Each week I will publish the model’s rankings in the following categories: Projected Final Standings, Overall (Power), Quarterback, and Offense and Defense.
As mentioned in previous weeks, some of the following metrics are based solely on the season’s first three games. Others take in prior data projections. The former group is much more susceptible to variance. After week four or five these rankings will be incorporated into the model.
I will point out whether a section relies solely on this years’ data or incorporates prior simulations and data.
Projected Final Standings:
These rankings include prior projections, the first three games, and future predictions based on strength of schedule.
|AFC Teams||Projected Wins||Make Playoffs||Win Division||Win Conference||Win Super Bowl|
|Kansas City Chiefs||10.5||74.29%||34.15%||19.83%||11.67%|
|Las Vegas Raiders||10||64.55%||22.56%||7.58%||3.23%|
|San Diego Chargers||10||56.35%||25.39%||8.47%||5.35%|
|New England Patriots||8||35.99%||12.89%||1.22%||0.01%|
|New York Jets||5||6.50%||3.23%||0.00%||0.00%|
|NFC Teams||Projected Wins||Make Playoffs||Win Division||Win Conference||Win Super Bowl|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||12||87.00%||68.38%||22.56%||11.44%|
|Los Angeles Rams||11||78.40%||45.75%||25.32%||13.84%|
|Green Bay Packers||10||61.95%||58.33%||10.09%||6.38%|
|San Francisco 49ers||9||48.53%||19.82%||7.78%||3.67%|
|New Orleans Saints||9||42.46%||10.43%||2.09%||0.87%|
|New York Giants||6||19.87%||12.10%||1.39%||0.59%|
The model is not using these rankings yet. As you can see, there is still too much variance based on outlier performances. I expect this to level out after this week.
Generally, You can use the power rankings to produce a raw expected spread (RES) on a neutral field by subtracting each team’s number. The RES does not account for the scheme employed by each team. The model’s ultimate prediction may differ.
We are still seeing some degree of outlier performances influence these rankings. I think you can argue that Herbert and Prescott should be higher. These rankings will start to normalize after this week.
Matt Nagy is either grossly incompetent or sabotaging Fields. The game plan that he installed (even though he took play-calling duties away from himself last year) seemed designed not just to make Fields look bad, but to get Fields hurt. Nagy never once offered his porous offensive line any help blocking Garrett. He also never put Trubisky in a decent position. I have never liked Nagy as a coach, and the Bears should terminate him before he destroys Fields.
I am tired of hearing people say, “well, he saw Mahomes sit in Kansas City.” This is faulty logic. Are they suggesting that, but for sitting, Mahomes would not be great? I can make the argument he too, should have played his first season. Just because Mahomes sat and is excellent, it does not follow, at all, that sitting increases your chances of being great. One person needs to sit on the Bears, Nagy.
|1||Matthew Stafford||13.83||The model’s 20-1 preseason MVP pick is playing like every bit of one. He threw Brady off the field. McVey had been holding some of the offense back in the first two games. The Rams look, as the model expected, like the best team in the league.|
|2||Tyrod Taylor||13.47||He is out injured, but I am going to leave him in the Rankings|
|3||Kirk Cousins||13.34||Cousins has always been better than his perception. He has played under Zimmer, who is vehemently dedicated to running the ball. I love Zimmer as a defensive mastermind, but Cousins can produce like he has the previous two weeks anytime he is asked to do more than hand off the ball.|
|4||Teddy Bridgewater||13.18||Bridgewater is playing out of his mind. He has been in the top five all three weeks. He needs a nickname. I am going with Teddy Westside as an homage to HIMYM and the fact that he is now in the West. He has played the Giants, the Jags, and the Jets, so I will not get too carried away. The model thought he would be a great fit and suggested the Over on wins for Denver. Looks good through three weeks.|
|5||Patrick Mahomes||12.77||Predictable regression is taking some of the shine off of Mahomes. It shouldn’t. He is still the quarterback we believe he is.|
|6||Kyler Murray||12.28||I have the most fun watching him play. Look for their record and his play to start normalizing. They beat the Titans and Jags and should have lost to the Vikings. The Rams are next.|
|7||Tom Brady||12.04||He was having the best season of his career and was the early MVP. Stafford and McVey knocked the shine off. He should get right again against the Patriots.|
|8||Sam Darnold||11.53||Okay, he looks good. Still, 66% of his rating comes from games against the Jets and the Texans. I am still neutral. He did throw some beautiful balls early in the game against Houston.|
|9||Russell Wilson||11.28||Seattle has not lived up to the model’s expectations after a great start. Wilson looked so-so, and I cannot blame this on Carroll. Seattle looks like the fourth team in the West.|
|10||Derek Carr||11.25||He had a rough start to the game against the Dolphins with the pick-six, but he stayed composed and won the game. He has always been better than most people think. This year it is impossible to deny.|
|11||Daniel Jones||10.95||Daniel Jones’ problem is that his GM is awful, his OC is awful, and his head coach is unproven. His best offensive player is on a pitch count. His lack of interceptions is keeping him this high in the rankings.|
|12||Josh Allen||10.80||Nice of you to join us, Mr. Allen – the season actually started three weeks ago, not last week. Still, mighty impressive performance. You killed your MVP chances in the first two weeks, but the real prize is still out there for you.|
|13||Aaron Rodgers||10.75||He has looked like Rodgers in two straight games and will soon take his rightful spot in the top five.|
|14||Jameis Winston||10.72||Good Jameis, bad Jameis, good Jameis. The less he throws, the better Winston plays. The Saints have to rely on defense and run the ball effectively. If so, Jameis is good enough to win with this team. He can even air it out against subpar defenses.|
|15||Jimmy Garoppolo||10.49||San Francisco fans were screaming from Lance at halftime. Jimmy has his limitations especially getting the ball out on time. Be careful what you wish for 49er fans, and notice the ranking of every other rookie on this list.|
|16||Justin Herbert||10.39||If we redrafted all the quarterbacks, and I had the number one pick, it might be him. Since he is on a rookie contract, it would be him.|
|17||Dak Prescott||10.36||Prescott has had three solid games. He threw two bad passes last night. He is not the best at anything, but he is so very good at so many things that quarterbacks need to be able to do to be successful. It seems to be clicking for Kellen Moore as well. The NFC East does not seem to have anyone that can score with them.|
|18||Ryan Tannehill||9.97||Not sold on this new offensive approach. Tannehill misses both Smiths. They are the best team in the worst division. They will make the playoffs, and it will be the Saturday early game wildcard weekend.|
|19||Baker Mayfield||9.57||I expect more from him. He has desperately needed OBJ back. Targeted him nine times for five completions. Look for this to increase as OBJ gets his feet under him.|
|20||Lamar Jackson||9.51||The hardest quarterback to quantify in the NFL. Another incredible win.|
|21||Mac Jones||9.32||The Saints’ defense put Jones in a position where he would have to not just manage a game but win it. The rookie is good but was not ready for it yet. The ball is going to be in his hands a lot again this week, as the Pats will not be able to run against Tampa. Look for a second poor showing. Long-term he will be fine.|
|22||Taylor Heinicke||9.02||Impossible to put the blame on Heinicke for last week, but he did not look good.|
|23||Andy Dalton||8.96||He has a massive supporter in Nagy, which tells you all you need to know.|
|24||Jared Goff||8.84||He is playing exactly as expected, and that was good enough to hang with the 49ers and put Lamar on the ropes. This team is better than the model thought. They will hang around, run the ball. If Nagy losses this game to the Lions, is he out? Can Goff do the NFL world a favor and pitch Nagy into the abyss?|
|25||Jalen Hurts||8.77||The model had said he was a bit of a paper tiger with his ranking in the top ten the first two weeks. He had a really tough game last night. This ranking more accurately reflects where he is at as a quarterback. I thought Philly made a massive mistake by putting the game on his arm instead of his legs early.|
|26||Joe Burrow||8.71||Played his best game of the season against that vaunted Pittsburgh defense. Did not air it out because Ben was on the other side.|
|27||Jacoby Brissett||8.37||He had them in position to win on the road, with some massive help from the defense. Miami has fallen off a cliff this season.|
|28||Carson Wentz||8.25||Two sprained ankles did not look good at all against a bad defense. The team left too many points on the field and should have lost by a lot more.|
|29||Matt Ryan||7.87||He is having a hard time overcoming his disastrous start. He will slowly start to climb out of the cellar.|
|30||Ben Roethlisberger||7.84||He is good at being bad. 5.6 ADOT last week. The model was not buying Ben or the Steelers at all this season. Drafting a running back in the first round (SMH, Harris and his 3.1 ypc) may as well have been the white flag. The team needed offensive line help. Not a running back. Harris is playing poorly. Ben is playing poorly. I wonder, and I am just thinking out loud if line play would help the team.|
|31||Davis Mills||7.34||First-ever start against a Rhule-designed defense. There is just no way to form an opinion of him yet.|
|32||Trevor Lawrence||5.61||He has lost more in three weeks than he has his entire life. He is going to struggle all season. He has a lot more interceptions looming this season. I would argue he is lucky only to have seven picks.|
|33||Zach Wilson||5.42||The rookie has looked bad, but do not be surprised to sim him start looking better. His first three games were about the most brutal the NFL has to offer a rookie quarterback – defenses designed by Rhule, Belichick, and Fangio. All are defensive masterminds. Wilson is still standing. His season starts now.|
Offensive & Defensive Rankings:
The following data is solely from the first three games of the season. A team with a ranking of 1 is considered league average. The rankings are in percentages, so a team with a .88 ranking is 12% below the league average.
The offensive rankings are only subject to two outliers at that point. The Saints are on one end of the spectrum and the Jets on the other.
The defensive rankings are still massively skewed by the Denver Broncos. The Broncos have played the Giants, Jets, and Jaguars. Look for them to level out after this week.