New England Patriots: Top team in ESPN’s 2017 Preseason Football Power Index rankings
By Matty Simo
It’s not shocking to see the New England Patriots top ESPN’s Preseason FPI rankings. But the disparity between them and second is surprising.
As the defending Super Bowl champions, seeing the New England Patriots atop ESPN’s Preseason Football Power Index rankings was expected. With an FPI rating of 9.2, New England easily outdistanced the Green Bay Packers (4.8) as the No. 1 team.
To put these ratings in perspective, the difference between the Patriots and second-ranked Packers is roughly the same as that of Green Bay and the 14th-ranked Cincinnati Bengals (0.3). As noted in the article, New England is one of two teams ranked in the Top 10 in offense, defense and special teams. The Seattle Seahawks are the other.
Here’s how the preseason numbers were calculated as reported by Hank Gargiulo of ESPN’s Sports Analytics team:
"A team’s FPI rating combines its efficiency ratings on offense, defense and special teams — based on each unit’s expected points added per play — with the sum of all three squad ratings yielding the overall FPI rating."
According to ESPN Analytics, the Patriots have the NFL’s top-rated offense and No. 3 defense while also ranking No. 4 for special teams. In addition, they are given a 92.3 percent chance to win the AFC East for the ninth straight year due in part to the lack of competition from the division’s other teams.
More from the article:
"The Patriots have won the AFC East in each of the past eight seasons, and FPI has them as overwhelming favorites to win a ninth consecutive crown. It’s not just that the Patriots are seen as the clear top team in the league, it’s that the remainder of the division (including a Dolphins team that reached the playoffs last season) is in the bottom third of the rankings heading into 2017."
Next: New England Patriots: Early 53-Man Roster Projection
Finally, New England is given a 96.2 percent chance of making the playoffs this season. The Patriots also have a 51.1 percent chance of earning the top seed again in the AFC.
Where do other AFC teams rank?
The Pittsburgh Steelers rank second in the AFC in both categories. The have a 75.9 percent chance to make the postseason and 15.2 percent shot to earn the No. 1 seed.
The Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs are right behind them ranked third and fourth in the AFC, respectively. However, the AFC West teams are so close with virtually identical numbers across the board. The Indianapolis Colts are viewed as the AFC South’s best team. But they are sixth overall in the AFC behind the fifth-ranked Baltimore Ravens.