Now through Week 9 of the 2019 NFL season, we at PFF have updated our power rankings using PFFELO.
Like any ELO system, it adjusts the ranking of a team after each game based on what happened in the game and the perceived strengths of the team and its opponent prior to the game. As opposed to most other ELO systems, PFF ELO doesn’t use the final score to update the rankings. Instead, we compute what the final score should have been based on the player grades. Thus the predictive power of our grades carries over to a strong predictive power of our ELO rankings, though we should note that other variables go into our season-long or game-by-game projections.
Last Week: 1st
New England still holds onto the top spot in PFF's ELO system despite the team's loss to Baltimore on Sunday Night Football in Week 9. That's not to say the Patriots are without question marks on the offensive side of the ball. Tom Brady & Co. still rank just 18th in EPA per play, 28th in yards per play and 12th in scoring drive percentage entering Week 10. The defense, however, is still the best in the NFL. Bill Belichick's defense still ranks first in EPA per play allowed and yards per play allowed after Lamar Jackson‘s field day.
Last Week: 2nd
The Saints stand pat at No. 2 after a Week 9 bye, but they have a legitimate claim to being the best team in the NFL thanks to a deep and well-rounded roster. One duo that will look to carry over some momentum from prior to the bye is Eli Apple and Marshon Lattimore. After a rough start to the season, both cornerbacks rank among the top 20 players at the position in coverage grade since Week 4 (min. 100 coverage snaps), and neither has allowed more than 45 receiving yards in a game over that stretch.
Last Week: 3rd
The 49ers’ defense gave up a season-high 25 points to the Cardinals on Thursday night, but their offense – led by a stellar performance from Jimmy Garoppolo – picked them up. The newest member of that offense, Emmanuel Sanders, is already making a difference in a passing attack that was missing a true top option at wide receiver. His nine targets were two more than any 49ers wideout had received in a single week all season, and his 112 receiving yards were 26 more than any single-game total prior to Week 9.
Last Week: 6th
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens jump from fourth to sixth following the team's upset win over the Patriots in Week 9. The Jackson-led is unconventional, but it's undoubtedly working. Baltimore enters Week 10 ranked first in EPA per play, fifth in yards per play and second in scoring drive percentage. Running backs don't matter, but Jackson sure does.
Last Week: 8th
Even with Patrick Mahomes sidelined, Andy Reid and his Chiefs pulled off an upset win over the Vikings in Week 9 and climbed up to No. 5 in ELO as a result. Reid is the NFL's best offensive play-caller right now, and Mahomes' nomadic knee cap isn't going to change that. Matt Moore and the Chiefs' offense averaged 6.5 yards per play in the team's upset win in Week 9, the sixth-best figure of any offense this past week.
Last Week: 4th
It’s hard to argue that there was a hotter team in the month of October than the Vikings, who raced out to a 4-0 record in the month with standout performances from Kirk Cousins and Eric Kendricks, both of whom earned Player of the Month honors here at PFF. The calendar turned last week, though, and so did the fortune of the Vikings. Matt Moore and the Chiefs gave the Vikings a taste of their own medicine, using play-action to go 9-for-10 for 113 yards and a touchdown against the Minnesota defense.
Last Week: 7th
After finishing the 2018 regular season as the second-ranked offense in the NFL based on EPA per play, the Rams have dropped to 13th this season, which is a large reason they haven’t been a part of the “best team in the NFC” conversation that many expected them to be in. One player that certainly hasn’t been responsible for the offensive downturn is Cooper Kupp in his return from injury. Kupp’s 2.68 yards per route run rank fourth among all players with 200 or more routes, and he has dropped just one pass on 84 targets.
Last Week: 12th
A darkhorse to win league MVP in 2019, Deshaun Watson took the Texans from No. 12 to No. 8 with his performance in the team's Week 9 win over Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars. Watson currently ranks 10th in PFF passing grade from a clean pocket (85.2) and sixth in PFF passing grade under pressure (65.8).
Last Week: 5th
The frontrunners in the NFC North – the Green Bay Packers – were not spared from the carnage of the division on Sunday. The Packers' performance was especially disappointing considering their offense struggled to move the ball at all against a Chargers defense that ranked 24th in EPA allowed per play coming into Week 9. Rodgers averaged just 4.6 passing yards per attempt, his lowest total since Week 8 of the 2015 season (min. 10 pass attempts).
Last Week: 9th
Given the competitive nature of the NFC, the Eagles will likely need to win the NFC East in order to return to the postseason. That means they have to take advantage of the opportunities given to them like they did against Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears. The news that Desean Jackson will be heading to Injured Reserve following core muscle surgery puts a damper on the excitement from back-to-back wins, however. Jackson has two receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns on passes 20 or more yards downfield. The only player on the Eagles with more receptions or receiving yards on deep passes is running back Miles Sanders.
11. Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 10th
Dak Prescott is having a career year this season – coming in as PFF’s sixth highest-graded quarterback – and a lot of that has to do with him performing well from a career-high percentage of clean pockets. He has taken a step forward when under pressure, though, as well. Last season, Prescott took a sack once every 11 dropbacks (sixth-worst rate in the NFL). This season, he is taking sacks once every 29 dropbacks (third-best rate in the NFL). That elimination of the sacks from his game has the Cowboys averaging 6.3 yards per pressured dropback, which is the highest among all NFL offenses.
Last Week: 11th
Pittsburgh's offense isn't the same without Ben Roethlisberger and the rest of the Killer Bs. A combination of Mason Rudolph and world champion duck caller (Devlin Hodges) have the Steelers entering Week 10 ranked just 27th in EPA per play and 20th in yards per play. It's improved play from Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt and the rest of Steelers' defense that has the team ranked 12th in ELO through Week 9. Pittsburgh currently ranks fifth in EPA per play allowed and second in pressure percentage on defense.
13. Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 14th
Russell Wilson never really left the MVP conversation this season, but his Week 9 performance against the Buccaneers is a reminder that, as of now, Wilson should be the favorite. Wilson picked up five big-time throws in the game, which brings his total on the season to 27 (highest among all quarterbacks). Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Wilson’s game, though, has been his ability to create under pressure. On the season, his overall grade of 87.9 when under pressure is over 10 points higher than the next closest quarterback.
Last Week: 13th
Jacoby Brissett has been good, not great playing in Andrew Luck‘s stead. And the defense hasn't been a complete disaster despite lacking talent in several areas. The Colts rank inside the top-20 in EPA per play and EPA per play allowed through Week 9. To climb the ranks, Brissett needs to cut down on the turnover-worthy plays and stay healthy. He suffered a knee injury that pulled him out of the team's Week 9 bout with Pittsburgh and recorded three turnover-worthy plays in the team's 15-13 win over Denver.
Last Week: 17th
The Panthers have continued to exceed expectations and churn out wins with Kyle Allen at the helm for the injured Cam Newton. With the news breaking that Newton is headed to IR, it appears that Allen will remain at quarterback for the remainder of this season. That means the offense will continue to run through Christian McCaffrey and for good reason. McCaffrey is averaging over 2.5 yards before contact on his attempts. Among the 20 running backs with 100 or more attempts this season, McCaffrey ranks first in yards before first contact per attempt (2.5). The only other player above 2.0 yards before contact per attempt is Phillip Lindsay.
Last Week: 18th
Coming off quite the upset against Green Bay, the Chargers showed they're not ready to leave the playoff race just yet. Philip Rivers enters Week 10 ranked eighth in PFF passing grade (81.1) and ninth in adjusted completion percentage (77.5%). Rivers also leads an offense that ranks 11th in yards per play and 12th in yards per pass play.
17. Chicago Bears
Last Week: 16th
There was a legitimate question as to whether the Bears would finish the first half of their Week 9 contest with the Eagles with positive yardage at halftime, and that tells you about all you need to know about the current state of the Chicago offense. They simply don’t have any sort of downfield passing attack to work with. Among all quarterbacks with 50 or more pass attempts 10-plus yards downfield, Mitchell Trubisky’s adjusted completion percentage of 41.3% on those passes this season is third-worst, ahead of only Deshone Kizer in 2017 and Brett Hundley in 2017.
18. Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 15th
Ryan Tannehill has given new life to the Titans. He enters Week 10 ranked 11th in PFF passing grade (78.7) with eight big-time throws and four turnover-worthy plays. The Titans are still far off from competing for a title in the AFC South, but if Tannehill has shown us anything, Marcus Mariota‘s days in Tennessee are limited.
19. Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 21st
Josh Allen is holding the Bills back from a higher spot on this list. He enters Week 10 ranked 26th in PFF passing grade (60.4) with five big-time throws and 14 turnover-worthy plays. He also ranks 28th in PFF passing grade on throws of 10-plus yards so far this season. Accuracy and roller-coaster decision-making continue to be a concern for the second-year signal-caller, and it's costing the Bills offensively.
20. Denver Broncos
Last Week: 20th
Brandon Allen wasn't spectacular in his Broncos debut against Cleveland in Week 9, but he did finish the game with zero turnover-worthy plays and, most importantly, a tally in the win column. Second-year wide receiver Courtland Sutton hauled in a quality contested catch for a touchdown in the team's win and continues to be a bright spot for the team, as well.
21. Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 24th
The Raiders' offense is vastly improved. Quarterback Derek Carr enters Week 10 ranked second in PFF passing grade, and he leads an offense that ranks sixth in EPA per play and fifth in yards per play. The problem is the Raiders' defense is underperforming. Lacking talent at every level, Oakland's defense ranks 31st in EPA per play allowed, yards per play allowed and scoring drive percentage allowed. They are allowing points in droves and will need Carr's best to stay alive in the AFC.
Last Week: 19th
The Gardner Minshew experience was worthwhile, but a fourth-quarter collapse in London along with the return of a now healthy Nick Foles will send the mustache to the bench. Minshew earned the 14th-best PFF passing grade (72.2) among qualifiers before taking his talents to the pine.
23. Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 22nd
Not a lot has gone right for Baker Mayfield and the Browns this season. Mayfield ranks just 20th in PFF passing grade (69.4) entering Week 10. The Browns' offense ranks just 26th in EPA per play due in large part to Mayfield's regression and questionable efforts from first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens.
Last Week: 25th
The Buccaneers managed to lose another close affair in overtime to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, as their coverage unit wasn’t up to the task of going toe-to-toe with the MVP candidate. It’s a performance that Jamel Dean (nine receptions allowed on 14 targets for 155 yards and three touchdowns) and Vernon Hargreaves III (eight receptions allowed on 10 targets for 105 yards) would rather forget.
25. Detroit Lions
Last Week: 24th
It’s fitting that the Lions are sitting right next to the Buccaneers in the PFF ELO rankings because there is a real argument that both teams could be heading into Week 10 with a few more wins. Alas, they are not, and the Lions dropped another one-score game in Week 9 to a Raiders team that has new life. They had no answer to the Raiders' passing attack (fourth-worst EPA per play allowed on the week) or rushing attack (third-worst EPA per play allowed).
26. Atlanta Falcons
Last Week: 26th
The Falcons have generated pressure on just 28% of opposing quarterback dropbacks through the first nine weeks of the season (worst rate in the NFL). They are also allowing a passer rating of 126.5 on targeted pass attempts (worst rate in the NFL). Not getting pressure and allowing quarterbacks to pick apart your secondary is not a recipe for success, and the Falcons are finding that out first-hand this season.
Last Week: 27th
The Cardinals took a run at their undefeated divisional rivals in Week 9, but they couldn’t quite finish the comeback against the 49ers. Their secondary has been an area of concern, as they rank 29th in EPA allowed per pass play, but the return of Patrick Peterson was supposed to help in that department. It certainly did not on Thursday Night Football. Peterson allowed six receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown in what was one of the worst performances in his career.
Last Week: 28th
Haskins got the first start of his career in Buffalo, and he responded with his highest single-game grade of the season (57.8), albeit not being a high bar to clear with his two previous grades coming in at 36.3 and 46.7. Much like in college, Haskins performed much better when given a clean pocket to work from. The Redskins averaged 5.8 yards per play from a clean pocket (13th among Week 9 offenses) compared to 0.2 yards per play when Haskins was pressured (24th).
29. New York Jets
Last Week: 29th
Sam Darnold likely wishes he had mono at this point in the Jets' season. The second-year USC quarterback ranks 34th among the 35 at his position with 100 or more dropbacks on the year in PFF passing grade (48.7). He has just seven big-time throws to turnover-worthy plays. With Darnold underperforming and Gregg Williams' defense not playing particularly well either, New York is in a bad spot entering Week 10.
30. Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 31st
Ryan Fitzmagic makes the Dolphins a bit more fun, but they're still a ways away from being competitive in the AFC. The team enters Week 10 ranked 31st and 30th in EPA per play and EPA per play allowed, respectively.
31. New York Giants
Last Week: 30th
The 19-point defeat that the Giants took at the hands of Dallas on Monday night is a little deceiving given that the Giants were in the game into the fourth quarter, but once again, they turned the ball over too many times to recover. For the season, the Giants have turned the ball over 22 times as an offense. That leads the NFL by a wide margin.
Last Week: 32nd
Cincinnati has benched Andy Dalton for rookie NC State product Ryan Finley. The team's offensive line is the worst in football. And the defense's highest-graded player (Geno Atkins) has just a 79.4 overall grade through Week 9.