The New Orleans Saints keep marching on (see what I did there?). After overcoming a 15-point deficit against the Washington Redskins — just the second time in NFL history a team won a game after trailing by at least 15 points with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter — the Saints extended their win streak to eight games, pushing them to the top of this week’s power ranking.
Unlike other power rankings, these take into account a team’s actual record, what its record should be based on points scored and allowed — also known as its Pythagorean win percentage — and how much better or worse its opponents are in relation to a .500 team. A good team playing against good opponents will be near the top, while one that struggles against mediocre or poor teams will trend toward the bottom. A more detailed description of the method can be found in the Week 1 rankings.
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|Team||Power Rank (1 to 100)||Change from Last Week||Make Playoffs %|
|New Orleans Saints (8-2)||81||0||>99%|
|Minnesota Vikings (8-2)||75||2||>99%|
|New England Patriots (8-2)||72||2||>99%|
|Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)||71||-1||>99%|
|Los Angeles Rams (7-3)||71||-3||93%|
|Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2)||70||1||>99%|
|Carolina Panthers (7-3)||69||-1||82%|
|Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3)||67||0||>99%|
|Atlanta Falcons (6-4)||64||1||26%|
|Detroit Lions (6-4)||59||2||65%|
|Seattle Seahawks (6-4)||58||-2||37%|
|Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)||57||-1||97%|
|Baltimore Ravens (5-5)||53||4||77%|
|Green Bay Packers (5-5)||50||0||5%|
|Dallas Cowboys (5-5)||48||-2||23%|
|Houston Texans (4-6)||47||3||3%|
|Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)||46||5||16%|
|Tennessee Titans (6-4)||46||-3||74%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6)||45||4||0%|
|Washington Redskins (4-6)||43||-2||8%|
|New York Jets (4-6)||43||0||3%|
|Buffalo Bills (5-5)||42||-6||34%|
|Cincinnati Bengals (4-6)||39||3||7%|
|Oakland Raiders (4-6)||38||-4||4%|
|Chicago Bears (3-7)||37||-1||<1%|
|Arizona Cardinals (4-6)||34||-1||<1%|
|Miami Dolphins (4-6)||32||0||<1%|
|Denver Broncos (3-7)||28||0||<1%|
|Indianapolis Colts (3-7)||27||0||<1%|
|New York Giants (2-8)||24||0||<1%|
|San Francisco 49ers (1-9)||20||0||<1%|
|Cleveland Browns (0-10)||14||0||<1%|
The Philadelphia Eagles have an eight-game winning streak of their own and on Sunday became the first team ever to outscore the Cowboys by at least 30 points in the second half of a game at Dallas, in the regular season or the playoffs. They are now the most efficient team in the NFL per Football Outsiders Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which measures a team’s efficiency by comparing success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent, and the No. 1 ranked team per the game charters at Pro Football Focus.
So why did they drop a spot in this week’s rankings? Strength of schedule — only the Seattle Seahawks have faced easier opponents among NFC teams.
Buffalo Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott decided to shake things up a bit this week and benched quarterback Tyrod Taylor in favor of fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman. It didn’t go well. Peterman was intercepted on five of his 14 passes, one for a pick-six, before Taylor was called on in relief in the second half.
Peterman finished the game with a 17.9 passer rating, more than half what it would have been if he just threw those 14 passes away (39.6).
Quarterback Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons’ offense appears to be back on track. Ryan completed 19 of 27 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns in Monday night’s 34-31 win over the Seahawks, his fourth straight game with two touchdown passes, and the team is now scoring 2.1 points per drive, eighth-best in the NFL. However, they have some difficult matchups ahead, limiting their playoff chances to just 26 percent heading into Week 12.
|Week||Opp||DVOA rank||PFF rank||Falcons’ win probability|
Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Detroit Lions
Winner: Minnesota Vikings, 60 percent
Pick: Minnesota Vikings -3
Since the Lions lost defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (torn biceps) for the season, they have allowed 153.8 rushing yards per game, 5.3 rushing yards per attempt and nine rushing touchdowns in five games. As a result, Vikings should have a lot of success with Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon on the ground.
|2017 Lions run defense||Games||Attempts||Yards allowed||Yards per rush allowed||TD against||1st down rate allowed|
|Before Haloti Ngata’s injury||5||114||373||3.27||3||19.3%|
|After Haloti Ngata’s injury||5||146||769||5.27||9||30.1%|
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5)
Winner: New Orleans Saints, 52 percent
Pick: New Orleans Saints +2.5
Quarterback Drew Brees is enjoying his most efficient season to date. The 17-year veteran leads the league in completion percentage (71.6 percent) and net yards per pass (7.74), his highest marks since 2011, a year in which he was named the league’s offensive player of the year.
He isn’t throwing the ball far — his 6.44 air yards per throw is a career low with the Saints — but that doesn’t mean he can’t still sling it. According to Pro Football Focus, only Alex Smith has a higher accuracy rate on deep balls (20 or more yards) than Brees does this season (55 vs. 51 percent).
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-7)
Winner: Baltimore Ravens, 67 percent
Pick: Houston Texans +7
The Baltimore Ravens have a top-flight defense — 1.32 points allowed per drive, third behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (1.32) and Jacksonville Jaguars (1.00) — but their passing game is in shambles. According to ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating, quarterback Joe Flacco is the fifth-worst passer in the league this year. Pro Football Focus has him as the third worst. No quarterback qualifying for the passer rating title is averaging fewer yards per attempt (5.44).
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-10)
Winner: Kansas City Chiefs, 72 percent
Pick: Buffalo Bills +10
Carolina Panthers (-4.5) at New York Jets
Winner: Carolina Panthers, 65 percent
Pick: Carolina Panthers -4.5
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-13.5)
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles, 82 percent
Pick: Chicago Bears +13.5
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-8.5)
Winner: Cincinnati Bengals, 84 percent
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -8.5
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (-5)
Winner: Oakland Raiders, 66 percent
Pick: Oakland Raiders -5
Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14)
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers, 81 percent
Pick: Green Bay Packers +14
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5) at Arizona Cardinals
Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars, 74 percent
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars -4.5
Los Angeles Chargers (-1) at Dallas Cowboys
Winner: Los Angeles Chargers, 56 percent
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -1
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-16.5)
Winner: New England Patriots, 89 percent
Pick: New England Patriots -16.5
New York Giants at Washington Redskins (-7)
Winner: Washington Redskins, 74 percent
Pick: Washington Redskins -7
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Winner: Seattle Seahawks, 84 percent
Pick: Seattle Seahawks -6.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-9.5)
Winner: Atlanta Falcons, 71 percent
Pick: Atlanta Falcons -9.5
Tennessee Titans (-3.5) at Indianapolis Colts
Winner: Tennessee Titans, 67 percent
Pick: Tennessee Titans -3.5