Gap between NFL’s best and worst is growing

Quarterback injuries are exacerbating a trend away from parity in the NFL. That’s very clear when looking at VSiN’s estimate of “market” power ratings.

Generally, on the scale used by me and Jonathan Von Tobel, 85 and above is “championship caliber,” 80 to 84 is “playoff caliber,” and anything below registers at “not very good.”

In the past, it’s been hard for teams to soar much higher than 85, or drop lower than 75 until late-season tanking (or injury depletion) came into play. As we discussed last week, New England may be pushing the ceiling to 90 or more after adding a great defense to a dynamic offense. Miami is definitely lowering the floor, not even registering as “NFL caliber” so far this season. Injuries are causing other also-rans to drop to the mid- and lower-70s.

Young quarterbacks are making their NFL starting debuts for both the Jets and Giants on Sunday. Luke Falk replaces the sick Sam Darnold and the injured Trevor Siemian as the Jets visit the New England Patriots (1 p.m., CBS). Daniel Jones gets an early call over the benched Eli Manning when the Giants visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4:05 p.m., Fox).

With Falk, the Jets are seen as the second-worst team in the AFC, and the whole league:

  • AFC: Patriots 90, Chiefs 88, Ravens 84, Chargers 82, Texans 82, Colts 81, Titans 80, Bills 80, Browns 79, Raiders 78, Broncos 78, Steelers 77 (Mason Rudolph at QB), Bengals 77, Jaguars 76 (Gardner Minshew), Jets 70 (Falk), Dolphins 66.

Those are based on late-week point spreads, using a standard three for home-field advantage. The Jets were +23 at New England when Jonathan and I compiled the ratings. We believed New England 90, Jets 70 best captured that line. Should it drop to +22 from sharp play, we’ll lift the Jets to 71.

The Giants were already so disrespected by the market that a quarterback change didn’t impact their rating much:

  • NFC: Rams 85, Cowboys 84, Vikings 84, Packers 83, Eagles 82, Bears 82, Seahawks 82, Falcons 82, Saints 80 (no Drew Brees), 49ers 80, Lions 79, Buccaneers 77, Redskins 75, Panthers 75 (Josh Allen at QB), Giants 74 (Jones), Cardinals 74.

(If Cam Newton had been able to play for Carolina, the Panthers would sit at 80 on our scale based on earlier games. With Luke Allen, we chose 75 because Carolina was getting less home-field value than lowly Arizona.)

Should money drive the Giants to +7 by kickoff, we’ll have to decide between lifting Tampa Bay to 78, or lowering the Giants to 73. Either way, both the Giants and Jets are currently seen as two of the worst teams in the NFL.

VSiN strongly encourages bettors to compile their own power ratings. Any differences between you and the market suggest possible avenues of investment. And, they’ll help you spot developments on the fly, like the possible death of parity.

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