Week 9 NFL Power Rankings, Presented by GMC
Everyone has their own set of NFL power rankings, but not all of them take computer-driven, algorithmically-derived approaches that look at underlying data to figure out true team strength.
But numberFire's power rankings do just that.
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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
Three teams had a double-digit shift in the rankings from last week to this week, but just one of those was a riser.
That team? The New Orleans Saints, who jumped from 22nd to 10th in the power rankings. Their nERD score is up 2.59 points from a week ago, meaning they're nearly a field goal better this week than our algorithm saw them last week. A 24-0 win over the then-12th-ranked Las Vegas Raiders will help do that.
The Saints have had both an up-and-down season and an up-and-down schedule. They had a one-point win in Week 1 over the lowly Atlanta Falcons (27th in nERD) and then lost three straight games -- two of which were to top-10 teams (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Minnesota Vikings). They lost two more against top-12 teams (the Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals) but beat teams outside the top 20 currently, as well.
A lack of convincing wins outside of this past week is still a concern. Further, their final nine games feature four games against top-12 teams and five against teams outside the top 20 with nothing in between. That means five more very winnable games remain, which would get them up to eight wins. Even with the rise in efficiency, their playoff odds increased from 15.4% last week to just 20.9% this week.
The Raiders' drop was pretty drastic: 12th to 23rd. Our algorithm now views them as a team that should be 2.17 points worse than an average team on a neutral field, and a 2-5 record has downed their playoff odds to 13.1% -- a fall of 17.7 points from where it was last week. That tied (with the Cardinals) for the second-largest playoff odds decrease of the week. Problematically, while the Raiders do rank 6th in adjusted offense by our metrics, they are 29th in adjusted defense.
After great results in one-score games a year ago, the Raiders had lost four games by six points or fewer before the drubbing they took this week. A very easy stretch of games awaits -- no opponent is better than 16th over their next eight matchups -- so a second-half push is still possible for Las Vegas.
The third and final team to see a double-digit drop in the rankings: the 3-4 Los Angeles Rams. They are now 24th after entering last week ranked 13th. A drop of 18.1 points in the playoff odds makes for the largest shift of the week in that category, and their playoff chances are now 27.0%. They entered the year with a 63.5% chance to reach the playoffs and are now down 36.5 points from that -- the fifth-largest decline of any team in terms of preseason playoff odds to current playoff odds. All four of their losses were by at least 12 points, and they have four straight games against top-12 opponents.
If they can weather that storm, then they'll have a shot to make a final push after all: each of their final six opponents ranks between 15th and 23rd as of Week 9.