NFL

2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

Who are the biggest risers and fallers in numberFire's power rankings this week?

Week 15 of the year 2020 shall be dubbed the week of the upset in which two top-three teams lost to two bottom-three teams. No 0-16 teams this year, so the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns can pop their bottles of André California Champagne.

Let’s see how this week’s action shook up our rankings.

Risers and Fallers

In what may be the upset of the year, the 32nd ranked New York Jets beat the top-ranked Los Angeles Rams, so that’s really gotta shake things up, right? **Channels inner Lee Corso** Not so fast, my friend!

The upset did increase the Jets’ nERD rating by 2.32 points (second only to the Cincinnati Bengals' 2.40 point increase) and the Rams rating dropped by 2.01 points. But those changes weren’t enough to unstick either team from their bottom and top rankings, respectively.

Five of our top-six teams from last week saw a decrease in nERD ratings. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers both won, but were in close games against weaker teams; the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the then-30th-ranked Bengals.

In terms of changes in playoff odds, the Minnesota Vikings' loss to the Chicago Bears dropped their wildcard hopes from 17.5% to a minuscule 4.9%, according to numberFire’s Playoff Odds model (meanwhile the Packers have clinched the division).

Conversely, that win over the Vikings upped the Bears’ playoff hopes to 31.5% (an increase of 16.1%). The Bears have a chance of taking on the Packers in Week 17, but the Packers have already clinched the NFC's top seed and may have little to play for.

Here are our Week 16 NFL Power Rankings:

Teams Ranked 32nd to 23rd

Rank Team nERD Record Playoff Odds Rank Change Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank
32 New York Jets -12.67 1-13 0.00% 0 32 26
31 Jacksonville Jaguars -11.55 1-13 0.00% 0 30 28
30 Detroit Lions -8.64 5-9 0.00% -1 21 32
29 Cincinnati Bengals -6.64 3-10-1 0.00% 1 28 23
28 Dallas Cowboys -6.59 5-9 2.90% 0 23 29
27 Denver Broncos -6.51 5-9 0.00% -2 31 11
26 Houston Texans -5.21 4-10 0.00% 1 14 30
25 Las Vegas Raiders -5.18 7-7 0.30% 1 11 31
24 New York Giants -4.07 5-9 10.50% -1 29 12
23 Philadelphia Eagles -3.52 4-9-1 9.10% 1 25 16


As mentioned earlier, the Jets are still at the bottom of our rankings – but don’t be glum Jets fans, your quarterback, Sam Darnold, is no longer last in the league in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP)!

Darnold jumped the recently-benched Carson Wentz after he produced 5.18 Passing NEP in Week 15 (19th among quarterbacks) to increase his season total to -58.76.

But Darnold is still dead last in Passing NEP per drop back (min. 200 drop backs) at -0.18. And the Jets win over the Rams means they probably won’t have the first pick in the upcoming draft in order to take Trevor Lawrence. Ok, Jets fans, you can be glum.

(Although that Zach Wilson kid doesn’t look too bad...)

Teams Ranked 22nd to 13th

Rank Team nERD Record Playoff Odds Rank Change Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank
22 New England Patriots -2.37 6-8 0.00% -2 24 13
21 Carolina Panthers -2.27 4-10 0.00% 0 17 22
20 Cleveland Browns -1.83 10-4 88.70% 2 9 27
19 Atlanta Falcons -1.22 4-10 0.00% -1 18 17
18 Chicago Bears -1.11 7-7 31.50% 1 27 8
17 Los Angeles Chargers -0.45 5-9 0.00% 0 15 15
16 Minnesota Vikings 0.41 6-8 4.90% 0 12 19
15 Seattle Seahawks 1.62 10-4 100.00% 0 5 24
14 Indianapolis Colts 2.05 10-4 85.20% 0 19 9
13 Washington Football Team 2.09 6-8 77.50% -1 26 3


With their loss to the Seattle Seahawks (now ranked 15th), the Washington Football Team slides down one spot to 13th but manages to increase their Playoff Odds by 7.1% thanks to losses by both the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants.

The Indianapolis Colts eked out a 27-20 win over the Texans to stay 14th in our rankings. Philip Rivers is sneakily sixth in the league at Passing NEP per drop back at 0.27.

Jonathan Taylor has been hot as of late and producing like many thought he would entering the season. Entering Week 13, Taylor’s Rushing NEP was 0.3, and it has increased to 16.5 over the last three weeks.

Teams Ranked 12th to 1st

Rank Team nERD Record Playoff Odds Rank Change Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank
12 Arizona Cardinals 2.47 8-6 66.10% -4 6 21
11 San Francisco 49ers 2.5 5-9 0.00% 0 16 10
10 Miami Dolphins 2.88 9-5 49.40% 3 20 4
9 Tennessee Titans 4.14 10-4 96.20% 1 1 25
8 Buffalo Bills 4.71 11-3 100.00% 1 4 20
7 Baltimore Ravens 5.3 9-5 80.20% 0 10 7
6 Pittsburgh Steelers 5.37 11-3 100.00% -3 22 2
5 Kansas City Chiefs 6.09 13-1 100.00% 1 2 18
4 New Orleans Saints 6.21 10-4 100.00% 1 8 6
3 Green Bay Packers 6.34 11-3 100.00% 1 3 14
2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7.34 9-5 99.20% 0 7 5
1 Los Angeles Rams 8.63 9-5 98.40% 0 13 1

The Steelers fall three spots to sixth. Their defense has been extremely consistent this season but we were never too hot on their offense (with the highest rank of 10th this season) and that side of the ball has fallen off of a cliff the last couple of weeks dropping from 10th to 22nd.

Ben Roethlisberger is ranked third-last in completed air yards per completion at 4.5 yards this season. When you’re only in front of Dwayne Haskins and Alex Smith, that’s not good.

Tampa Bay stays at second in our rankings this week. The Buccaneers haven't dropped below 5th in our defensive rankings since Week 2. After Week 9, their offense was struggling (putting up only three points in a huge loss at home to the New Orleans Saints) and ranked 20th. Since then, the Buccaneers' offense has steadily improved.

Week Total Offense Rank Adjusted NEP per play
9 20 0.11
10 13 0.13
11 9 0.14
12 9 0.15
14 7 0.16
15 6 0.17


Tampa Bay takes on the Detroit Lions in Week 16 in the most nERD rating lop-sided match-up (15.98 point disparity). FanDuel Sportsbook has the Buccaneers as 9.5-point favorites.