WhatIfSports.com utilizes its NFL football simulation technology to present the most comprehensive, deterministic and unbiased ranking of all 32 teams. We have simulated every possible matchup in the NFL 100 times, and used the winning percentages from those nearly 50,000 games to evaluate every team. All 32 teams are ranked below with their average points for and against from the simulated games. Rosters and depth charts are up-to-date as of Monday night of each week.
Most Notable Move:
The Dallas Cowboys have fought their way back from pretender to contender. The next two weeks will play a huge role in deciding if they remain in that category.
Four weeks ago "America's Team" was 2-2, coming off a loss at Denver and many had already started writing the Cowboys off. Four weeks and three consecutive victories later and Dallas is back amongst the top five teams in the NFL, moving up four more spots this week to #5 in our Power Rankings.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw for 256 more yards in a 38-17 victory over Seattle on Sunday and has now thrown for more than 900 yards over his last three games. The Cowboys offense now ranks in the top seven in scoring offense, total offense, rushing offense and passing offense per game. They are averaging an eye-opening 6.6 yards per offensive play.
But a surge from the Cowboys' defense might be necessary to help them keep their contender status. They rank outside the top 20 in yards and passing yards allowed per game, though much of that has to do with the fact that opposing offenses are getting more snaps. Dallas is allowing 5.3 yards per play.
A two-game road stretch will now decide if the Cowboys will remain a top five team. They'll travel to #8 Philadelphia this week, a matchup that is nearly a coinflip after 10,000 simulations. And next week, they go to #10 Green Bay, which will also be fighting for a playoff spot.
As for right now, though, consider them a top contender as they continue moving up and now beat opposing NFL teams more than 71% of the time in 100 simulations against every other team in the league.
It's no shock that the biggest gain comes from the biggest surprise of Week 8. The fact that the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Giants wasn't the stunner, but the 40-17 trouncing that Philadelphia laid on New York certainly opened some eyes. And if computers had eyes, they would probably be open, too. Philly moves from middle-of-the-pack back to contender, jumping eight spots this week to #8.
Carolina, which beat Arizona on the road, moves up five spots. And Minnesota, leaps two more spots and is now a top-four team.
Just as the Arizona Cardinals started to look legitimate themselves, they negated nearly all of their progress with a demoralizing 34-21 loss at home to the Panthers on Sunday. A Super Bowl team a year ago, the Cards would be in line to make another run if they could just win at home. They had won three consecutive games, all of them on the road, before last week, but lost again at home, falling to 0-3 there and dropping 11 spots in the power rankings to #18.
Four teams tie for the second biggest loss, just four spots - including previously undefeated Denver which drops to #7 and the hapless Detroit Lions, who once again are the second-worst team in the league.
Teams Ranked by Winning Percentage (everyone plays everyone 100 times)
|1.||New Orleans Saints||-||88.9||36.3||18.4|
|6.||New England Patriots||-1||69.0||26.6||19.5|
|10.||Green Bay Packers||-2||61.3||24.4||20.3|
|11.||San Francisco 49ers||+3||61.3||23.3||19.2|
|13.||New York Jets||+2||59.9||24.8||20.0|
|14.||San Diego Chargers||-3||55.6||23.7||21.9|
|21.||New York Giants||-3||41.1||20.1||23.0|
|25.||St. Louis Rams||+1||29.8||19.1||26.4|
|28.||Kansas City Chiefs||+3||23.4||16.9||27.6|
|32.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-||16.6||16.5||30.0|
Eric Schmoldt is a writer and Paul Bessire is the Product Manager of Content and Quantitative Analysis for WhatIfSports.com, a division of FOX Sports Interactive specializing in NCAA Matchup analysis and college football sim games. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, Paul and Eric can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!