Matt Ryan could be 30-3 as a starter if the defense never blew a lead. (source: YardBarker)

Blogging Dirty’s Competitive Rankings


(source: YardBarker)

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you have likely figured out that I’m a numbers guy. I love trends, statistics, spreadsheets and basically analytics as a whole.

It is with that in mind that I decided to create my own Power Rankings for each NFL team. Now, these power rankings aren’t necessarily a future indicator of success but they show us which team’s have been the most competitive since 2008.

To determine what constitutes “competitiveness” I used the last two seasons of data (including the playoffs), and calculated how many games each NFL team played in which they never trailed. I call these, coincidentally enough, the “Competitive Rankings.”

Hit the jump to see how the Falcons and the rest of the NFL did.

There’s not many surprises at the top the list. You’d expect to see the Colts and Steelers there but the fact that they have only trailed in one game in two seasons is impressive. The Chargers are third followed by the Vikings, Falcons and Packers.

That’s right. The Falcons are the 5th best team in the NFL in these “Competitive Rankings.” They’ve only played three games in the Thomas Dimitroff-Mike Smith era in which they’ve never led. That’s also the 2nd best in the NFC.

As for the worst, the Rams, Raiders, Lions and Chiefs have been the least competitive teams since 2008. The Rams have been the worst of the worst. They are the only team to have played more games in which they trailed than games in which they’ve held a lead.

I should also point out that the Falcons have been more “competitive” over the past two seasons than even the Super Bowl Champion Saints.

A Different Perspective

Let’s dig a little deeper and compare how many times a team was able to turn a lead into a victory. For example, the Falcons have led in 30 (of 33) games since 2008 and have won 20 games. That means they have essentially “blown” 10 games. Similar to a blown save in baseball, the following shows us which teams are top tier closers and which ones can’t hold a lead.

These rankings shuffle things up quite a bit. The Eagles, Titans and Giants put the sleeper hold on teams when they get a lead. They’ve only blown (lost a lead) six games a piece since 2008. The Lions and Chiefs are at the bottom of this list as well which means not only do they rarely lead a game but when they do gain an advantage on the scoreboard they quickly blow it.

Surprises? The Packers and the Chargers almost always lead at some point in their games but they’ve combined for 24 blown games in two seasons. The Falcons are just below the league average with 10 blown games. In other words if they would have won every game they led in the past two seasons they would have gone 30-3 instead of 20-13.

Are you encouraged by the Falcons’ ability to be competitive in almost every game or are you discouraged they lose more games than they should after gaining an advantage? Let me know in the comments or start the conversation on Twitter.

Tags: Atlanta Falcons Competitive Rankings NFL Games