It was a pretty interesting first week of the 2010-11 NFL season. Some of the traditional powers looked like they haven’t lost a beat (New England, New Orleans, Green Bay), while some looked like they may have lost a step (San Diego, Indianapolis). But it is still early and there is plenty of time for teams to rise to glory or fall on their collective faces. With that being stated, here are my NFL Power Rankings for Week 2.
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Here are my Week 2, 2010 NFL Power Rankings:
1. New Orleans Saints (1-0) – I give Sean Payton a lot of credit for getting his team to regroup at halftime and realizing that they were throwing the ball way, way too much. Once the Saints started to run the ball in the second half they took control of the game. The Saints are 5-0 ATS in their last five games in San Francisco. But the defending Super Bowl champions are just 7-17 ATS in Week 2 and the Saints will have to be geared up for another nationally televised game. But going back to last year the last five games they have played have all been under the bright lights. The Saints are 10-2 ATS against the Niners and 5-0 ATS in San Fran. My two cents about the Reggie Bush fiasco: it’s the most immature “story” in sports right now. Mainstream media can be huge babies sometimes. And while they are worried about this nonsense I’m doing research on real info working to get paid!
2. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) – The most impressive thing about Baltimore’s win over the Jets was that in the second half, at crucial, crucial points, they started three straight series inside their own 10 yard line. They didn’t panic. They didn’t implode. They didn’t do anything stupid. They turned one of the drives into the game winning field goal and they were able to burn some time and keep the Jets clear with the other two. Baltimore will have to avoid a letdown here and will have to be ready to bang again with the Bengals. Baltimore is just 1-6 ATS in its last seven games after appearing on Monday Night Football.
3. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) – Look, on the one hand I agree that the Cowboys are perennially overrated and overhyped. But on the other hand you can’t ignore the talent here. The bottom line is what I’ve been saying for three years: THIS TEAM WILL NEVER WIN ANYTHING WITH WADE PHILLIPS AS A COACH. The guy is a loser. Period. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a pretty good team. And the reality is that their loss at Washington isn’t going to look as bad in December when the Redskins finish up a 10-6 year. Also, if Alex Barron doesn’t hold on the last play the Boys get a win. They are in DEFCON 4 and should be ready for a strong showing this week. Dallas is 7-1 ATS as single-digit favorites against the NFC North and they are 6-2 ATS at home. Also, Kyle Kosier and Marc Columbo will be back for the Cowboys.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) – Last week was just a classic Pittsburgh win, with the entire organization – from the players to the coaches to even the home fans – stepping their game up and almost willing the Steelers to an important win. Their goal is pretty obviously to just go 2-2 into the bye week and get Big Ben back. But their problems on the lines are multiplying. They lost LT Max Starks for a month (ankle) and were already leaning on way-way-way-past-his-prime Flozell Adams at RT. Jonathan Scott is a wreck, but could get the nod at LT this week. And against a Titans pass rush that looked lethal against the Raiders, issues on the line are not what the Steelers need. Also, NT Casey Hampton is out for this week. They have Chris Hoke to fill in but Hampton is one of the best in the game. This is a tough spot for Pitt this week, as they barely held off a weaker Tennessee team at home to open last year.
5. San Diego Chargers (0-1) – That was just a vintage Norv Turner defeat on Monday night. They have been notoriously slow starters the last few seasons and they almost got dumped on Monday night in Oakland to start last season. The bright spot is that the defense looked outstanding against Kansas City and Ron Rivera remains one of the most underrated coordinators in the game. San Diego is 19-9-2 ATS after a loss and I don’t expect them to have any mercy this weekend. The Chargers are 14-3 ATS against AFC South foes, including 8-1 ATS at home.
6. Minnesota Vikings (0-1) – Just like Dallas, I’m not going to bury the Vikings for losing a tight, hard-fought game on the road against the defending Super Bowl champions. But I think that this week is really an important one for Minnesota and will be very telling for what to expect from this group. There is bad karma and thinning talent all over this squad. But they have had extra time to prepare, are coming off a loss, and are facing a team that wasn’t that impressive last week. If they thought they could ease into this season or if they could pick up where they left off last year they were sorely mistaken. Now how do they respond? The Vikings are 8-1 ATS as favorites over AFC teams.
7. New England Patriots (1-0) – Just a vintage performance from the Patriots last week, as they proved once again my long-standing theory that, regardless of sport, you always want to back a Boston team that is playing amidst a hurricane of controversy and public doubt. I think that New England’s defense will overachieve at home this year but that they are going to have serious problems on the road because, in reality, they still aren’t that experienced or that good. Very interesting stat I came across this week: Bill Belichick teams are 32-13-1 ATS against a team that is off a loss as a favorite. That’s more bad news for the Jets. As is the fact that New England is 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games against the Jets and they have won 12 of 15 in this series overall.
8. Green Bay Packers (1-0) – Nice win by the Packers last week after a little bit of a slow start in Philadelphia. And I know everyone is on the bandwagon. But let’s just take a look at who Green Bay has played up to this point, through the preseason and regular season: Cleveland, Seattle, Indianapolis, Kansas City and then a Philly team that will be about 6-10 or 7-9 this year. Now this week they get to tool on Buffalo, and then they have games against feeble Chicago and pathetic Detroit. I’m not saying Green Bay isn’t a very good team. I’m just saying that I’m not as high on them as everyone else. Ryan Grant is out and will be missed. Brandon Jackson doesn’t run nearly as hard and isn’t nearly as shifty as Grant. Green Bay is 8-1-1 ATS in its last 10 games overall.
9. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) – If these rankings were based on how teams played in Week 1 the Colts would probably be No. 26. They were horrendous last week. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the Colts line play so horribly and I can’t remember seeing Peyton Manning that rattled because of constant pressure. He was running for his life. Indy has now given up 38.8 points per game in four preseason and one regular season game. And their rush defense looked as bad as any I’ve ever seen. At one critical point the Texans went 91 yards in four rushing plays and only three Colts, total, touched a Houston runner on those three plays – and one of those “touches” was a Colts safety getting run over on a Houston touchdown. The Colts are 7-1 ATS as nonconference favorites. But they are just 7-17 ATS off a loss and aren’t a strong bounce back team.
10. Washington Redskins (1-0) – Big win last week for the team that I have a 7.5-Unit futures play on (I have them ‘over’ 7.5 wins). And yet all I heard this week was how awful their offense looked. Wait, isn’t Dallas a Top 5 defense? Yes? Then that’s like saying the Ravens offense looked suspect against the Jets; it’s relative. The Clinton Portis fiasco is yet another distraction for this team. But the bottom line is that this Redskins defense is legit. And now that Washington has Donovan McNabb to lead them they are going to be a tough out for any team they line up to bang heads with. They have a chance to pick up some momentum with a second home game here, and then games against St. Louis and floundering Philly. They have a chance to be an early season surprise. Washington is just 4-11 ATS at home but are 5-1 ATS as nondivisional home dogs.
11. New York Jets (0-1) – So all preseason all we heard was how Darrelle Revis was Deion Sanders, Rod Woodson and Night Train Lane rolled into one. Yet, on Monday he wasn’t even in decent enough shape to guard Anquan Boldin, who shredded rookie Kyle Wilson? And where was Antonio Cromartie? I don’t get it. This Jets season is playing out pretty much the way I figured. They would be overrated. By running their mouth they would ensure that they got everyone’s best game (as opposed to last year where they were often overlooked). There would be some key injuries, which, along with what they lost in free agency, would continue to weaken a mediocre roster from 2009. (And I wish I could have bet on things like, “Will Kris Jenkins get hurt and be put out for the year.” As if that wasn’t easy money.) And I know Baltimore’s defense is still pretty nasty, but it isn’t nearly as good as the Jets made it look. Yes, Mark Sanchez is a joke.
12. New York Giants (1-0) – New York wasn’t as impressive in its win over Carolina as the final score would indicate. Especially because Matt Moore was just a clown, throwing the ball up for grabs into crowds of Giants. This week will let us know where New York is. Remember: this team is still learning a new defensive system. And if you recall, they got lit up the first month of Steve Spagnuolo’s system back in 2007. The G-Men are just 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games but they are a spectacular 23-8 ATS in their last 31 road games. I think that the Giants could be in line for a stunning upset this week.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) – Wait, people are surprised that Bill Belichick had his team ready to play and ready to maim and Marvin Lewis didn’t? Really? That’s a shock to anyone? Just like with Dallas and San Diego: there is a load of talent in Cincinnati. But they won’t do anything because a horrendous head coach shackles them. I have long defended Carson Palmer, but he looked terrible last week and missed some third down throws – short, makeable third downs – that a QB that’s been a starter as long as he has just can’t miss. Cincy has to be better on third downs this week. The Bengals have swept the Ravens three times in the last five seasons, including a perfect 2-0 mark against them last season. Cincinnati is also 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games against Baltimore.
14. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) – The Falcons are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 home games and should be ready to come out firing after a tough, tough overtime loss last week. The good news is that Arizona runs a 3-4 defense that is based on what the Steelers run, so Ryan and the offense should be ahead of the game in their prep work and their on-field reads. This line seems a little fat for a Falcons team that continues to have trouble scoring the football. One interesting stat is that teams are just 12-34 ATS after playing the Steelers, as Pittsburgh leaves a lasting beating on their opponents. And the rumblings about Matt Ryan that I’m hearing in Atlanta are ridiculous. Much like the people trashing Washington’s offense for not lighting up Dallas, I just want to grab people and say, “NO ONE would have scored on the Steelers last week.” Atlanta is 13-3 ATS after a loss and 8-0 ATS after scoring less than 15 points.
15. Tennessee Titans (1-0) – “Is Oakland’s offensive line that putrid or is Tennessee’s defensive line that outstanding?” That was one of the questions I took away from Week 1 and it’s something we’ll have to wait to find out. The Titans overwhelmed Oakland and Vince Young is now an outstanding 25-16 ATS as a starter. The Titans and the Steelers have played 10 times since 2000 and the underdog has covered eight of them. That includes last year’s season opener when the Titans lost outright but covered as dogs in a 13-10 game at Pittsburgh. The home team is 7-3 SU but just 5-5 ATS in those games. This team is rapidly rising in my eyes.
16. Houston Texans (1-0) – This is a tough spot for the Texans this week. They are off one of the biggest wins in franchise history and they are just 3-6 ATS after playing the Colts. But then they also have a huge home game against in-state rival Dallas next week. And in between they go on the road, off surface, to face the Redskins. Tricky. Houston’s front four dominated Indianapolis last week and even though they gave up more than 400 passing yards most of those came after the game was out of hand. Be wary of the Texans as they are just 2-7 ATS in September against nondivisional opponents and they have been a dreadful September team over the last four years.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (0-1) – Mike Vick may just be a short-term answer, but he’s an answer. And right now the Eagles have a problem. I don’t think that there is any doubt that Vick should start this week (and I can’t stand Vick) and Andy Reid really doesn’t have a choice. Right? The two most important non-quarterback positions are center and middle linebacker. The Eagles just lost their starters at both of those positions. Oh, on top of losing their quarterbacks. Just bad, bad things going on for Philly and it’s going to be a long year. That said, the Eagles are 60-36 ATS on the road and 5-0 ATS against the Lions. Yet, counting the preseason, the Eagles are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games.
18. San Francisco 49ers (0-1) – What do I say every single year: Beware “Trendy Team”. Every year there is a Trendy Team that everyone and their sister jumps on. The books pick up on it, the lines get jacked up, and then trendy team goes out and lays an egg, draining bettors’ bankrolls along the way. Hell, even I bought in last week (but that was more about how awful Seattle is as well). Alex Smith was OK for 80 percent of the game, but the throws he missed – two touchdowns he missed because he lobbed the ball instead of throwing it, and the interceptions – were all critical throws. I am not giving up on the Niners completely. Seattle is a tough place to play. But the biggest worry for San Fran right now is the infighting that has already erupted after just one loss. Also, how is Anthony Davis starting? The guy was drafted as a project. You’re telling me they couldn’t do any better than him? He is completely overmatched. San Fran played great last year against the top offenses in the league and they are 8-2-2 ATS in their last 12 against a team with a winning record. They are also 16-5 ATS on MNF.
19. Arizona Cardinals (1-0) – The Cardinals didn’t look sharp last week – at all – but they still managed a win and there is something to be said for that. But this week they have the added task of not only having to face an Atlanta team off a frustrating loss, but also having to travel West-to-East for a 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST) kickoff. It didn’t work out so well for Oakland last week and that angle has been a profitable one for backers (betting against the West Coast teams) over the last several years. Adrian Wilson was amazing last week, and almost single-handedly pulled this one out for the Cardinals.
20. Miami Dolphins (1-0) – Miami earned a win and completely dominated Buffalo last week. But you can’t be impressed that they so thoroughly outplayed the Bills but only won by five points. Their running game was stifled in the second half and they should find the sledding even tougher this week against Minnesota. Miami was awful proud of its defensive effort against the Bills last week. But Buffalo is a horror show on offense, so we’ll see what Miami is all about this week in Minnesota. Miami missed at least two pick-six opportunities last week. They have to capitalize on those situations if they want to reach the next level. Promising rookie defensive lineman Jared Odrick will miss a month. The Dolphins are 4-12-2 ATS in their last 18 September games.
21. Chicago Bears (1-0) – I’m still speechless about Lovie Smith’s decision to not kick a field goal with his team down one point, at the Detroit two-yard line, with seven minutes to go. I hate to sound like a broken record, but Smith is just an awful game manager and he shouldn’t be an NFL head coach. Chicago didn’t protect the quarterback last week and didn’t win the line of scrimmage on offense consistently at all. But Jay Cutler made plays and the Bears moved the ball at will. But if they had four turnovers and four sacks last week against a pathetic Detroit defense what do you think that the Cowboys are going to do to the Bears offensive line?
22. Carolina Panthers (0-1) – It’s looking more and more like Matt Moore is going to start for the Panthers this week. He was back to practice on Wednesday and said he’s been feeling fine. The Panthers rushed for only six yards in the second half last week, and that was in a game that they led at halftime. Carolina’s strength is obviously its offensive line, and they will need to pound, pound, pound the rock this week against a suspect Tampa Bay front seven if they want to avoid 0-2. The Panthers are 0-7 ATS as favorites in their first home game. But they are also 11-3 SU and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games against Tampa Bay.
23. Oakland Raiders (0-1) – When the Raiders fumbled the opening kickoff of their opening game it was obvious that the only thing different this year is the unwarranted “buzz” around them. Also, I’m officially done sticking up for Jason Campbell. Is he better than JaMarcus Russell? Yes. But I’m a better quarterback than JaMarcus Russell. Campbell just consistently makes idiotic decisions and has no situational awareness. Oakland is a pathetic 0-11 ATS as a favorite. This is definitely another team that we shouldn’t write-off just yet. And if Tennessee keeps ascending that loss may not look as bad a month from now. But Oakland didn’t just lose, they got beat up. Several key players – Asomugha, Seymour, Gallery, Huff, etc. – have all missed practice time this week. Wait to see who is playing for Oakland before making a move on or against them.
24. Denver Broncos (0-1) – I really hope that Denver spent a lot of time on special teams this week, because their unit had the worst opening weekend of any in the NFL. Denver, on the whole, outplayed Jacksonville, but they just missed some key plays. They would put together two or three first downs, get on the fringe of scoring position, and then miss a third-and-seven. That was their Sunday. Also, they gave up one touchdown with just 10 men on the field and also gave the Jags 30 extra yards on the decisive drive due to facemask penalties. Those are becoming “vintage” Josh McDaniels maneuvers. The Broncos are just 2-9 in their last 11 games since their fluke 6-0 start last year. I completely agree with Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post, who said the Broncos use of Tim Tebow robbed the offense of momentum. They just forced Tebow in there and it didn’t accomplish anything.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) – Yeah, don’t read too much into Jacksonville’s win last week. Their defense looked horrendous and were it not for a +2 turnover differential and absolute domination in special teams they would have gotten run. David Garrard played very well and was exceedingly accurate. Absolutely nothing else about what the Jags did really stood out or impressed me. Last year the Jaguars traveled to the Left Coast twice and were noncompetitive in each game, losing by a combined score of 61-3 at Seattle and San Francisco.
26. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) – Awesome win for the Chiefs on Monday night in a great atmosphere. However, let’s not get on the bandwagon just yet. Kansas City’s defense played tougher, more physical and with more heart on Monday than almost anything I’ve seen from them in the past two-plus years. However, if you watch that tape, throughout the second half there were several Chiefs looking over at the sideline as if they didn’t know what defense they were in or what the call was. You know why: BECAUSE ROMEO CRENNEL IS IN CHARGE! That guy is one of the biggest ass-clowns in the game, and as a result the Chiefs were disorganized but just running on heart and adrenaline that whole second half. (With an assist to the wet, sloppy turf.) The Chiefs are actually catching over 70 percent of the action in their game with Cleveland this week.
27. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) – I’m sorry, but I’m giving the Seahawks next to no credit for their win over San Francisco. Seattle definitely should have been down at least 17-0 early in the second quarter. Midway through the second quarter the total yardage was 148-11 for San Fran, but the score was just 6-0. And were it not for a terrible pass interference call on a third down n Seattle’s scoring drive the Seahawks could have been down more. TOP was in San Fran’s favor 22-8 at halftime, but the Seahawks were up 14-6. This team still has one of the worst offensive lines in the league and the defense looked feeble up until they were up three touchdowns and just teeing off. Seattle is 4-20-2 ATS after a win of 14 or more points.
28. Detroit Lions (0-1) – Even I agree that the Lions got screwed last week (and I’m a Bears fan). But the reality is that they shouldn’t have been within three touchdowns in that game. They were outgained by almost 300 yards. And were it not for a plethora of turnovers and stunningly bad coaching maneuvers by Chicago that would have been a blowout. Detroit is set up very similarly to St. Louis on defense in that both teams have really tough front fours and pretty much nothing else. Detroit’s secondary was the disaster that you would expect it to be, as they are starting guys that couldn’t make the rosters of other teams in the NFL. The Lions are 7-19 ATS on turf and are just 1-4 ATS at home. If they can’t protect any better this week they might have to dust off their third-string quarterback.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) – So, Tampa Bay is up three points, with under four minutes to play, at home, and has a fourth-and-one at Cleveland’s 15-yard-line. Raheem Morris – taking a book out of the Lovie Smith Coaching For Morons playbook – didn’t kick the field goal to put Cleveland in a spot where it needed a touchdown. Now, I had the Browns +3 so I loved the move because it forced a ‘push’. But what the hell is this guy doing? Oh, right, he’s proving again that he isn’t ready to be an NFL coach either. That said, this team has now won three of four regular season games.
30. Cleveland Browns (0-1) – Ah, in an opening week that just featured so many classic performances from some of my favorite jerks in the game, it would have been a disappointment if Jake Delhomme hadn’t done something ridiculous to cost Cleveland a win. Sure enough, his two interceptions helped this team blow a 14-3 lead. There is just no way Cleveland should have lost that game. They actually looked pretty good in the first quarter. They were physical on offense, the defense looked well coordinated, and the secondary looked better on Sunday than it has in two years. As bad as they are on the field, the Browns have been money at the window. They are still 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight regular season games. Jake Delhomme is 50-50 for this week, so don’t be surprised if Senaca Wallace is under center this week in the home opener.
31. St. Louis Rams (0-1) – If I’m grading out Sam Bradford I give him a 9.5 for accuracy and a -1.5 for intangibles. There is no doubt that Bradford can sling it. But he will need to develop some field presence. I know he’s just a rookie, but moxie isn’t something you learn. St. Louis’ front four is legit and that’s taking some pressure off the rest of the defense. There is still a lot of work to do but this team will be competitive this season, as compared to last. They are 6-22-1 ATS in their last 29 September games and a putrid 14-30 ATS after a loss.
32. Buffalo Bills (0-1) – What a disaster. Buffalo has a reputation for always being feisty and always putting up a fight. But they should have lost by 30 last week. In breaking down the tape I noticed two incredible things about last week’s game. First, they only threw the ball more than 10 yards five times in the entire game, and three of them came on one drive in the fourth quarter when they were down two scores. Second, they had 25 passing yards entering the fourth quarter, and 20 of them came on the last play of the first half when Miami was in a deep prevent. The Bills defense looked good in the second half. But their LB corps is decimated and this week they are pretty much picking veterans off the street with the intention of playing them this weekend. This franchise is a disaster. And Chan Gailey is a joke.
Robert Ferringo is a writer and a professional college football and NFL handicapper for Doc’s Sports. Last year he brought home +62.5 Units for his clients for NFL picks and he is regarded as one of the top totals players in the sport. He has turned a profit in 5 of 6 football weeks and has a 7-Unit NFL Game of the Month on the board this Week. You can sign up for his college football and NFL picks and get more information here.