Frank Irving

Eagles' Ugly Loss Reflected In Relative Strength Ratings

Oct 23, 2013 11:51 AM EST

Now that all NFL teams have played six or seven games (depending on their bye schedule), their relative strength can be measured through an objective rating system.

The Relative Strength Index (RSI) awards victory points to a team based on its weekly opponent's number of wins (plus 1), and detracts defeat points from a team based on its weekly opponent's number of losses (minus 1). The plus/minus factors is so that wins over winless teams and losses to undefeated teams are not meaningless.

RSI points accumulate through the season and are averaged by the number of games played to accommodate the bye schedule.

For example, the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys both entered Week 7 with 3-3 records. By virtue of the Cowboys' victory, they earned 4 victory points (Eagles' 3 victories plus 1), while the Eagles were docked 4 points (Cowboys' 3 losses minus 1).

So, at the end of Week 7, here are the RSI ratings for the NFC East (actual record in parentheses):

0.57 Dallas (4-3)
-0.33 Washington (2-4)
-0.71 Philadelphia (3-4)
-1.57 New York (1-6)

Note that Washington, which beat Chicago in Week 7, is rated higher than Philadelphia — even though the Redskins trail the Eagles in the divisional standings. This reading tells me that the Redskins are currently a better team than their record would indicate. However, that theory will be soundly tested in Week 8 as the Redskins travel to Denver to take on the 6-1 Broncos, who suffered a tough defeat to Indianapolis in Week 7 and have not lost two consecutive games since Weeks 2 and 3 of the 2012 season.

Also note that a Week 8 victory by New York over Philadelphia would flop those two teams in their divisional RSI ranking. So the Eagles are potentially one loss away from being in the virtual basement of the NFC East.

For your reference, here's the current listing of all 32 teams, as rated by the RSI:

2.28 Kansas City (7-0)
1.86 Seattle (6-1)
1.71 Cincinnati (5-2)
1.67 New Orleans (5-1)
1.67 Green Bay (4-2)
1.57 San Francisco (5-2)
1.57 Indianapolis (5-2)
1.00 Denver (6-1)
0.71 New England (5-2)
0.57 Dallas (4-3)
0.57 San Diego (4-3)
0.43 New York Jets (4-3)
0.28 Detroit (4-3)
0.17 Carolina (3-3)
0.00 Pittsburgh (2-4)
-0.14 Buffalo (3-4)
-0.14 Tennessee (3-4)
-0.28 Arizona (3-4)
-0.28 Cleveland (3-4)
-0.33 Washington (2-4)
-0.50 Atlanta (2-4)
-0.50 Oakland (2-4)
-0.57 Baltimore (3-4)
-0.57 Chicago (4-3)
-0.67 Miami (3-3)
-0.71 Philadelphia (3-4)
-0.86 St. Louis (3-4)
-1.14 Houston (2-5)
-1.57 New York Giants (1-6)
-2.14 Jacksonville (0-7)
-2.50 Minnesota (1-5)
-2.50 Tampa Bay (0-6)

From this listing, I would highlight Green Bay and Pittsburgh as two teams potentially on the rise. Likewise, I would flag Chicago and Miami as two teams potentially on the downslope.

The RSI will be updated at the conclusion of play for Week 8.

NFC East