NFL

NFL predictions: SportsLine's Power Rankings for all 32 teams and best value plays for 2018

Super Bowl rematch? SportsLine says the Patriots and Eagles are the two best teams in 2018

 

 

The start of the 2018 NFL season is less than a week away. On Thursday, the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons will kick off the year at Lincoln Financial Field, and the Eagles will begin their title defense. Nobody knows exactly how the season will play out, but that's why we here at CBSSports.com have SportsLine.

SportsLine runs season simulations based on how each team would perform against all 31 other teams in the league on a neutral field, then power ranks the teams in order of how they perform in those simulations. That data informs SportsLine's season-long win predictions, playoff odds, division odds, and Super Bowl odds. 

Below, you'll find SportsLine's preseason power rankings for the 2018 season, which see the defending champion Eagles check in at No. 2 behind the team they defeated in Super Bowl LII, the New England Patriots

TEAM POWER RANK SIM %
New England Patriots 1 71.8%
Philadelphia Eagles 2 63.9%
Pittsburgh Steelers 3 61.7%
Minnesota Vikings 4 60.7%
New Orleans Saints 5 58.6%
Green Bay Packers 6 58.5%
Dallas Cowboys 7 57.8%
Atlanta Falcons 8 57.2%
Jacksonville Jaguars 9 56.6%
Los Angeles Rams 10 56.5%
Baltimore Ravens 11 56.0%
Carolina Panthers 12 53.9%
Los Angeles Chargers 13 52.5%
Seattle Seahawks 14 52.1%
Tennessee Titans 15 51.6%
Kansas City Chiefs 16 51.0%
Detroit Lions 17 50.2%
San Francisco 49ers 18 46.9%
Houston Texans 19 46.4%
Arizona Cardinals 20 46.2%
Oakland Raiders 21 45.6%
Washington 22 44.6%
Chicago Bears 23 44.2%
New York Giants 24 43.0%
Buffalo Bills 25 42.0%
Indianapolis Colts 26 41.6%
Cincinnati Bengals 27 41.2%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28 40.3%
Denver Broncos 29 39.6%
Cleveland Browns 30 37.3%
New York Jets 31 36.3%
Miami Dolphins 32 34.1%

The Patriots, Steelers, and Jaguars are the only AFC teams that rank in the top 10 of SportsLine's power rankings. They're joined by seven teams from the NFC, including two each from the NFC East (Eagles, Cowboys), North (Vikings, Packers), and South (Saints, Falcons). Conversely, the bottom 10 group of teams includes seven teams from the AFC -- including each of the bottom four -- and just three from the NFC. 

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SportsLine's win projections provide a slightly different picture than do the power rankings. The schedules for each team obviously affect their actual winning percentages in the simulations, and you'll see several changes in the projected standings below. 

AFC WINS NFC WINS
New England Patriots 11.5 Philadelphia Eagles 10.9
Jacksonville Jaguars 9.9 Los Angeles Rams 9.8
Pittsburgh Steelers 9.9 Minnesota Vikings 9.6
Los Angeles Chargers 9.2 New Orleans Saints 9.3
Baltimore Ravens 9.8 Green Bay Packers 9.1
Kansas City Chiefs 8.6 Atlanta Falcons 8.7

This simulation gives us two new playoff teams in the AFC, with the Chargers and Ravens replacing the Titans and Bills, and one team in the NFC, with the Packers replacing the Panthers. The teams that jump in the standings here include the Jaguars, who move past the Steelers due to their easier schedule; and the Rams, who had a 59 percent chance to win their division and thus leap to the No. 2 seed in the East. Meanwhile, the Chiefs and Falcons jump over the Titans and Cowboys, respectively, to grab the No. 6 seed in their conferences. 

The simulations give the top five teams in the AFC each a 65 percent chance or better to make the playoffs, while another five teams (Chiefs, Titans, Texans, Broncos and Colts) have between a 25 and 50 percent chance of getting into the postseason. The NFC is a bit more well-balanced. The Eagles and Rams are over 70 percent, but the Vikings, Saints, Packers, Falcons, Cowboys, Panthers, Lions, 49ers and Seahawks all have playoff odds somewhere between 30 and 65 percent. 

On the other end of the spectrum, teams like the Raiders (6.3 wins, 12.5 percent chance at the playoffs), Bears (5.9 wins, 5.3 percent), and Giants (6.2 wins, 7.2 percent) are predicted to disappoint despite a lot of offseason buzz, while the Browns are projected for an incredible 5.5-win improvement but still finish last in the AFC in the simulations. 

The simulations have five teams beating their Las Vegas over/under by more than 0.5 wins, making them strong value plays on the positive side: Patriots, Lions, Jaguars, Cardinals and Ravens. Meanwhile, the Steelers, Buccaneers, Bears, Giants, Falcons, Texans, Bengals, Packers and Raiders each fall short of their over/under by at least half a win, making some of them potentially strong negative plays. 

Of course, you're likely curious about Super Bowl odds. There are seven teams SportsLine gives a 5 percent chance or better of winning Super Bowl LIII. In order, that's the Patriots, Eagles, Steelers, Jaguars, Vikings, Rams and Saints. Here, the Pats and Eagles look like the best plays given their respective Super Bowl odds at sports books. 

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