NFL Win Totals for 2018 by Wisdom of Crowds

You want an early grasp on the NFL season. 

Analytics based on game data has become increasingly important in making football predictions. However, it has its limits during the preseason. The NFL has a strict salary cap, which implies regression to the mean from last year’s numbers.

Here, I present a different approach, and it might seem stupid at first.

Let’s take the subjective power rankings posted out by media outlets after the draft and aggregate them into preseason NFL rankings. While this might seem like a reach, data from the past four seasons supports this wisdom of crowds approach.

Let me explain.

The power of wisdom of crowds

The wisdom of crowds approach to NFL rankings was inspired by the preseason college football polls. My research shows that the higher ranked team in the preseason USA Today Coaches poll wins 61.3% of bowl games (225-142 with no prediction between two unranked teams in 94 games the past 13 years).

For the past 5 season, I’ve gathered subjective power rankings the week before the NFL season starts. Since the 2013 season, the model has predicted 63.3% of NFL game winners. Remember, this method doesn’t consider any information from regular season games.

This year, I’m stretching this wisdom of crowds model by taking power rankings from after the NFL draft. While I don’t expect this model to be as accurate as the results above, the markets won’t be as accurate either.

To check out the rankings, click here.

NFL Win Totals

The following list shows win totals based on this wisdom of crowds model. All but 6 of these win totals are within 1 win of the total posted at Bookmaker on August 14th.

1. New England, 11.9
2. Philadelphia, 11.8
3. Los Angeles Rams, 10.8
4. Minnesota, 10.7
5. Jacksonville, 10.5
6. Pittsburgh, 10.4
7. New Orleans, 10.2
8. Green Bay, 9.7
9. Atlanta, 9.6
10. Los Angeles Chargers, 9.5
11. Houston, 9.2
12. Carolina, 8.8
13. Tennessee, 8.8
14. Kansas City, 8.6
15. San Francisco, 8.4
16. Oakland, 7.9
17. Baltimore, 7.4
18. Detroit, 7.4
19. Dallas, 7.4
20. Denver, 7.3
21. Seattle, 6.8
22. Washington, 6.6
23. Cincinnati, 6.4
24. Buffalo, 6.4
25. Tampa Bay, 6.4
26. Chicago, 6.3
27. New York Giants, 6.1
28. Arizona, 5.4
29. Miami, 5.3
30. New York Jets, 5.2
31. Indianapolis, 4.4
32. Cleveland, 4.4

Become a member of The Power Rank

I update this model with the power rankings that come out the week before the season starts.  Members have access to these numbers.

To learn more about becoming a member, click here.


  1. Who exactly is in this “crowd?” The win projections at the bottom in no way match what Bookmaker is currently offering (as of Aug 17, the same date this article was published). Cle is ~6, Ind is ~7.5, Mia is ~6.75, NYG is ~7.5.

  2. Half of these are no where near what Bookmaker was offering on Aug 14. Also, who are your sources for this crowd projection?

  3. I bet sports everyday. It started 40 years ago.

    I want to say “thank you” for providing this site. I think what I love most about it is the blending of your predictive model and contrasting it with current money lines. I used it last night to cash a ticket on the LA Angels. You had the Angels listed at a 61% chance of winning- the line was Angels +105- so I punted there. Interestingly enough, and this is a professional opinion from a guy who plays “angles” routinely- some coaches have teams ready to roll right out of the gate. Other’s don’t. I am not sure you could incorporate that insight into a model…

    Thus I had Va. Tech +7.5 (your model said +3 anyway) last night. I faded UCLA and Arizona (football) last week because those two programs have habitually under performed right out of the gate.

    Looking forward to incorporating your info into my 40 years of insight. Thanks again, Ed!

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