2017 PFFELO NFL Power Rankings - Week 6
We have reached Week 6 of our PFFELO NFL Power Rankings. Like all ELO systems, PFFELO is an iterative system that updates each team’s rating after each game based on two things: how well they played against their opponent and how well they were expected to play against their opponent. The PFFELO rating system measures the former using our unique offensive, defensive and special teams grades, while the latter is determined by the PFFELO ratings leading up to the game and where the game is played.
For example, a heavy favorite playing at home is expected to outplay the visitor, so a victory would result in only a small rise in their PFFELO rating and a similarly-small decrease in the defeated team’s, but if an upset were to happen, the visiting team would see their PFFELO rating rise substantially, and the home team’s see a similarly-sized drop.
Sometimes in football the best team does not win, and PFFELO accounts for these oddities by using our grades. Hence there will be teams rated higher or lower in this system than their win-loss record would suggest.
LAST WEEK: 1
The pleasant surprise that is the Kansas City offense continues to produce at a high level, especially considering they played much of their last game without starters Travis Kelce, Mitch Morse and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. What has always held the Chiefs back is now elevating them despite these injuries and their struggles defensively. Alex Smith (89.0 overall grade, second among quarterbacks) has been the highest-rated passer so far this season throwing the ball downfield (142.0). One of the great questions of 2017 is whether he can continue this success moving forward.
LAST WEEK: 2
While only surrendering 14 points to Tampa Bay last Thursday was a positive sign, the defense still allowed over 400 yards total and 300 through the air. The next few weeks will be something of a test for the Patriots’ prospects moving forward, as they have a date in New York with the Jets (also 3-2) to get right before a Sunday Night affair with the Falcons. If the Jets’ 29th-highest graded offense is able to move the ball against New England, it might further signal a season chalked with comeback opportunities for Brady and Co.
LAST WEEK: 3
The Falcons come off a bye week looking to rebound from a home loss to Buffalo. Their passing game (the league’s 14th-highest graded) should be able to rebound against a Dolphins defense grading out as the league’s 25th-best coverage unit. Having a healthy Julio Jones (leading receivers with 2.95 yards per route run) back from a hip injury will help. Targeting him more than 7.5 times per game (his current rate) should help Matt Ryan break out of his slump even more.
LAST WEEK: 4
The Panthers are 4-1, winning their third road game in as many tries last week against the Lions. They gave up only 242 yards defensively, including 50 on the ground. They’ve allowed 80 or fewer rushing yards in all of their wins this season, in no small reason due to great seasons from Kawann Short (88.4 overall grade) and Star Lotulelei (76.9), who have combined for 14 stops so far this season. While their edge rushers have mostly struggled (with the exception of Julius Peppers), Short and Lotulelei have generated six sacks, three quarterback hits and 16 quarterback hurries from the interior of the defense to compensate.
LAST WEEK: 6
Aaron Rodgers continued to build a case for being the league’s best quarterback last week in Dallas, throwing for three touchdowns on his 23 non-pressured dropbacks. It was the Packers’ run game, without Ty Montgomery, that might have pushed them over the edge against the Cowboys, however. Rookie Aaron Jones broke five tackles on his way to 125 yards on the ground (with 54 after contact). Their offense’s matchup against a stout Vikings defense Sunday afternoon will be worth the price of admission.
LAST WEEK: 8
As we predicted, the Eagles handled business convincingly against the Cardinals on Sunday at home. Carson Wentz utilized play action to the tune of 7-for-7 passing, for 56 yards and a touchdown against Arizona’s defense. Clearly they leveraged a running game that is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has gone over 100 yards in five consecutive games. They’ll be hurt if Lane Johnson (86.2) can’t go on Thursday because of a concussion, but it looks like they’ll be getting Fletcher Cox (calf) back in time to face a Carolina offensive line that’s middle-of-the-road in terms of pass-blocking efficiency and run-blocking grades so far this season.
LAST WEEK: 7
The Broncos, fresh off a bye, get a depleted Giants team at home in Week 6. Look for the league’s highest-graded run defense to continue to shine against a Giants team that has the league’s 26th-highest graded run blocking offense. With no one to throw to on passing downs, it’s hard to see Eli Manning and the Giants offense putting many (if any) points on the board against the Broncos this week. On the other side, look for the Giants 27th-highest graded run defense to give C.J. Anderson (84.4, fourth among running backs) a path towards continuing the success he’s enjoyed so far this season.
LAST WEEK: 5
The Steelers continue to fall in the eyes of many, and certainly in terms of this rating system. While Le’Veon Bell struggled the first few weeks, his lack of productivity against the Jaguars was probably more a product of usage, as he garnered only 15 carries against Jacksonville 20th-highest graded run defense. Taking some of the offensive burden off of Ben Roethlisberger’s (21st among quarterbacks in overall grades) shoulders can only help the Steelers at this juncture, and will likely be their best bet against Kansas City this weekend.
LAST WEEK: 11
The Seahawks are back in the top 10 after beating the Rams in LA this past week. While their offensive line is still playing poorly (surrendering pressure on 53.4 percent of Russell Wilson’s dropbacks against the Rams), their defense has been resilient since its debacle in Tennessee, forcing Jared Goff into a 45.3 rating on his 18 pressured dropbacks last week. Bobby Wagner (92.0) continues to pace the league’s linebackers in terms of grading, generating six total pressures and 21 snaps (second) through five games.
LAST WEEK: 9
A setback in Cincinnati has the upstart Bills at the bottom of the top 10. As with many teams, their struggles started at the quarterback position. Tyrod Taylor averaged only 4.5 yards per pass attempt overall against the Bengals, and just 2.6 yards per pass attempt when pressured. Losing Charles Clay after only 13 snaps with a knee injury certainly didn’t help, but their lack of efficiency in the running game (only 3.4 yards per carry, 1.58 after contact) has been an issue all year. If their 27th-highest graded run blocking can’t improve, moving the ball will continue to be a difficult proposition in Buffalo, applying additional strain on a defense probably already playing at their ceiling through five games.
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