Power rankings are a funny thing. Every site does them to the point of boredom, yet fans can’t help but look up their team’s ranking every single time. As Agent Bog pointed out, the human NFL rankings have the Redskins as roughly the 10th-best team in the league, give or take a couple of spots. Vegas, again with lines based on the foibles of humanity, has the Skins at 13th. The two best scientific rankings I know of, however, have the Skins much higher.
The first is Beatpaths, which has Washington at No. 5 on their graph/rankings, behind only Indy, Green Bay, Dallas and the Giants. Where’s New England, you ask? No. 7. Allow Beatpaths to explain:
The graph pays attention to wins, losses, who beats who, and nothing else. Same rules for every team. If you’re surprised by what you see, then that means you’re getting valuable perspective.
That’s good enough for me, but if it’s too simple for you, look to Football Outsiders and their DVOA ratings. Based on a series of highly advanced calculations — probably conducted by Emmitt Smith — through the season’s first five weeks, they have the Redskins at No. 7 overall thanks in large part to the fourth-best defense in the NFL. Again, good enough for me.
So what if the Skins truly are a top five-to-seven team? What does that mean? Well, not much at this point, but, if it holds up, there was a two-way tie for last year’s fourth-best record (12-4) between New England and Indy and a three-way tie for sixth-best (10-6) between the Saints, Jets and Eagles. Looking at the schedule, the former is a reach but the latter seems about right for Washington. Let’s hope it is, at least.