The Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs continue to top the Cold, Hard Football Facts Quality Stats Power Rankings.
But the big winner in the rankings this week was the Indianapolis Colts. They entered Week 7 No. 3 on the Quality Stats Power Rankings, three spots ahead of the Denver Broncos, the team we dubbed the Lindsay Lohan of the NFL: sexy but dysfunctional.
The Colts, in other words, were a better overall team than the Broncos, even though Denver was a 7-point favorite on the road. The Colts proved it with a 39-33 win that knocked Peyton Manning’s crew from the ranks of the unbeaten. Indy remains at No. 3 today, entering Week 8.
Top-ranked Seattle, meanwhile, cruised past Arizona 34-22 on Thursday night; second-ranked Kansas City outlasted the Texans, 17-16.
The Seahawks were a popular pre-season favorite to capture the NFC crown. In fact, we picked them to win the Super Bowl at the start of the 2013 campaign. So far, so good. The Quality Stats Power Rankings leader boasts the best record (6-1) and the greatest point differential (+75) in the NFC.
Road games have haunted the team for years, including in 2012 (3-5). But Seattle is 3-1 on the road this year and 6-2 in its last eight road games, including the 2012 postseason.
So we knew Seattle would be good. But not even the most ardent and hopeful Chiefs supporter thought that Kansas City, a dismal 2-14 last year with the No. 1 overall pick back in the April draft, would be the last undefeated team standing (7-0) as we close in on the halfway point of the 2013 season.
The Chiefs are the best team in the AFC right now. Yes, better than the Broncos. Peyton Manning’s crew trails by one game in the AFC West standings with nine to go, and looks like they might have to beat Kansas City and the league’s top-ranked defense twice if they want to recapture the inside track on the division crown and homefield advantage in the playoffs.
Put another way, Denver was considered unstoppable before Week 7. Entering Week 8, they need to fight hard the rest of the way just to gain a first-round bye.
Here’s a look at our Quality Stats Power Rankings Top 10 (see the entire list here). Remember, our Quality Stats Power Rankings are not based upon the untrustworthy old eye test or our assumptions about which teams are the best. Instead, they’re based upon average ranking across the board in all of our indicators.
Quality Stats Power Rankings Top 10
1. Seattle Seahawks (6-1) – No. 1 on the Defensive Hog Index, No. 1 in Total Team Yards Differential and No.1 in Passer Rating Differential, the Mother of All Stats. Check this out, 12th Man: 36 percent of all NFL champions since 1940 finished the year No. 1 in Passer Rating Differential. This looks like the first year in franchise history that Seattle will finish No. 1 in that critical indicator of championship potential.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-0) – In an era where headlines (but not necessarily games) are dominated by offense, the Chiefs are dominating with defense: No. 1 in scoring defense (11.6 PPG), No. 1 in Relative scoring defense (+9.45 PPG), No. 1 in Bendability (26.3 Yards Per Point Allowed), No. 1 in Defensive Real Passing YPA (4.72), No. 1 in Defensive Real QB Rating (+53.7), No. 1 in Defensive Passer Rating (64.9) and No. 1 in Defensive Rusher Rating.
3. Indianapolis Colts (5-2) – The hugely efficient Colts parlayed just 334 yards of offense against Denver Sunday night into 39 points, a rate of 8.56 Yards Per Point Scored that made it one of the most effective performances of the year according to our Scoreabilty Big Board at CHFF Insider.
4. New Orleans Saints (5-1) – The Saints are dominating the battle at quarterback better than any team in football: No. 1 in Real QB Rating Differential (+30.97), which measures all aspects of QB play on both sides of the ball, not just how well teams pass the ball. The teams with the top 58 performances this year in Real QB Rating Differential have gone 57-1, according to our Real QBR Differential Big Board at CHFF Insider.
5. Carolina Panthers (3-3) – Some teams, punch above their statistical weight class, like the N.Y. Jets; the struggling Panthers punch below their statistical weight class. They should be better than 3-3. Carolina is No. 1 in Total Team Yards Allowed (though with only six games played) and No. 3 on the Defensive Hog Index.
6. Denver Broncos (6-1) – Denver is still No. 1 in every measure of passing efficiency, according to our Quality Stats. But they’re getting gashed for 7.27 Defensive Real Passing Yards Per Attempt. Only the Rams and Bears are worse.
7. Green Bay Packers (4-2) – The 2010 Super Bowl champion Packers finished the year No. 1 in both Offensive Passer Rating and Defensive Passer Rating. The 2013 Packers are No. 4 in Offensive Passer Rating and No. 26 in Defensive Passer Rating.
8. Dallas Cowboys (4-3) – The Cowboys rank in the top half of the NFL in 17 of 23 Quality Stats, including No. 3 in Scoreability (offensive efficiency) and No. 4 on the CHFF Insider-only Intelligence Index, our measure of team proficiency in situational football and long a Dallas weakness.
9. San Francisco 49ers (5-2) – The running game and defense have carried the 49ers this year: No. 3 in Offensive Rusher Rating with a league-high 11 rushing TDs, plus No. 4 in Defensive Passer Rating. San Francisco is better than Week 8 opponent Jacksonville in all 23 of our Quality Stats, according to our game-stat table at CHFF Insider.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) – A young defensive front was one of Cincy’s great strengths in 2012, when they finished No. 4 on the Defensive Hog Index. That crew has tumbled to No. 27 on the Defensive Hog Index and is one of the worst in the NFL pressuring the passer (7.93% Negative Pass Plays).
See the rest of our Quality Stats Power Rankings here.