Power Rankings Week 11: What about the Texans?

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 23, 2011



By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts Power Ranker


The Green Bay Packers are No. 1 in everybody’s book, including ours. When the Super Bowl champ starts out 10-0, they’re going to top these power rankings every time – and should.

But over on the CHFF Insider site, there’s a surprise leader in our Quality Stats – the Houston Texans. The Texans are the most-balanced team in the league across the board, with an average rank of 4.92 in the Quality Stats we rank, ahead of No. 2 San Francisco (6.92 average rank) and Green Bay (7.23). They’re also No. 3 behind San Francisco and Green Bay on the Relativity Index that measures performance against the schedule.

But, because they play off national TV, they are in the No. 7 or No. 8 spot in most “expert” power rankings. We have them at No. 3, right where they should be.

Of course, all this was with Matt Schaub at the helm, so we’ll see how things go from here. But they are so solid on the offensive line (No. 2 Offensive Hogs) and in the secondary (1st in Defensive Passer Rating), that they should be fine with Matt Leinart.

On to the rankings!

1. GREEN BAY (10-0)

Last week:35-26 win vs. Tampa Bay
Next three weeks: at DET, at NYG, vs. OAK
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Packers took over the league lead in Scoreability (points per yard gained) from San Francisco two weeks back, and it’s no coincidence that those top teams are efficient with their yards. The top 16 teams in the stat are all at .500 or better; in the bottom 16, only Oakland and Pittsburgh are .500 or better.

2. SAN FRANCISCO (9-1)

Last week:23-7 win vs. Arizona
Next three weeks: at BAL, vs. STL, at ARI
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: One small flaw in the 49ers’ game? Their running game is second worst in the league in terms of getting stuffed for a loss of yards (12.4 percent, behind only Chicago).

3. HOUSTON (7-3)

Last week:bye
Next three weeks: at JAX, vs. ATL, at CIN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: In his last season as a starter (2006), Matt Leinart had six games with passer ratings of 88.6 or better, five games with passer ratings of 51.7 or worse.

4. PITTSBURGH (7-3)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: at KC, vs. CIN, vs. CLE
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Steelers went from +17 in turnover margin last year to -10 this year, yet they are on pace to repeat their 12-4 record. Learn about this and other amazing facts in our new TV show, “Existential Football Musings: The Miniseries.”

5. NEW ORLEANS (7-3)

Last week: bye
Next three weeks: vs. NYG, vs. DET, at TEN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Darren Sproles (348 yards), Pierre Thomas (340) and Mark Ingram (340) have used some pretty different styles to get to their dead-heat rushing totals. Sproles is averaging 6.8 yards a carry, Thomas 4.7 and Ingram 3.7.

6. NEW ENGLAND (7-3)

Last week:34-3 win vs. Kansas City
Next three weeks: at PHI, vs. IND, at WAS
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Patriot pass catchers are No. 3 in fewest drops (11) and No. 7 in most plays of 25+ yards (24); no other group ranks in the top seven in both categories.

7. BALTIMORE (7-3)

Last week:31-24 win vs. Cincinnati
Next three weeks: vs. SF, at CLE, vs. IND
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Ravens are a spotless 4-0 against Quality Opponents (only Green Bay at 3-0 is unbeaten there), but 3-3 vs. the unwashed masses. Of all the winning teams thus far, Baltimore ranks lowest in passer rating (78.53, 21st) and real yards per attempt (5.96, 22nd)

8. CHICAGO (7-3)

Last week:31-20 win vs. San Diego
Next three weeks: at OAK, vs. KC, at DEN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:  Jay Cutler will be missed, but he hadn’t exactly been carrying this team on his back. In the 10 starts, he had four passer ratings under 70, three of which the Bears managed to win.

9. DALLAS (6-4)

Last week:27-24 win at Washington
Next three weeks: vs MIA, at ARI, vs. NYG
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Laurent Robinson has five touchdowns and is averaging 10.1 yards per target – not bad for a guy the Cowboys cut in September before re-signing.

10. DETROIT (7-3)

Last week:49-35 win vs. Carolina
Next three weeks: vs. GB, at NO, vs. MIN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:  The Lions’ running game just keeps improving year to year – they’re averaging 4.3 yards a tote in 2011, up from 3.99 last year, 3.95 in 2009 and 3.78 in 2008.

11. CINCINNATI (6-4)

Last week:31-24 loss at Baltimore
Next three weeks: vs. CLE, at PIT, vs. HOU
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Bengals’ run defense is No. 2 in yards per play allowed (3.41) and No. 3 in yards per game allowed (88.6), but tied for sixth worst with 10 rushing TDs allowed. They have also forced a league-low three fumbles.

12. ATLANTA (6-4)

Last week:23-17 win vs. Tennessee
Next three weeks: vs. MIN, at HOU, at CAR
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Michael Turner is known for his power, not his big-play ability, but he owns three of the 18 longest runs of the year thus far (61, 53, 50)

13. NEW YORK GIANTS (6-4)

Last week:17-10 loss vs. Philadelphia
Next three weeks: at NO, vs. GB, at DAL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Brandon Jacobs is barely half as successful on the ground this year (3.02 YPC) as he was last year (5.59 YPC).

14. NEW YORK JETS (5-5)

Last week:17-13 loss at Denver
Next three weeks: vs. BUF, at WAS, vs. KC
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Jets’ next three opponents are 0-9 since the start of November.

15. OAKLAND (6-4)

Last week:24-17 win at San Diego
Next three weeks: vs. CHI, at MIA, at GB
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Raiders’ next three opponents are 9-0 since the start of November.

16. PHILADELPHIA (4-6)

Last week:17-10 win at Giants
Next three weeks: vs. NE, at SEA, at MIA
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: In addition to being the league’s first 1,000-yard rusher of the season, LeSean McCoy easily leads the league with 60 rushing first downs (Maurice Jones-Drew second with 47).

17. TENNESSEE (5-5)

Last week:23-17 loss at Atlanta
Next three weeks: vs. TB, at BUF, vs. NO
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Rob Bironas and the Titans are one of six teams this year with only a single field-goal miss; all of them play in the AFC (CLE, BAL, NYJ, SD, CIN).

18. SAN DIEGO (4-6)

Last week:31-20 loss at Chicago
Next three weeks: vs. DEN, at JAX, vs. BUF
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: One good development for San Diego is the play of Ryan Matthews; he’s averaging 106.5 yards from scrimmage a game.

19. DENVER (5-5)

Last week:17-13 win vs. Jets
Next three weeks: at SD, at MIN, vs. CHI
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:  Tim Tebow throws a football worse than Helen Hunt in the 1983 TV movie “Quarterback Princess.” But he’s won as many games this year (four) as Hunt won Emmys (four). Yep.

20. MIAMI (3-7)

Last week:35-8 win vs. Buffalo
Next three weeks: at DAL, vs. OAK, vs. PHI
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: For all the complaining about the Dolphins’ quarterback situation this year, Miami is 13th in passer rating (83.3).

21. BUFFALO (5-5)

Last week:35-8 loss at Miami
Next three weeks: at NYJ, vs. TEN
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Buffalo’s Chris Moorman is third in the league at 49.7 yards per punt; the league average is 45.7, which would have been good enough to lead the NFL just a decade ago. In other news, the Bills are colder than the cheap seats at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

22. TAMPA BAY (4-6)

Last week:35-26 loss at Green Bay
Next three weeks: at TEN, vs. CAR, at JAX
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Deep threat anyone? The Bucs are 10th in completion percentage (61.7), but 26th in yards per attempt (6.6).

23. SEATTLE (4-6)

Last week:24-7 win at St. Louis
Next three weeks: vs. WAS, vs. PHI, vs. STL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:  Pretty remarkable that a team with the worst Offensive Hogs in the business (ranked dead last) and a pair of retread quarterbacks to steer the ship would somehow be in the playoff mix at 4-6.

24. JACKSONVILLE (3-7)

Last week:14-10 loss at Cleveland
Next three weeks: vs. HOU, vs. SD, vs. TB
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:  The Jaguars have allowed 13.0 PPG since losing 30-20 to the Bengals in Week 5.  Unfortunately, they’ve only scored 13.2 PPG over that same span.

25. CLEVELAND (4-6)

Last week:14-10 win vs. Jacksonville
Next three weeks: at CIN, vs. BAL, at PIT
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:  Running back Chris Ogbonnaya probably isn’t going to make the cover of Madden 2K13, but he’s best in the league at avoiding negative rushes (2 in 70 attempts; Pierre Thomas No. 2 at 3 in 72 attempts).

26. MINNESOTA (2-8)

Last week:27-21 loss vs. Oakland
Next three weeks: at ATL, vs. DEN, at DET
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Christian Ponder isn’t good yet, but he’s shown a knack for picking up first downs on third-and-long – 39.3 percent success at 3rd-and-8 or better, fourth in the league and better than Rodgers and Brady.

27. CAROLINA (2-8)

Last week: 49-35 loss at Detroit
Next three weeks: at IND, at TB, vs. ATL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Panthers’ running game is pretty robust for a 2-8 team – 4.97 yards a carry, with 11 TDs.

28. ARIZONA (3-7)

Last week:24-7 loss vs. Seattle
Next three weeks: at STL, vs. DAL, vs. SF
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:  OK, so maybe John Skelton isn’t that great.

29. WASHINGTON (3-7)

Last week:27-24 loss vs. Dallas
Next three weeks: at SEA, vs. NYJ, vs. NE
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Redskins’ most targeted player is tight end Fred Davis (71), and he’s made the most of it with 8.95 yards per target and 11 plays of 20+ yards. This is the second week in a row we’ve written about Fred Davis here. If there’s anything else good going on in Skinsland, let us know.

30. KANSAS CITY (4-6)

Last week:34-3 loss at New England
Next three weeks: vs. PIT, at CHI, at NYJ
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Good news! The Chiefs have allowed a league-low 198 kickoff return yards! Unfortunately, they also lead the league in most sideline tantrums by a head coach (Todd Haley, approximately 12).

31. ST. LOUIS (2-8)

Last week:24-7 loss vs. Seattle
Next three weeks: vs. ATL, at SF, at SEA
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Rams have gone for it a league-high 16 times on fourth down, more than they did all of last year (15).

32. INDIANAPOLIS (0-10)

Last week:bye
Next three weeks: vs. CAR, at NE, at BAL
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Colts’ 2011 highlight package will be led by clips from last week’s bye.
 

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