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:
|Team||Division||Proj. Wins||To Make Playoffs||Win Division||Win Conference||Win Super Bowl|
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:
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.
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
|1||Patrick Mahomes||13.93||When Mahomes got rid of the ball in under 2.5 seconds … 20/23, 187 yards, 4 touchdowns.|
|3||Matthew Stafford||13.28||Classic Stafford letdown game. For an elite quarterback, he has a few of these. His passes were all over the place. Just off|
|4||Kyler Murray||12.99||When 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.|
|5||Teddy Bridgewater||11.92||His incredible season is on hold now with a concussion.|
|6||Russell Wilson||11.89||Russ 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|
|7||Tom Brady||11.77||Nearly doubled his yards per attempt when blitzed by the PAtriots.|
|8||Kirk Cousins||11.71||His worst game of the season was last week against the Browns. Mayfield also had his worst game.|
|9||Derek Carr||11.53||A 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.|
|10||Dak Prescott||11.39||Quietly having not just a comeback player of the year season, but he will be in the extended MVP discussion if he keeps this up.|
|11||Justin Herbert||11.35||The Oregon Kid had a +5.7 Pass EPA on MNF. He is uncommon. He has incredible anticipatory skills.|
|12||Sam Darnold||11.33||Shades 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.|
|13||Jameis Winston||11.26||It is evident how little Sean Payton trusts him. He is going to have to unleash him at some point.|
|14||Daniel Jones||11.24||Mr. 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.|
|15||Taylor Heinicke||11.00||Heinicke had four completions that traveled over 20 yards in the air. The most by a Washington Quarterback since Kirk Cousins.|
|16||Josh Allen||10.97||Accuracy dipped again last week, but it did not matter against the hapless Texans. It will matter against quality opponents. Like the Chiefs.|
|17||Joe Burrow||10.57||He 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|
|18||Aaron Rodgers||10.56||Rodgers 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.|
|19||Lamar Jackson||10.54||It 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.|
|20||Ryan Tannehill||10.20||I know they were injured. Through four games, Tannehill is simply not the same player he was in Arthur Smith’s offense.|
|21||Jimmy Garoppolo||9.80||49ers fans wanted Lance. He played well last week, and it looks like you may get him this week.|
|22||Mac Jones||9.60||He 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.|
|23||Carson Wentz||9.40||Solid Bounceback game. Ranked appropriately.|
|24||Jacoby Brissett||9.36||Solid if unspectacular.|
|25||Jared Goff||9.32||He is in Detroit who he was in LA.|
|26||Matt Ryan||9.14||The model is seeing signs of life. Arthur Smith’s offense is finding its footing in Atlanta.|
|27||Jalen Hurts||9.12||I am not a believer, but he is producing.|
|28||Andy Dalton||8.51||Injured and now the second-string quarterback.|
|29||Baker Mayfield||8.49||Worst game of the season against the Vikings last week. His week one shine is gone, and serious questions have emerged.|
|30||Ben Roethlisberger||8.31||He plays the position of quarterback, though it is hard to watch. He is still in the league|
|31||Trevor Lawrence||7.68||Coaching 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.|
|32||Zach Wilson||6.44||The 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.|
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.