NFL 2012 Playoff Analysis – Power Rankings

  • 2012 NFL Playoff Power Rankings

Over the years, Sports Insights’ researchers and analysts have studied various indicators and statistics specifically for the NFL Playoffs.  We have devised Sports Insights own proprietary Power Rankings for the upcoming playoffs.  Please note that although results have been good over the years, the sample size is not large.  Still, the power ratings and rankings are backed by good, fundamental, reasoning — and historical results have been solid, as highlighted by this Sports Insights blog post summarizing last year’s playoff results.  The information on this site is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Use of this information in violation of any federal, state, or local laws is prohibited.

Multiple Factors

Sports Insights has studied a wealth of statistics and our researchers have keyed in on several indicators that show the true “strength” of each of the twelve playoff teams.  By using the indicators that show the most correlation with game results, we believe that the power rankings can help obtain value versus the point spread during the NFL Playoffs.

We believe this multi-factor approach can help to uncover value as we combine factors that give us an edge.  What are some of the factors that we study?  Firstly, we look at the “micro-happenings” behind the wins and losses.  What kind of offense and defense are we talking about?  Is the team prone to mistakes?  What kind of schedule did the team play?  How was the team’s performance in “quality match-ups?”  We use the results of our research to create a composite rating which can be used to obtain value during the NFL Playoffs.

NFL 2011-12 Playoff Team Power Rankings

Below are our Power Rankings for this year’s NFL Playoffs.  How can you use these rankings?  One easy-to-use method is to pick the higher-ranked team versus the spread.  Some sports investors might want to make the selection ONLY if the ranking differential is above a certain amount.  In either case, please use these rankings in combination with other sports investing tools that you use — or that we list below.  Note that we have highlighted and grouped the teams to separate this year’s powerhouses — from the contenders — and pretenders.  Last year, we note that the Green Bay Packers were near the top of our list — and were the ultimate Super Bowl Champions.

Many sports fans will be surprised that Green Bay did not receive our top ranking, but New Orleans edged Green Bay due to its explosiveness, balanced offense, and marginally better defense.  Our top-four teams all did particularly well against quality opponents.  San Francisco, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh round out our “powerhouses” partly due to their dominating defenses.  Pittsburgh led the NFL in defense based on “points against” and is ranked #5 on our power rankings list.

Some teams are highlighted with asterisks (*) because their placement within the power rankings might be a bit surprising to some.  Please see our notes below the chart for more information.

Ranking Team
1 New Orleans
2 Green Bay
3 San Francisco *
4 Baltimore
5 Pittsburgh
6 Houston *
7 New England *
8 Atlanta
9 Cincinnati
10 New York Giants
11 Detroit *
12 Denver *

* Notes:

  • Some readers may be surprised at New England’s relatively low power ranking, but New England’s blowout wins masked a generally weak schedule, a disappointing AFC East, and the fact that the Patriots did not fare well against quality opponents.
  • San Francisco seems to have “come out of nowhere” this season — but they have put together a very impressive year highlighted by an airtight defense, mistake-free quarterback, and a decently-balanced offense.
  • Houston could surprise some teams with their highly-rated defense and running game.
  • Detroit fans may be disappointed at their team’s power ranking, but the Lions ran up their record against weak schedule and did poorly against quality opponents.
  • The past few years have shown that anything can happen in the playoffs. If the Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow can make some noise in the playoffs, some would not be surprised because they have one of the better running games of the playoff teams — and the Broncos put together an impressive six-game winning streak.  However, our analysts note that during that streak, only one victory was by more than 7 points, and several wins were by 3 or 4 points.

Betting Against the Public & Smart Money Techniques

As the playoffs begin and the NFL’s top teams vie for the championship, there is increased public interest.  This means increased betting activity by “Joe Public.”  We believe that this presents an opportunity for astute sports investors.  Our members have said — and our research has shown — that “Betting Against the Public” and “Smart Money” techniques work even better in “big televised games.”  Using these methods, in combination with other good handicapping strategies, can add good investment value — to an already great entertainment value: the NFL Playoffs!.

Summary and Other Research

Sports Insights is pleased to present our proprietary Power Rankings for this year’s NFL Playoffs.

  • The Power Rankings have been designed as a way to obtain value during the playoffs.
  • Betting Against the Public and Smart Money methods should be even more effective during these nationally-televised games.
  • In other research, it has been shown that Home Field advantage is magnified during the playoffs.  Please check out Sports Insights’ article on Academic Research in the NFLWe particularly love large home dogs — if you can find them in the playoffs.

Good luck — and enjoy the games!


We do not guarantee that the trends and biases we’ve found will continue to exist.  It is impossible to predict the future.  Any serious academic research in the field of “market efficiencies” recognizes that inefficiencies may disappear over time.  Once inefficiencies are discovered, it is only a matter of time before the market corrects itself.  We do not guarantee our data is error-free.  However, we’ve tried our best to make sure every score and percentage is correct.