10.26NFL rankings Week 7
Pittsburgh is the new top team in the NFL after week 7. With 5-1 record they are slightly ahead of the New York Jets and New England.
Winning percentage is only generally correlated with ability. Tampa Bay is 4-2, but is near the bottom of the pile (#25). The Bucs have beat Cleveland, Carolina, Cincinnati and St. Louis which have a combined record of 8-18, while Pittsburgh and New Orleans (their two losses) have a combined record of 9-4. TB has beaten these average to bad teams by less than ten points except Carolina, which they beat by 13 points on the road – a good win against a bad team. So, TB’s wins are not impressive and their losses are. Not a good recipe for a quality ability measure.
Cleveland and San Diego continue to do well in the rankings despite their 2-5 records. Again, it goes back to who they beat and to whom they lost. Cleveland and San Diego are rather similar beyond their wins and losses. Of their combined 10 losses, only one was a defeat of more than ten points and they lost to very good teams. Their victories, on the other hand, have come against decent teams and by more than ten points (except one). So, SD and the Browns have beaten decent teams soundly and have lost to good to very good teams by small amounts. That is a good recipe for a decent ability measure despite the losses. I would take the Chargers or Browns over the Bucs even on the road. I expect both teams to finish the season with better records than Tampa Bay, depending upon the ability of the teams remaining on their respective schedules.