clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bengals have the fourth-highest Elo rating heading into 2023

If you’re a stats nerd, you’ll want to check this out.

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

According to Lee Sharpe of, the Bengals are expected to score the fourth-most points over the average in the upcoming season.

Let’s just say that’ll mean there is going to be some exciting football played in the Queen City.

According to Carnegie Mellon University, a team’s Elo rating is a system, originally designed for chess by physics professor Arpad Elo, for teams based on head-to-head matchups in a zero-sum game (when there is one loser and one winner).

This is about as good of an explanation as you’re going to get from me, because here is the formula for figuring Elo ratings in the NFL, per Carnegie Mellon.

Here’s a breakdown from FiveThirtyEight:

In essence, Elo assigns every team a power rating (the NFL average is around 1500). Those ratings are then used to generate win probabilities for games, based on the difference in quality between the two teams involved, plus adjustments for changes at starting quarterback, the location of the matchup (including travel distance) and any extra rest days either team had coming into the contest. After the game, each team’s rating changes based on the result, in relation to how unexpected the outcome was and the winning margin. This process is repeated for every game, from kickoff in September until the Super Bowl.

What we can deduct from the Elo ratings based on the spreads from DraftKings, is the Bengals are one of the best teams in the NFL, ranked only behind the Chiefs, Bills and Eagles. They’re six spots ahead of the Ravens, the second-highest-ranked AFC North team. They’re 11 spots ahead of the Browns and 14 spots ahead of the Steelers.

When averaged together, the Bengals' opponents have an average Elo rating of 1499.64, which would rank as the 18th highest in the NFL between the Vikings and Steelers. The Bengals Elo is 1589, which means they are better than all the teams they play averaged together.

That’s a good spot to be in.