Each week, Neil Greenberg will give his NFL power rankings based on myriad metrics, including traditional stats that reflect recent performance such as margin of victory and strength of schedule to more advanced metrics you would find at Football Outsiders, Pro Football Focus and Advanced NFL Analytics.
Here are this week’s power ratings. Agree or disagree with the rankings? Let him know on twitter @ngreenberg.
1. Denver Broncos, (5-1-0), Last week’s ranking: 1
A convincing win over the 49ers and a record-setting day for Peyton Manning.
2. Indianapolis Colts, (5-2-0), Last week’s ranking: 4
After starting the season 0-2, the Colts have won five straight. A big key has been the play of cornerback Vontae Davis, who covered five different receivers against Cincinnati and allowed just two receptions on seven targets.
3. San Diego Chargers, (5-2-0), Last week’s ranking: 2
Tough loss to Kansas City but not a bad loss. However, next up is Denver on Thursday night, in the Chargers’ most important game of the season.
4. Kansas City Chiefs, (3-3-0), Last week’s ranking: 15
This appears to be a high ranking for the Chiefs, but their only “bad” loss came in Week 1 against Tennessee. Since then, they have lost to Denver on the road by seven, beat Miami by 19, beat New England by 27 and lost to San Francisco by five. A big win over San Diego on the road indicates they are better than their record of wins and losses.
Per Pro Football Reference’s Simple Ranking System, their offense is three points better than average per game (fifth best in AFC) while their defense is second best (6.6), making them a team to watch in the second half.
5. Seattle Seahawks, (3-3-0), Last week’s ranking: 3
Opposing quarterbacks have a 93.9 passer rating when they target Richard Sherman. But all is not lost, quarterback Russell Wilson made NFL history in the loss to St. Louis.
6. Green Bay Packers, (5-2-0), Last week’s ranking: 5
Aaron Rodgers posted a 154.5 passer rating against Carolina and had as many touchdowns as incomplete passes (three).
7. Baltimore Ravens, (5-2-0), Last week’s ranking: 10
Per Pro Football Reference’s Simple Ranking System, Baltimore’s defense is the best in the league and worth 7.7 points over the league average. That same defense held Atlanta to only four first downs and 61 net yards in the first half.
8. Dallas Cowboys, (6-1-0), Last week’s ranking: 7
Demarco Murray broke Jim Brown’s record for most consecutive 100-yard rushing performances to begin the season (seven), and until someone stops him, Dallas has to be taken seriously.
9. Arizona Cardinals, (5-1-0), Last week’s ranking: 9
The Cardinals are starting to take control of the NFC West behind a run defense that is allowing the fewest yards per carry (4.1).
10. Philadelphia Eagles, (5-1-0), Last week’s ranking: 8
11. San Francisco 49ers, (4-3-0), Last week’s ranking: 12
The 49ers were never in the game against Denver and the offense looked out of sync. For example, Colin Kaepernick’s best asset is his ability to run, and he ended the game with just 18 rushing yards.
12. New England Patriots, (5-2-0), Last week’s ranking: 6
The Patriots probably should have lost to the New York Jets.
13. Miami Dolphins, (3-3-0), Last week’s ranking: 17
The Dolphins did something they have not done all season: They won the coin toss and elected to receive. Then they beat Da Bears, 27-14. Coincidence?
14. Houston Texans, (3-4-0), Last week’s ranking: 18
They were in control of the game until late in the first half. Then a series of blunders caused their win expectancy to drop from 81 percent to 15 percent in two minutes.
15. Detroit Lions, (5-2-0), Last week’s ranking: 13
BREAKING: Their place kicker, Matt Prater, converted his only field goal attempt (21 yards). Progress!
16. Cincinnati Bengals, (3-2-1), Last week’s ranking: 11
The Bengals are scoring 1.8 points per drive (20th in league) and got shut out by the Colts.
17. New York Giants, (3-4-0), Last week’s ranking: 19
The Giants couldn’t get much offense going, and left tackle William Beatty bears the brunt of responsibility.
It’s not always about the number of pressures, it’s also about the speed at which they’re surrendered. Beatty gave up some quick ones, namely at the 14:01 mark of the second quarter when Mincey got inside him right off the snap and then the very next play which was almost identical other than Beatty holding Mincey to keep him away from QB Eli Manning.
18. Buffalo Bills, (4-3-0), Last week’s ranking: 16
The Bills lost both running backs, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller in their victory over Minnesota. Backup Anthony Dixon filled in nicely, averaging 3.7 yards per carry after contact and breaking seven tackles.
19. New Orleans Saints, (2-4-0), Last week’s ranking: 23
Drew Brees continues to shine, completing 28 of his 45 passes for 342 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
20. Carolina Panthers, (3-3-1), Last week’s ranking: 21
Greg Olsen caught all eight of his targets for 105 yards but defensively this team is lost without Greg Hardy.
21. Chicago Bears, (3-4-0), Last week’s ranking: 20
Chicago can’t get much going offensively, and managed just 4.4 yards per play against Miami. And the Bears may be without standout rookie Kyle Fuller (hip) which could put a damper on the league’s best run defense.
22. Cleveland Browns, (3-3-0), Last week’s ranking: 14
They gave Jacksonville their first win of the season.
23. Atlanta Falcons, (2-5-0), Last week’s ranking: 22
Quarterback Matt Ryan deserves a better offensive line than the current one that has allowed the most pressure on the quarterback so far this season.
24. Washington Redskins, (2-5-0), Last week’s ranking: 24
“Right now we’re going to move forward with Colt [McCoy],” Gruden said.
25. Minnesota Vikings, (2-5-0), Last week’s ranking: 29
The game charters at Pro Football Focus have only the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets rated worse than the Vikings passing attack.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers, (4-3-0), Last week’s ranking: 27
Not many people gave them a chance in this game, but some miscues by the Texans completely turned momentum in their favor early and they never looked back.
27. Tennessee Titans, (2-5-0), Last week’s ranking: 25
Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was adequate (17 for 26 for 160 yards, two touchdowns and an interception) but struggled to convert third downs (3 of 11).
28. New York Jets, (1-6-0), Last week’s ranking: 26
They traded for Percy Harvin, who has more yards per route run (1.2) than the entire Jets receiving corps except for Eric Dekcer (1.8) and Greg Salas (1.4).
29. St. Louis Rams, (2-4-0), Last week’s ranking: 30
They beat the defending Super Bowl champs with the help of Johnny Hekker, who averaged 51 yards per punt.
30. Oakland Raiders, (0-6-0), Last week’s ranking: 28
Khalil Mack isn’t a pass-rushing force – yet. But he did stop the run a team-high six times, giving him 19 on the year — second among outside linebackers playing in a 3-4 defensive scheme.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars, (1-6-0), Last week’s ranking: 32
They won! This is not a drill!
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (1-5-0), Last week’s ranking: 31