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, but I’ll also consider current injury reports, home-field advantage, weather, and other factors that may be relevant. I hope you find these ratings useful and good luck with your wagers!
Example: My top-rated team, the Buccaneers (6.5), would be 13.5-point favorites on a neutral field over my worst-rated team, the Texans (-7). Using a typical three-point adjustment for home-field advantage, the Buccaneers would be 16.5-point favorites over the Texans at home and 10.5-point favorites over the Texans on the road.
|Rank||Team||Power Rating||2021 Record (ATS)||Ratings Change||Super Bowl LVI Odds|
|1.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6.5||2-1 (1-2)||-.5||+550|
|2.||Buffalo Bills||6||2-1 (2-1)||+.5||+700|
|3.||Los Angeles Rams||6||3-0 (2-1)||+1||+800|
|4.||Kansas City Chiefs||5.5||1-2 (0-3)||-1||+650|
|5.||Green Bay Packers||5||2-1 (2-1)||+.5||+1400|
|6.||Cleveland Browns||4.5||2-1 (2-1)||+.5||+1600|
|7.||Baltimore Ravens||4||2-1 (1-2)||—||+1600|
|8.||San Francisco 49ers||4||2-1 (1-2)||—||+1600|
|9.||Seattle Seahawks||3||1-2 (1-2)||-.5||+2800|
|10.||Los Angeles Chargers||2.5||2-1 (2-1)||+1||+2500|
|11.||Arizona Cardinals||2.5||3-0 (2-1)||+.5||+3500|
|12.||Denver Broncos||2.5||3-0 (3-0)||+.5||+2500|
|13.||Dallas Cowboys||2||2-1 (3-0)||+.5||+2800|
|14.||Minnesota Vikings||2||1-2 (2-1)||+1||+5000|
|15.||New Orleans Saints||2||2-1 (2-1)||+.5||+3000|
|16.||Tennessee Titans||1.5||2-1 (2-1)||—||+2800|
|17.||New England Patriots||1.5||1-2 (1-2)||-1||+6500|
|18.||Las Vegas Raiders||1||3-0 (2-1)||+.5||+4500|
|19.||Carolina Panthers||1||3-0 (3-0)||+.5||+6500|
|20.||Miami Dolphins||.5||1-2 (1-2)||-.5||+6500|
|21.||Pittsburgh Steelers||0||1-2 (1-2)||-1||+10000|
|23.||Cincinnati Bengals||-1||2-1 (2-1)||+1||+15000|
|24.||Indianapolis Colts||-1||0-3 (1-2)||-.5||+10000|
|25.||Philadelphia Eagles||-1.5||1-2 (1-2)||-.5||+10000|
|26.||New York Giants||-2||0-3 (1-2)||—||+30000|
|27.||Atlanta Falcons||-2.5||1-2 (1-2)||—||+20000|
|28.||Chicago Bears||-2.5||1-2 (1-2)||-1||+50000|
|29.||Detroit Lions||-3||0-3 (2-1)||+1||+50000|
|30.||New York Jets||-5||0-3 (0-3)||-1||+100000|
|31.||Jacksonville Jaguars||-5.5||0-3 (0-3)||-1||+100000|
|32.||Houston Texans||-7||1-2 (2-1)||—||+100000|
Week 4 Risers
Teams who improved from the last Power Ratings update on Sept. 22.
Buffalo Bills (5.5 to 6) — The Bills finally flipped on the switch last week with Josh Allen ripping Washington for 358/4 passing in a Week 3 best 43-point explosion. With the Bills’ offense clicking again, this team is showing a high ceiling with their defense turning a corner in the early part of 2021.
Los Angeles Rams (5 to 6) — The Rams are averaging 31.7 points per game after hanging 34 points on the Buccaneers thanks to Matthew Stafford’s 373 yards and four touchdowns. Stafford is now averaging 10.0 YPA, which is second to only Russell Wilson at 10.4 YPA.
Green Bay Packers (4.5 to 5) — The Packers quickly made their Week 1 blowout loss to the Saints look like an aberration. The 49ers made the cardinal sin of leaving time on the clock against Aaron Rodgers, who moved the Packers into scoring position with two connections to Davante Adams for 42 yards with just 37 seconds remaining on the clock in Week 3.
Cleveland Browns (4 to 4.5) — The Browns limited the Bears to just ONE net passing yard and 1.1 yards per play in Justin Fields’ first career start. Myles Garrett set a single-game franchise record with 4.5 sacks to help the Brown tally nine sacks overall. Odell Beckham also had a promising first showing with 5/77 receiving in Week 3 in his first action since he tore his ACL 11 months ago.
Arizona Cardinals (2 to 2.5) — The Cardinals and the Buccaneers are averaging a league-best 34.3 points per game after scoring 31+ points for the third straight game to open the season. Arizona is also leading the league in yards per game in regulation with 432.3 — the Raiders are averaging 471.0 yards per game but with two overtime appearances.
Denver Broncos (2 to 2.5) — We’re about to find out how good Denver is starting this week against the Ravens. They were gifted the easiest opening stretch in the league against three teams (Giants, Jags, Jets) that are a combined 0-9 to open the season. They at least own a 3-0 ATS record with an average cover margin of 10.2 points through three weeks.
Los Angeles Chargers (1.5 to 2.5) — Brandon Staley’s bend-but-don’t-break defense worked perfectly against the Chiefs in Week 3. They gave up 33 first downs to the Chiefs in Week 3 but they pulled out a pivotal 30-24 victory thanks to a +4 turnover differential. Justin Herbert snapped out of early-season red-zone funk with four touchdown passes from inside the 20-yard line against the Chiefs.
Dallas Cowboys (1.5 to 2) — The Cowboys have developed a bonafide star in the secondary with Trevon Diggs picking off passes in each of Dallas’ first three games — he has six INTs in his last eight games dating back to last season. Dak Prescott is completing 77.5% of his passes and he’s averaging 7.9 YPA in his first three games back from his 2020 injury.
Minnesota Vikings (1 to 2) — The Vikings are a couple of plays away from being undefeated, and Kirk Cousins is the best quarterback that no one is talking about (or if you do talk about him, you’ll be yelled at). He’s completing 73.9% of his passes for 306 yards per game and 7.7 YPA with eight touchdowns and no interceptions.
New Orleans Saints (1.5 to 2) — The Saints will return to New Orleans after spending the first three weeks on the road after Hurricane Ida. New Orleans is allowing just 14.0 points per game (3rd-fewest) and they picked off Mac Jones three times last week, but they were outgained on a per-play basis (4.3 to 4.1) with their passing attack continuing to look lifeless.
Las Vegas Raiders (.5 to 1) — HC Jon Gruden and company deserve massive credit for developing the league’s most underrated passing attack with mostly written-off pieces. They overcame an early pick-six against the Dolphins by scoring 25 straight points to notch their third consecutive victory over a team with double-digit wins from the 2020 season.
Carolina Panthers (.5 to 1) — Christian McCaffrey is one of a few running backs who move the needle from a point-spread perspective, and it looks like he avoided a long-term injury. They did, however, lose top-10 pick Jaycee Horn for the next 2-3 months with a broken foot. The Panthers own a perfect overall and ATS record and their average cover margin has been by a healthy 10.2 points.
Cincinnati Bengals (-2 to -1) — The Bengals, of all offensive lines, ended Pittsburgh’s NFL record of 75 straight games with a sack. It helped that Joe Burrow dropped back just 19 times in their lopsided victory. Ja’Marr Chase notched his third touchdown of 30+ yards in three games and he added a nine-yard score for good measure in Cincinnati’s victory over the Steelers in Week 3.
Detroit Lions (-4 to -3) — The Lions continue to be frisky in the early going and the Ravens needed an NFL-record kick from Justin Tucker to beat Detroit. OC Anthony Lynn figured out how to get the ball in his best player’s hands in the second half with D’Andre Swift posting 6/56 receiving with a rushing touchdown in the loss to the Ravens.
Week 4 Fallers
Teams who worsened from the last Power Ratings update on Sept. 22.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7 to 6.5) — The Buccaneers’ secondary has been exposed by both the Cowboys and the Rams in the early going, and they’re giving up a league-high 338.3 passing yards per game after Matthew Stafford hung 373/4 passing on them last week. The Buccaneers are averaging the second-fewest rushing yards per game (56.3) ahead of only the Steelers.
Kansas City Chiefs (6.5 to 5.5) — The Chiefs continue to be money burners with their 2-12 ATS mark in their last 14 games. The Chiefs and Lions are giving up the most points per game (31.7) in the early going, and they lost the turnover battle 4-0 in their Week 3 loss to the Chargers.
Seattle Seahawks (3.5 to 3) — The Seahawks are riding a two-game losing streak and their run defense has been gashed in the early going. They’ve given up 155.0 rushing yards per game (3rd-most) after Alexander Mattison and Ameer Abdullah combined for 136 rushing yards.
New England Patriots (2.5 to 1.5) — Mac Jones is the only rookie quarterback with an outright win and an ATS cover and they both came against Zach Wilson in Week 2 — rookie QBs are 1-9 outright and ATS so far. Jones’ YPA has fallen in each of the first three weeks (7.2>6.2>5.3) and he now has more INTs (3) than TD passes (2) after throwing his first picks against the Saints in Week 3.
Miami Dolphins (1 to .5) — The Dolphins’ offense averaged just 4.2 yards per play in Jacoby Brissett’s first start, which was actually an improvement over the first two weeks. They’re averaging 4.0 yards per play through the first three weeks of their co-offensive coordinator experiment, ahead of only the pathetic Bears at 3.3 yards, and rookie Jaylen Waddle had a long gain of nine yards on 13 targets last week.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1 to 0) — Any hope of Ben Roethlisberger turning back the clock in 2021 has flown in the first month of the season. Pittsburgh scored just 10 points against the Bengals even with Big Ben attempting 58 passes (he averaged 5.5 YPA), and each of his five starting linemen were flagged for at least one penalty. The Steelers also had their NFL record 75-game streak with at least one sack snapped in Week 3. They could get T.J. Watt back this week to help this defense, but there’s little hope for their offense right now.
Washington Football Team (.5 to 0) — The Football Team is off to an 0-3 ATS start after getting torched by Josh Allen in Buffalo last week. Washington is hoping to get Curtis Samuel (groin, IR) on the field for the first time this season, which would give this offense a shot of life after struggling against Buffalo’s top-five defense last week.
Indianapolis Colts (-.5 to -1) — The Colts are an absolute injury mess and they could be without three more key pieces this week after OG Quenton Nelson (high ankle), DE Kwity Paye (hamstring), and CB Rock Ya-Sin (ankle) left Week 3 early. Carson Wentz looked like a statue at quarterback playing through his two ankle injuries as the Colts managed just 4.6 yards per play going against Tennessee’s weak defense.
Philadelphia Eagles (-1 to -1.5) — Young HC Nick Sirianni has let his team down the last two weeks after a promising season-opening victory. The Eagles bungled multiple red-zone opportunities to build a lead on the 49ers in the first half of Week 2 before he completely exposed his young quarterback by abandoning the run in Week 3. Eagles’ RBs combined for just three rushing attempts against the Cowboys, which were the fewest by any team in any game over the last 20 seasons.
Chicago Bears (-1.5 to 2.5) — The Bears finished with ONE net passing yard and they averaged 1.1 yards per play in Justin Fields’ first career start. It was the second-fewest yards per play in a game this century since the Luke McCown-led Browns averaged .6 yards per play against the Bills in 2004.
New York Jets (-4 to -5) — New York’s offensive line has been a disaster without LT Mekhi Becton. The Jets attempted just 12 carries and they averaged 3.1 yards per play in their shutout loss to the Broncos. New York’s defense is actually playing relatively well, but they’ve been hung out to dry by their terrible offense.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5 to -5.5) — The Jaguars have lost 18 straight games and they’ve failed to cover in consecutive games even with D/ST touchdowns, which is impressive. Josh Lambo is even a disaster as he’s missed all of his field-goal attempts and he missed two extra-point tries in Week 3.