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2021 NFL power rankings heading into Week 18

We use point differential against the spread to see where the value lies in our Week 18 NFL power rankings.

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots calls a play in the first half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

The NFL has wrapped up Week 17, and for the first time, we’re headed to Week 18. The league added the extra week and that coupled with the two extra playoff teams for a second straight season means we still have some chaos in the playoff picture.

Two big winners this past week were the Packers and Titans. Green Bay secured the No. 1 seed in the NFC while the Titans moved into first place in the AFC thanks to the Chiefs loss. Further down the playoff standings, the Raiders got a monster upset of the Colts that combined with the Dolphins losing moves the Raiders into a huge Sunday Night Football game to close the season. The winner is in the playoffs, the loser is likely headed home for the offseason.

The playoff picture will get finalized this coming weekend, but in the meantime, it’s time for some 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 Bengals closed as 3.5-point underdogs against the Chiefs and won the game by 3 points. For the Bengals spread differential, we added 3 to +3.5. For the Chiefs spread differential, we added -3 to -3.5.

We’ve seen all kinds of movement but the Patriots are going to finish the season No. 1 barring a historically bad loss. They moved into first place in Week 11 and even with losses to the Colts and Bills, blowouts have been key. A 40-point win over the Jaguars does wonders even as a 16.5-point favorite. The Packers are arguably the hottest team right now, although the Chiefs were rolling before the loss to the Bengals. It will be interesting to see how Kansas City looks this Saturday against a Denver squad playing out the string.

NFL Power Rankings ahead of Week 18

2021 NFL power rankings, Week 18

Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
1 New England Patriots 10-6 +123.5 +168 1
2 Indianapolis Colts 9-7 +82.0 +101 2
3 Dallas Cowboys 11-5 +80.5 +147 3
4 Philadelphia Eagles 9-7 +76.5 +84 4
5 Cincinnati Bengals 10-6 +74.5 +89 5
6 Buffalo Bills 10-6 +59.0 +177 6
7 Tennessee Titans 11-5 +58.0 +62 7
8 Arizona Cardinals 11-5 +35.0 +91 10
9 Green Bay Packers 13-3 +30.0 +86 12
10 New Orleans Saints 8-8 +27.0 +19 9
11 Kansas City Chiefs 11-5 +19.5 +112 8
12 Denver Broncos 7-9 +11.0 +17 11
13 San Francisco 49ers 9-7 +0.5 59 17
14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12-4 +0.5 +134 13
15 Seattle Seahawks 6-10 -0.5 +21 20
16 Los Angeles Rams 12-4 -6.0 +91 16
17 Chicago Bears 6-10 -10.5 -82 22
18 Minnesota Vikings 7-9 -10.5 -15 14
19 Houston Texans 4-12 -12.5 -169 19
20 Los Angeles Chargers 9-7 -18.5 +18 24
21 Detroit Lions 2-13-1 -19.0 -149 18
22 Baltimore Ravens 8-8 -25.5 -2 23
23 Miami Dolphins 8-8 -26.5 -41 15
24 Pittsburgh Steelers 8-7-1 -42.0 -58 28
25 New York Giants 4-12 -43.0 -143 21
26 Las Vegas Raiders 9-7 -44.0 -68 29
27 Carolina Panthers 5-11 -45.5 -76 26
28 Washington 6-10 -48.5 -114 27
29 Cleveland Browns 7-9 -51.0 -27 25
30 Atlanta Falcons 7-9 -82.0 -136 30
31 New York Jets 4-12 -89.5 -177 32
32 Jacksonville Jaguars 2-14 -122.5 -219 31