Harvard takes their shot at NFL rankings and the Rams


Harvard, the gathering of higher intelligent beings in  Massachusetts, best know for producing top-tier talent in the business world and a few presidents just took a shot at ranking all 32 NFL teams from best to worst, and their chances of playing for the Lombardi Trophy.

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The school hosts the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective, or HSAC for short. Kurt Bullard is a member of this little known club and published his results to the groups webpage on Wednesday.

Bullard came to his conclusions based on the Pro Football Reference’s Approximate Value statistic. He combined that with the depth charts provided by ESPN and what they considered to be the core of each team. This includes the QB, RB, WR1, WR2, TE, Top-2 OL, Top-4 DL/LB and the Top-2 DB. For the Rams this would include Nick Foles, Tre Mason, Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, Jared Cook, Rodger Saffold, Greg Robinson , Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, Chris Long, James Laurinaitis, Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod.

Nov 30, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines (33) celebrates with free safety Rodney McLeod (23) after intercepting a pass during the first half against the Oakland Raiders at the Edward Jones Dome. St. Louis defeated Oakland 52-0. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

After all was said and done, St. Louis ranked as the 27th best team in the league with only a 10% chance of making the playoffs. Absolutely ludicrous. They rank, according to Bullard, as the worst team in the NFC West, one slot behind the San Francisco 49ers, seven slots behind the Arizona Cardinals and well behind the Seattle Seahawks who ranked as the best team in the league. The Niners ranked 26th with a 12% chance of making the playoffs, the Cardinals ranked 20th with a 29% chance of making the playoffs and the Seahawks ranked #1 overall with a 95% chance of making the playoffs.

The study also had some other very odd predictions. The Miami Dolphins ranked as the third best team in the league and posted a 77% chance of making the postseason. The New York Jets, also ranked in the top ten and claim a 56% chance of playing extra football. One of the biggest head scratchers would have to be the Baltimore Ravens sitting at #28 with a mere 9% chance of playing in the postseason.

You can find the entire page of results posted by John Breech of CBSSports.com.

The world will always find new ways to interpret statistics for all professional sports, and while most of those interpretations tend to be progressive, this study seems to have come off the rails somewhere along the way.

The Rams will compete for a playoff spot in 2015. Their roster ranks much closer to the middle of the pack. A ranking of 15-19 seems more realistic. And their chances at making the post season are probably closer to 20-25%. Seattle is still the best in the West, but St. Louis can compete for a wild card spot in the NFC with the likes of Arizona, Detroit, Minnesota, and Carolina.