NFL Power Rankings Week: Week Five

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NFL Power Rankings Week- Week Five

Each week I will publish the model’s rankings in the following categories: Projected Final Standings, Overall (Power), Quarterback, and Offense and Defense. 

Predictive analytics in the NFL involves a constant battle with the sample size. As I have mentioned every week, the numbers will stabilize as we approach weeks four through eight, which will reduce variance. Having completed week four, the numbers are indeed stabilizing. 

Projected Final Standings & Playoffs:

The Graph Version:

The Chart Version:

TeamDivisionProj. WinsTo Make PlayoffsWin DivisionWin ConferenceWin Super Bowl
BillsAFC East12.0592.50%81.50%25.00%8.00%
BuccaneersNFC South11.5186.50%65.00%23.00%6.00%
BrownsAFC North10.5571.00%43.50%14.00%4.50%
RamsNFC West10.9977.50%39.00%13.50%3.50%
PackersNFC North9.9171.00%60.50%9.50%3.00%
ChiefsAFC West10.2870.00%32.00%11.00%3.00%
RaidersAFC West9.6059.00%26.00%8.00%3.00%
CowboysNFC East10.3874.00%66.00%10.50%2.50%
SeahawksNFC West9.3148.00%14.50%5.50%1.50%
SaintsNFC South8.8846.00%14.50%4.00%1.50%
VikingsNFC North7.9237.50%24.00%3.25%1.50%
RavensAFC North9.6462.00%35.50%13.50%1.50%
CardinalsNFC West10.0962.50%31.50%17.00%1.00%
49ersNFC West8.9645.00%15.00%3.50%1.00%
PanthersNFC South8.8046.00%15.50%4.50%1.00%
ChargersAFC West9.7659.00%27.00%10.50%1.00%
BroncosAFC West8.7445.50%15.50%4.00%1.00%
TitansAFC South8.8659.00%51.50%3.50%1.00%
BengalsAFC North8.7341.00%16.50%4.00%1.00%
FalconsNFC South7.0820.00%5.00%0%0%
GiantsNFC East6.5917.00%10.50%1.10%0.50%
ColtsAFC South8.1643.00%32.50%1.90%0.50%
PatriotsAFC East8.0636.50%12.50%2.35%0.50%
BearsNFC North7.1124.50%14.50%0.90%0.00%
LionsNFC North4.652.45%0.75%0%0.00%
WashingtonNFC East6.8621.50%14.00%0.85%0.00%
EaglesNFC East6.7020.00%10.50%0.60%0.00%
JaguarsAFC South5.4111.00%7.50%0%0.00%
TexansAFC South5.7211.00%8.00%0%0.00%
SteelersAFC North6.5315.00%5.00%0.60%0.00%
DolphinsAFC East6.8615.00%3.50%0.60%0.00%
JetsAFC East5.8410.00%2.50%0%0.00%

Power Rankings:

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. 

To use this chart, pick a game scheduled for the current week. I will pick the next game, Rams v. Seahawks. The MGM Line at the time of this writing is Rams -2. To find out what the model thinks of the game on a neutral field, we simple look at each team’s neutral field number:

Rams +4.17

Seahawks +1.68

Thus, on a neutral field, the model’s RES is the Rams favored by 2.49. If you believe Seattle’s home-field advantage is worth 3 points, then the line should be Seattle -.51. This is a straight power ranking and does not account for the scheme. The model will make its predictions later this week. 

Quarterback Rankings:

With four weeks of data, the rankings are beginning to stabilize. Still, one bad week is worth 25% of the quarterbacks’ grade. The highlights from this week’s rankings:

  • Two injured quarterbacks remain in the top 5. 
  • Mahomes reclaims the tops spot.
  • Cousins quietly having himself a season
  • Rodgers still struggling to overcome the first game debacle 
  • Mayfield Plummets 
RANKPlayerTPR Adj.Comment
1Patrick Mahomes13.93When Mahomes got rid of the ball in under 2.5 seconds … 20/23, 187 yards, 4 touchdowns.
2Tyrod Taylor13.48Injured
3Matthew Stafford13.28Classic Stafford letdown game. For an elite quarterback, he has a few of these. His passes were all over the place. Just off
4Kyler Murray12.99When he got rid of the ball in under 2.5 seconds, he was unstoppable. 15 of 17, 123 yards, and a touchdown. Mahomes was not impressed (see, above)He had an insane +12.3 Pass EPA.
5Teddy Bridgewater11.92His incredible season is on hold now with a concussion.
6Russell Wilson11.89Russ played great but we are seeing Carroll’s influence over Waldron in the play-calling and that is bad for the long-term success of Wilson and the Seahawks
7Tom Brady11.77Nearly doubled his yards per attempt when blitzed by the PAtriots.
8Kirk Cousins11.71His worst game of the season was last week against the Browns. Mayfield also had his worst game.
9Derek Carr11.53A bump in what had been a career year to date. He had an awful night -9.2 Pass EPA. Still, the Raiders were one missed field goal from 21-17 and a chance to win.
10Dak Prescott11.39Quietly having not just a comeback player of the year season, but he will be in the extended MVP discussion if he keeps this up.
11Justin Herbert11.35The Oregon Kid had a +5.7 Pass EPA on MNF. He is uncommon. He has incredible anticipatory skills.
12Sam Darnold11.33Shades of NY Darnold started to show. He kept his team in the game with his legs. He also threw them out of it with his arm.
13Jameis Winston11.26It is evident how little Sean Payton trusts him. He is going to have to unleash him at some point.
14Daniel Jones11.24Mr. Jones is suddenly beautiful…nah. But he is playing well. He deserves to be ranked right around the median. He may even deserve some bonus points for playing well under the clapper.
15Taylor Heinicke11.00Heinicke had four completions that traveled over 20 yards in the air. The most by a Washington Quarterback since Kirk Cousins.
16Josh Allen10.97Accuracy dipped again last week, but it did not matter against the hapless Texans. It will matter against quality opponents. Like the Chiefs.
17Joe Burrow10.57He needs better offensive line play, and he is holding the ball, but it is working. He was 12/17, 236 yards, and two touchdowns when he held the ball over 2.5 seconds
18Aaron Rodgers10.56Rodgers is still being punished by the model for his week one performance. On his touchdown run against the Steelers, he beat TJ Watt to the pylon. Rodgers reached a top speed of 17.28 mph. I did not know he had that it in him.
19Lamar Jackson10.54It is true that he needs to continue to work on his throws, but he is the only quarterback in the league to average over 10 air yards per attempt this season. He is not nickel and diming.
20Ryan Tannehill10.20I know they were injured. Through four games, Tannehill is simply not the same player he was in Arthur Smith’s offense.
21Jimmy Garoppolo9.8049ers fans wanted Lance. He played well last week, and it looks like you may get him this week.
22Mac Jones9.60He was sensational when blitzed. We have known this about him since college, but Sunday Night he put an exclamation point on it: 12/14 132 yards a touchdown, and a pick. Still in the captain’s seat for OROY.
23Carson Wentz9.40Solid Bounceback game. Ranked appropriately.
24Jacoby Brissett9.36Solid if unspectacular.
25Jared Goff9.32He is in Detroit who he was in LA.
26Matt Ryan9.14The model is seeing signs of life. Arthur Smith’s offense is finding its footing in Atlanta.
27Jalen Hurts9.12I am not a believer, but he is producing.
28Andy Dalton8.51Injured and now the second-string quarterback.
29Baker Mayfield8.49Worst game of the season against the Vikings last week. His week one shine is gone, and serious questions have emerged.
30Ben Roethlisberger8.31He plays the position of quarterback, though it is hard to watch. He is still in the league
31Trevor Lawrence7.68Coaching is everything in the NFL. He has so much raw talent, but the list of questions about his couch that started with the hiring of Doyle, then the draft, then the scheme, and decision making, grew longer over the weekend. That does not help Trevor Lawrence.
32Zach Wilson6.44The model told you to expect his play to improve, and it did. He had two 50+yard completions today. His longest, 56+ Air yards, was the longest for the Jets since 2016.
33Tua Tagovailoa5.33Injured

Offensive & Defensive Rankings:

With the fourth week of data available, there are only a few anomalies remaining. The Chargers are still being punished too harshly, and Washington should regress. This will all be sorted out in the next two weeks. 

When reading the graph, a team with a rating of exactly 1.00 represents the league median. A team with a rating of 1.10, performs 10% better than the league median. A team with a rating of .90 performs 10% worse than the league median. 

As with the offense a few anomalies remain. This too will wash itself out over the next two weeks. 

About the author:

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I write about data and sports. I created my first model in 1997 using nothing more than Excel. Currently, I have data-driven models for the NFL, NBA, and World Cup Soccer.

Mathematics is the music of reason.
— James Joseph Sylvester, English mathematician

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