2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

As we approach the midway point of the season, we’re starting to see teams move throughout our power rankings a little less each week. This week we had 13 teams remain in the same spot as our Week 7 NFL power rankings, which is the most we’ve had remain in the same spot from the previous week all season.

This week it was the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens who took the biggest leap forward in this week’s rankings, while the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills took the biggest step back.

Here are our Week 8 NFL Power Rankings:

Teams Ranked 32nd to 23rd

Rank Team nERD Rec Playoff Odds Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank Change
32 Miami Dolphins -16.60 0-6 0.0% 31 32 0
31 Washington Redskins -9.82 1-6 0.0% 27 27 0
30 Cincinnati Bengals -7.60 0-7 0.1% 25 26 -2
29 Atlanta Falcons -6.43 1-6 0.0% 10 31 -3
28 Arizona Cardinals -6.29 3-3-1 0.6% 16 28 1
27 New York Jets -6.24 1-5 2.7% 32 12 3
26 Cleveland Browns -5.33 2-4 8.7% 24 23 1
25 New York Giants -4.59 2-5 4.9% 23 20 0
24 Los Angeles Chargers -4.07 2-5 3.4% 17 30 0
23 Philadelphia Eagles -3.72 3-4 32.5% 26 18 -1

The Atlanta Falcons are one team who have been trending downward since the start of the season, finding themselves with just one win through seven weeks. They now rank 29th overall in our Power Rankings, the lowest they’ve been all season.

The Falcons have been particularly bad on defense, currently sitting at 0.21 Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP) per play – which ranks second-worst across the league. This has translated to the defense allowing 31.9 points per game (PPG) this season, the second-most across the league.

Things continued to get worse for the Falcons this week, as they’ve parted ways with one of their starting wide receivers, Mohamed Sanu, trading him to the New England Patriots for a second-round pick. The Falcons seem to be in a mini-rebuild mode, while still trying to get the most out of their franchise quarterback, Matt Ryan.

The Philadelphia Eagles are another team that has found themselves slipping in our rankings, making their way to the bottom-tier for the first time this season. While they still have a somewhat promising 32.5% chance of making the playoffs this year, they’ll need to string together some wins quickly in order to lock down one of those playoff spots. They’ll have every opportunity to do so with one of the league’s easiest schedules to close out the season.

The Eagles will only face two more top-12 opponents to finish the 2019 season, and have the sixth-easiest schedule in terms of their Opponent’s average nERd score – a metric that measures how many points above or below average a team is.

Teams Ranked 22nd to 13th

Rank Team nERD Rec Playoff Odds Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank Change
22 Oakland Raiders -3.08 3-3 23.0% 6 29 -1
21 Detroit Lions -1.99 2-3-1 5.0% 19 19 2
20 Buffalo Bills -1.45 5-1 78.5% 14 21 -6
19 Chicago Bears -1.04 3-3 7.5% 30 5 -9
18 Jacksonville Jaguars -0.46 3-4 23.6% 20 16 1
17 Tennessee Titans -0.29 3-4 14.0% 29 4 0
16 Indianapolis Colts -0.02 4-2 67.1% 13 17 4
15 Denver Broncos 0.02 2-5 7.8% 28 7 0
14 Seattle Seahawks 0.91 5-2 51.4% 11 22 0
13 Baltimore Ravens 2.21 5-2 78.6% 5 24 5

The Buffalo Bills fell six spots in our rankings after last week, even though they ended up with a win against Miami. That’s largely due to their -1.45 nERD score, indicating that they’re still a slightly below average team.

However, the Bills have a 78.5% chance to make the playoffs, and are set to finish their season with the league’s second-easiest remaining schedule. The Bills are on pace to make playoffs, but only time will tell how far this team will go.

Turnovers have been a bit of a problem for Buffalo this season. They have 12 total turnovers on the season, which is tied for the eighth-most across the league. Josh Allen is responsible for a handful of those turnovers, throwing seven interceptions already this year – the fourth-most among all quarterbacks.

The Chicago Bears took the biggest step back this week, falling nine spots in our rankings. They’ve lost two straight games to the Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints, after starting the season 3-1.

The Bears offense has struggled to get anything going via the run or the pass lately. They currently rank 25th overall in Adjusted Passing NEP per play, and 31st overall in Adjusted Rushing NEP per play. This has translated to them scoring just 18.7 PPG, the seventh-lowest across the league.

Things won’t get any easier for the Bears going forward, as they have the ninth-hardest remaining schedule in 2019. Their five remaining games versus top-12 opponents is tied for the fourth-most in the league.

Teams Ranked 12th to 1st

Rank Team nERD Rec Playoff Odds Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank Change
12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2.34 2-4 5.6% 9 15 0
11 Carolina Panthers 2.90 4-2 34.4% 22 3 0
10 Dallas Cowboys 3.88 4-3 66.2% 1 25 6
9 Los Angeles Rams 3.89 4-3 40.7% 15 10 -1
8 Pittsburgh Steelers 4.95 2-4 45.3% 12 6 -1
7 New Orleans Saints 4.96 6-1 94.9% 8 14 2
6 Houston Texans 5.46 4-3 57.4% 7 13 0
5 Minnesota Vikings 7.13 5-2 69.6% 2 9 -1
4 Kansas City Chiefs 7.32 5-2 89.8% 3 11 1
3 Green Bay Packers 7.85 6-1 93.5% 4 8 0
2 San Francisco 49ers 9.43 6-0 93.3% 18 2 0
1 New England Patriots 12.8 7-0 99.9% 21 1 0

The Dallas Cowboys took the biggest leap forward in our rankings this week, jumping up six spots from last week. They had a big win on Sunday Night Football against their division rival, the Philadelphia Eagles, which moved them to the top of the NFC East division once again.

Their offense has been among the best this season, currently ranking first overall in Total Offense NEP. Their offensive line has been a big part of that success, allowing for Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper to make plays. Per Football Outsiders, the Cowboys offensive line currently ranks fifth overall in run blocking and seventh overall in pass protection.

The Cowboys hit their bye this week and will look to use that time to get healthy, before making a run at the playoffs in the second half of the season.

After Drew Brees went down with a thumb injury back in Week 2, the New Orleans Saints seemed to be in for a long first half of the season. However, that hasn’t been the case at all, as the Saints are coming off their fifth straight win since Brees was shelved with his injury.

Teddy Bridgewater has led this Saints team to a 5-0 record since taking over as the starting quarterback. The Saints offense has had a 0.25 Adjusted Passing NEP per play this season, which ranks fifth-best across the league. Credit that largely to Bridgewater, who has thrown for 1,370 passing yards and 9 touchdowns, while limiting himself to 2 interceptions.

The Saints rushing defense has also been stout this season, currently ranking sixth in overall Rushing Defense NEP. They’ve yet to allow a single running back to rush for over 100 yards this season -- holding the likes of Ezekiel Elliot, Todd Gurley, Chris Carson, and Leonard Fournette all below that mark.

New Orleans currently ranks seventh overall in our rankings and have the chance to continue climbing. Drew Brees is hoping to return for the Saints in Week 8 against the Arizona Cardinals, which will give this team an even bigger boost going forward.