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2021 NFL power rankings heading into Week 17

We use point differential against the spread to see where the value lies in our Week 17 NFL power rankings.

Jonathan Taylor #28 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on December 25, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The NFL regular season is fast coming to a close as Week 16 wrapped and we have two weeks left. Five NFC teams have clinched a playoff berth, with the Packers, Cowboys, and Buccaneers clinching their respective divisions. On the other side of the league, the Chiefs are the only AFC team to clinch a playoff berth.

We’re back with our latest NFL power rankings. Rather than subjectively rank out the teams based on a feeling, we’ve ranked the teams based on spread differential. We took the pre-game point spread at DraftKings Sportsbook and added in the point differential from the game. For example, the Texans closed as 10.5-point underdogs against the Chargers and won the game by 12 points. For the Texans spread differential, we added 12 to +10.5. For the Chargers spread differential, we added -12 to -10.5.

Point differential is a helpful tool for figuring out the best and worst teams. Point spread differential can offer us an idea who is playing well from a betting perspective. There’s a lot of volatility given the occasional blowout, but it offers a different look at the NFL pecking order.

This week’s big mover is Houston after their big win over the Chargers. The Texans are not a good team, but they stunned an LA squad battling for a playoff spot. Beating them as big underdogs gave them a big move in their spread margin.

The other team setting themselves up for a big move is Kansas City. The Chiefs crushed the Steelers as ten-point favorites. They only moved up three spots, but there was a sizable margin to pick up and they’re in position to make some more big moves as the hottest team in the league. They’ve won eight straight and can clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC in Week 17 with a win and Titans loss.

On to the power rankings!

NFL Power Rankings ahead of Week 17

2021 NFL power rankings, Week 17

Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
1 New England Patriots 9-6 +100.0 +128 1
2 Indianapolis Colts 9-6 +93.0 +104 2
3 Dallas Cowboys 11-4 +90.0 +150 4
4 Philadelphia Eagles 8-7 +78.0 +80 3
5 Cincinnati Bengals 9-6 +68.0 +86 5
6 Buffalo Bills 9-6 +59.0 +163 6
7 Tennessee Titans 10-5 +30.0 +31 10
8 Kansas City Chiefs 11-4 +26.0 +115 12
9 New Orleans Saints 7-8 +25.5 +11 7
10 Arizona Cardinals 11-4 +25.5 +88 8
11 Denver Broncos 7-8 +24.0 +38 9
12 Green Bay Packers 12-3 +15.5 +59 11
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-4 +10.0 +130 16
14 Minnesota Vikings 7-8 +4.0 +12 13
15 Miami Dolphins 8-7 +1.5 -10 21
16 Los Angeles Rams 11-4 -0.5 +90 15
17 San Francisco 49ers 8-7 -3.0 43 14
18 Detroit Lions 2-12-1 -4.5 -127 17
19 Houston Texans 4-11 -9.0 -153 25
20 Seattle Seahawks 5-10 -15.0 -1 18
21 New York Giants 4-11 -23.5 -117 20
22 Chicago Bears 5-10 -30.0 -108 27
23 Baltimore Ravens 8-7 -31.0 -1 23
24 Los Angeles Chargers 8-7 -31.5 -3 19
25 Cleveland Browns 7-8 -42.5 -15 28
26 Carolina Panthers 5-10 -44.0 -68 24
27 Washington 6-9 -50.0 -110 22
28 Pittsburgh Steelers 7-7-1 -50.5 -70 26
29 Las Vegas Raiders 8-7 -55.0 -71 29
30 Atlanta Falcons 7-8 -82.0 -122 30
31 Jacksonville Jaguars 2-13 -99.0 -179 31
32 New York Jets 4-11 -99.0 -173 32

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