With the baseball postseason over, it’s time to immerse ourselves in the NFL and NBA. If you haven’t paid close attention to this point, or are just curious for some interesting analysis, the Bill James Online Power Ratings are here to help.


Bill James Online Power Ratings
1. Saints 111.7
2. Chiefs 110.9
3. Rams 110.2
4. Steelers 109.5
5. Ravens 108.5

The top NFL team by the power ratings is the New Orleans Saints, who edge out the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens round out the Top 5 overall. The Power Ratings are intended to show how many points above (or below) average that a team is to that point in the season. The NFL Power Ratings use 100 as a baseline, so the Saints would be 11.7 points better than the average team.

The 8-1 Saints have eight straight wins, including two wins over Top-5 teams. They’ve beaten the Ravens on the road and the Rams at home. They’ll face the struggling defending Super Bowl champion Eagles on Sunday. Drew Brees is playing like an MVP with 21 touchdown passes and only one interception.

The Chiefs have looked ultra-impressive thanks largely to quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whose first season as a starter has been a record-setting one. His 31 touchdown passes are a Chiefs single-season record.

Rams running back Todd Gurley may have something to say about Brees’ and Mahomes’ MVP candidacies. He leads the NFL with 988 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns and 17 touchdowns overall. Gurley has a chance to be the first player to lead the NFL in touchdowns scored in consecutive seasons since Shaun Alexander for the Seahawks in 2004 and 2005.


Bill James Online Power Ratings
1. Bucks 214.9
2. Trail Blazers 209.8
3. Warriors 207.8
4. Clippers 206.9
5. Raptors 206.8

(Note that the NBA uses 200 as a baseline. The Bucks are 14.9 points better than the average team).

The early surprise in the NBA’s Power Ratings (which are based entirely on this season’s performance) is that there are two teams ahead of the Golden State Warriors — the Milwaukee Bucks are No. 1 and the Portland Trail Blazers are No. 2.

Both the Bucks and Trail Blazers are 10-3. The Bucks have shown their mettle by beating the Raptors (No. 5 in our rankings) by 15 and the Warriors by 23, though they’ve lost to both the Clippers (No. 4 in our rankings) and the Trail Blazers. The addition of Brook Lopez has boosted a Bucks team that leads the NBA in three-pointers made and is averaging 121.6 points per game. Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds to lead the way for them.

Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and the Trail Blazers are trying to bounce back from a disappointing finish to last season when they got swept by the Pelicans in the first round of the playoffs. They’ve won three straight games against prominent teams — the Bucks, Clippers and Celtics– to wrap up a six-game homestand.

Up next is six straight on the road, including back-to-back games to close the trip against the Bucks and Warriors. Their next home game is against the Clippers on Nov. 25.

The power ratings will be worth checking again at that point to see whether the Trail Blazers have the staying power to remain among the league’s top teams.

If you want to keep up with the Power Ratings, you can follow them with a subscription to Bill James Online.