2018 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16
The Colts’ rebuild is way ahead of schedule and that was abundantly clear over the weekend.
The team that began the season ranked last in our nERD power ratings vaulted into the top 10 in the current iteration after a 23-0 win over the Cowboys on Sunday.
Our models say the Colts are 2.85 points better than an average team, which actually puts them just ahead of the AFC South-leading Houston Texans (2.84). The Indianapolis offense ranks seventh in opponent-adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, which is impressive but probably not all that surprising, given the return of Andrew Luck.
The more unexpected part of the Colts’ success has been a solid effort on defense. Indianapolis is still just 20th in Defensive NEP, but this is a massive improvement for a unit that our models projected to be last in the league (and three standard deviations below the mean).
The defense has epitomized the concept of “bend but don’t break,” as while the Colts have allowed a Success Rate of 46.6%, they are still tied for the 10th fewest yards allowed per play (5.4). Success Rate measures the percentage of plays that produce positive NEP and the league average is around 45%.
The Colts still have work to do to parlay this success into a playoff berth, but first-year coach Frank Reich should be commended for the progress his team has made.