Week 12 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
A shellacking of the Minnesota Vikings (now down to 13th in nERD -- more on them later) bumped the 7-3 Dallas Cowboys up two spots in the rankings. More importantly, their nERD score jumped 2.77 points, meaning our model thinks they're nearly a field goal better this week than it did last week.
Despite trailing the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles (4th in nERD) in the standings, our model likes Dallas a tiny bit better than Philadelphia. However, the standings are tough to overcome, and the Eagles have a 79.5% chance to clinch the NFC East. The headstart in the win column also has their Super Bowl win odds (18.4%) substantially higher than Dallas' (7.2%).
The San Francisco 49ers also had a huge victory in Week 11. They romped the Arizona Cardinals (24th) in Mexico and saw their nERD climb by 2.11 points as a result. The win increased their playoff odds by 14.6 points to 95.8% and their NFC West odds by 17.7 points to 79.7%. Incredibly, the win and showing in said win jumped their Super Bowl win odds from just 1.9% to 10.1%. It's hard to find a bigger positive impact for any team this week.
Why are the 8-2 Vikings just 13th in our power rankings? Well, it's important to keep in mind that the ratings themselves show just around 3.00 points between them and a top-six squad, but the Vikings own only one double-digit win (back in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers, who are now 18th in nERD).
Their other seven wins have come by an average of only 5.14 points, and all of them were one-score wins (i.e. within 8 points). Their two losses were by 17 (to the Eagles, 4th in nERD) and by 37 (to the Cowboys, who are 3rd). They remain in a great position to win the division (96.9%), but their Super Bowl odds (3.1%) fell by 4.9 points this week because they looked less like contenders than their record suggested.