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October 29, 2008

Ravens and rankings

Since everybody seems to be obsessed with the polls right now, I thought I'd take a look across the spectrum of NFL Power Rankings compiled by the various national media entities that cover pro football to see how the Ravens stack up against the rest of the league. Here's a sampling. The Ravens have moved from 20th last week to 14th this week. The 43-yard hookup between Troy Smith and Joe Flacco apparently sold the Worldwide Leader on Flacco's all-around athleticism. The Peacock is pretty bullish on the Ravens, ranking them 13th -- all the way up from 21st last week. Smaller jump, from 19 to 17, based on two straight victories and the continued great performance of the defense. Up one slot to 20th. The Fox poll lists the range of rankings for the Ravens this year. They've been as high as 15th and as low as 29th. Ravens are 19th, with little explanation other than another reference to Smith and Flacco playing catch at the Raiders' expense.

Sporting News: John Harbaugh's solid performance in his first year as a head coach is cited next to a No. 17 ranking.

USA Today: The McPaper has moved the Ravens up from 20th to 18th, pointing out that they have moved back to within one game of the Steelers in the AFC North standings.

The undefeated Tennessee Titans were a unanimous choice as the No. 1 team with the New York Giants ranked second in all of the above polls. The Redskins generally ranked in the top five.

In honor of CNN's "Poll of Polls," I've averaged the Ravens' seven rankings and come up with an average of 16.8. And, of course, there is no statistical margin of error.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 5:00 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Just football


They've already won more games than I thought they would this year. The secondary still scares me, especially if they make the playoffs (I'll say it).

The stat-heads at Football Outsiders have a proprietary system called DVOA that looks at how a team is playing rather than how many games they actually win. Based on that DVOA system, the Ravens are ranked 4th (!) in the NFL. Check it out at

Pete's reply: Interesting. I'll take a look.


The mean is 16.9 (rounding error on your part) with a standard deviation of 2.5.

Pete's reply: There you go, big-timing me again with your fancy calculator. I did that in my head, and you know what my head looks like.

I don't think Pete Prisco even watches football. The Jets twelfth? Come on.

McPaper... Oh Baltimore Sun, why did you have to dumb-down your print edition to essentially become the new USA Today?

As a former producer of theBaltimore Colt radio broadcasters over a 5 year period, I actually learned a thing or too. Although I seldom agree with the Mike Preston, he is right when he says that when you have the horses (no pun intend), you go straight forward and smash the opposition. When you can't do that, you resort to trickery.

It only takes the league (watching game film) 2 games to figure out your weak spots to attack. Can your replacements perform to the NFL level for the injured starters?

As I predicted on one of this notes to another columnist last year, the
Ravens were done before they played Buffalo because of too many injuries to too many key players for too long.

The current Ravens CAN make it to play-offs if they can stay healthy and get some players back. There is no secret to anyone that the right side of the Offensive line and the Defense backfield are trouble spots.

How good the Ravens can be will be determined by the next 2 games. They played the Steelers and Titans to a stand still with a rookie Q Back who is growing each quarter.

Ravens are being overlooked. Good! If the Browns can smack down the Giants, so can the Ravens.

Pete, thanks for posting everyone's replies. Not every Sun blogger does that, but I would never accuse professional journalists of orchestrating a rigged game (oops, guess I just did). Anyway, the Sun might not be Burger King to USA Today's McPaper just yet, but I did find a roach between the Sports and Business sections the other day. An unfortunate mistake or the work of a disgruntled editor?

I use four criteria for my rankings. Three are weighted based on the each team's last eight games with the high and low tossed out to reduce anomalies and the two least recent games given reduced impact. They are Point Percentage, Point Differential, and Time of Victory (or Defeat). Each is worth 20 percent.

The fourth criterion -- the remaining 40 percent -- is based on Strength of Victory (or Defeat). It takes the entire season into consideration and is not weighted.

Furthermore, the SoV/D is a dynamic measure. For example, the Ravens lost to the Colts and defeated the Dolphins. Every win Miami gets helps Baltimore's ranking; every loss Indianapolis gets hurts Baltimore's ranking.

Much to my surprise, the Ravens moved up to seventh place. They have been as low as 22nd place this season. Most of their current ranking is bolstered by their convincing wins with little negation from their close losses. The Indy game right now looks to be aberrant. Their ranking will surely suffer if they have another genuine clunker in the next couple od weeks.

Oh and yes, the Titans are Number One (third straight week), the Giants are Number Two (second straight week), and the Redskins are Number Four (their highest position although their entire division has represented the Top Ten most of the year).

haha "The McPaper" classic

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Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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