No Sleep Till Football

Like Brooklyn Except It's Football

NFL Power Rankings – Week 14

1. Saints (13-0, LW #1)
2. Colts (13-0, 2)

These two teams are clearly the “elite” teams in the league. The Saints’ win was a bit more impressive, given it was on the road against a division rival. I think this team could beat the Broncos, so the Colts’ win was a bit less so. Indy had a less-than-stellar performance, but they keep on winning.

3. Vikings (11-2, #4)
4. Chargers (10-3, #3)
5. Eagles (9-4, #8)
6. Packers (9-4, #7)
7. Jets (7-6, #12)
8. Patriots (8-5, #11)
9. Cardinals (8-5, #5)
10. Ravens (7-6, #13)
11. Bengals (9-4, #6)

These 9 teams are the “good” teams in the league according to my rankings. The Vikes and Bolts flip flop, which shows my system gives a home win over the Bengals more respect than a road win over the Cowboys. (THAT’S what I’m talking about!) Philly and Green Bay are both red-hot, which is going a bit under the radar with the Saints, Colts, and Chargers continuing long winning streaks.

A big surprise as the Jets pass by my beloved Patriots to claim the title of “Best in the AFC East.” The Cards and Bengals both suffer setbacks with losses. The system punishes the Bengals for losing in Minnesota, exposing Cincy for the paper tigers they truly are. A Jacksonville/Denver @ Cincinnati wild card game may draw as many viewers as an LPGA exhibition event.

12. Broncos (8-5, #9)
13. Cowboys (8-5, #10)
14. Titans (6-7, unrated)
15. 49ers (6-7, unrated)

These four teams are merely above average. The Broncos are really not a Top 15 team, but they have been milking that 6-0 start the way this school is still milking their state basketball championship from 1967.

Dropping out: Steelers (#14), Giants (#15)

Winning teams who don’t make the cut: Dolphins, Giants, Jaguars

I was watching the Premier League last night (that’s English football, or soccer for the unrefined), and I began to wonder what would happen if the NFL had a similar system. For those who are unaware, English soccer is broken into divisions in a pyramid scheme. The best teams from one division are “promoted” to the division above for the following season, while the worst teams are “relegated” to the division below. The champions of the top division (the Premier League) are crowned “Champions of England.”

What I also really like about the structure is that there aren’t any playoffs, which would drive the casual fan bonkers (see: college football and hacks begging for a playoff). There are 20 teams in the Premier League, and each team plays each other twice (home and home) for a total of 38 matches. The top team (according to record) is declared the champs. Tie-breakers (used for promotion and relegation) are 1) goal differential and 2) goals scored. If teams are still tied, a one-game playoff on a neutral site is used to determine who moves. There is no playoff for the Premier League championship; co-champions are declared after the 2nd tie-breaker.

This could easily be adapted to the NFL. (Stay with me here.) The teams could be broken into three divisions, playing each other twice. The top/bottom three teams could be relegated and promoted the following season where appropriate. I think it would interesting to contemplate who would be the champions in a given year, given no playoffs and a perfectly balanced schedule. Plus, I really like the idea of no playoffs.

Now, where to start? To me, the logical place seems to be the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. I’ll use that as my baseline season to divide the teams and then break them up for the 1971 season. I’ll use What If Sports to play the season.

In 1970 there were 26 teams, so my break down for the ’71 season will have 9 teams in the first division, 9 in the 2nd, and 8 in the 3rd. This will mean a 16-game season for the first two divisions and a 14-game one for the 3rd division.

1st division: Minnesota, Baltimore, SF, Detroit, Dallas, Miami, LA, NYGiants, Oakland

2nd division: St. Louis, Cincinnati, KC, Cleveland, SD, Chicago, Washington, GB, Denver

3rd division: Pittsburgh, Atlanta, NYJets, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Houston, NO, NE

To be continued……………

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December 16, 2009 - Posted by | NFL Power 15

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