NFL Power Ratings: Which Teams Has Betting Market Upgraded And Downgraded Most?

Written By Mo Nuwwarah on November 17, 2021
NFL power ratings

Things change fast in the NFL. Ask the Kansas City Chiefs. One minute they are championship favorites preparing the march to their third straight Super Bowl, and a few weeks later they find themselves in last place in their own division. A few weeks later, right back in first. With that in mind and more than half the season gone, TheLines decided to take a look at estimated NFL power ratings and see which teams have increased and decreased their standings most.

Some of the results will look pretty obvious. No shocker that the Cowboys and Cardinals have gained increased respect from the market. However, others might surprise you. The aforementioned Chiefs, for instance, have not fallen as far as you might expect given their results and the public discourse around them.

Let’s take a look and see what the market says about these teams.

A Note On Methodology

First, we should note that these are very rough numbers and involved a lot of guesswork. Do not take these as gospel.

We started with the Week 1 lines, with the premise that Kansas City was at the top of the power numbers. We worked from there using projected line from the first several weeks — here is a list of every line for the entire season — to figure the differences between the teams. Then, we shifted the median number to zero to see how each compared to an “average” NFL team.

Some adjustments were needed to get to numbers that passed “the smell test” and some teams were difficult to pin down for various reasons. For example, some of the preseason markets seemed to reflect Aaron Rodgers not playing for Green Bay.

The final product looks at least in the ballpark of reasonable and gives a rough estimate about which teams have risen and fallen the most in the estimation of the betting market. You can find the full list at the bottom of this article, moved there for aesthetics’ sake.

NFL Market Power Ratings And Changes From Preseason

Combine the number rating of two teams, and you’ll get an estimate of what the line should be if they played each other. For example, the Chiefs +7 and the Bucs +6.5 preseason shows Kansas City would have been a 1.5-point favorite on a neutral field at that point.

The change from preseason column ranks how big of an upgrade or downgrade that team has seen since August.

Preseason Estimated RatingsCurrent Estimated RatingsChange From Preseason
Chiefs +7Bills +5.5Cowboys +4
Buccaneers +6.5Chiefs +5Bengals +2.5
Rams +5.5Buccaneers +5Chargers +2
Bills +5Rams +4Eagles +2
Ravens +4.5Packers +4Cardinals +1.5
Seahawks +4.5Cowboys +4Patriots +1.5
Packers +4Ravens +4Panthers +1
Browns +3.5Cardinals +3.5Raiders +0.5
Titans +3.5Patriots +3Steelers +0.5
49ers +3Chargers +2Bills +0.5
Vikings +2.5Titans +1Packers 0
Patriots +2.5Browns 0
Saints 0
Cardinals +2Vikings 0Ravens -0.5
Colts +1.5Bengals 0Texans -0.5
Dolphins +0.549ers 0Lions -1
Chargers 0Colts 0Giants -1
Cowboys 0Seahawks 0Buccaneers -1.5
Broncos -0.5Steelers -0.5Rams -1.5
Falcons -0.5Saints -0.5Colts -1.5
Saints -0.5Raiders -0.5Broncos -1.5
Bears -0.5Eagles -0.5Chiefs -2
Raiders -1Broncos -2Jets -2.5
Steelers -1Panthers -3Vikings -2.5
Football Team -2Bears -3.5Titans -2.5
Bengals -2.5Falcons -449ers -3
Eagles -2.5Giants -4.5Football Team -3
Giants -3.5Football Team -5Bears -3
Jaguars -3.5Dolphins -5.5Falcons -3.5
Panthers -4Lions -7.5Browns -3.5
Lions -6.5Jaguars -8Seahawks -4.5
Jets -7Texans -8.5Jaguars -4.5
Texans -8Jets -9.5Dolphins -5.5

NFL Market Power Ratings: Biggest Upgrades

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have a bit of post-hype sleeper feel after they got a lot of buzz heading into 2020. The offense has blitzed teams both through the air and on the ground, ranking fourth in DVOA and sixth in EPA/play. The offensive line has led the way by returning to its old dominant form. Kellen Moore looks like the best offensive coordinator in the league.

The surprising thing has been a defense that has rated above average. However, the sustainability of that might be the biggest concern going forward. The secondary looks beatable when Trevon Diggs isn’t intercepting everything in sight. And the pass rush looks toothless now with Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence both on IR. The defense must get healthy for this team to go all the way.

  • Preseason Super Bowl price: +2800
  • Current best Super Bowl price:

Good time to buy?

Probably not. The Cowboys are about to hit a fairly tough stretch of schedule. With Atlanta in the rearview, they play at Kansas City, home against Las Vegas and at New Orleans. If they drop a couple of those games, it could be time to buy before they face four NFC East weaklings in five games to close the season.

Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati was projected to fight with Pittsburgh to stay out of the division cellar. Instead, they find themselves in the thick of the divisional hunt. They were atop the entire AFC as recently as a few weeks ago.

Joe Burrow looks to be overcoming his awful injury and improving his play with the addition of WR Ja’Marr Chase. He has played at a top-10 level according to EPA+CPOE composite. However, the offense has a whole looks a lot worse after a brutal showing against Cleveland.

EPA likes the defense quite a bit more than DVOA does, rating them 10th in the league. The defensive front in particular has played well despite not having a lot of big names, but the shine might be coming off this unit after two straight ugly showings, with even the Jets cutting them up as huge underdogs.

  • Preseason Super Bowl price: +6600
  • Current best Super Bowl price:

Good time to buy?

Stock has fallen considerably here from its peak, but the AFC North still looks well within reach and +550 isn’t a bad price. Baltimore and Pittsburgh have very tough closing schedules, and Cincy still gets the Ravens at home.

NFL Market Power Ratings: Biggest Drops

Miami Dolphins

Miami rode a solid, opportunistic defense to expected heights last year as they only barely missed a playoff spot. That defense has unsurprisingly failed to sustain its turnover luck. On a down-to-down basis, Miami’s unit ranks in the middle of the pack. Two strong showings in three weeks against top contenders Baltimore and Buffalo offer hope going forward.

Meanwhile, the offense has been as bad as its biggest skeptics feared. Tua Tagovailoa has been both ineffective and frequently injured, while the offensive line has remained a huge problem.

  • Preseason Super Bowl price: +2500
  • Current best Super Bowl price:

Good time to buy?

Tickets, maybe. Other than that, the only thing you might be able to look at for this dead team is an in-season win total over. They close with a pretty easy schedule that includes three games against New York teams and the woeful Panthers.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks produced one of the worst offensive performances by any team this season, mustering a bagel against the Packers on the road. That plunged them well down this list after the market steamed them throughout Week 10 down to field goal underdogs.

According to this list, that shutout looks to have been the last straw.

Statistical analysis doesn’t hold much weight given how much of the season was led by Geno Smith. But the defense has struggled to stop the pass from basically square one and given the QBs they would face in the playoffs, that’s probably a total roadblock against any potential playoff success in the unlikely event they can even make it there.

  • Preseason Super Bowl price: +2000
  • Current best Super Bowl price:

Good time to buy?

The Seahawks are 2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot needing to pass six teams to get there. That’s not impossible for a preseason team that was a fringe Super Bowl contender, but they’ll need to find four wins among five tough games (Arizona twice, at Washington, at LA Rams, vs. San Francisco) to get the record they likely need. A 3-2 record in those games might squeak them into the seventh seed, and if you think that’s the case, isn’t horrible.

A Few More NFL Market Power Ratings Notes

Kansas City Chiefs

Perhaps the most interesting team to examine is the Chiefs. Crazy as it sounds with the offense a shell of its former glory and the team sporting a negative point differential until Week 10, the market still believes in this team. If you’re skeptical, just remember they opened as favorites against both the Packers with Rodgers and the Cowboys in Week 11’s look-ahead markets.

Arizona Cardinals

While the Cardinals appear to come out of nowhere, maybe their longshot status in the preseason was due entirely to a brutal division. The market appeared to have a sneaking suspicion this was a decent team, rating them above average from the start.

New England Patriots

The hottest team right now is the Patriots. They still have fairly long Super Bowl odds of but after pasting the Browns this team looks as strong as any in the AFC. Their schedule still features two games against the Bills plus the Titans at home so the ball is almost totally in their court as far as where they wind up seeded.

Final Observations

Zooming out, it’s interesting to note that the net effect of the ratings has seen especially most of the strong teams mashed down toward the middle. The middle and top tiers have scrunched much closer together while the very worst teams have somehow sunk farther away from the pack.

That makes sense in what looks like a wide open season lacking truly dominant teams. That might mean the futures market value comes in picking out your middle-of-the-pack team of choice with long odds. Any hot stretch or key injury by an opponent could push one of these teams past the perceived powerhouses.


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Mo Nuwwarah

Mo Nuwwarah got his start in gambling early, making his first sports bet on his beloved Fab Five against the UNC Tar Heels in the 1993 NCAA tournament. He lost $5 to his dad and got back into sports betting years later during a 15-year run in the poker industry. A 2011 journalism graduate from Nebraska-Omaha, he combines those skills with his love of sports and statistics to help bettors make more informed decisions with a focus on pro football, baseball and basketball.

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