Week 18 NFL Power Rankings, Presented by GMC
Everyone has their own set of NFL power rankings, but not all of them take computer-driven, algorithmically-derived approaches that look at underlying data to figure out true team strength.
But numberFire's power rankings do just that.
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Using our nERD metric, which indicates the expected point differential against an average opponent on a neutral field, here is how our model ranks and rates all 32 teams.
numberFire's NFL Power Rankings
There are 11 teams that have clinched a playoff berth of some sort and 13 teams that have been eliminated. That leaves just eight teams remaining with uncertain playoff hopes. I'll run through them all now and focus, primarily, on each team's most direct path to making the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins (nERD Rank: 8th | Playoff Odds: 52.5%) - The Dolphins rank 8th in nERD and host the New York Jets (15th), who have been eliminated from playoff contention. Miami's playoff odds are down 20.8 percentage points from a week ago after a loss to the New England Patriots. Their most straightforward path to the playoffs is to beat the Jets and to have the Patriots lose to the Buffalo Bills.
New England Patriots (9th | 26.4%) - Despite that win over the Dolphins, the Patriots' playoff odds are still lower (26.4%) than Miami's (52.5%). They travel to face the Bills in Week 18. With the status of the Bills' and Cincinnati Bengals' Week 17 matchup uncertain, these odds will shift once we learn more about the status of that game.
Jacksonville Jaguars (10th | 74.8%) - The Jaguars are 10th in nERD, up three spots from a week ago. They will make the playoffs by virtue of winning the AFC South with a win or tie against the Tennessee Titans (23rd in nERD).
Pittsburgh Steelers (12th | 17.6%) - The Steelers would make the playoffs with a win over the Cleveland Browns (16th) and a loss by both Miami and New England. That's their most direct path to a wild card spot if we exclude situations in which they tie this week.
Seattle Seahawks (22nd | 25.7%) - Seattle, with a win, needs a Packers loss or tie, which is their most direct route. A tie plus a few other situations still exist for them to make the playoffs (i.e. a Lions tie and a Washington Commanders loss or tie).
Tennessee Titans (23rd | 28.8%) - The Titans' playoff hopes reside solely in their ability to beat the Jaguars and win the AFC South, which our model sees happening 28.8% of the time.