We did a story about this last week, the ESPN “NFL Football Power Index,” and how it seems to love the Cowboys for whatever reason.

Here are the updated projections after the Eagles thumped the Giants and Dallas had to defend a Hail Mary to take care of the one-win Texans:

So the Eagles have the best chance to make the Super Bowl, yet Dallas has a better chance to actually win the game? Okay then! <Bill Lumberg voice> “Uh yeahhhhhh, I’m gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there.”

I don’t know anything about analytics, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, and for what it’s worth, ESPN says this is how they determine these fugazi numbers:

“The Football Power Index (FPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily.”

That’s listed at the bottom of the chart, but you can click through to a page called “Guide to NFL FPI,” which says this, in part:

At its core, NFL FPI is a prediction system for the NFL. 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.

Like most game predictions, FPI accounts for team strength, opponent strength and home-field advantage.

Some of the things they factor include:

  • On-field performance in previous games
  • Rest
  • Altitude
  • Distance traveled
  • Seasonal effects
  • QB injuries/suspensions/absence

And then: “All of these factors are combined to make up each single-game projection. Then each team’s season is simulated 10,000 times to produce its chance to win its division, make the playoffs, win the Super Bowl and pick first in the NFL draft, among other interesting projections.”

So I dunno, maybe there’s something to it. The complicated explanation is that very smart people put a bazillion different factors into some comprehensive formula. The simple explanation is that a bunch of dorks are just fucking around on their calculators. Anybody with a set of functioning eyeballs knows the Eagles are better than the Cowboys right now. Go Birds.