Home > NFL > Looking at Point Differential For Answers in the NFL Stock Market

Looking at Point Differential For Answers in the NFL Stock Market

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If you are looking to find a quick edge at the water cooler, or in your predictions league, take a look at the these NFL standings, sorted by point differential.  It’s a nice way to look at just one computer screen, and instantly see which records look out of place with the teams around them in differential.

Be mindful of the quality of opponents that isn’t accounted for in point differential.  On one end, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Tampa Bay have played a really hard schedule to this point, while New Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington, Green Bay, and especially the Minnesota Vikings have played a much easier than average schedule to this point.  (Editors Note:  My offseason schedule predictions projected Washington and Philadelphia to play the two easiest schedules in the NFL)  None of those teams will be included in this analysis.

Here’s who point differential sees as overvalued and undervalued:


1.  Jacksonville Jaguars:  The Jaguars have won 3 games in a row to move to 6-4 on the season, but understand that everything the Jaguars do right is done on the margin.  Decisions like Maurice Jones-Drew’s call to take a knee on the one yard line to preserve a chip shot field goal as time expired help the Jaguars win close games, but when you go out and play the Bills, you have to find a way to not trail in the final three minutes of the game.  The Jaguars play poor defense, and aren’t at all explosive on offense.  The result is a lot of tight victories and painful losses.

2.  Carolina Panthers:  The Panthers have won four games this year, but their record and their recent history caused a lot of pundits to make them a trendy pick over the Dolphins, who are a perfectly average team.  The Panthers lost Jordan Gross to season ending injury, and they are not an average team in any way.  At 4-6, they are overvalued by at least a game, although perception on them should normalize after their next defeat of more than 10 points.

3.  Denver Broncos: lest you think this be a list of 1995 NFL expansion teams, the Broncos aren’t really overvalued anymore necessarily, because after their 32-3 thrashing at the hands of the Chargers, they are now -13 for the season in point differential: they simply aren’t a very good team.  They’ll win games in the second half of the year, but at 6-4, they are still overvalued by about two games.


1.  Baltimore Ravens:  At 5-5, the Ravens are about as heavily undervalued as a team can be, and with two games left against the division-rival Steelers, they can be flat out expected to get back into the playoff race at 10 or even 11 wins.  A trip to Lambeau Field might decide whether or not the Ravens can gather enough steam to make the postseason.

2.  New York Jets:  The Jets have looked very, very terrible in the last two months, but very quietly, they are still +24 in point differential on the season.  That’s a good bet that they’ll be able to finish up the season at 3-3.  Also, New York’s next three games are against Carolina, Buffalo, and Tampa Bay, and it’d be hard for them not to grab 2 or 3 wins in that stretch.

3.  San Francisco 49ers:  The 49ers are the most average team in the NFL right now, and they are a pretty good bet to handle Jacksonville, Arizona, and Detroit at home, and could be headed for 8-8.  This might look like a strong finish to the casual observer, but the 49ers are coming off a stretch of tough opponents and figure to up their win percentage over the final third of the season.

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  1. January 2, 2010 at 9:37 pm

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