By HCR Staff | Oct. 26, 2018
Before the 2018 season began, HCR introduced a new metric for measuring success in the NFL: the Game Control Index. A proprietary metric combining key factors that we believe are indicative of winning football games, the Game Control Index results from the 2017 season fell into place with how the teams finished: Eight of the top 10 teams made the playoffs, and only one of the 12 playoff teams did not finish in the top 15.
As a reminder, here’s how it works:
The Game Control Index tracks how often a team comes away with points via long drives (starting at their own 30-yard line or deeper) and short drives (starting at the 50 or in opponent’s territory). We do the same for each team’s defense, i.e., how well does a team prevent long drives and short drives. We calculate total points scored on these drives and average points per drive – for both offense and defense. “Throwaway drives” – if a team is kneeling at the end of a half or just running out the clock – are not counted.
That’s eight different factors to rank, and the average of the eight factors produces the Game Control Index. The lower the number, the better that team did in converting opportunities to control games.
Through seven weeks of the 2018 season, the undefeated Los Angeles Rams continue to dominate the GCI rankings. Three weeks ago, the Rams were at the top and then-undefeated Kansas City was second. The Chiefs have actually dropped to third, with the Baltimore Ravens moving into the No. 2 spot.
Before presenting the complete rundown, here are a few key takeaways:
• There are three teams with losing records – all sitting at 3-4 — in the top 10: the Denver Broncos are eighth; Atlanta Falcons ninth; and New York Jets 10th. Does their GCI ranking imply that these teams might be better than their records indicate? Worth keeping an eye on.
• After Week 4, we noted that the Jacksonville Jaguars – despite a 3-1 record – had a mediocre GCI score. They ranked 18th at the time. Since then, they have dropped even further – tied for 24th – and, coincidentally, lost three straight games.
• The team Jacksonville is tied with at 24 is the Green Bay Packers. At 3-2-1, the Packers have the lowest GCI among teams with a winning record. The Packers are battling in the NFC North with the Minnesota Vikings – whose GCI score is only two spots better at No. 22.
• The biggest riser over the last three weeks has been the Houston Texans. After Week 4, they ranked 21st in GCI. After Week 7, they are fourth.
• Two teams dropped the farthest since Week 4: The Seattle Seahawks fell from sixth to 16th; the Packers went from 14th to tied for 24th.
Here are the complete Game Control Index rankings through Week 7:
|GCI Rank||Team||GCI Score||2018 Record (W-L)|