NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Sunday’s divisional 27-20 loss to the Houston Texans brought about the firing of a special teams coach and a 1-3 record, but, somehow, the Tennessee Titans improved their ESPN Football Power Index rating from minus-3.5 to minus-3.2.
ESPN’s Football Power Index is essentially an NFL prediciton system. According to ESPN.com, “each team’s FPI rating is composed of a predicted offensive, defensive and special teams efficiency, as measured by expected points added per play, and that rating is the basis for FPI’s game-level and season-level projections.”
The result is an analytical model of the ever-popular Power Rankings that have provided plenty of debate slop to the proverbial trough of sports talk radio.
A variety of factors play into the way ESPN Stats & Information formulate their game predictions using FPI. Team strength, strength of the opponent and home field are the obvious variables. But, these NFL forecasts also take into account rest, altitude, distance traveled, quarterback injuries/suspensions based on the individual’s Total QBR, etc.
Once the equation has been worked and reworked, the product boils down to each single-game projection. The good folks at Stats & Info then simulate each team’s season 10,000 times for odds that it will win its division, make the playoffs, Super Bowl chances, etc. For a more detailed look at how ESPN’s NFL Football Power Index was developed, click here.
So, the Titans lose to the Texans and still manage to climb up a spot in the FPI to 25th, looking down one spot at the Jacksonville Jaguars. Does this mean anything?
For all the Titans hype that seemed to permeate Nashville in the off-season, the fact remains that this is not a very talented football team. The special teams unit cost coordinator Bobby April his job and Tennessee 10 points in last Sunday’s loss. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has plenty of promise but is plagued by turnovers, the 26th-ranked passing attack lacks any real play-makers (Tajae Sharpe has performed admirably but is a second or third receiver on almost every other team) and the offense converts third downs at a rate of 41.5%.
Still, Titans fans can take some solace in the fact that they are, at least, numerically better than the Jags.
Information from ESPN.com contributed to this report.