NFL Power Rankings Week 8: One telling stat for each team

NFL analyst Kyle Brandt joins Ken Reid via FaceTime to discuss 4 hot-button topics from the NFL, including why Aaron Rodgers is definitely the MVP frontrunner, especially when you look at the players around him.

There are lies, there are big lies, and then there is this week’s edition of the NFL power rankings, in which our expert panel pairs each team with a stat that tells you everything you need to know about them.

This week, the panel includes editor Geoff Lowe and staff writers Donnovan Bennett, Mike Johnston and Emily Sadler.

1. New England Patriots

2019 record: 7-0
Last week: 1
Telling Stat: 3.9

The actual number of points per game the Patriots defence is allowing through seven games. The entire team has given up 48, but 21 of those have come off turnovers. New England’s defence is playing at a level rarely seen in the NFL. (GL)

2. New Orleans Saints

2019 record: 6-1
Last week: 2
Telling Stat: 5

The number of Saints turnovers this season. Only the Arizona Cardinals have turned the ball over fewer times than New Orleans. Five is also the number of wins Teddy Bridgewater has as the Saints starter. Efficiency and lack of turnovers have helped Bridgewater keep this team a contender in Drew Brees’s absence. (MJ)

3. San Francisco 49ers

2019 record: 6-0
Last week: 3
Telling Stat: 10

The numbers of points this hard-hitting defence has allowed in the month of October. The 49ers defence has held opponents to just a single score (or, in Washington’s case, none at all) in each of the three games since their bye week and has been particularly dominant against the pass — they’ve allowed a league-low 133.5 yards per game through the air this season. The undefeated streak continues. (ES)

4. Green Bay Packers

2019 record: 6-1
Last week: 5
Telling Stat: 172

Number of games it took Aaron Rodgers to reach 350 career TDs — an NFL record. Rodgers is so good because he spreads the ball around. Five different Green Bay receivers saw at least four targets last week. (DB)

5. Kansas City Chiefs

2019 record: 5-2
Last week: 6
Telling Stat: 2,180

Patrick Mahomes’s total passing yards on the season, good for No. 1 in the league. That number will go unchanged for the next few weeks as the QB is sidelined with a knee injury. (ES)

6. Minnesota Vikings

2019 record: 5-2
Last week: 9
Telling Stat: 3

Number of consecutive games in which Kirk Cousins has notched both 300 yards and a 130-plus passer rating. The Vikings are once again a threat thanks to Cousins. (DB)

7. Baltimore Ravens

2019 record: 5-2
Last week: 10
Telling Stat: 2

Number of consecutive games Lamar Jackson has rushed for 100 yards and a TD. The Ravens’ offence starts and ends with their signal caller’s ability to call his own number. (DB)

8. Buffalo Bills

2019 record: 5-1
Last week: 7
Telling Stat: 20.2

Number of points scored per game by the Bills so far this season. No team that made the playoffs in 2018 scored fewer than 21 points per game. Buffalo’s defence struggled a bit on Sunday against the Dolphins, and if that turns into a trend the team will need much more from the offence going forward. (GL)

9. Seattle Seahawks

2019 record: 5-2
Last week: 4
Telling Stat: 15-1

Russell Wilson’s touchdown pass-to-interception ratio, tied with Patrick Mahomes for the league’s best among starters, is just one of the many reasons he’s atop several early MVP ballots. Wilson, who is on pace for the most accurate season of his career, was the last starter standing without tossing one to the other team before Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. (ES)

10. Carolina Panthers

2019 record: 4-2
Last week: 11
Telling Stat: 2,461

The number of yards from scrimmage Christian McCaffrey is on pace for this season, which illustrates how the Carolina offence has shifted from relying on Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, or whoever they put behind centre. McCaffrey is perhaps the only non-QB garnering legitimate MVP consideration. (MJ)

11. Los Angeles Rams

2019 record: 4-3
Last week: 13
Telling Stat: 23

The Rams’ current league ranking in rushing, down drastically from last season’s third-place standing, gives us a glimpse of life without Todd Gurley — and it isn’t much fun. Gurley has still been productive — he’s got five touchdowns, including an incredible TD catch (!!!) against the Falcons — but his overall limited workload this season due to an ongoing knee ailment has removed a dimension from this offence and put more pressure on Jared Goff on an every-down basis. (ES)

12. Dallas Cowboys

2019 record: 4-3
Last week: 15
Telling Stat: 437.9

The Cowboys’ yards per game, the best in the league. Say what you will about this Dallas team, the Dak Prescott-led unit can rack up the yards. If it continues this way all through the season, this is going to be a hard team to beat come playoff time. (GL)

13. Indianapolis Colts

2019 record: 4-2
Last week: 17
Telling Stat: 14

The number of touchdowns Jacoby Brissett has thrown through six games this year. That’s one more TD pass than he had in 2017 when he started 15 games for the Colts. MVP frontrunners Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes are the only QBs currently with a better TD-to-INT differential than Brissett’s plus-11. (MJ)

14. Houston Texans

2019 record: 4-3
Last week: 8
Telling Stat: 25

The number of pre-snap penalties the Texans have committed through seven games. That’s the most in the NFL. Left tackle Laremy Tunsil, for example, has been largely great since being acquired from the Dolphins, but he has committed seven false-start penalties by himself. That’s more false starts than 16 teams have so far in 2019. His nine total penalties lead all players in the league. (MJ)

15. Detroit Lions

2019 record: 2-3-1
Last week: 12
Telling Stat: 4

Number of receivers in NFL history who’ve had multiple games with four receiving TDs. Marvin Jones Jr. joined that group this past weekend. He doesn’t get enough respect as a No. 1 receiver. (DB)

16. Chicago Bears

2019 record: 3-3
Last week: 14
Telling Stat: 41.1 per cent

Mitch Trubisky’s completion percentage on throws of 20-plus yards. Matt Nagy’s offence is modelled after what Andy Reid does with Patrick Mahomes — lots of pushing the ball down field hunting for explosive plays. Problem is, Trubisky doesn’t have the arm to do it. (DB)

17. Philadelphia Eagles

2019 record: 3-4
Last week: 16
Telling Stat: 13-12

The Eagles’ record since winning Super Bowl LII. Philadelphia has been consistently mediocre since lifting the Lombardi almost two years ago. In a tough NFC, Doug Pederson will need to get much more out of this group to have a shot at the division or wild card. 9-7 won’t do it. (GL)

18. Oakland Raiders

2019 record: 3-3
Last week: 18
Telling Stat: 5

The number of consecutive road games the Raiders will have played by the time their ridiculously long trip concludes — perhaps a sorry preview for Oaklanders preparing to bid their team farewell for real as the Raiders head to Vegas next season. Their Week 7 matchup in Houston, which comes after games in Minnesota, Indianapolis, England (technically a home game, but come on), and Green Bay will determine whether the Raiders return home with a winning record or not. (ES)

19. Pittsburgh Steelers

2019 record: 2-4
Last week: 19
Telling Stat: $3 million

The Steelers’ projected cap space for 2020. Only two teams have less. (DB)

20. Arizona Cardinals

2019 record: 3-3-1
Last week: 27
Telling Stat: 167

The number of passes completed by Kyler Murray through seven games this season, ranking him sixth league-wide in the category. Completion No. 162 Sunday against the Giants earned him a spot in history, and his performances over the Cardinals’ three-game win streak show this slow-to-heat-up partnership between Murray and rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury is bound to catch fire soon for some exciting football in the desert. (ES)

21. Jacksonville Jaguars

2019 record: 3-4
Last week: 23
Telling Stat: 102.1

The number of rushing yards per game Leonard Fournette is averaging so far this season. Fournette has bounced back nicely from a sophomore slump and he’s taking pressure off rookie QB Gardner Minshew. (MJ)

22. Cleveland Browns

2019 record: 2-4
Last week: 21
Telling Stat: 1.6

Baker Mayfield’s passer rating under pressure over the last eight weeks — unsurprisingly the worst in the league. Mayfield’s inability to handle pressure — and the Browns’ inability to keep him from being pressured — is their biggest issue. (DB)

23. Tennessee Titans

2019 record: 3-4
Last week: 26
Telling Stat: 79.31

Ryan Tannehill’s completion percentage in his first start with the Titans. In four-plus seasons as Tennessee’s starter, Marcus Mariota, the man Tannehill replaced, exceeded 79 per cent completions just three times in 64 career appearances (including playoffs). (MJ)

24. New York Giants

2019 record: 2-5
Last week: 22
Telling Stat: 18

The number of turnovers lost by the Giants so far this season, the most in the NFL through seven weeks. The switch to Danny Dimes was probably the right one given the lack of enthusiasm for an Eli Manning-led offence, but it’s meant a lot more risk – risk that has hurt the Giants in games they’ve been competitive in. (GL)

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2019 record: 2-4
Last week: 24
Telling Stat: 304.5

The number of passing yards per game the Bucs give up, which ranks dead last in the NFL. Funnily enough, it’s the complete opposite of their run defence, which allows a league-low 68 yards per game. (MJ)

26. Los Angeles Chargers

2019 record: 2-5
Last week: 25
Telling Stat: 17

The number of prominent players the Chargers have lost, either temporarily or for the duration of the year, to injuries this season — a number that includes franchise cornerstones like Derwin James, Russell Okung and Melvin Ingram. The league’s unluckiest team currently has 11 players on injured reserve, including the newly added Forrest Lamp. (ES)

27. Denver Broncos

2019 record: 2-5
Last week: 20
Telling Stat: 112

Denver’s point total on the season, which has them tied with the Chicago Bears for the fourth-lowest tally in the league. The Broncos look stuck offensively, with Joe Flacco’s name being added to the list of ineffective quarterbacks acquired under John Elway’s watch.

Another telling stat: 0. That’s the amount of pep in Flacco’s step as he hits the football field on a weekly basis. (ES)

28. New York Jets

2019 record: 1-5
Last week: 28
Telling Stat: 83.5

Le’Veon Bell’s yards from scrimmage per game, the lowest of his career so far and the first time the number has been less than 100 since his rookie season. The Jets offence has struggled mightily – especially with Sam Darnold out of the lineup – but it needs to get Bell more involved. (GL)

29. Atlanta Falcons

2019 record: 1-6
Last week: 29
Telling Stat: 5

The number of sacks the Falcons have through seven games, which is the worst mark from any team in the past 10 years. The non-existent pass rush (despite some elite play from Grady Jarrett) has contributed to this team’s head-scratching defensive woes. They’ve allowed 124 points against (that’s 41.3 points per game) in the past three weeks. (MJ)

30. Washington Redskins

2019 record: 1-6
Last week: 30
Telling Stat: 10.5

Average number of first downs per game over their last four, during which Washington’s offence has scored 3, 7, 17 and 0 points, respectively. That means Washington’s offence is averaging fewer than seven points a game over the last month. (GL)

31. Cincinnati Bengals

2019 record: 0-7
Last week: 31
Telling Stat: 4

Number of Tyler Boyd drops in the last two weeks. With A.J. Green out, the Bengals have needed Boyd to step up and it hasn’t happened. In fact, he’s regressed — Boyd had just three drops all last year. Andy Dalton has also thrown four interceptions targeting Boyd after that didn’t happen once all last year. (DB)

32. Miami Dolphins

2019 record: 0-6
Last week: 32
Telling Stat: 10.5 and 35.2

Points per game scored and allowed by the Dolphins, both the worst in the NFL. We could dig into all the problems Miami has as a team, but when it comes down to it, these are the only stats that matter. (GL)

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.