Now through Week 5 of the 2019 NFL season, we at PFF have updated our power rankings using PFFELO. The top-10 has shifted significantly, welcoming a slew of thriving NFC teams. On the other hand, not much has changed at the very bottom of the NFL; the four worst teams in the league are pretty cut and dry.
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 carry 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
Yes, the Patriots have benefitted from a soft early-season schedule, but they have thoroughly handled that schedule through five weeks. Tom Brady ranks fifth in the league with a PFF passing grade of 81.7, while Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones rank first and fourth, respectively, in overall grade among cornerbacks. Being good at passing the football and defending in the pass is a great recipe for success.
Last Week: 3rd
All Teddy Bridgewater does is win. At the very least, that is all that he has done since taking over at quarterback for the injured Drew Brees. Bridgewater turned in his best performance to date against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the fourth-highest overall grade of any quarterback in Week 5.
Last Week: 2nd
They lost to the Colts on Sunday Night Football, but this is still a team set up for success going forward. Patrick Mahomes has missed some throws but still ranks third in PFF passing grade. The fact that he leads the NFL in passing by 176 yards despite not being as efficient as he was a year ago should be a terrifying prospect for the rest of the AFC.
Last Week: 4th
The Rams lost a tight divisional matchup to an NFC West foe thanks to a 44-yard missed field goal from Greg Zuerlein, but they remain locked into the fourth spot on the PFF ELO power rankings. Aaron Donald didn’t record a sack in the game, but he was a consistent presence around Russell Wilson with nine quarterback pressures, his highest total of the season.
Last Week: 8th
The Eagles continue to rise in our power rankings following a 31-6 dismantling of the hapless Jets. Their top-five spot is given credence by just how well their quarterback — Carson Wentz — has played this season. His results don’t speak to just how good he has been, as evidenced by his league-high 207 air yards on dropped passes. Wentz currently trails only Russell Wilson in overall grade at the quarterback position.
Last Week: 11th
The 49ers put on a show for all to see with a 31-3 rout of the Browns on Monday Night Football, and they jumped five spots in the PFF ELO rankings as a result. Their defense has taken a massive step forward this season, allowing the lowest early-down passing EPA of any team in the NFL.
Last Week: 12th
Albeit against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, Kirk Cousins turned in one of his best performances of the season against the Giants en route to a comfortable 28-10 victory. In terms of passer rating, Cousins was perfect when targeting Adam Thielen, going 7-for-9 for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
Last Week: 14th
The Packers — like the Vikings — are another NFC North riser heading into Week 6 after their big spotlight win over the Cowboys. Without Davante Adams, Aaron Jones was a clear focal point of the offense. He ended the game with seven receptions for 75 yards, 19 rushes for 107 yards, 10 total broken tackles and 98 total yards after contact.
Last Week: 15th
After the top two teams in the AFC is where it starts to get messy. The Ravens lead the AFC North but needed cornerback Marlon Humphrey and kicker Justin Tucker to save them against a Pittsburgh Steelers team led by Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges on Sunday. Through five games, quarterback Lamar Jackson has produced a PFF grade above 80.0 three times but below 56.0 twice. Right now, there is no middle ground for the man who owns the 16th-highest PFF passing grade in the NFL.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 5th
The Cowboys fall from a fringe top-five team to a fringe top-10 team after their second consecutive loss. It appears the hype may have been a bit premature following three wins against bottom-six teams in this iteration of the power rankings. Dak Prescott’s offense finished the first three weeks of the season ranked second in passing EPA per play to the Chiefs, but since have ranked just 21st in the same metric.
11. Chicago Bears
Last Week: 6th
Like the Cowboys, the Bears find themselves five spots lower on this week’s PFF ELO power rankings compared to last week’s. Derek Carr carved up the vaunted Bears defense, not registering a single uncatchable pass on his 28 targeted pass attempts en route to an adjusted completion percentage of 96.4%.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 10th
It took a herculean effort from Russell Wilson, whose 96.4 passing grade was the highest of any quarterback in a single game this season, and a missed field goal for the Seahawks to escape with a 30-29 win against the Rams at home. Wilson has the ability to keep them in nearly any game, but will the coaching staff allow him to do so?
13. Houston Texans
Last Week: 16th
The Texans get the chance to stake their claim as a threat to the top two in the AFC this week when they take on the Chiefs. Expect big plays aplenty, with Will Fuller V ranking fourth in the NFL with 221 receiving yards on throws 20-plus yards downfield through five weeks.
Last Week: 7th
The return of Melvin Gordon did not help the Chargers, as they slumped to a loss at home to the previously winless Broncos on Sunday. They should get back to winning ways against the Steelers on Sunday Night Football, though, and with Joey Bosa currently ranking third in PFF pass-rushing grade among edge defenders, they’ll be hopeful that he can force Devlin Hodges into some mistakes.
Last Week: 20th
The Colts handed the Chiefs their first loss of the season on Sunday, heading into the bye week with a win. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett hasn’t been quite as good as his numbers suggest, ranking 28th out of the 37 quarterbacks with at least 60 dropbacks with a PFF passing grade of 57.3.
16. Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 9th
Four missed field goals in a seven-point loss is tough, and the Titans took action by jettisoning kicker Cairo Santos and are expected to replace him with Cody Parkey, who is nine months removed from a crushing missed field goal loss as opposed to a few days.
Last Week: 13th
The Steelers' defense is going to continue to keep them in games, but they are likely now down to starting their third-string quarterback in undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges. To his credit, he was solid against the Ravens in a limited sample size, producing a PFF grade of 65.4. He might actually be an improvement over Mason Rudolph, but it’s a tough spot to be in for a team that needs to win games fast if they want to stay in the AFC North race.
Last Week: 18th
Cam Newton’s injury hasn’t derailed the Panthers’ season as one might expect. Rather, they’ve gone on a three-game winning streak with Kyle Allen at the helm. Allen has struggled with similar accuracy issues to the ones that plagued Newton, though. He ranks 30th in percentage of passes with accurate ball location, ahead of just Daniel Jones and Newton among qualifiers.
19. Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 24th
The Bills got away with one on Sunday thanks to four missed field goals by the Titans. They are 4-1 heading into the bye week, though, with the winless Miami Dolphins to follow in Week 7, but if they are to pose a threat to the Eagles in Week 8, they’ll need better play from quarterback Josh Allen, who ranks 27th with a PFF passing grade of 60.3.
20. Denver Broncos
Last Week: 26th
The Broncos finally got one in the win column on Sunday, but the play of star edge defender Von Miller is becoming a concern. After producing a PFF grade of 90.0 or higher every season since entering the league in 2011, Miller sits at 69.3 right now and has not been the force we have come to expect as a pass-rusher.
21. Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 17th
The Browns came back down to earth again after their win over Baltimore with a thud on Monday Night Football, being thoroughly outplayed by San Francisco. Odell Beckham Jr. was supposed to dominate with Baker Mayfield and turn them into Super Bowl contenders, but he has produced a PFF grade of just 71.6 so far this season and has just four receptions for 47 yards over the past two weeks.
Last Week: 19th
A week after jumping five spots in the rankings to 19th, the Buccaneers slide three spots to 22nd following a lackluster performance against the Bridgewater-led Saints. Jameis Winston is now tied for the league lead in turnover-worthy plays with 12. That’s the bad that comes with performances like his 385-yard, four-touchdown game against the Rams two weeks ago. They go hand-in-hand with Winston.
23. Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 25th
The Raiders picked up the win in London, giving them something to build upon this season, but they face a tough four-game stretch against Green Bay, Houston, Detroit and the Los Angeles Chargers after their bye week. Quarterback Derek Carr is playing pretty well, though, and ranks sixth among quarterbacks with a PFF passing grade of 79.4.
24. Detroit Lions
Last Week: 23rd
Exceeding preseason expectations at 2-1-1 following their bye this past week, Darrell Bevell has unleashed a new passing attack that sees Matthew Stafford with the highest average depth of target in the NFL and has the Lions playing like the potential best team in the NFC North. Continued play like that should chip away at the past performances baked into their PFF ELO ranking and have the Lions rising in the coming weeks.
25. Atlanta Falcons
Last Week: 21st
Disappointment continues to emanate from Atlanta after the Texans hung a 50-spot on the now 1-4 Falcons, warming the seat that much more underneath Dan Quinn. They’ve been woeful in coverage this season, allowing the second-highest EPA per pass play in the NFL, ranking ahead of only the Dolphins. In other words, they have the worst pass defense of any NFL team.
Last Week: 22nd
Minshew mania took a bit off a hit this week in the loss to the Panthers, but the sixth-round draft pick is still playing pretty well. So far this season, Gardner Minshew has just one game where he has produced a PFF grade of 67.0 or under, and that was in his first career start in Houston.
27. New York Giants
Last Week: 27th
For the second week in a row, Daniel Jones failed to live up to his attention-grabbing debut against the Buccaneers, with passing grades below 65.0 in each of the past two weeks. The larger concern is their coverage unit, which has allowed over 10 passing yards per attempt (10.6 — second worst in the NFL).
Last Week: 31st
In a battle of two winless teams in Cincinnati, Kyler Murray and the Cardinals came away with the win to improve to 1-3-1. It was an encouraging performance from the first overall pick, as Murray’s 90.4 overall grade was easily the best of his young career. His 49 yards on designed runs were the second most of any quarterback in a single game this season.
Last Week: 29th
In a shocking turn of events, Colt McCoy did not perform well against the top passing defense in the NFL in terms of success rate allowed and EPA allowed per play. As a result, the inevitable came, and Jay Gruden was fired following their 33-7 loss to the Patriots. Their best chance of the season at a win comes this week against the Dolphins.
30. New York Jets
Last Week: 30th
Sam Darnold has been cleared to play, but the Jets are in a world of hurt right now. At 0-4, they’ll look to stun the Cowboys at home this week, but this is surely a team with one eye on 2020 already. Darnold finished his rookie season strong with PFF grades of 90.3 in 88.7 in Weeks 15 and 16, and the most realistic hope for the Jets right now is that they can get some big performances out of him that give them hope for next season.
Last Week: 28th
The Bengals were the victims for Kyler Murray’s best game as a pro so far, and they follow that up by seeing Lamar Jackson and the Ravens this week. On defense, the Bengals have just one player with a PFF grade above 75.0 and that’s defensive tackle Geno Atkins (75.5).
32. Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 32nd
Josh Rosen’s first two starts in Miami have seen him throw just one touchdown and produce PFF grades of 53.4 and 53.0. The Miami offense is one of the worst we’ve ever seen and Preston Williams (71.3) and DeVante Parker (63.1) are the only two players to have played 100-plus snaps and produce a PFF grade above 60.0.