Today, we have the second installment of our weekly PFFELO 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: 2
Atlanta survived a scare in Chicago last week, but sit atop these rankings based in large part on the Patriots’ loss last Thursday to Kansas City. If the Falcons want to continue their winning ways against the Packers in Week 2, they’ll have to generate pressure at the impressive rate (four sacks, seven hits and 12 hurries in 47 passing snaps) they did against the Bears.
LAST WEEK: 1
After opening the season atop these rankings, the Patriots struggled mightily through much of last Thursday’s game against the Chiefs. In addition to allowing 206 yards after the catch and 74 rushing yards after contact defensively in Week 1, QB Tom Brady was last among 27 qualifying quarterbacks with a 53.1 percent adjusted completion percentage, having substantial difficulty adjusting to the loss of Julian Edelman.
LAST WEEK: 4
The Chiefs moved up these rankings by putting together one of the more impressive performances in some time on the road against the Patriots. Sustaining such success will be more difficult without the services of All-Pro S Eric Berry, who held TE Rob Gronkowski to 33 yards on four targets before tearing his Achilles tendon last Thursday night, while adding four stops in what will be his only 70 snaps of the 2017 season.
LAST WEEK: 3
Like Atlanta, the Steelers had a close call on the road Week 1 in Cleveland. That didn’t keep receiver Antonio Brown from catching all 11 of his targets for 182 yards, generating a league-high 4.92 yards per route run among qualifying receivers during the first week of play. If Le’Veon Bell (whose 32 rushing yards all came after contact against the Browns) can get going, look for Steelers’ offense to start on a path towards meeting their lofty 2017 expectations.
LAST WEEK: 5
Dak Prescott was a bit shaky in Week 1, finishing 19th of 27 qualifying quarterbacks with an adjusted completion percentage of 69.4 percent. He had an especially difficult time connecting with Dez Bryant, completing only two of eight passes in his direction. However, if complimentary players like Terrance Williams (6-of-7 for 68 yards on his targets) can continue to step up, look for the Cowboys to continue their winning ways.
LAST WEEK: 6
The Packers gutted out a hard-fought victory at home against the Seahawks, despite surrendering an unusually-high (for them) number of pressures (11). Fortunately, their defense looked much improved against Seattle, leveraging the strong play of Mike Daniels, who generated two sacks, two quarterback hits and six stops on his way to earning a 90.9 overall grade.
LAST WEEK: 9
The Panthers took care of business on the road in San Francisco despite the erratic play of Cam Newton. Carolina’s quarterback was accurate on only 66.7 percent of his passes (20th of 27 qualifying quarterbacks), but was the beneficiary of solid work after the catch by rookie Christian McCaffrey (37 of 38 receiving yards after the catch), newcomer Russell Shepard (22 of 53) and veteran Jonathan Stewart (17 of 17).
LAST WEEK: 11
Despite projections of a season-long regression on the minds of many, the Raiders won in Nashville for the third-straight season last Sunday. Derek Carr was great, generating the fourth-best adjusted completion percentage while facing pressure on just five of his 35 dropbacks. If Amari Cooper (four drops against the Titans) can help Oakland be more efficient in the red zone, the sky’s the limit for this team offensively.
LAST WEEK: 10
A late cover by the Chargers notwithstanding, the Denver defense remains one of the league’s best, earning the league’s second-highest run defense grade last Monday night against Melvin Gordon and the Chargers. If they’re going to continue to be competitive within the best division in all of football, quarterback Trevor Siemian needs to generate more success on play action, where his passer rating was only 65.1 Week 1, despite utilizing it at the second-highest rate (29.7 percent).
Last week: 7
Is this going to be the year where the Seahawks’ ineptitude along the offensive line finally becomes too much? The third lowest-graded pass blocking team in Week 1 was a huge reason the Seahawks failed to reach the end zone against Green Bay. If they continue that level of play up front against a 49ers front that includes three number one draft picks and veteran Elvis Dumervil, a Seattle bounce back might not be as certain as the current odds suggest Sunday at home.