Explanation Of Seattle’s Jump In The Mathematical Rankings


As a follow up to the mathematical power ranking that I posted earlier, I wanted to follow up and discuss just how remarkable the movement for the Seahawks from just one game.

These rankings are based on season stats like yards per carry and points per game. Since there have been hundred of carries, and passes, and 3rd downs, etc. it takes a massive change from a team’s “normal” performance to produce much in the way of change. That’s why the rankings become remarkably stable after about week 10. That’s because of the large sample of data we have at this point.

This week, the Seahawks jumped  7 places. That’s just incredible. By comparison, the Texans were completely destroyed by the Patriots this week, but only dropped 1 spot.

Here’s a sampling of some of the indexes (a bunch of different stats combined into one item for easier processing) that moved significantly in this game:












Point Dif



TO Dif



Spec Teams











There are some obvious things that automatically jump out. The turnover differential went from +1 on the season to +8. Another way to think of it is that the Seahawks went from 15th in the league to 7th. Thats a big in the rankings in one category.

Another big jump shows up in the point differential. The Seahawks moved from being on average a FG better then every opponent to being more than a TD better. After 12 other games, it took a 58-0 blowout to shift things that far. Similar to the turnovers, the Seahawks jumped by 6 places in the rankings in that category from that one game.

The offense and defense indexes are a little smaller in the amount of change, but it is no less significant. In both of them, the magical number is 13.5.Offenses that are above 13.5 are generally good enough to get into the playoffs, those below generally aren’t. The Seahawks were below that cutoff point for most of the season, and only recently moved above it. After the Cardinal game they’re sitting at 14.5, which would make them one of the best in the NFL.

Defensively the numbers work in reverse. Lower numbers are better, and again 13.5 is that cutoff point that separates the contenders from the pretenders. (this index is calculated the same way, except that it used the opponent’s stats, which is why lower is better. Lower numbers mean that the opponents had less success). The Seahawks had begin the year in the low 12s, and that number has slowly risen up to being just barely below that 13.5 threshold. Now it’s back in the 12s again, putting the Seahawks back into the top tier of defenses in the league.

Even 3rd down efficiency, the one index in which the Seahawks are in the negative, move in the positive direction for the Seahawks. The only think that moved in the wrong direction was general special teams (return average and coverage units. punting and FGs are handles separately). When you have as many kickoffs as the Seahawks had, the other team is bound to break one eventually. That happened at the end of the game, when Patrick Peterson  got loose on a kickoff and brought it out near midfield. Oh well, it was only a small change.

There are plenty of other areas where there was little to no change, and thus I decided not to include them in the table; Punting efficience for instance. John Ryan was great in that game, but he’s been great all season, so there was no appreciable change for the Seahawks.

All of this put together is, at least mathematically, how the Seahawks managed to do the improbable, and move that far in just 1 week’s worth of data.