The playoff picture is starting to take shape and every team in contention and their fans are getting geared up for a playoff run. Some teams are getting hot (hello Chargers) at the right time. Other teams are stumbling towards the finish line (hello Chiefs). With five weeks remaining in the season, here is our power rankings heading into Week 13.
1. New England Patriots
2. Philadelphia Eagles
I really could list these two teams as 1A and 1B because there isn’t much separating the two. Using our metrics, only .01 of a win percentage separates the two. That’s a fancy mathematical way of saying that we would line this game as a pick-em on a neutral field. A neutral field such as a game in Minnesota in February, perhaps?
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
The offensive firepower we expected to see all season is starting to show it’s face late in the season. The secondary is going to have to improve to make a Superbowl run but the Steelers are currently the second best team in the AFC but not by much according to our ratings. The Jaguars don’t look the part of a playoff contender but I think that’s because we’re all accustomed to seeing a good quarterback carry a team and nobody expects Blake Bortles to do that. But put our biases away and know that we’ve seen teams with sketchy quarterback play win the Superbowl before utilizing a stifling defense and a solid run game.
5. New Orleans Saints
6. Los Angeles Rams
7. Minnesota Vikings
I know that the Saints lost to the Rams and the Vikings so it looks weird to have them on top, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. If the market thought the Rams were clearly better than the Saints, then they would have been more than a 2.5-point favorite last week in Los Angeles.
But rather than bicker about the pecking order, just know that all three of these teams are the cream of the NFC crop, just not on the same tier as the Eagles.
8. Baltimore Ravens
9. Carolina Panthers
10. Atlanta Falcons
Readers will say that Baltimore is too high, because they aren’t aesthetically pleasing to the common viewer similar to Jacksonville. But preventing teams from scoring is just as important as scoring yourself and the Ravens are elite at that, even if Joe Flacco isn’t elite himself.
Carolina and Atlanta are both top ten teams according to the numbers but tough NFC South schedules remaining could make it unlikely that both make the playoffs and right now we think Atlanta has the tougher of the two roads and could be the team left out of the postseason.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
12. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are nipping at the heels of the Chiefs in both the standings and in our power rankings. Kansas City’s offense has been putrid over the last several weeks and has many fans and analysts beckoning for a quarterback change. One thing that the Chiefs do have in their back pocket is a win over the Chargers already with the second meeting coming at Arrowhead stadium in a few weeks. The question remains whether or not the offense will have returned since then.
13. Seattle Seahawks
14. Detroit Lions
These essentially are the only two remaining options to get the final NFC playoff spot. We still like the Seahawks to nab a spot in the tournament despite their key injuries in the secondary. The Lions are a big underdog to make it to the playoffs but could get there with a good run and some help from some other teams faltering down the stretch.
15. Washington Redskins
16. Dallas Cowboys
These two divisional rivals meet on Thursday with both teams seeking to get back to .500 on the season. The Cowboys have fallen like a rock after dealing with injuries and suspensions to their key players. The Redskins have just sort of been meandering through the season without looking particularly good or bad. That’s why they rank as the most average team in our rankings.
17. Oakland Raiders
18. Cincinnati Bengals
Neither of these teams are going places, except for maybe the head coaches who could be visiting the unemployment office this offseason.
19. Tennessee Titans
“Why do you hate the Titans so much?” That’s what you guys ask me each week and what I ask the computer each week. And while it’s hard to fathom a 7-4 team leading it’s division as the 19th-best team in the league, it helps when you look at some numbers. Did you know the Titans have a negative point differential? That’s right, through eleven games, they have a -27 point differential and an expected win percentage of 43.8% Given their relatively easy schedule playing in the AFC South, the computer models aren’t very impressed so far.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
21. Buffalo Bills
22. New York Jets
Bills fans are the next ones to be upset but the rankings don’t like your chances of getting into the playoffs as they hang right around 30% at the moment. But at least that’s higher than the Bucs and Jets playoff percentages right?
23. Houston Texans
24. Denver Broncos
25. Arizona Cardinals
When the quarterback playing the best out of this group is Blaine-freaking-Gabbert, then you know you have some problems here. At least Houston can look forward to next season, while the Broncos and Cardinals are mostly just looking forward to the draft.
26. Chicago Bears
Mitch Trubisky sucks.
27. New York Giants
Eli Manning Geno Smith sucks.
28. Green Bay Packers
We’re still not buying into Brett Hundley just yet even after a good game against the Steelers (as we said above, their secondary is their weakness).
29. Miami Dolphins
Some people foolishly bought in early but this simply isn’t a very good football team and I’m really not sure what their future is. Could be time to blow it all up in Miami.
30. Indianapolis Colts
New Colts GM Chris Ballard has a ton of work to do to get this roster back to mediocrity. And that’s assuming they get Andrew Luck back which isn’t necessarily a slam dunk anymore.
31. San Francisco 49ers
They are finally making the move to Jimmy G at quarterback and see what they have in him. I would have done it a bit earlier but don’t hate their process here. The 49ers aren’t very good right now, but at least they have a plan in place.
32. Cleveland Browns
Forever and always.