My power ratings are designed to be a starting point for point-spread betting between two teams. They take into account recent performances, long-term injuries, coaching, and strength of schedule. These ratings are intended to help predict performances in the present, but they’re not necessarily predictive for the rest of the season.
I will take my Power Ratings into account when I make my weekly against the spread picks for the week, but I’ll also consider current injury reports, home-field advantage, weather, and other factors that may be relevant. I’m currently baking in a one and a half to two-point advantage for home teams right now. I hope you find these ratings useful and good luck with your wagers!
Week 2 Risers
Teams who improved from the last Power Ratings update on Sept. 9.
Chiefs and Ravens (7 to 7.5) — The Chiefs and the Ravens showed they are the clear class of the league right now with their Week 1 performances, especially with the top of the NFC failing to impress in the season opener. I’m either betting on Kansas City and Baltimore or I’m staying away from their games at this point in the season.
Seattle Seahawks (3.5 to 4) — I had them a little higher than the market coming into the season since I think Russell Wilson is right up there with Patrick Mahomes as the best quarterback in the league. You can bet I was pretty excited to see Russ cooking in Week 1 against the Falcons. Our Joe Dolan uncovered this little gem: The 20 rush attempts the Seahawks had in Week 1 were the fewest in any game under Pete Carroll in which the Seahawks won by nine or more points.
Bills (2.5 to 3) — The Bills opened up their offense way up in the season opener with Josh Allen attempting 46 passes in a lopsided 10-point victory over the Jets. OC Brian Daboll figures to be a little more conservative going forward, but Stefon Diggs could take this team to another level since they already have one of the league’s best defenses.
Packers (2 to 2.5) — My one Best Bet loser from Week 1 was my under bet on the Packers-Vikings game. The Packers needed just four more points to go over the total themselves. Aaron Rodgers looked like the Packers drafted his eventual replacement in the first round of the NFL Draft this spring. I’m still a bit skeptical about the Packers because I think the Vikings might just stink, but I have to give them a small boost this week.
Cardinals (.5 to 1) — Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins looked like they had been playing together for years. Nuk lived up to all the hype in his first game with the Cardinals, owning a 40% target share and a 65.6% receiving yards share against the 49ers.
Football Team (-3 to -2.5) — Washington erased a 17-point first-half deficit by scoring the final 27 points against the Eagles to win 27-17 as 5.5-point home underdogs. It was the largest deficit Washington has overcome against Philadelphia in the series history. The Football Team’s defense keyed the victory with eight sacks to give Ron Rivera a victory in his Washington debut.
Jaguars (-4 to -3.5) — Our Greg Cosell raised my eyebrows when he said the Jaguars didn’t have to draft a quarterback next year because of how impressive Gardner Minshew was on tape in 2019. Minshew is looking to ruin Jacksonville’s plans for tanking after a near-flawless Week 1 performance in a stunning defeat of the Colts, the AFC South preseason favorites.
Week 2 Fallers
Teams who worsened from the last Power Ratings update on Sept. 9.
Saints (6.5 to 6) — The Saints offense was particularly sharp last week against the Buccaneers as they averaged the second-fewest yards per play (4.1) last week. The offense could be in even worse shape with Michael Thomas expected to miss at least a game due to a high-ankle sprain.
49ers (6 to 5.5) — Jimmy Garoppolo could really use some help at wide receiver right now after Kendrick Bourne led the 49ers receiving corps with 2/34 receiving in the season opener. San Fran won’t be getting WR Deebo Samuel (foot, IR), back until at least Week 4 and now George Kittle is in danger of missing this week after hyperextending his knee in the season opener.
Buccaneers (5 to 4.5) — I adjusted the Buccaneers up a half point after training camp, and I’m wishing I wouldn’t have made that adjustment after watching them in Week 1. Luckily, I still backed the Saints in Week 1, but I left the season opener with more concerns about Tom Brady. The G.O.A.T. became the first quarterback to throw a pick-six in three consecutive games since 2013, joining his backup Blaine Gabbert and Matt Schaub as the last QBs to do it.
Cowboys (3.5 to 3) — The Cowboys not only lost on the scoreboard in Week 1, but they also left Los Angeles in much worse shape heading into this week. They took several big hits in the season openers by losing both LB Leighton Vander Esch (collarbone, IR) and TE Blake Jarwin (ACL, IR) to season-ending injuries. Dallas also lost RT Cameron Erving (knee) in Week 1, and the Rams immediately started attacking his backup Terence Steele.
Titans (3 to 2.5) — I’m high on the Titans this year and they showed some resilience to pull out a victory in Denver as three-point favorites. The problem is the Titans battled themselves in Week 1 and specifically their kicking situation. I’m not going to dock points many times for special teams this season, but the Titans left 10 points on the field because of Stephen Gostkowski’s missed kicks. I’ll adjust the Titans back up if they figure out their place-kicking situation, which has been an on-going situation for them since last season.
Eagles (2.5 to 2) — The Eagles should’ve been a little more concerned about their offensive line concerns heading into Week 1, especially after RT Lane Johnson (ankle) couldn’t play. Carson Wentz led the league with a 12.0 average intended air yards against the Football Team, but HC Doug Pederson nearly got him killed with his game plan as his QB absorbed eight sacks. I’m expecting the Eagles to get the ball out of Wentz’s hands much quicker this week, which means Zach Ertz should be in a lot of DFS lineups this week.
Colts (2 to 1.5) — I wish the Colts would’ve pulled out a close victory over the Jaguars last week because I was prepared to fade them for the first couple weeks of the season. I downgraded the Colts after training camp because of my growing concerns about Philip Rivers, and he lived up to those fears by throwing two INTs and by losing his NFL record 64th one-score game.
Cleveland Browns (1.5 to 1) — It didn’t take long for everyone to jump off the Browns bandwagon for the second straight year, and now Odell Beckham trade rumors are already swirling. I didn’t have to drop the Browns too far because I already had lower expectations for them heading into the season. The Browns have a great spot against a rookie QB on Thursday Night Football this week. The sky really might be falling in Cleveland if they no-show again on national TV.
Vikings (1.5 to 1) — I nearly dropped the Vikings down a full point in my ratings, but I didn’t want to overreact to their Week 1 performance. Minnesota did basically nothing well in their season opener. They couldn’t slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing attack while Kirk Cousins didn’t have a viable #2 WR behind Adam Thielen, which is why I made the Vikings under nine wins one of Best Bets this summer.
Jets (-2 to -2.5) — The Jets may have lost by only 10 points in the season opener to the Bills, but the score wasn’t indicative of their overall performance. Simply put, New York looked like potentially the league’s worst team in Week 1.