NFL

2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

This week saw some big swings in our rankings: the largest drop of the season (for the third week in a row) paired with the largest jump.

Let’s see how this week’s action shook up our rankings.

Risers and Fallers

The Minnesota Vikings dropped 12 spots after their 17-point loss to the previously-winless Atlanta Falcons. Their nERD rating dropped 3.57 points to a below-average -1.49 points. The Vikings are now 1-5 and sit at 21st in our rankings.

numberFire’s playoff model gives Minnesota a mere 5.2% chance of salvaging their season to make the playoffs and a 0.6% chance of winning the NFC North -- a tough start for a team that many thought would contend for the division coming into the season.

After two weeks of freefall in our rankings (dropping 17 spots), the San Francisco 49ers jumped 11 places and increased their nERD rating by 3.5 points to now sit comfortably at eighth.

Jimmy Garoppolo had a bounce-back performance, and he didn’t even have to throw the ball all that far to do it; he averaged a minuscule 1.8 average completed air yards against the Los Angeles Rams’ defense.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s game plan of getting the ball out quickly to limit the pass rush of Aaron Donald worked well. Jimmy G’s average time to throw was only 2.38 seconds.

Here are our Week 7 NFL Power Rankings:

Teams Ranked 32nd to 23rd

Rank Team nERD Record Playoff Odds Rank Change Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank
32 New York Jets -12.84 0-6 0.00% 0 32 29
31 Jacksonville Jaguars -9.23 1-5 0.10% -1 28 31
30 New York Giants -8.23 1-5 4.30% 1 31 23
29 Cincinnati Bengals -6.76 1-4-1 1.00% 0 27 26
28 Dallas Cowboys -4.54 2-4 37.40% -8 16 32
27 Washington Football Team -4.35 1-5 16.10% -2 29 10
26 Atlanta Falcons -3.83 1-5 2.00% 0 20 27
25 Detroit Lions -3.44 2-3 17.50% 2 21 20
24 Philadelphia Eagles -3.37 1-4-1 43.20% 4 22 24
23 Houston Texans -3.24 1-5 8.00% 0 9 30


In what is probably the least surprising development of all, the Dallas Cowboys have fallen eight spots and into the bottom-10 of our rankings, coming in at 28th.

We know the Cowboys have problems on defense (they now rank last in Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP) per play), but after the season-ending injury to Dak Prescott those problems are now on offense too.

With Dak out for the season, it seemed that Ezekiel Elliott was going to put the offense on his shoulders, but instead, he put the ball on the ground. Sunday marked the third time in Zeke’s career that he fumbled twice in a game (he’s never fumbled three times) and the only time he has lost two fumbles in a game.

Teams Ranked 22nd to 13th

Rank Team nERD Record Playoff Odds Rank Change Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank
22 Cleveland Browns -1.98 4-2 50.30% -7 13 28
21 Minnesota Vikings -1.49 1-5 5.20% -12 19 17
20 Denver Broncos -0.99 2-3 14.30% 4 30 4
19 Indianapolis Colts -0.81 4-2 35.30% -6 25 11
18 Las Vegas Raiders -0.51 3-2 38.90% -1 10 22
17 Los Angeles Chargers 0.91 1-4 21.90% -1 26 5
16 Buffalo Bills 0.97 4-2 54.50% -6 2 25
15 Chicago Bears 1.16 5-1 75.50% 6 23 7
14 Arizona Cardinals 1.18 4-2 47.50% 9 4 16
13 Miami Dolphins 1.18 3-3 39.40% 1 17 8


The Arizona Cardinals took it to the struggling Cowboys to rise nine spots (to 13th) and increase their nERD rating by 3.4 points (from -2.2 to 1.2). Kliff Kingsbury’s offense was able to produce five plays of over 20 yards against the Dallas “defense” -- three runs by Kenyan Drake and bombs to Christian Kirk and DeAndre Hopkins.

In Week 6, Kyler Murray led all quarterbacks with eight Rushing Successes (80% Success Rate), but he also posted the fourth lowest Passing Success Rate at 32.0%.

Miami Dolphins, now 13th in our rankings, also won in a blowout over the New York Jets to keep them winless this season. The big news out of Miami is Tua Tagovailoa being named the starting quarterback following the team’s upcoming bye.

Teams Ranked 12th to 1st

Rank Team nERD Record Playoff Odds Rank Change Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank
12 Carolina Panthers 1.4 3-3 32.00% 6 8 14
11 Green Bay Packers 1.57 4-1 87.60% -5 7 21
10 New Orleans Saints 1.97 3-2 69.70% 1 11 19
9 Seattle Seahawks 2.54 5-0 93.00% -1 6 15
8 San Francisco 49ers 2.76 3-3 32.70% 11 15 12
7 Tennessee Titans 2.81 5-0 91.00% 0 3 18
6 Los Angeles Rams 3.55 4-2 61.30% -2 5 13
5 New England Patriots 4.1 2-3 56.20% -2 24 3
4 Pittsburgh Steelers 4.88 5-0 95.30% 8 12 6
3 Baltimore Ravens 6.24 5-1 96.00% -2 18 2
2 Kansas City Chiefs 8.08 5-1 97.70% 0 1 9
1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8.33 4-2 75.10% 4 14 1


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now our top-ranked team. The offense certainly played well in their 38-10 win over the Green Bay Packers, but it was the Buccaneers' defense that made the difference, forcing two interceptions and an extremely rare pick-six from Aaron Rodgers.

This Buccaneers' takedown of one of the best offenses in the NFL propelled them to the top overall rank in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play (first against the run and third against the pass).

Rodgers posted a passer rating of 35.4, the second-worst in his career (minimum 12 attempts). He also had a Passing NEP per drop back of -0.36, which was third-worst among Week 6 quarterbacks with at least two attempts.

Tampa Bay was able to apply a ton of pressure to Rodgers, which hadn't been the case so far this year.

That pressure was key in throwing off the Packers’ deep passing game. Rodgers' differential between completed and intended air yards of -4.9 yards was third-worst in Week 6 (among all quarterbacks).

Rodgers may have lost this matchup, but he did notch a win when it came to celebrations.

The Packers are 3.5-point favorites in their upcoming matchup against Houston on FanDuel Sportsbook in what’s expected to be a high-scoring game.