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Mason's Power Rankings: No changes at the top, but Rams rising

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 (6-0)
Last week: 1

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 1
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 11

2. Cincinnati Bengals (6-0)
Last week: 2

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 3
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 12

3. Green Bay Packers (6-0)
Last week: 3

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 4
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 10

4. Arizona Cardinals (5-2)
Last week: 4

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 2
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 5

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5. Carolina Panthers (6-0)
Last week: 5

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 9
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 6

The weaknesses are few for the Panthers, who are one of three teams -- along with Arizona and Cincinnati -- to rank in the top 10 in adjusted per-possession efficiency on offense (ninth) and defense (sixth). The Panthers' move-the-chains rates of one every 3.27 snaps on offense and one every 3.81 snaps allowed on defense rank sixth and fourth, respectively.

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

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 29
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 3

7. New York Jets (4-2)
Last week: 7

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 11
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 1

8. Atlanta Falcons (6-1)
Last week: 9

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 5
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 14

9. Seattle Seahawks (3-4)
Last week: 10

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 27
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 2

Seattle hasn't forced opponents' mistakes like it once did, but its overall efficiency offers a hint that the Seahawks are starting to play close to expectations -- and with three of their next four games at home, they have an opportunity to soar back into the playoff mix and overcome a 2-4 start that featured three defeats by four points or fewer.

10. New York Giants (4-3)
Last week: 12

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 13
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 23

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11. St. Louis Rams (3-3)
Last week: 17

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 31
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 7

If Todd Gurley can remain healthy, his potential is boundless. His cuts and balance are exactly where they were before he tore his ACL last year at Georgia. And if needed, he can even pass the football. Gurley has transformed the Rams.

12. Minnesota Vikings (4-2)
Last week: 13

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 15
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 9

13. Oakland Raiders (3-3)
Last week: 15

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 7
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 26

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
Last week: 8

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 8
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 15

15. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
Last week: 11

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 28
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 4

**

  1. Miami Dolphins (3-3)** Last week: 18

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 16
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 13

If you were going just by the last two weeks under interim head coach Dan Campbell, the Dolphins would be in the top 10, if not higher. Miami has averaged 3.0 points and 40.2 yards per possession the last two weeks (adjusted for kneeldowns); if they maintained that pace for the entire season, they would rank second in both categories behind the Patriots.

17. Kansas City Chiefs (2-5)
Last week: 22

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 24
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 17

18. Buffalo Bills (3-4)
Last week: 14

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 19
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 16

Sloppiness continues to hold back the Bills, who have racked up a league-leading 670 penalty yards -- 137 more than anybody else. Thirteen fumbles (four lost) -- second-most in the league behind the Browns -- and seven interceptions also explain why the Bills rank dead last in error rate.

19. Dallas Cowboys (2-4)
Last week: 16

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 10
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 22

20. New Orleans Saints (3-4)
Last week: 25

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 12
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 29

21. Tennessee Titans (1-5)
Last week: 24

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 30
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 8

How do you move up three spots after a loss? Play perhaps your best defensive game of the season against one of the league's most efficient offenses (Atlanta is fourth in first-down rate, fifth in per-possession efficiency and 10th in yardage per play). Tennessee held the Falcons to 10 points on 10 possessions, bending, but rarely breaking.

**

  1. Baltimore Ravens (1-6)** Last week: 19

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 18
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 28

Another week, another one-score loss. The Ravens aren't beating themselves with mistakes; they rank 15th in error rate, based on penalties and giveaways. But they don't force opponents to make mistakes, and their passing game is inefficient, ranking 30th in first-down rate (one every 3.60 snaps).

23. Cleveland Browns (2-5)
Last week: 20

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 26
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 18

24. Indianapolis Colts (3-4)
Last week: 23

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 23
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 20

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)
Last week: 27

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 14
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 24

26. Washington Redskins (3-4)
Last week: 28

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 17
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 19

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27. San Diego Chargers (2-5)
Last week: 21

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 6
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 27

The offensive line is shredded by injuries and the defense is at the cusp of collapse, now ranking 27th in adjusted per-series efficiency and 32nd in average yardage allowed per play. San Diego's special teams is also struggling, ranking 31st in punting efficiency (net average/inside-the-20 rate/touchback rate) and 32nd in overall return efficiency (kickoff and punt returns measured over average). This is what a team in trouble looks like.

28. Chicago Bears (2-4)
Last week: 30

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 22
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 31

Sometimes you move forward by standing still.

29. San Francisco 49ers (2-5)
Last week: 29

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 32
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 32

30. Houston Texans (2-5)
Last week: 26

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 20
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 21

**

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5)** Last week: 32

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 21
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 30

32. Detroit Lions (1-6)
Last week: 31

Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (offense): 25
Adjusted per-possession efficiency rank (defense): 25

The Lions didn't want to wait for the bye to shake up their offensive coaching staff, and with good reason: they need to get wins when they can. Their first five games after the bye include two clashes with the currently undefeated Packers, home games agains the Eagles and resurgent Raiders and a trip to St. Louis. Their trip to London appears to be their last stand of the season.

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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