Final 2008 Relativity Index

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Dec 30, 2008



ABOUT THE RELATIVITY INDEX
The Relativity Index measures each NFL team by comparing its average performance against the average performance of its opponents in their other games.
 
For example, if Team A scores 25 PPG, and its opponents surrender 20 PPG in all of their other contests, Team A is +5.0 PPG on offense. If Team A surrenders 20 PPG, and its opponents score 25 PPG in all of their other contests, Team A is +5.0 on defense.
 
This equates to a total Relativity Index score of +10.0 PPG. In other words, Team A is 10 points better than the average performance of its opponents.
 
RELATIVITY INDEX UPDATE
A series of Week 17 blowouts radically altered the final Relativity Index standings of 2008. The Steelers leaped into the top spot for the first time all year, courtesy of a 31-0 smackdown of the hapless Browns. They entered the final week of the season at No. 4 on the list, behind the Titans, Giants and Ravens.
 
Tennessee had led the indicator for much of the year, though the Giants had found themselves in the No. 1 spot from time to time.
 
But those two teams, both of whom had secured the top seeds in their respective conferences, tanked it in the final week of the season. The Titans were blanked 23-0 by the Colts, while the Giants lost a 20-19 thriller to the Vikings.
 
The underappreciated (maybe even disrespected) Ravens have enjoyed a lofty ranking for much of the year, and end the season at No. 2 following their solid 27-7 win over the Jaguars. Baltimore is considered something of a dark horse candidate, but the Relativity Index tells us that the Ravens have consistently played as well as any team in the league ... though not good enough to outpace No. 1 Pittsburgh, which bested Baltimore twice this year, but by a mere 7 points combined.
 
The Chargers remain one of the more interesting statistical curiosities we've ever seen. They rank among the league leaders in almost every key indicator, including a solid No. 8 here in Relativity. In other words, they consistently outpaced the average performance of their opponents. Yet they enter the playoffs with a humble 8-8 record.
 
The stats and the record clearly don't add up for San Diego, and we've developed a persistent fear this week that a .500 team could appear in the Super Bowl for the first time, which would force a lot of soul searching in the football world and maybe even make us long for the BCS.
 
Patriots fans who lament the team's playoff absence despite an 11-5 record and +101 point scoring differential (equal to or better than seven of the 12 playoff teams in both categories), will find further reason for frustration here: the Patriots charged up the Relativity Index over the final few weeks of the season to end at No. 9, a shade behind the Colts and Chargers but ahead of four playoff participants (Falcons, Vikings, Dolphins and Cardinals).
 
For those who like to dwell in the cesspools of professional football, you might be interested to find that the historic 0-16 Lions actually finished ahead of the slightly more respectable 2-14 Rams.
 
The historic ineptitude of Detroit's defense, which allowed a record 110.9 Defensive Passer Rating, is also evident here: the Lions surrendered an average of 32.3 PPG to offenses that otherwise averaged an ordinary 22.8 PPG.
 
Relativity Index (through Week 17)
 
Team
PF
Opp PA
PA
Opp PF
Relativity
1
Steelers
21.7
19.8
13.9
21.5
+9.4
2
Ravens
24.1
19.7
15.3
20.1
+9.2
3
Giants
26.7
20.8
18.4
21.0
+8.6
4
Titans
23.4
22.1
14.6
21.5
+8.2
5
Eagles
26.0
20.9
18.1
21.0
+8.1
6
Panthers
25.9
23.3
20.6
24.0
+6.0
7
Colts
23.6
21.0
18.6
21.9
+5.8
8
Chargers
27.4
22.2
21.7
22.3
+5.8
9
Patriots
25.6
22.6
19.3
21.8
+5.5
10
Saints
28.9
22.4
24.6
22.3
+4.3
11
Falcons
24.4
23.6
20.3
23.3
+3.9
12
Vikings
23.7
22.9
20.8
23.7
+3.7
13
Packers
26.2
22.5
23.8
22.4
+2.3
14
Buccaneers
22.6
23.7
20.2
23.6
+2.3
15
Jets
25.3
22.6
22.3
21.1
+1.6
16
Bears
23.4
22.9
21.9
22.8
+1.5
17
Dolphins
21.6
23.3
19.8
22.5
+0.9
18
Cowboys
22.6
20.6
22.8
21.2
+0.4
19
Cardinals
26.7
22.0
26.6
21.1
-0.8
20
Texans
22.9
20.4
24.6
20.5
-1.6
21
Redskins
16.6
22.4
18.5
22.1
-2.3
22
Bills
21.0
23.5
21.4
21.5
-2.3
23
Jaguars
18.9
21.3
22.9
21.6
-3.7
24
49ers
21.2
23.8
23.8
21.8
-4.6
25
Broncos
23.1
22.5
28.0
21.7
-5.7
26
Browns
14.5
19.8
21.9
21.3
-5.9
27
Seahawks
18.4
23.0
24.5
22.3
-6.8
28
Raiders
16.4
23.1
24.3
23.7
-7.2
29
Bengals
12.8
19.8
22.8
21.5
-8.4
30
Chiefs
18.2
22.4
27.5
22.5
-9.1
31
Lions
16.8
21.7
32.3
22.8
-14.4
32
Rams
14.5
22.5
29.1
22.4
-14.7

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