The only thing objective about most NFL Power Rankings is the fact that everybody loves them -- and loves to argue about them. Everyone has an opinion about their hometown team, and it almost certainly differs from some national writer who may or may not have actually watched the team play.
The guys at Football Outsiders, though, take a different approach. Their preseason rankings -- dubbed DVOA, for short, because who can remember Defense-adjusted Value Over Average? -- rely on a complex algorithm that analyzes every single play of every single game, comparing it to a baseline league average. Now that the season has started, they're combining their preseason rankings with this year's data, giving us DAVE, short for (big breath ...) DVOA Adjusted for Variation Early.
In other words, it's kind of like
Skynet the computer polls that are used in college, but for the pros. So who does DAVE like after Week 1?
The Ravens are No. 1, followed by the Bills, Texans and Patriots. As for the dredges of the league, DAVE likes the suddenly awful Colts less than our human-powered rankings, putting them 30th, one spot above the Chiefs and ahead of the ... Steelers. Wait, Pittsburgh is last? Don't blame DAVE, he's just working with the numbers the NFL feeds him, and for at least one week, the Steelers did look truly awful. Check back to see how high they rebound against the Seahawks.