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 Bills (7), would be 14-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 Bills would be 17-point favorites over the Texans at home and 11-point favorites over the Texans on the road.
|Rank||Team||Power Rating||2021 Record (ATS)||Ratings Change||Super Bowl LVI Odds|
|1.||Buffalo Bills||7||4-1 (4-1)||+.5||+550|
|2.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6.5||4-1 (2-3)||+.5||+500|
|3.||Los Angeles Rams||6||4-1 (3-2)||+.5||+800|
|4.||Green Bay Packers||5.5||4-1 (4-1)||—||+1200|
|5.||Dallas Cowboys||5||4-1 (5-0)||+1.5||+1500|
|6.||Arizona Cardinals||5||5-0 (4-1)||+1||+1400|
|7.||Los Angeles Chargers||4.5||4-1 (4-1)||+1||+1600|
|8.||Baltimore Ravens||4.5||4-1 (2-3)||—||+1200|
|9.||Kansas City Chiefs||4.5||2-3 (1-4)||-1||+750|
|10.||Cleveland Browns||4||3-2 (3-2)||-.5||+1600|
|11||San Francisco 49ers||2.5||2-3 (1-4)||-.5||+4000|
|12.||New Orleans Saints||2||3-2 (3-2)||—||+3000|
|13.||Denver Broncos||1.5||3-2 (3-2)||-.5||+5000|
|14.||Tennessee Titans||1||3-2 (3-2)||—||+4000|
|15.||Minnesota Vikings||1||2-3 (2-3)||—||+8000|
|16.||Cincinnati Bengals||.5||3-2 (2-3)||+.5||+15000|
|17.||Carolina Panthers||.5||3-2 (3-2)||-.5||+10000|
|18.||New England Patriots||0||2-3 (2-3)||-1||+8000|
|19.||Indianapolis Colts||0||1-4 (3-2)||+.5||+10000|
|20.||Philadelphia Eagles||-.5||2-3 (2-3)||+1||+10000|
|21.||Las Vegas Raiders||-.5||3-2 (2-3)||-1.5||+10000|
|22.||Pittsburgh Steelers||-1||2-3 (2-3)||—||+15000|
|24.||Chicago Bears||-1.5||3-2 (3-2)||+1||+20000|
|25.||Miami Dolphins||-2||1-4 (2-3)||-1||+10000|
|26.||Atlanta Falcons||-2||2-3 (2-3)||+.5||+40000|
|27.||Seattle Seahawks||-2.5||2-3 (2-3)||-5||+8000|
|29.||Detroit Lions||-4||0-5 (3-2)||—||+100000|
|28.||New York Giants||-4||1-4 (2-3)||-2.5||+50000|
|30.||New York Jets||-5||1-4 (1-4)||-.5||+100000|
|31.||Jacksonville Jaguars||-5.5||0-5 (1-4)||-.5||+100000|
|32.||Houston Texans||-7||1-4 (3-2)||+.5||+100000|
Week 6 Risers
Teams who improved from the last Power Ratings update on Oct 6.
Buffalo Bills (6.5 to 7) — The Bills are the clear class of the AFC after their dominant 38-20 victory over the Chiefs in Week 5. Josh Allen averaged 31.3 yards per completion against them in the first half last week, and their top-ranked defense picked off Patrick Mahomes twice while holding him to a career single-game worst 5.0 YPA. Buffalo owns a league-best +108 point differential, which is 46 points better than the undefeated Cardinals.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6 to 6.5) — Tom Brady has accomplished just about everything in his 22-year career, but he checked off another first last week by throwing for 400+ yards with 5+ TDs for the first time in his career. Tampa Bay’s ailing defense will now be without LB Lavonte David for a few weeks after he suffered a high-ankle sprain.
Los Angeles Rams (5.5 to 6) — Los Angeles responded to their first loss of the season with a dominant 26-17 victory over the Seahawks as 2.5-point road favorites. Matthew Stafford has thrown for 275+ yards and he’s averaging 317.4 passing yards per game after the Rams ripped the Seahawks for 7.1 yards per play in Week 5.
Dallas Cowboys (3.5 to 5) — The Cowboys are the only undefeated ATS team remaining in the league and they have an incredible cover margin of 10.1 points after their 44-20 victory over the Giants as seven-point home favorites. Dallas is averaging the second-most points per game (34.0) and its defense has forced multiple turnovers in nine straight games dating back to last season, including 12 takeaways to open 2021.
Arizona Cardinals (4 to 5) — The Cardinals, the league’s only remaining unbeaten team, came into Week 5 with 31+ points in every game and 35.0 points per game average, but they won a 17-10 defensive battle against the 49ers last week. They own the second-best point differential at +62 points, behind only the Bills at +108.
Los Angeles Chargers (3.5 to 4.5) — Los Angeles played in four under games to open the season and they covered all but one of them — the Cowboys beat on a last-second field goal in Week 2. The Chargers then played in a track meet with the Browns in Week 5 and they outlasted Cleveland for the outright win and ATS cover by scoring 47 points and averaging 7.3 yards per play.
Cincinnati Bengals (0 to .5) — The Bengals have played in four games decided by a field goal already this season — they’re 2-2 in those contests. Like Bill Belichick in Week 4, I disapproved of Zac Taylor’s decision to attempt a 57-yard field with 26 seconds left instead of trying to pick up the first down on fourth-and-2 with two timeouts left.
Indianapolis Colts (-.5 to 0) — The Colts played their best game of the season against the Colts, and it still wasn’t enough to beat the Ravens after their defense fell apart in the final 18 minutes of regulation and overtime. The Ravens outscored the Colts 28-3 in that span, which wiped out outstanding performances from Carson Wentz (402/2 passing) and Jonathan Taylor (169/2 scrimmage).
Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5 to -.5) — The Eagles defense showed up in Week 5 after getting torched for 40+ points against two of the league’s elite offensive units in the Cowboys and Chiefs. They limited the Panthers to 3.8 yards per play and they sacked Sam Darnold three times and they intercepted him three times on their way to limiting the Panthers to one touchdown.
Chicago Bears (-2.5 to -2) — The Bears have been a dead-nuts under team this season with each of their last four games failing to reach even 40 combined points (all unders). Justin Fields has yet to attempt more than 20 passes in any of his first three starts, and they’re one of three teams that have run the ball more than they’ve passed it through the first five weeks of the season.
Atlanta Falcons (-2.5 to -2) — Rookie Kyle Pitts finally busted out in Week 5 after a promising but mostly ineffective start to his rookie campaign. With Calvin Ridley out of the lineup, Pitts hung 9/119/1 receiving against the Jets after posting 15/189 receiving in his first four games. HC Arthur Smith and QB Matt Ryan are getting more confident in their shaky O-line with Ryan’s aDOT sitting at 9.7 yards in Week 4-5 after sitting at 4.9 yards in Week 1-3.
Houston Texans (-7.5 to -7) — Davis Mills came out of nowhere to throw for 312 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in Houston’s loss to the Patriots. Mills posted 357 yards, two touchdowns, and five INTs in his first 10 quarters at quarterback. The Texans could be without one of their few standouts this week if LT Laremy Tunsil is unable to play through a torn UCL in his thumb.
Week 6 Fallers
Teams who worsened from the last Power Ratings update on Oct. 6
Kansas City Chiefs (5.5 to 4.5) — The Chiefs’ defense is a complete mess. They’re now allowing the most points per game (32.6) and the second-most yards per game (437.4) after Josh Allen averaged 31.3 yards per completion against them in the first half last week. Kansas City’s defensive struggles have Patrick Mahomes pressing too much for the big play, who is coming off a career single-game worst 5.0 YPA. He’s on pace for a career-low 7.6 YPA (he’s never averaged fewer than 8.1 YPA), and his six INTs in five games matches his INT total from 15 games in 2020.
Cleveland Browns (4.5 to 4) — Cleveland became the first team in NFL history to lose despite recording 40+ points and 500+ yards without a turnover. The Browns were crushed by injuries last week with RT Jack Conklin (knee), CB Denzel Ward (neck), CB Greedy Williams (shoulder), S M.J. Stewart (hamstring), and LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (throat) each picking up ailments.
San Francisco 49ers (3 to 2.5) — San Francisco’s defense held the Cardinals to 17 points in Week 5, which was 14 fewer points than Arizona had scored in every game. The bad news is that they found the end zone once in Trey Lance’s first start. They’ll also be without stud TE George Kittle until at least Week 9 after the 49ers placed him on the injured reserve before Week 5.
Seattle Seahawks (2.5 to -2.5) — The sinking Seahawks will be without Russell Wilson for at least the next three games before their Week 9 bye, and Geno Smith will try to keep the boat from sinking. The Seahawks are in serious jeopardy of falling out of contention for the NFC postseason as they’ve made the playoffs in 8-of-9 seasons with Wilson and Pete Carroll together. Before Wilson’s injury, Seattle’s biggest problems have been on the defensive side after the Rams ripped them for 7.1 yards per play last week. They’re now giving up a whopping 450.8 scrimmage yards per game, which is the most in the league.
Denver Broncos (2 to 1.5) — The Broncos are coming off a sleepy performance through the first three quarters against the Steelers in Week 5, but they showed some fight late in the game to give themselves a chance to win after trailing by 18 points. Javonte Williams just missed out on a long TD run early in the game and the Broncos ended up settling for a field goal on the drive, and they dropped a couple of interceptions or the outcome may have been a bit different in Pittsburgh. They’ll get CB Ronald Darby back in the mix this week to help out a secondary that’s been picked on in recent weeks.
Las Vegas Raiders (1 to -.5) — The Raiders overachieved early but they felt like a team potentially in free-fall after another listless offensive performance in Week 5. The organization is now dealing with the fallout from Jon Gruden’s abrupt resignation after his racist, sexist, homophobic, and misogynistic emails came to light in the last couple of days. I’ll be looking to fade the Raiders in the short term and potentially for most of the rest of the season if they look like a team that is checked out.
Carolina Panthers (1 to .5) — Sam Darnold is reverting back to his previous Jets’ form with five interceptions the last two weeks after averaging just 4.8 YPA against the Eagles last week. It’s no coincidence that his performance has dipped in muddier pockets as he’s been pressured at the second-highest rate in Weeks 4-5 (45.5%) after being pressured on just 32.5% of his dropbacks in Weeks 1-3. The good news is that Christian McCaffrey will return this week off of his hamstring, which will take some pressure off Darnold and this offensive line.
New England Patriots (1 to 0) — The Patriots are the definition of mediocrity right now with no obvious strengths (outside of coaching) and no glaring weaknesses. They survived against the Texans despite being outgained on a per-play basis (6.4 to 5.8), and they need Mac Jones to take another step or two forward if they’re going to make any noise in the AFC this season.
Washington Football Team (-.5 to -2) — Washington’s injuries have been mounting since Ryan Fitzpatrick went down early in the season, and their defense has been one of the league’s biggest disappointments. The Football Team is giving up the second-most points per game (31.0) and the sixth-most yards per game (407.8) after ranking in the top four of both categories last season.
Miami Dolphins (-1 to -2) — The Dolphins have easily been one of the league’s most disappointing teams through five weeks with four straight losses since they stunned New England in the season opener. The drop-off from Tua Tagovailoa to Jacoby Brissett was more than I expected, but Miami’s defense has been the most disappointing after they allowed 7.9 yards per play and 411/5 passing to Tom Brady last week.
New York Giants (-1.5 to -4) — The Giants took a big hit in the Power Ratings this week since they have the worst injury report in the league heading into Week 6. QB Daniel Jones (concussion), RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), WR Kadarius Toney (ankle), WR Kenny Golladay (knee), WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring), and LT Andrew Thomas (foot) are all up in the air for the immediate future.
New York Jets (-4.5 to -5) — The Jets slipped to 1-4 ATS after yet another ugly start against the Falcons in London. New York has scored just one offensive touchdown in the first half of their first five games, and they still have more first downs in overtime (2) than they do in the first quarter (1).
Jacksonville Jaguars (-5 to -5.5) — The Jaguars have lost 20 straight games outright since Week 2 of 2020. They own a 7-13 ATS record in that span and they’ve lost 13 games by double digits in that span. Urban Meyer caught a break with Jon Gruden’s email situation dominating the talk of the league in recent days, but it will be a little surprising at this point if Meyer makes it to a second year in Jacksonville.