The Loop

The NFL's best team, according to Vegas, might surprise you (Hint: It's not the Patriots)

September 14, 2018

Who is the best team in the NFL this season? It's a question football fans will be asking up until Super Bowl LIII in February, but it's one that Vegas sportsbooks always need to have a handle on. A constantly-changing ranking of all 32 teams is how oddsmakers set point spreads each week, and if you've ever gambled on football, you know these guys are damn good.

Anyway, on Friday, AP odds provider RJ Bell provided the public with a look at a current NFL power ranking that's being used in Sin City. And the league's best team — at least, right now — might surprise you. It's not the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. It's not the usually defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. But rather, the Los Angeles Rams. Check it out:

The Rams were one of the NFL's biggest surprises last season when they went 11-5 and won the NFC West under 30-year-old rookie head coach Sean McVay. In fact, the Rams may have gotten a boost from a viral video this week of McVay's Beautiful Mind-esque brilliance in remembering his play calls from years past.

Of course, this ranking doesn't mean much. Except that if the Rams played any other team on a neutral field this week, they'd be the favorite, including by just a half point over the Patriots. And by a whopping 15 points over the Buffalo Bills, who, according to the chart, are 4.5(!) points worse than any other team. Good lord, are the Bills bad.

We also learned from this handy graphic that the Dallas Cowboys are the most average team in the league. And that my Giants, led by Eli Manning and armed with No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley, are trending toward winning another Super Bowl having another early selection in next year's NFL Draft. Hey, it could be worse. Sorry, Buffalo. . .