2018 NFL Power Rankings: Week 7
It turns out the perennial power that almost outscored its opponents by 100 points in 2017 and was projected as a top five team before the year is actually good at football.
This seems obvious but early in the season, there was serious concern about the Pittsburgh Steelers. The reigning AFC North champions started the year 1-2-1 but have since pulled off two straight wins and jumped back into the top five in our power ratings.
Our nERD model, which measures how many points above or below average a team is, never really gave up on Pittsburgh, as the Steelers have not fallen out of the top nine in 2018.
Pittsburgh suffered from a minus-2 turnover margin in the first four weeks which certainly did not help, but their two-game winning streak is the product of more than just turnover regression.
In their last two wins, the Steelers have a +2.2 yards per play differential and a +5.2% Success Rate margin, compared to their even yards play difference and +2.2% in net Success Rate in Weeks 1 through 4 (success rate measures the percentage of plays that yield positive Net Expected Points and you can read about both metrics in our glossary)
The “real” Steelers are probably somewhere in the middle, considering they were +0.5 in yards per play and +3.6% in Success Rate last year. This would be more than sufficient, as these marks ranked seventh and second in the league, respectively.
They cannot take back their losses or tie against the Browns, so their playoff odds are still just 50%, but it is evident reports of Pittsburgh’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Here is how the rest of the league breaks down.