After 7 weeks being complete I decided to start doing my power rankings again. For those unfamiliar with my power rankings that are based on efficiency measurements which measure how much teams score above or hold teams below their seasonal averages. So for example if we have a team with a 40% scoring efficiency they are scoring 40% more points than their opponents points allowed. A defensive efficiency of -30% would indicate a team is has allowed 30% less points than their opponents points scored. There is also a predicted win column that indicates on average what a team’s record would be if they were to play the rest of the season at this same level. This week we’ll look at the good, bad, and ugly when it comes to spending and return on investment.
The Patriots in recent years have become the best in the business at managing contracts and getting a good return on investment and that has never been more apparent than this season. The team ranks 5th in defensive efficiency despite ranking dead last in annual spending on defensive player contracts. So not only are they among the best in the NFL they are also one of the best values too.
Pittsburgh is going to hit a rough patch with Roethlisberger out again, but thus far they rank 5th and 12th in our scoring and defensive metrics, while ranking 12th and 28th in salary for those units. Pittsburgh finally getting past so many of those veteran contracts that clogged their cap for years has been a big improvement.
Atlanta has taken the 14th paid offense and turned them into the top scoring unit in the NFL. Their defense isn’t any good but that was to be expected with the lack of capital invested there. They should be pretty happy where they are right now.
Though not great bargains I thought mentioning the Eagles and Cardinals who rank 1st and 5th overall was worthwhile. These are two teams that are bigger spenders, in particular the Eagles, and are essentially ranking right where you would expect. While its not great value it is an example of how good spending can be productive.
The Browns are the worst team in the NFL by quite a wide margin. They are allowing teams to score nearly 43% above their average while underscoring the averages by 10%. Obviously this was to be expected as they are actually outperforming on offense, but overall it’s the worst mix of talent in the league.
San Francisco is floundering and they basically took a mulligan on the year before it began. Their defense is even worse than expected though, ranking last in the NFL with 47% more points allowed despite having the 21st highest salary. They did lose their best linebacker but that’s no excuse.
The Chiefs actually rank 14th but I wanted to put them in this category because of how bad their offense has been. Kansas City has spent more on that unit than all but three other teams in the NFL. They have been held to 12.5% below their opponents averages, which is 23rd in the league. If they fixed that issue they could be favorites.
The Jaguars have tried many ways to get better. They have the third highest paid defense in the NFL. They have spent draft resources on their offense and have tried to sign some veterans. Nothing has worked. Overall they rank 30th in the NFL and that 3rd ranked defense ranks 25th. The offense stinks too, ranking 28th, but at least they only rank 20th in spending. Their -15 ranking differential in salary vs production is worst in the NFL. It just seems like its groundhog day for these Jaguars.
Despite a win this week, the Jets have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL. Their 10th highest paid defense ranks 27th in production while their offense, ranked 16th in salary, is 24th. The Jets were expecting to be one of the more balanced teams in the NFL with the defense being a bit better than the offense and in a sense they are, its just in the wrong direction- They are allowing 20% more points while underscoring expectations by 13%. Probably not what they had in mind when the year began.
Chicago has dealt with some nasty injuries this year but that doesn’t help a team cope with a poor return. The Bears rank 9th in salary expectations for their offense and have produced so poorly that they rank 32nd in the NFL with a -32% scoring efficiency. The 23 spot differential is the biggest negative for any team this season. Maybe it gets better with Jay Cutler back, but this team has a long way to go.
|Rank||Team||Scoring Efficiency||Defensive Efficiency||Total Efficiency||Predicted Wins|
|2||New England Patriots||17.7%||-31.8%||49.6%||12.7|
|10||San Diego Chargers||18.7%||1.1%||17.5%||9.6|
|11||Green Bay Packers||11.4%||-2.8%||14.2%||9.3|
|14||Kansas City Chiefs||-12.5%||-15.6%||3.1%||8.3|
|16||New York Giants||-13.1%||-12.5%||-0.6%||8.0|
|19||New Orleans Saints||20.6%||29.2%||-8.6%||7.1|
|26||Los Angeles Rams||-23.3%||0.2%||-23.5%||5.8|
|27||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-11.8%||13.0%||-24.8%||5.6|
|28||New York Jets||-12.8%||20.2%||-33.0%||4.9|
|31||San Francisco 49ers||0.6%||47.5%||-46.9%||3.5|
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.