dominant them. And if you don't, it affects your DVOA rating in a bad way. If you perform well against a good team, then your rating improves.

The Bears placed fifth in the DVOA rankings behind the Giants, Patriots, 49ers, and in first place... the Broncos. Statistical analysis places some teams in a much different place on ranking systems than subjective opinion. The Falcons, who swept the above power rankings' lists, are eighth. The Bears' offense is ranked 25th based on DVOA, while the defense is first, and special teams are third.

Are you more of a fan of stat based ranking systems or the traditionally author/website based ones? Any qualms about where the Bears are ranked? Let your voice be heard in the comments section, and be sure to check out the video below from the mothership discussing rankings, bad teams, and bad storms.


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