2009 NFL Week 17 Beatpaths Power Rankings

Hey folks! It’s the end of the season, and we finally have found a stable place in the rankings for Hous–oh, come on! Again? Geez. Well, Tom’s job might have been made difficult by all the bouncing around of certain teams, but it gave me material. As we go into the postseason, here’s the rankings through the regular season. I hope everyone has enjoyed this season; I know it’s been a tough one for most of the people working on this site. 🙁

You can see the graph that these rankings are based on here.

Rank Team Notes Last Week EdgePower


(Beat WAS) The Chargers end up on top at the end! They achieve this not so much by what they did–they have about the same strength as before–but more because the graph flattened this week, and the previous top 3 teams lost a lot of their support. I feel like all of the excitement over the Titans’ possibly historic accomplishment obscured attention from the Chargers, because they have had an impressive run recently.



(66 – 0) / 120

#1 – #11


(Lost to CAR) The Saints drop just below the Chargers this week. There’s been a ton of talk about how the Saints are toast because of how they’ve played the last 3 games, but I’m aligning myself with the chorus of people saying this is ignoring recent playoff history. I mean, Arizona looked aboslutely awful during the regular season last year, and they were able to turn it around.



(64 – 0) / 120

#1 – #12


(Lost to HOU) There’s a big gap from 2 to 3 here, but of the second tier teams the Pats have the best beatpaths. One thing that always got me about these “sit your guys in week 17 when you have nothing to play for” arguments is that the people advocating rest never seem to bring up historical cases where playing in week 17 really hurt the team. I guess we might have that example now.



(47 – 1) / 120

#2 – #14


(Lost to DAL) The gigantic flop job by the Eagles gives us a rare treat in beatpathland: the repeated loop. Yes, NYG=>DAL=>PHI=>NYG is removed twice, leaving no ordering within the NFC East (except everyone is better than the Redskins). Out of all the playoff teams that lost this past week, I think the Eagles looked the worst. They had everything to play for, and they got stomped by the Cowboys. I’d be worried.



(45 – 2) / 120

#3 – #15


(Lost to BUF) The Colts actually lost a lot of power this week; thanks to the loss to Buffalo, they lost their win over New England. That left their best wins as being over Tennessee and Houston (they lost one each of those due to the Buffalo loss, too, but they had 2 of each), which puts them further down the graph.



(41 – 0) / 120

#1 – #18


(Beat PHI) I don’t know how to feel about this Cowboys team. Normally I just hate on Dallas and love it, but I’ve been getting annoyed with all the “can the Cowboys win in December” talk. Now that’s gone, which is good, I guess.



(39 – 1) / 120

#2 – #16


(Beat NYG) Vikings stomp the Giants, which gives them a little more support than just the Packers; but not much more. Really, this game says more about the Giants than the Vikings–both in real life and Beatpaths.



(34 – 0) / 120

#1 – #20


(Lost to NYJ) Cincinnati ends the season with no beatlosses, amazingly. They accomplish this feat through the work of the Browns, whose win over the Jags created a 4 team loop of JAC=>HOU=>CIN=>CLE=>JAC, removing their last remaining loss (to Houston) from the graph. The Bengals are my anti-Eagles–I don’t think they had anything to play for, and the fact that they looked like it shouldn’t be taken to seriously.



(29 – 0) / 120

#1 – #23


(Beat MIA) Pittsburgh also ends up with no beatlosses. This is from the Jets beating the Bengals, which looped away the second CIN=>PIT link in the form of a 4 team beatloop of NYJ=>CIN=>PIT=>MIA=>NYJ.



(26 – 0) / 120

#1 – #22


(Beat TB) Oh, you Falcons. You were the linchpin for so many teams this season, and that’s how you are now, too. You hold up the Eagles, Cowboys, and Pats, and hold down the Jets and Dolphins. Looking at the graph, that’s kind of how it ends up looking–there are teams above the Falcons, and there are teams below them. Too bad for Atlanta they have to sit the playoffs out.



(34 – 9) / 120

#6 – #17


(Beat ARI) It pains me to say it but the Packers look really good right now. Beatpaths says they don’t have clear wins over good teams (if you’re wondering, the win over Arizona gets looped away in a 3 team loop with one of the Minnesota losses), and that seems fair too. I guess we’ll see what happens in the playoffs.



(24 – 2) / 120

#3 – #24


(Beat SEA) The Titans lost a beatpath to Buffalo due to the Bills beating the Colts, but otherwise not much changes for them (directly; they gain a lot by Pittsburgh having no beatlosses). I’m glad Chris Johnson made it to 2000 yards; he carried my fantasy team and anyone who makes me money deserves something nice.



(24 – 5) / 120

#6 – #23


(Beat CIN) Big jump by the Jets, and I’m not exactly sure why. It’s not the win over the Bengals, which gets looped away. And it’s not from getting out from under the Dolphins, because it still leaves them under the Falcons which is basically the same situation. If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s from the Panthers looking better. As usual, you can find out more about that…later!



(23 – 11) / 120

#7 – #20


(Lost to PIT) I’m not commenting on all the 3 team jumps that have been in the graph because the reason is epic fails from a few teams, which I’ll get to when I get to them. Meanwhile, the Dolphins take a step backwards after making the playoffs last year, but considering that it looks like they’ve broken in their QB of the future, I’d say it’s worth it to get a running start next year and beyond.



(22 – 12) / 120

#7 – #21


(Beat OAK) Surprisingly, Baltimore doesn’t get a beatpath for this win because Cincy beat the Ravens and lost to Oakland. I’ve been saving a small piece of brainpower so far to remind myself to mention Willis McGahee’s epic stiff arm; now that I can kill that process and free up the memory for other stuff, the rankings should get better! They’d get even more betterer if I could kill off the part of my brain that keeps looping Hall & Oates’ “Private Eyes” and devote it to grammarring.



(12 – 6) / 120

#5 – #26


(Beat NO) I’m attributing the rise in the Panthers’ ranking this week to getting back on top of the Cardinals. How did they manage that? Once again, the Bills’ magical victory over the Colts is in effect. It created a 3 team loop of JAC=>BUF=>IND=>JAC, which broke up a 4 team loop from last week of ARI=>JAC=>BUF=>CAR=>ARI. That gave the Panthers back their beatwin over the Cardinals, and because there was another 4 team beatloop with BUF=>CAR in it (MIN=>CLE=>BUF=>CAR=>MIN ), they don’t find themselves under Buffalo either.



(20 – 18) / 120

#9 – #22


(Beat NE) Okay–our first big SuperDrop to talk about. They beat the Patriots, so wha happen? First off, the Pats win is looped away by a loss to Jacksonville–one that was already looped away in similar sized loops, so they don’t gain anything from it. Second, as mentioned above they lost their beatwin over Cincinnati, who was propping them up quite a bit. That left them with beatpaths over…Oakland and St. Louis. Ouch. The good news, if you want it, is that they are only under Indianapolis, so in theory they could be the second best team in the league according to Beatpaths.



(2 – 1) / 120

#2 – #30


(Lost to MIN) The Giants also take a huge stumble. Well, you saw that on Sunday of course, but in beatpaths too. The loss to Minnesota isn’t really as damaging as Philly’s loss to Dallas. As mentioned above, that created complete parity in the NFC Not Counting Washington East–which means no relationships between them. And since the Cowboys were the team propping up the Giants before…well, this is what happens. At least the Giants can take solace in not being the worst fall this week…FORESHADOWING!!!



(3 – 2) / 120

#3 – #29


(Lost to KC) Broncos somehow get more disconnected from the graph, losing contact with Kansas City as well; they’re only connect to the Colts and Browns. I don’t mean to cause pain to the site’s proprietor, but the last time I saw a collapse like that was the 2007 Detroit Lions who went 7-9 after starting 6-2. And, well, the next season didn’t exactly get much better…



(1 – 1) / 120

#2 – #31


(Beat STL) San Francisco sweeps St. Louis to take the Battle of Which Team Can Absolutely Waste A Fantastic Running Back. Of course, the Rams win the war by just continually doing nothing with Steven Jackson year after year, but…uh…actually, I’m not really sure where that was going. PRIVATE EYES! *clap clap*



(11 – 13) / 120

#11 – #27


(Lost to GB) Say what you will about the Patriots playing guys, but at least they were competitive in that game. The Cardinals managed to some how injure their guys AND get totally blown out. Even when they’re good they’re still the Cardinals, I guess.



(16 – 25) / 120

#13 – #25


(Beat IND) You can always count on the Bills at least one game played in a ridiculous amount of snow. I give them credit. When I was kid and it snowed, and I wanted to play football, I played Super Tecmo Bowl. EDIT: I mean, Tecmo Super Bowl. Jeez, how embarrassing was that? I mean, I played STB on the SNES later, but TSB was THE game. I can’t believe I messed that up.



(2 – 12) / 120

#7 – #30


(Lost to BAL) Is it just me or does it seem like Al Davis wants to wait until all the other teams finish with their coaching changes so he can have the stage to himself? Clearly, whatever happens there is going to be epic–which will actually make it kind of meh by Raiders’ standards.



(0 – 16) / 120

#10 – #32


(Lost to CLE) WHOA! Now this is a fall. I wish I could say whether it’s the biggest one week drop this season, but I don’t have that information in front of me. This loss hurts them, making a new JAC=>HOU=>CIN=>CLE=>JAC beatloop discussed above in the Cincy blurb. That’s their second win over Houston removed, which takes them from on top of Houston, who was above Cincy. So that costs them support, and the rest of it was eroded by Indy over the last two weeks. The Colts’ losses to the Jets and Bills created 3 team loops with Indy, Jacksonville, and those teams, leaving the Jags only with paths to the Chiefs and Rams. And brother, that ain’t no place to be.



(2 – 27) / 120

#14 – #30


(Lost to SD) Okay, so this is kind of neat–we actually have a 6 team beatloop this week. And even more weirdly, this is the highest ranked team in that loop. Yep, there is a KC=>WAS=>TB=>SEA=>DET=>CLE=>KC beatloop formed, thanks to Kansas City’s work against Denver. It costs the Redskins their only beatpaths, but that happened to most of those teams. I’m cautiously in favor of the Shanny hire; like all things, the question is less about the particular coach and more about whether the front office will behave. It’s worked before somewhat–Schottenheimer and Gibbs each had a moderate amount of success, and I guess Shanahan is the closest thing to one of those guys available (in terms of stature and ability to face off Snyder). But I’m also not a fan of the coach/GM.



(0 – 27) / 120

#12 – #32


(Lost to ATL) So is this what they were expecting when they fired Gruden? It didn’t seem like they had to rebuild last season, but here they are, and they look like they’re off to an okay start. Hope they enjoy the Bear’s second rounder; we are still waiting for UPS to deliver our Gaines Adams.



(0 – 33) / 120

#13 – #32


(Beat DET) Bears get stuck down here despite a better record than most of these teams because they only beat teams with bad records. The Bear’s coaching moves (fired OC Ron Turner, hiring a DC to help out Lovie) makes some sense to me long term. The problem is they didn’t want to fire Lovie with so much money left on his contract; but I also think they didn’t want to fire GM Jerry Angelo with his contract either. And if you’re not cleaning house yet but might in the near future, it doesn’t make too much sense to have the GM hire a new coach and start over, if the GM doesn’t want to. Better to let him try to reprove himself to you while you wait for the economics to work out. And I think this team could improve next year. Meanwhile, I’m just glad Weis is off the table; if we can rule out Mike Martz I’ll feel even better.



(7 – 42) / 120

#19 – #28


(Beat DEN) Chiefs escape the basement! They do this by beating the Broncos, which causes a season split to form. That breaks up a 3 team beatloop from last week of WAS=>DEN=>KC=>WAS, which meant that KC=>WAS was left in the graph longer, until it formed that great 6 team beatloop (KC=>WAS=>TB=>SEA=>DET=>CLE=>KC). Yay for long beatloops! I’m not necessarily against the Weis hiring exactly, but I like it better with a guy who thinks like him and where he’s not supposed to be the offensive savior. Although I wonder about the dynamic of being the coordinator to a guy who used to be your assistant.



(0 – 46) / 120

#21 – #32


(Lost to TEN) Well, at least the fans got to see Chris Johnson go for 2000. Good luck Seahawks fans.



(2 – 50) / 120

#20 – #31


(Beat JAC) If I were Holmgren I’d fire Mangini…from a cannon. But I’m a little biased. I do have to admit that they had an impressive little run at the end of the season, but can they really do that consistently in the future? I’m concerned about their offense of “have Josh Cribbs do everything”. I mean, if LeBron James can’t bring a championship to Cleveland that way, can anyone?



(0 – 49) / 120

#21 – #32


(Lost to CHI) One day I’m going to have to figure out how Calvin Johnson got such a cool nickname of “Megatron”. I wonder if it’s because he’s really really good at football.



(0 – 54) / 120

#20 – #32


(Lost to SF) Rams lose, giving them the first pick in the draft. And they manage to not go 0-16 to do it! The Rams have had a couple years of picking high, but this is the first time they go first. I wonder if the team would have done much better if they had gotten to choose American Dragon Jake Long (I bet he hates that) 2 years ago instead of Miami. It kind of set them back a year, as they had to wait to get their (hopeful) Orlando RePaceMent (see what I did there)? And Chris Long doesn’t look so great…I mean, it doesn’t seem likely, but who knows for sure? (Am I overusing these parentheses?)



(0 – 67) / 120

#23 – #32

10 Responses to 2009 NFL Week 17 Beatpaths Power Rankings

  1. The MOOSE says:

    The argument I use when anyone tries to criticize NE for not resting Welker when he got injured on his first play of the game is.. Welker is the #2 receiver. You can’t expect NE to rest Moss AND Welker for the entire game simply because they don’t have that kind of depth at the receiver position. Aside from the emergency quarterback Edelman, can you name any other receivers for NE?

    There are only so many people on the roster. You can’t rest them all. I’m as aggravated as anyone about Welker’s injury, but I don’t blame Belichick for not resting him.

  2. JT says:

    Wow. After a full season of play we can narrow it down that some teams could have quite a range of possible rankings. I suppose it makes sense that some of the widest ranges are grouped 17 – 19 in this ranking.

    Denver could be anywhere from #2 to #31. Houston could be ranked anywhere from #2 to #30 in the league. The Giants could be anywhere from #3 to #29. That’s pretty impressive. If that isn’t a sign of some jeckel and hyde teams that won some games they maybe shouldn’t and lost some they should, I don’t know what is.

  3. Kenneth says:

    Well, they must have enough for a second team, right?

    Part of this too is probably related to the Patriots reliance more and more on the spread offense, which puts more of a strain on the receiver position. I would think that the Pats would keep more receivers active to compensate, but I don’t actually know that. The offense has clearly worked for them, but they would probably benefit from at least being able to drop into a more conventional set when they don’t want/need to win games (I presume they didn’t want to win that game, although who knows).

  4. The MOOSE says:

    NE had something to play for, and Brady was playing in the fourth quarter until the last two minutes of the game. So I believe they were attempting to win the game to at least some degree despite Hoyer playing in the 2nd and 4th quarters.

    I’ve watched every game this year and I just had to look up the depth chart to see who came 5th on the depth chart for receivers. If NE had rested Moss and Welker for the entire game, Sam Aiken and Edelman would have been the #1 and #2 receivers for the day. The #3 and beyond slots would have belonged to players with a combined 3 receptions for the entire season.

    It would be unreasonable to think Moss and Welker would not play any snaps all day. Typically “resting starters” means the healthy ones play a quarter or so at least, and maybe sub in here and there to give backups a rest when they need it. Welker got injured on his first reception, the third play from scrimmage. That’s just bad luck.

    You’d think that the spread would have us heavy on receivers, but I’m pretty sure a lot of our spread involves tight ends and backs, usually Kevin Faulk and Ben Watson.

  5. doktarr says:

    Although Shanny does have final say on personnel, there is a seperate GM as well.

    JT, you said, “The Giants could be anywhere from #3 to #29. That’s pretty impressive. If that isn’t a sign of some jeckel and hyde teams that won some games they maybe shouldn’t and lost some they should, I don’t know what is.”

    Iterative gives the Giants a beatpath relationship to 26 of 31 other teams. They have a beatpath relationship to every ream they played, and only three of their 16 games (their defeat of Atlanta, and their two Dallas wins that are part of the bizarre NYG=>DAL=>PHI=>NYG season sweep beatloop) are picked incorrectly.

    The Giants have been more consistent than we give them credit for; they just played a schedule that started easier and got harder. Beating Tampa, Oakland, KC, and Washington on the way to a 5-0 start is not that impressive, in retrospect.

  6. Kenneth says:

    Yeah, it was this weird kind of middle ground between really playing the game to win (Tom Brady playing in the fourth quarter!) and not (Brian Hoyer* on the final drive?). To me, if you weren’t ready to play Tom Brady the entire game then you weren’t really too concerned about winning, but who knows? It’s really hard to figure out…but then, who am I to judge Bill Belichick?

    *Originally wrote Steny Hoyer

  7. Rick says:

    Oddly, as an Eagles fan, I am worried for the first time in a long time. But for that reason, I do console myself with the realization that the Eagles rarely (read almost never) repeat one truly awful performance with a second.

    So – while the odds look pretty gruesome, I also realize the team that showed up last week will be radically different this week. Whether that’s enough to make a difference remains to be seen. But if it is enough to make a difference – the rest of the NFC should be very worried.

  8. doktarr says:

    If they had put in Steny Hoyer, THAT would have been throwing the game. Everyone knows Pelosi is the starter.

  9. JT says:

    doktarr, that comment of mine was almost designed to get you to comment. I did look at the iterative graphs before posting, and noted that the three teams I talked about were quite divergent in the iterative model. I guess I was just pointing out the shortcoming of this particular system that after 16 games per team, 3 teams were still so undefined that they could be placed almost anywhere in the rankings. But it’s nothing we don’t know already.

  10. […] here with the end of the regular season charts. The changes to the rankings in Week 17 were no less dramatic than any other week this season since Week 4. We had two big movers this past […]

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