Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Week 4 Football Outsiders Rankings: Packers Still At No. 9

One of the interesting things Football Outsiders does with their rankings is that they adjust for strength of schedule. But they don't start making that adjustment until after Week 3. Since the Packers were on their bye week, they could have moved up or down compared to last week's rankings because of this adjustment even though they didn't play. Instead, their ranking remained unchanged.

However, the rest of the NFC North teams did move after their games. With their loss, the Bears moved down to No. 11 so the Packers are the best divisional team in terms of advanced stats, though obviously the record doesn't reflect it. They've got to actually win these close games.

The defense continues to deserve much of the blame, as the unit slipped to No. 31 overall after adjusting for the fact that they got torched by the average offensive units of the Bengals and 49ers. Only the Chargers are worse on defense than the Packers.

Ironically, QB Philip Rivers's amazing comeback season has vaulted the Chargers into the No. 2 spot on offense, one ahead of the Packers. Both teams have near average special teams rankings. The Packers are slightly ahead at No. 9 overall, while the Chargers are No. 12, but otherwise the two teams have been almost identical with great offenses and awful defenses. They also had the same record (1-2) after three games, though the Chargers are now 2-2 after beating the Cowboys last Sunday. So are the Packers an NFC version of the Chargers or are the Chargers an AFC version of the Packers?

The Packers face the Lions next Sunday, who are coming off a solid win over the Bears, and while the Lions are almost as highly ranked (No. 13 overall) as the Packers, the Lions still have to get over the fact that they haven't won at Lambeau since the dawn of time.

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