NFL Week 17 Power Rankings: The Eagles Are Soaring Back
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 just that.
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.
numberFire's NFL Power Rankings
With the season winding down, every win matters, and we saw that reality once again in Week 16.
The Philadelphia Eagles experienced the biggest playoff odds increase of any NFL team after their third straight win. Their odds to make the postseason vaulted from 35.5% to 72.2%. They'll play the Washington Football Team for the second time in three weeks after knocking them off by a score of 27-17 in Week 15. Now 12th in our nERD ratings, Philly holds a 0.8% chance to win the Super Bowl -- not bad considering they bottomed out to 0.0% in the middle of the season.
The next biggest odds improvement belonged to the Cincinnati Bengals on the strength of Joe Burrow's historic passing game. The win over the Baltimore Ravens was pretty crucial to both sides. Cincinnati's playoff odds are now 82.7% after being 57.0% a week ago. Their win over Baltimore also had a division odds impact. They are now 77.2% likely to win the AFC North (and were 50.6% likely to do so last week). Baltimore's playoff odds fell from 40.5% to 32.5%.
We saw the Buffalo Bills get back on track in Week 16. They weren't trending toward blowing a playoff spot or anything, but their odds did drop down to 87.0% a week ago. Their convincing win over the New England Patriots now has Buffalo's playoff odds at 99.5% and their division odds at 91.7% after sitting at 39.9% before the Week 16 tilt. The AFC East really changed after that game.
Near-disaster hit two teams in Week 16.
The Los Angeles Chargers' second straight loss -- this time to the Houston Texans -- bumped them to a minority chance to make the postseason. Their odds were 84.3% prior to that matchup; they're now 45.3%. That 39.0-point drop was easily the largest of the week. Mid-level division matchups loom against the Denver Broncos (17th in nERD) and the Las Vegas Raiders (23rd). FiveThirtyEight's playoff model sees the Chargers' playoff odds as a less-optimistic 33.0%, odds that would increase to 69.0% if they win out.
The only other team with an odds drop on a similar plane as the Chargers is the New Orleans Saints (66.8% to 37.0%, a 29.8-point drop). They've got winnable matchups remaining against the Carolina Panthers (24th in nERD) and Atlanta Falcons (28th). Similar to the Chargers, FiveThirtyEight's model sees the Saints' odds climbing from 35.0% to 77.0% if they can take care of business. Not all is lost.