When I was taking the SAT in high school, I heard about this thing called the “Super Score.” Some colleges would take your best reading score and best math score and add them together when evaluating your application. I was thrilled. After my first SAT, I did well enough on math that I didn’t need to study for it anymore. The months in between my first and second SAT were spent practicing reading. I did reading passages. I read tips and tricks online. My second SAT rolled around and I was ready to dominate on the reading section. I got my score back. It was the exact same as the first SAT.
I promise this article is about football and that all of this relates. The two ways I like to evaluate a team analytically are with their Pro Football Focus (PFF) overall team grades and by looking at their win percentage. PFF doesn’t tell the whole truth because it is opinion based and the grades aren’t always perfect. Win percentage also doesn’t tell the truth because you could be like the Dallas Cowboys and open your season with the Daniel Jones-less Giants, the 0-4 Redskins and the 0-4 Dophins only to play your real first opponent in New Orleans and lose (without Brees even playing). Since both methods have flaws, I have created my own system where it combines PFF team grades and win percentage. It becomes a “Super Score.” I like to call it the Seth Super Score, or SSS. It is my pride and joy. This past week as I have combed through every single team’s opponent for the rest of the season to analyze their strength of schedule, SSS has been my best friend.
So far, through the first four weeks of NFL action, there has been a fairly strong correlation between PFF grades and win percentage:
The three undefeated teams in New England, San Francisco, and Kansas City have PFF grades of 85.9, 84.5 and 74, respectively. Now do I think San Francisco is a full 10.5 points better than Kansas City? No, but that is just how they have been graded out so far. San Francisco is the last undefeated team in the NFC just like we all predicted at the beginning of the year. The SSS scores will get more refined as the season goes on.
Alright, that’s enough of this smokescreen. The preseason of SSS is over and now it is time for the big reveal. I calculated each team’s SSS by taking their PFF grade and adding it to their win percentage. Take New England for example. At 85.9 in PFF and 100% in win percentage, they have a 185.9 SSS grade. They are first on the list:
It’s not perfect, but – to me – it doesn’t look awful. A lot of teams are in the tier that they are supposed to be in. I think SSS did a good job of getting the bad teams right as the bottom nine (I didn’t include the 10th worst team because with Mustache Man Minshew they only can go up) have separated themselves as the worst teams. It doesn’t stop here though. I then went through each team’s schedule and put in the SSS score of each team that they had to play against to get an “Opposing Average” rating. The Buffalo Bills ended up with the easiest schedule the rest of the way:
On the other end, Chicago has the toughest remaining schedule according to my model:
The Opposing Average SSS mean came out to about 122.25. Tampa Bay has the most average schedule the rest of the way as they are at 122.58. The lower your Opposing Average SSS is, the better. Expect a lot of tables to be smashed as the Bills charge on through their fairly easy schedule. Here is each team’s Opposing Average SSS:
A couple notes:
- The Devil Works Hard but Bill Belichick Works Harder – Somehow, New England wins the Super Bowl the season before, starts off 4-0 and then gets the 5th easiest schedule for the rest of the season. If the team keeps playing like they are, 16-0 is definitely in play.
- A Diverging Path for Bad Teams – For the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel – as they all have Opposing Average scores of less than 113. Actually, I take back what I said about the Dolphins; they have no hope. Sadly, Atlanta, Arizona, Denver, and Washington have opposing scores over 130. It’s going to be a long season for them.
- Kings of the North – The NFC North looks to be the toughest division in the NFL as Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, and Detroit all have above-average toughness in their games for the rest of the season. This includes Chicago and Green Bay at 1 and 2 and Minnesota at 8. That division is wide open.
- Final Note – I hope you all enjoyed my first article! Follow me on Twitter at @Tejseth41 and email me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.