T Shoe Index Team Adjustments After Week 2
In typical betting fashion, what looked to be two easy covers on our best bets for three quarters of the Cardinals and Rams games quickly turned into major sweats down the stretch. But, all's well that ends well, and thanks to Sean McVay deciding to kick a last second field goal for the cover, we ended with a 2-0 sweep on best bets. As I mentioned last week, there are less drastic swings in NFL power ratings compared to my college football ratings. So, after Week 2 in the league, which teams are trending up and which teams are trending down?
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Teams I Upgraded in the T Shoe Index
For the second week in a row, the Indianapolis Colts have improved their TSI power rating. To be fair, they started extremely lowly rated (-6.2), so they had some room for growth but after hanging 31 points on the lowly Texans, they saw a 1.4-point improvement in their rating – most in the NFL this week. They’re still ranked 29th overall, with the 18th-ranked offense and the 28th-ranked defense.
I think the Colts have their guy at QB with rookie Anthony Richardson, who hopefully can stay healthy despite the fearlessness he plays with. Richardson has led the Colts offense to a 26-point average through two games; the concern for the Colts is defensively, where they’ve posted negative defensive game grades for the first two games, -8.6 and -1.6, respectively. I don’t think this team is at a point where I’d feel comfortable betting them to win the AFC South, but they currently sit at +700 if you want to buy relatively low on a team trending up.
The rich are getting richer. The Dallas Cowboys were the #1 biggest upgrade after Week 1, and they find themselves at No. 2 again this week. After out-scoring opponents 70-10 through two weeks, TSI can’t seem to keep up with how good this team is. My No. 1-rated team generally had a power rating around 6 or 7 points above league average, Dallas is now up to a whopping 9.3 points above average after posting game grades of 33.3 (!) and 16.
For context, only two teams since 2000 have a higher power rating than what the Cowboys currently have – the 2007 Patriots and the 2019 Ravens. I’m curious to see if the market can keep up with this team moving forward. The Cowboys are still +105 to win the NFC East and +750 to win the Super Bowl, which could be solid value if this upward trajectory continues.
Teams I Downgraded in the T Shoe Index
After getting demolished by the Buffalo Bills, the Las Vegas Raiders got a substantial 2-point downgrade this week, which is to be expected when you post a game grade of -19.4. Vegas now finds itself ranked No. 28 in the TSI, posting the 28th-ranked offense and the 24th-ranked defense.
Despite the downgrade, I still project the Raiders to go over their preseason win total of 6.5, with 7 wins still the most likely outcome, according to my updated ratings and projections. Being in a division with the Chiefs, I don’t think a divisional future is in the cards, but they currently sit at +1000 if you feel like buying a lottery ticket.
Last week, the Cleveland Browns were my second most upgraded team; unfortunately for them, a trip to Pittsburgh and a gruesome injury to Nick Chubb later, they find themselves No. 2 on the biggest downgrades list. I’m not sure where this team turns from here if Chubb is out for the season, as he is the offensive identity of that team. They now sit third in my AFC North power ratings, and just got beat by the team who’s fourth.
The silver lining for Cleveland is that they have the 6th-easiest schedule in the league, which should be a welcomed sight for the team ranked 12th and trending down in the TSI ratings. Their win total projection now sits exactly at the preseason O/U of 9.5, and this is certainly not the trajectory of a team that I’d want to lay any futures money on at this point, until we see how they respond to losing Chubb.
To learn more about who I am or what my T Shoe Index is, be sure to read my introduction on VSiN.com and check out my free NFL Guide with ratings, projections and win probabilities for every single game this season and follow me on X, @TShoeIndex.