Power Ranking Rumblings: Week 6

Hello and welcome back for another week of us critiquing everyone’s favorite sports channel to hate, ESPN! Every week ESPN posts NFL Power Rankings that are generally terrible but not as bad as the commentary they provide to the rankings. So Jesse and I decided it is our duty to endlessly mock the low effort that ESPN put forth.

This year we are doing things a bit different by providing ESPN’s commentary right here on the blog with our personal commentary right below so you don’t have to click between the two articles. But for those of you who want to see the actual rankings, feel free to check them out here:

Week 6 NFL Power Rankings: And your playoff chances are…

And thanks for tuning in. Enjoy!

1. Kansas City Chiefs

2017 record: 5-0
Week 5 ranking: No. 1

ESPN: 99.4 percent chance. No team is ever a lock to make the playoffs after five games, but the Chiefs are pretty close right now. They are undefeated, lead the NFL in scoring and haven’t committed a turnover since the very first snap of the season. They have the best chances in the NFL through Week 5.

Kevin: So I guess we found one thing that the Chiefs can’t do and that’s turn over the ball! Oh wait…that’s a good thing. Dammit.

2. Green Bay Packers

2017 record: 4-1
Week 5 ranking: No. 2

ESPN: 84.1 percent chance. Where would the Packers be without Aaron Rodgers? He has thrown an NFL-best six touchdowns in the fourth quarter this season, and four of the six TDs have come with his team trailing. Green Bay has the fifth-best overall chances of making the playoffs.

Jesse: Well, Clay Matthews and Randall Cobb wouldn’t get to guest star in State Farm commercials, so that’s where two of the Packers wouldn’t be. As for the rest of them? Probably still on the Packers, just with a shitty quarterback and zero hope for the future. Was I not supposed to take this so literally?

3. Atlanta Falcons

2017 record: 3-1
Week 5 ranking: No. 3

ESPN: 65.6 percent chance. The Falcons have a strong chance of making the playoffs as is, but they need to take advantage of a struggling Dolphins team at home this week. Why? Because after that, they play four of the next five on the road, with trips to New England, Carolina and Seattle.

Kevin: Whoa whoa whoa. Why is ESPN advocating for the Falcons to take advantage of some Dolphins? What is this? SeaWorld?

4. Philadelphia Eagles

2017 record: 5-1
Week 5 ranking: No. 8

ESPN: 86.0 percent chance. The Eagles have the best playoff chances in the NFC by a nose (one-tenth of a percent). What has the Eagles soaring? Ball control. They’ve converted a league-best 53 percent of third downs, and they’ve averaged a league-best 35 minutes, 32 seconds of possession this season.

Jesse: You know what could keep the Eagles from soaring? Well, not the Panthers, evidently. Then again, Panthers can’t fly so that’s not a very reasonable thing to ask of them.

5. New England Patriots

2017 record: 3-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 7

ESPN: 91.9 percent chance. Even with a below-average defense and two early losses, the Patriots’ offense has been so good that New England has the second-best overall chance of making the playoffs. The Bills and Jets also are 3-2, but the Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC East.

Kevin: The Patriots are a miracle against Houston and three missed field goals by Nick Folk away from starting the season 1-4. Instead they’re at 3-2 which gives them plenty of room to work with while they get back to normal. Football sucks.

6. Carolina Panthers

2017 record: 4-1
Week 5 ranking: No. 13

ESPN: 67.4 percent chance. Cam Newton is completing 68 percent of his passes this season, and he has thrown for 300 yards and three touchdowns in consecutive games for the first time in his career. His performance has the Panthers with the fourth-best chances of making the playoffs in the NFC.

Jesse: His performance also factored in to his team’s loss to the Eagles on Thursday night. Even if you aren’t a fan of Cam, and I understand if you aren’t, you can’t deny that there are few players in the league who are more essential to their team’s success. Wait, I’m supposed to be ripping on ESPN and not providing my own insight! Sorry, my bad.

7. Denver Broncos

2017 record: 3-1
Week 5 ranking: No. 4

ESPN: 57.7 percent chance. Denver’s defense is the most efficient unit in the NFL, according to FPI, making up for any deficiencies from their 21st-ranked offense. The Broncos’ next two games are against the Giants and Chargers, so their chances of making the playoffs could be on the rise.

Kevin: I was back home visiting Denver this weekend and guess who decided to take a break during that time? That’s right, the Denver Broncos. How rude.

8. Seattle Seahawks

2017 record: 3-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 6

ESPN: 85.9 percent chance. The Seahawks have the second-best chances of making the playoffs in the NFC, and that’s mostly thanks to their division rivals. Every other team in the NFC West ranks 25th or worse in efficiency this season.

Jesse: I feel like this stat is very misleading. It doesn’t specify what exactly the other NFC West teams aren’t being very efficient in. For example, if we’re talking about how good they are at making my girlfriend from Arizona curse out of frustration, then the Cardinals are at the top of the league in efficiency. Very misleading indeed.

9. Dallas Cowboys

2017 record: 2-3
Week 5 ranking: No. 12

ESPN: 16.9 percent chance. The Cowboys peaked at a 71.5 percent chance of making the playoffs following their Week 1 win. There’s still plenty of season left for Dallas, which will regroup during its Week 6 bye.

Kevin: Oof, 16.9%? Is this before or after the Zeke suspension? Either way, how are they a top ten team at this point?

10. Pittsburgh Steelers

2017 record: 3-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 5

ESPN: 70.9 percent chance. Ben Roethlisberger‘s five interceptions at home were shocking, and the blowout loss to the Jaguars dropped the Steelers’ playoff chances from 92.9 to 70.9 percent. It’s a big drop, but they still have the fourth-best chances in the AFC.

Jesse: On top of being blown out by the Jags, remember that this is also the same Steelers team that lost to Mike Glennon and the Bears, which is still the only win he had before the Bears benched him for Trubisky. The Steelers were also a blocked punt away from possibly losing to the Browns, which would have been Cleveland’s only win. If they have the fourth-best odds, then that’s not saying much for the AFC.

11. Los Angeles Rams

2017 record: 3-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 16

ESPN: 16.2 percent chance. That percentage might seem low for a 3-2 Rams team, but keep in mind that they currently rank 25th in efficiency, according to FPI. And despite his improvements, Jared Goff ranks just 15th in Total QBR through five weeks.

Kevin: No ESPN, 16.2 seems about right. It actually seems about 16.1 too high. Remember this team started 3-1 last season to and finished 4-12. This could totally happen again. Fingers crossed.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 record: 3-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 24

ESPN: 82.2 percent chance. The Jaguars have the best point differential and best turnover differential so far this season, which is a big reason why they have the sixth-best overall chance of making the playoffs through Week 5 (third best in the AFC). But the Jags also have the easiest remaining schedule. That plays a big part, too.

Jesse: So a team that wins by the most points and who takes the ball away far more often then they give it back has the easiest remaining schedule? May as well punch Jacksonville’s ticket to the postseason right now. Coming this January, Blake Bortles in a playoff game!

13. Washington Redskins

2017 record: 2-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 14

ESPN: 27.0 percent chance. Washington’s two losses this season have come against teams that are a combined 9-1, so its .500 record shouldn’t look that bad. The Redskins have the second-easiest remaining schedule, so their record (and playoff chances) could improve.

Kevin: Too bad ESPN doesn’t factor in all of those positive things they wrote about the Redskins into their equation. I mean, shouldn’t that factor in?

14. Detroit Lions

2017 record: 3-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 9

ESPN: 34.6 percent chance. The Lions have the eighth-best playoff chances in the NFC. Matthew Stafford has been sacked 18 times this season (tied for third most), however, and if the Lions continue to struggle protecting him, their chances might continue to slip.

Jesse: Eighth-best chances? This isn’t hockey, ESPN. If it was, Stafford would be a center for the Red Wings named Matthias Staffiere with several missing teeth.

15. Oakland Raiders

2017 record: 2-3
Week 5 ranking: No. 11

ESPN: 12.3 percent chance. If the Raiders played in any other division, their outlook might be better than it is in the AFC West. But with Derek Carr injured and with the Chiefs and Broncos a combined 8-1, Oakland’s chances have dipped to 12.3 percent after starting the season over 50 percent.

Kevin: Pop Quiz: is 12.3% the chance of the Raiders making the playoffs or the literacy percentage of the Raiders fan base?

16. Buffalo Bills

2017 record: 3-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 16

ESPN: 36.8 percent chance. The Bills weren’t given much of a shot by FPI at the start of the season (11.6 percent), but their chances have tripled since then, thanks to a three-win start. The Bills get some rest this week, before they play three at home in a four-game stretch afterward.

Jesse: For all you math nerds out there, ESPN just concluded that three wins tripled the Bills’ chances at making the playoffs. I know, my mind is blown too.

17. Houston Texans

2017 record: 2-3
Week 5 ranking: No. 10

ESPN: 36.5 percent chance. Deshaun Watson has been exciting and currently leads the NFL in Total QBR, but his big numbers have still only translated to a 2-3 start for Houston. There’s reason for optimism though, and the Texans’ chances of making the playoffs are the highest for any team under .500.

Kevin: I mean, let’s be honest ESPN Bot, the reason the Texans have such a good shot at the playoffs is because of their division right? Just come out and say it.

18. Baltimore Ravens

2017 record: 3-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 22

ESPN: 52.0 percent chance. The Ravens have two ugly losses, but their three wins have been by an average of 15.7 points. Two of their next three games are against the Bears and Dolphins, which is a big reason why Baltimore currently has a 52 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Jesse: I don’t know, ESPN, the Ravens’ wins came against Cleveland, Cincinnati and Oakland. I feel like two ugly losses should factor in a lot more than three unimpressive wins.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2017 record: 2-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 18

ESPN: 20.9 percent chance. The schedule is not a friend of the Buccaneers right now. Not only do they have the second-most difficult remaining strength of schedule, they have to play six of their next eight on the road.

Kevin: So the schedule is tough. And they have road games. And they’re sitting at .500. And they don’t have a bye week. WHY AREN’T THESE FACTORED INTO THE PLAYOFF PERCENTAGE EQUATION?!

20. Minnesota Vikings

2017 record: 3-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 17

ESPN: 51.5 percent chance. Sam Bradford‘s health is a concern, but Case Keenum has more than held his own, keeping the Vikings’ playoff chances over 50 percent. How good has Keenum been? Only Drew Brees and Alex Smith have thrown more passes without a pick this season.

Jesse: I don’t know what’s more mind-boggling: that Keemun is being compared to top quarterbacks such as Drew Brees or that one of those quarterbacks is Alex Smith. I don’t understand this season, like at all.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

2017 record: 2-3
Week 5 ranking: No. 23

ESPN: 17.5 percent chance. The Bengals head into their bye coming off back-to-back wins. Their chances of making the playoffs still aren’t great, but considering that they dropped to 2.2 percent following their 0-3 start, 17.5 percent doesn’t look too bad.

Kevin: The Bengals are a pain in my butt. When the Bills beat the Broncos I was like, “Damn we lost to the Bills?” but when the Bills beat the Falcons I was like, “Hey we lost to the Bills, not bad!” but then the Bills lost to the Bengals and I am back to, “Damn we lost to the Bills?”. Thanks Cincy.

22. New Orleans Saints

2017 record: 2-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 20

ESPN: 36.4 percent chance. The Saints’ chances of making the playoffs dipped to 5.1 percent after an 0-2 start, but two straight wins in which the defense allowed a combined 13 points has those chances back up to 36.4 percent. If the defense can continue to limit opponents, their chances of making the playoffs could improve.

Jesse: Lose games and give up a lot of points, your playoff chances go down. Win and only give up limited points, they go up. It’s a fucking brilliant take.

23. Tennessee Titans

2017 record: 2-3
Week 5 ranking: No. 19

ESPN: 31.8 percent chance. The Titans were the favorite in the AFC South, according to FPI before the season, but because of Marcus Mariota‘s injury, they now own the third-best chances in division. With upcoming games against the Colts and Browns, however, the Titans could be back in the driver’s seat soon.

Kevin: The favorite to win the AFC South sounds like a participation trophy, no one cares.

24. Arizona Cardinals

2017 record: 2-3
Week 5 ranking: No. 21

ESPN: 6.9 percent chance. The Cardinals have had one of the biggest falls this season, opening the year with a 44.3 percent chance of making the playoffs. If they can’t beat the Buccaneers at home this week, their chances could be all but nothing.

Jesse: I already bashed the Cardinals once in this article. Keep it up and my girlfriend will remind me that the Dbacks knocked the Rockies out of the playoffs. Best tread lightly.

25. New York Jets

2017 record: 3-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 26

ESPN: 1.3 percent chance. The Jets have three wins! The unexpected start has nearly doubled the Jets’ chances of making the playoffs. But don’t get too excited. FPI gives still gives them the sixth-lowest chances in the NFL, but that’s still up from 0.6 percent at the start of the season.

Kevin: The Jesters are riding high after a three game win streak! Maybe they can keep this goin…oh wait no, they play the Patriots next. I hope you enjoyed your season Jets fans.

26. Miami Dolphins

2017 record: 2-2
Week 5 ranking: No. 27

ESPN: 4.9 percent chance. Jay Cutler has the second-worst Total QBR in the NFL through Week 5, and the Dolphins are last in the league in scoring. If that’s not bad enough, they also have the hardest remaining strength of schedule and no bye week to look forward to. Their low chances of making the playoff almost seem high.

Jesse: I don’t know that Jay Cutler has ever understood that he isn’t always on a bye week. He’s basically approached games that way his whole career.

2017 record: 2-3
Week 5 ranking: No. 24

ESPN: 0.8 percent chance. The Colts still have every division game remaining, and if Andrew Luck returns soon, the AFC South could look a lot different. But for now, with Jacoby Brissett and a league-worst minus-62 point differential, their chances of making the playoffs are just below 1 percent.

Kevin: Whoa, you have to be bad, bad, bad to have a 0.8% chance of making the playoffs in this division. The Titans have the same record and an injured QB and they still have a 31% higher chance to make the playoffs.

28. Los Angeles Chargers

2017 record: 1-4
Week 5 ranking: No. 25

ESPN: 3.9 percent chance. This past Sunday against the Giants, the Chargers ended a nine-game losing streak stretching back to last season. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Chargers have only a 3.8 percent chance of making the playoffs, and with a three-game stretch against the Raiders, Broncos and Patriots coming up, that might have been their high point of the 2017 season.

Jesse: I guarantee it won’t be the high point of their season, because the Chargers get to play Cleveland this year. There is at least one more high point to come.

29. San Francisco 49ers

2017 record: 0-5
Week 5 ranking: No. 29

ESPN: <0.1 percent chance. The 49ers have virtually no shot at making the playoffs following a five-loss start. To their credit, four of their five losses have been by exactly three points, so at least they’ve been in most of their games.

Kevin: The last four of our responses for these teams could just be this:


30. Chicago Bears

2017 record: 1-4
Week 5 ranking: No. 28

ESPN: <0.1 percent chance. Mitchell Trubisky had his growing pains in his regular-season debut (especially late in the game), but his performance on Monday gives Bears fans something to look forward to. One thing Chicago fans won’t be looking forward to, though? The playoffs. The Bears have less than a 1 percent chance of making it.

Jesse: But if the Bears don’t make the playoffs, then they will probably be rid of John Fox and that is something that most fans look forward to. So in a way, Bears fans should be excited about the playoffs this year regardless of whether they actually make it.

31. New York Giants

2017 record: 0-5
Week 5 ranking: No. 30

ESPN: 0.5 percent chance. An 0-5 start has dropped the Giants to a less than 1 percent chance of making the playoffs. If you think the offense has been bad so far, just wait to see what we’ll be saying after they play back-to-back games against the Broncos and Seahawks without Odell Beckham Jr.

Kevin: Why does a team that just lost Odell Beckham Jr and who was 0-5 with Odell Beckham Jr have a five times higher chance at making the playoffs than the 49ers, the Bears and the Browns? Okay the Browns one makes sense.

32. Cleveland Browns

2017 record: 0-5
Week 5 ranking: No. 32

ESPN: <0.1 percent chance. It took the Browns five games just to take a lead in a game. Technically, they have some chance of making the playoffs, but according to FPI, that chance is below 0.1 percent. At least the Indians are still looking good.

Jesse: Um, how are the Indians looking right now, Kevin?

(Kevin’s note: At least the Indians are still looking good? TOO SOON ESPN BOT, TOO SOON!)

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