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Mason's Power Rankings: Broncos move up; Raiders in top 10

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The rankings incorporate offensive, defensive and special-teams metrics, with a focus on yardage per play, adjusted per-possession efficiency (including points per possession) and the rate at which teams gain and prevent first downs. Strength of schedule and error rates (penalties and giveaways) are also factored into the calculation.*

Possession data is adjusted to eliminate kneeldowns or other obvious scenarios where the offense is not attempting to advance the football.**

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1. New England Patriots (7-0)
Last week: 1

Once all the numbers are crunched, there is a greater gap from No. 1 (26.06 points) to No. 2 (48.6 points) than any other spot in the Power Rankings. The Patriots will be difficult to dislodge from the top spot unless they go on an extended losing streak.

2. Cincinnati Bengals (7-0)
Last week: 2

3. Denver Broncos (7-0)
Last week: 6

A highly efficient, 500-yard performance and the first three-score win over the season sent the Broncos soaring into the top three. One performance was not going to move the offense into the elite, but the Broncos improved from 29th to 22nd in adjusted per-possession efficiency, 31st to 18th in yardage per play and 31st to 24th in first-down rate. The Broncos also improved from 31st to 16th in yardage per play, and from 22nd to 12th in yardage per pass play.

4. Arizona Cardinals (6-2)
Last week: 4

The Cardinals are still the only team to rank in the top six in adjusted per-possession efficiency on offense (No. 2) and defense (No. 6), and they remain No. 2 in net point differential.

5. Carolina Panthers (7-0)
Last week: 5

6. Green Bay Packers (6-1)
Last week: 3

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  1. Seattle Seahawks (4-4)** Last week: 9

It helped to play the 49ers and Cowboys the last two weeks, but the Seahawks' defense appears to be rounding into form, with no touchdowns allowed in the last two games. The defense has allowed just seven touchdowns in its last six games, and now ranks No. 1 in adjusted per-series efficiency. Reports of the Seahawks' demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated.

8. St. Louis Rams (4-3)
Last week: 11

9. Minnesota Vikings (5-2)
Last week: 12

Strong special teams (fourth in overall efficiency) and relatively error-free football (8th in adjusted giveaway rate and third in fewest penalty yards), help the steady Vikings rise. With two games against the Packers remaining, Minnesota has the chance to make the NFC North race interesting until the end.

10. Oakland Raiders (4-3)
Last week: 13

11. New York Jets (4-3)
Last week: 7

12. Atlanta Falcons (6-2)
Last week: 8

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  1. Kansas City Chiefs (3-5)** Last week: 17

Four of the Chiefs' first five games after a Week 9 bye are against AFC West foes. Kansas City has a plus-13 point differential.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)
Last week: 14

15. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
Last week: 15

16. New York Giants (4-4)
Last week: 10

17. Buffalo Bills (3-4)
Last week: 18

18. Baltimore Ravens (2-6)
Last week: 22

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)
Last week: 25

Rookie Jameis Winston is finding a groove. The Bucs rank seventh in yardage per pass play and eighth in first-down rate on pass plays. The Bucs don't play another team with a winning record until Dec. 6 against Atlanta. If they are to surge into the playoff race, now is the time.

20. New Orleans Saints (4-4)
Last week: 20

21. Dallas Cowboys (2-5)
Last week: 19

22. Miami Dolphins (3-4)
Last week: 16

The biggest descent this week belonged to Miami, which followed up its two best games of the year with its worst.

23. Tennessee Titans (1-6)
Last week: 22

A still-stout defense (eighth in adjusted per-possession efficiency) and one of the league's best special-teams units (fifth in overall efficiency) continues to buoy the Titans, keeping them higher than might be expected. Tennessee also ranks 12th in first-down rate on offense (one first down earned every 3.53 snaps), and it will be interesting to see if the coaching change from Ken Whisenhunt to Mike Mularkey gets the Titans playing as well as their numbers indicate they should.

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  1. Indianapolis Colts (3-5)** Last week: 24

Despite a late comeback against the Panthers, Indianapolis continues to lag because of an inefficient offense that is 27th in adjusted per-possession efficiency, 24th in yardage per play and 28th in first-down rate.

25. Washington Redskins (3-4)
Last week: 26

26. Houston Texans (3-5)
Last week: 30

27. Cleveland Browns (2-6)
Last week: 23

28. San Diego Chargers (2-6)
Last week: 27

Despite injuries on offense, the Chargers remain efficient on that side of the football, ranking fifth in per-possession efficiency, fourth in yardage per play and fifth in first-down rate. But without Keenan Allen, with the rushing game struggling and with a banged-up offensive line, the Chargers might not be able to sustain that production -- which is all that separates them from falling completely out of contention.

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  1. San Francisco 49ers (2-6)** Last week: 29

30. Chicago Bears (2-5)
Last week: 28

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5)
Last week: 31

In the AFC South, 2-5 gets you within a half-game of a playoff spot -- even when you're 21st in adjusted per-series offensive efficiency, 30th in the same category on defense and 31st in special-teams efficiency.

32. Detroit Lions (1-7)
Last week: 32

New offensive coaches provided no help to the Lions last week, and they finished with their worst offensive performance of the season. The Lions are the only team in the league's bottom 10 in adjusted per-possession efficiency, yardage per play and first-down rate on both offense and defense.

The rankings are culled from 30 different statistics:

OVERALL:

Wins
Point differential
Ratings Percentage Index
Penalty rate
Opponents' penalty rate

OFFENSE:

Giveaway rate
Adjusted per-possession efficiency (yardage and points per possession)
Yardage per play
Move-the-chains rate
Yardage per pass play
First-down percentage on pass plays
Yardage per rush
First-down percentage on rushing plays

DEFENSE:

Takeaway rate
Adjusted per-possession efficiency
Yardage per play
Move-the-chains rate
Yardage per pass play
First-down percentage on pass plays
Yardage per rush
First-down percentage on rushing plays

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Kick block rate
Kickoff-return average
Punt return average
Net punting average (which incorporates opponents punt returns)
Punting touchback rate
Punting inside-the-20 rate
Touchback percentage on kickoffs
Opposing kickoff-return average
Placekicking efficiency

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