October 15, 2019 - by Seth Trachtman
J.J. Watt and the Texans are in good position in the AFC. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire)
In this post we highlight our biggest rankings and predictions changes, after a week that featured big wins by Houston, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh.
Here are the biggest increases in team predictive rating heading into Week 7. Our predictive ratings are measured in points, with a 0.0 rating equivalent to a “perfectly average” team on a neutral field:
|Team||Division||Result||Old Rank||New Rank||Old Rating||New Rating||Rating Change|
|San Francisco||NFC West||W at LA Rams 20-7||3||2||6.3||8.0||1.7|
|Pittsburgh||AFC North||W at LA Chargers 24-17||21||16||-0.4||0.8||1.2|
|Denver||AFC West||W vs. Tennessee 16-0||24||22||-1.6||-0.4||1.2|
|Houston||AFC South||W at Kansas City 31-24||7||5||3.1||4.2||1.0|
|Minnesota||NFC North||W vs. Philadelphia 38-20||4||3||4.6||5.6||1.0|
For the second straight week, the 49ers are our biggest predictive ratings points gainer. They made relatively easy work of the division rival Rams on the road, and at 5-0 are the clear frontrunners in the NFC.
Few people gave Pittsburgh a chance to beat the Chargers while starting third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges, but they jumped out to a big lead behind dominant defensive and special teams performances, and held off a late Philip Rivers rally attempt. Their brutal early schedule should also be noted, as the Steelers have lost to No. 1 New England, No. 2 San Francisco, No. 11 Baltimore, and No. 13 Seattle.
Denver turned in a dominant defensive performance against the Titans, pitching a shutout in their 16-0 victory. They’ve now won back-to-back games but will get a much tougher test on a short week vs. Kansas City on Thursday.
See where every team currently stands in our NFL rankings.
Here are the top gainers in projected total wins for the 2019 season heading into Week 7:
|Team||Division||Result||Old Proj Wins||New Proj Wins||Proj Wins Change|
|Houston||AFC South||W at Kansas City 31-24||8.8||9.9||1.1|
|Pittsburgh||AFC North||W at LA Chargers 24-17||7.0||8.0||1.0|
|San Francisco||NFC West||W at LA Rams 20-7||12.0||13.0||0.9|
|Denver||AFC West||W vs. Tennessee 16-0||5.6||6.4||0.9|
|Minnesota||NFC North||W vs. Philadelphia 38-20||9.6||10.3||0.7|
Houston picked up a huge win on the road at Kansas City, making it back-to-back home losses vs. AFC South opponents for the Chiefs. The Texans have scored 84 points over the last two weeks after losing 16-10 to Carolina in Week 4.
Steelers fans should probably be satisfied with an 8-8 finish, considering Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending elbow injury in Week 2, along with second-string quarterback Mason Rudolph’s recent concussion. It’s not out of the question that could be enough to get a wildcard spot in a very mediocre AFC, because that win projection puts them 7th in the conference, just 0.5 wins behind the Colts.
See our latest projected season win totals for all teams on our NFL projections.
The following teams increased their odds to win their division the most last week:
|Team||Division||Result||Old Div Win Odds||New Div Win Odds||Div Win Odds Change|
|Houston||AFC South||W at Kansas City 31-24||35.8%||59.4%||23.6%|
|San Francisco||NFC West||W at LA Rams 20-7||67.3%||82.5%||15.2%|
|Pittsburgh||AFC North||W at LA Chargers 24-17||13.3%||24.0%||10.7%|
|Minnesota||NFC North||W vs. Philadelphia 38-20||22.9%||31.1%||8.2%|
|New Orleans||NFC South||W at Jacksonville 13-6||51.7%||59.1%||7.4%|
The AFC South remains up in the air, but Houston did a lot to help their odds with a big and unexpected win at KC. The Texans have no time to rest, however, with a huge matchup vs. the Colts this week. Indy has the second best odds to win the division at 24%.
Only the Patriots (95%) currently have stronger odds to win their division than the 49ers. Of course, San Francisco still has the 5-1 Seahawks breathing down their neck, but San Francisco has a significant advantage with the 23rd toughest remaining schedule compared to Seattle’s 2nd toughest remaining schedule.
See our latest division winner odds for all teams on our NFL projections.
The following teams increased their odds to make the playoffs the most last week:
|Team||Division||Result||Old Playoffs Odds||New Playoffs Odds||Playoffs Odds Change|
|Houston||AFC South||W at Kansas City 31-24||51.6%||74.2%||22.7%|
|Pittsburgh||AFC North||W at LA Chargers 24-17||21.7%||38.7%||17.0%|
|Minnesota||NFC North||W vs. Philadelphia 38-20||48.6%||61.6%||12.9%|
|New Orleans||NFC South||W at Jacksonville 13-6||61.5%||71.0%||9.5%|
|Carolina||NFC South||W vs. Tampa Bay 37-26 (N)||41.7%||50.8%||9.1%|
After making multiple win-now trades in the preseason, Houston’s chances of making the playoffs suddenly look strong. Head coach Bill O’Brien has made the playoffs in three of his previous five seasons coaching the team.
Pittsburgh’s odds of making the playoffs are reasonable at nearly 39%, including a 24% chance to win the AFC North. The Steelers are currently two games behind the 4-2 Ravens.
New Orleans is in a good place at 5-1, winning four straight games without Drew Brees. Brees is getting closer to returning, which could help the team’s prospects even more.
See our latest odds to make the playoffs for all teams on our NFL projections.
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