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However, at least the NFL kicked off the season on time and has managed to keep it together – for the most part. There have been some significant schedule changes due to teams taking their bye weeks early because of COVID outbreaks. But for the most part, it’s gone as well as could be expected.

Media Ratings

According to the AP, as of November 12th, the NFL saw a six percent decline over last year’s midseason point. I find this interesting because the experts expected the drop to be worse. To my uneducated mind, this seems counterintuitive. With everyone essentially stuck inside, and stadium stands around the nation basically closed to spectators, should television and digital views be at an all-time high?

I guess not. Maybe it’s an out of sight, out of mind type of situation.

Still, the games are averaging roughly 15.1 million views a pop when you combine television with other forms of digital media. The former president of CBS Sports, Neal Pilson, stated, “Considering all the issues the NFL has had to deal with, the ratings are OK. It hasn’t been a great year for ratings considering everything that has happened, but they aren’t in the toilet either.”

A lot of this can be blamed on the presidential election cycle. Back in 2016, midseason NFL ratings were down 14 percent over the previous year. So, if we situationally compare 2020 to 2016, ratings are actually up eight percent. Another contributing factor was the NBA playoffs and World Series creeping further into the NFL season than ever before.

NFL Team Ratings

If you like to play fantasy football, or perhaps to drop the occasional bet on an online sportsbooks around your radar? Without doubt it’s always a good idea to stay on top of the power ratings. That’s right “Rating”, not the power rankings that you find endless articles on local beat websites that favor their team. I am talking about power ratings that rate by how many points a team should win or lose to an average team while playing at a neutral site.

As we head into Week 12, the Kansas City Chiefs are still kings of the Football Power Index hill at 9.2.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs, 9.2
  2. Baltimore Ravens 8.6
  3. New Orleans Saints, 7.1
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 6.3
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers, 6.1
  6. Green Bay Packers, 4.3
  7. Indianapolis Colts, 3.5
  8. Los Angeles Rams, 3.0
  9. Seattle Seahawks, 2.8
  10. San Francisco 49ers, 2.1
  11. Miami Dolphins, 1.7
  12. Arizona Cardinals, 1.5
  13. Las Vegas Raiders, 1.2
  14. Buffalo Bills, 0.6
  15. Minnesota Vikings, 0.3 — Average Team Example
  16. Tennessee Titans, 0.2 — Average Team Example
  17. New England Patriots, -0.1 — Average Team Example
  18. Chicago Bears, -0.8
  19. Los Angeles Chargers, -1.0
  20. Atlanta Falcons, -1.3
  21. Philadelphia Eagles, -1.9
  22. Carolina Panthers, -2.0
  23. Cleveland Browns, -2.1
  24. Houston Texans, -2.8
  25. Detroit Lions, -3.4
  26. NY Giants, -4.3
  27. Denver Broncos, -4.3
  28. Cincinnati Bengals, -4.6
  29. Dallas Cowboys, -5.2
  30. Washington Redskins, -5.9
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars, -7.7
  32. NY Jets, -11.1

When you check each team’s rating every week, you can quickly do the math and check to see if a point spread you see online is worth investigation with further handicapping. For example, if the LA Rams are playing the Detroit Lions in the Motor City, we would give three points to the Lions for playing at home, bringing their rating to -0.4. The Rams should beat an average team by points on a neutral field, but we already adjusted for that by giving the Lions 3. So, we are left with an initial point spread of 3.4. So, if you see LA as -3 or -3.5 favorites, it makes sense. But if they were listed as -5 favorites, it might be worth looking into Lions to get the cover.

“NFL television ratings see 6% decline at … – AP News.” https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-nfl-tampa-bay-buccaneers-television-football-e9989e64aa312366af2b6ecdab29329e. Accessed 19 Nov. 2020.