NFL Week 7 Power Rankings: Time To Fade Slightly Overrated Packers?

And just how good are the undefeated Cardinals?

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Everyone has his or her own set of NFL power rankings, but not all of them are computer-driven, algorithmically derived approaches that look at underlying data to figure out true team strength.

But numberFire’s power rankings do.

Using our nERD metric, which indicates the expected point differential against an average opponent on a neutral field, here is how our model ranks and rates all 32 teams after six weeks.

THE ALMOST ALREADY ELIMINATED

TeamRecordnERDnERDRankRankChangePlayoffOddsxWinsNext 3
Jaguars1-5-11.833200.1%0.3
Texans1-5-10.6031-30.4%0.5
Jets1-4-9.543011.4%0.6
Lions0-6-8.802910.0%0.5
Falcons2-3-7.502812.5%0.9
Dolphins1-5-6.692702.2%1.3
Giants1-5-6.4926-20.8%0.9
Football Team2-4-6.2525-32.3%0.6
Patriots2-4-4.112428.9%1.2

These teams all have sub-10% playoff odds, according to our algorithm. It’s not over for all of them, but it’s not looking good.

The New England Patriots could make a bit of a move. They are 2-4 and project for 1.2 wins over their next three games (against the New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, and Carolina Panthers — so mostly coming from an expected win against the Jets).

THE BELOW AVERAGE

TeamRecordnERDnERDRankRankChangePlayoffOddsxWinsNext 3
Bears3-3-2.5923-211.1%0.8
Raiders4-2-2.2422337.7%1.5
Broncos3-3-1.7821-519.1%1.3
Eagles2-4-1.1320-230.0%1.6
Browns3-3-0.8819-751.8%1.4

Just one of these five squads — those who have subpar nERD scores but better-than-10% playoff odds — is trending up, and that’s the Las Vegas Raiders. The 4-2 squad is still just 22nd in nERD, primarily because of a lack of convincing wins — aside from this week’s 10-point victory against the 21st-ranked Denver Broncos, which isn’t that convincing.

THE CONTENDER-OR-PRETENDER TIER

TeamRecordnERDnERDRankRankChangePlayoffOddsxWinsNext 3
Bengals4-20.0718145.4%1.6
Titans4-20.4217689.9%1.0
Colts2-40.9016444.9%1.9
Panthers3-31.0015-730.9%2.1
49ers2-31.2114033.6%1.4
Seahawks2-41.3213425.4%1.9
Packers5-11.6412091.1%1.4
Saints3-21.6711-148.8%1.6

The Panthers are falling down the ranks pretty substantially and remain without star running back Christian McCaffrey. Their playoff odds were up to 63.6% after their 3-0 start but have been cut in half and are now 30.9% after a third straight loss.

A tight loss (three points) for the Seattle Seahawks against a good Pittsburgh Steelers team in Week 6 was enough for Seattle to bump up the rankings, but their playoff odds seem kind of optimistic at 25.4%, given the injury to quarterback Russell Wilson.

The Green Bay Packers stand out in this tier for sure. Despite a 5-1 record, they are just 12th in our power rankings and didn’t budge after their 10-point win against the Chicago Bears last week. Their past four wins have come by an average of 6.3 points, and aside from an 18-point win against the Detroit Lions in Week 2, they have yet to post a convincing win.

Their schedule will toughen up soon: their five matchups from Week 7 through 12 are all against top-13 teams by nERD, and four of those are top-10 opponents. They’ll have a chance to increase their nERD soon with wins against better teams if they’re as legit as the record implies.

THE TOP 10

TeamRecordnERDnERDRankRankChangePlayoffOddsxWinsNext 3
Steelers3-32.5610132.7%2.2
Chiefs3-32.869-286.2%2.0
Chargers4-23.228-284.4%1.8
Ravens5-14.477895.5%2.0
Vikings3-36.536335.6%1.6
Cowboys5-17.905-396.7%2.3
Buccaneers5-18.964-198.4%2.5
Cardinals6-010.263297.9%2.5
Rams5-110.582295.1%2.7
Bills4-211.241099.4%2.7

The Baltimore Ravens‘ big win against the Los Angeles Chargers — by 28 points — vaulted them up the rankings by eight spots, and their playoff hopes now sit at 95.5%. Their schedule features just four more games against teams inside the top 10 (two of which are against the Steelers).

The Minnesota Vikings have been a nERD darling all season but lack big wins of their own and have just narrowly escaped with two-point and six-point wins the past two weeks against inferior teams. Like with the Packers, their schedule toughens up soon: they face five straight teams in the top half of the power rankings and three straight inside the top eight (starting after this week’s bye).

The top five teams — the Dallas Cowboys, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Arizona Cardinals, the Los Angeles Rams, and the Buffalo Bills — all should be primed to add wins over their next three games and are starting to separate from the pack.

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