Week 1 NFL Power Rankings
by Robert Ferringo - 09/07/2006
Doc's Sports will rank all 32 teams in the NFL from the strongest to the weakest, with a betting slant, throughout each week of the 2006-2007 NFL season. And without further ado, here are my Week 1 NFL Power Rankings (previous ranking in parenthesis):
1. Denver (3) - I think they're walking into a bear trap on Sunday. This will only be the fourth time in 11 years that the Broncos opened the season on the road. They're 1-2 SU in the previous three. Meanwhile, St. Louis is 9-2 in home openers.
2. Carolina (2) - The Panthers have looked sharp throughout the preseason. But remember, a more focused team in Week 1 stunned them last year (New Orleans). And Atlanta is definitely focused in this spot.
3. Pittsburgh (1) - The line on this game has bounced around more than Pamela Anderson on her three recent honeymoons. But Pitt is back as a favorite in part because people realized, "Wait, this is Dante Culpepper on the road. What were we thinking?"
4. Indianapolis (5) - The Colts look like they're taking a page out of the Bill Belichick playbook. They have 19 guys listed as questionable on the injury report this weekend. That's a Huge red flag. I'm sure about 15 of those guys are going to play, but are they all going to be ready to roll up into the Meadowlands for a fistfight?
5. Chicago (6) - Mike Brown is coming back from a potentially serious Achilles injury this preseason. He says he's fine, but the over/under on when he goes down for the season is Week 4. The Bears are beat up all over their defense - Brown, Alex Brown and Nate Vasher - heading into Green Bay.
6. Seattle (7) - I had the No. 1 Overall pick in my fantasy draft and took Alexander. Now he needs to prove that the Madden Curse is a joke.
7. New England (8) - There are Huge Questions facing this team. Seau? Gabriel? Branch? Harrison? Gostkowski? O'Callaghan? Maroney? Between 2003 and 2005 their number of interceptions has been reduced by one-third (29 to 10) and their number of TD passes allowed has more than doubled (11 to 25).
8. Washington (4) - Yuck. An 0-4 mark and no points out of the No. 1 offense, coupled with the whole Portis-injury thing explains the drop. Now they're going to be without Shawn Springs for another couple of weeks. Bad vibes.
9. Miami (16) - The Dolphins have been one of the more impressive teams this preseason. Now it's time to take the next step. Playoff teams take advantage of breaks. Big Ben being sidelined is a break, so this is clearly an early test for the Fins.
10. New York Giants (13) - Rookie Barry Cofield, 6-feet-4, 306 pounds, will start at nose tackle on Sunday against a veteran Indianapolis O-line. Does that officially make William Joseph a bust? The key question for the Giants D is can they stop the run?
11. Cincinnati (17) - I can't tell you how many angry e-mails I've gotten from Bengals fans over the past three weeks. Listen, I apologize. When my initial rankings were posted, Anthony Wright was the starter and half of the team was on parole. The Bengals are a league-worst 18-38-2 ATS in September recently.
12. Dallas (11) - The Cowboys are 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS in their opening game over the past six years. This is the third time in four seasons that they've opened on the road, and they are 1-2 in the previous three.
13. Tampa Bay (10) - Tampa starting safeties Will Allen and Jermaine Phillips have started just five games together and they are the youngest players on the Bucs defense. But since McNair can't complete a pass further than 15 yards down the field I don't see the Ravens exploiting that.
14. Jacksonville (12) - Nine comeback victories. An inordinate number of close wins (6-1 in games decided by six points or less). No impressive road W's. Last year may have been a figment of the Jaguars' imagination.
15. Baltimore (9) - The Ravens have lost 11 consecutive road games. It's supposed to be hot (89 degrees), muggy (UV Index: extreme) and wet (scattered T-storms) Sunday in Tampa. Derrick Mason, Chris McAllister and Jamal Lewis are questionable.
16. Atlanta (15) - Step forward: getting Ashley Lelie. Step backward: Edge Hartwell gets injured, again. They start with three straight divisional games, two of which are on the road. Tough times.
17. Philadelphia (19) - Don't confuse Donte Stallworth for a No. 1 receiver. And don't confuse the Eagles offense for one that needs a No. 1 receiver.
18. Kansas City (18) - I know they aren't what they once were, but Arrowhead is not the type of place that you just walk into and win. Last weekend I said the same thing about another place and team: Knoxville and the Tennessee Vols.
19. San Diego (14) - After the issues with Drew Brees, Donnie Edwards and now Glenn Foley, the Chargers front office is close to alienating the players. That is, if they haven't already. From what I gather, Foley was a big Character Guy in the locker room.
20. Arizona (23) - Saw a special on the NFL Network about Cardinals Stadium. That place is freakin' awesome. The Cardinals picked up three players from waivers this week. That should be a red flag. Linebacker Karlos Dansby is still out with a toe injury, and that's a critical loss for that defense.
21. Oakland (28) - With off-field injures and distractions surrounding the Chargers, the Raiders are in a great spot to steal a divisional game. However, the Raiders are just 6-17-1 ATS in The Black Hole since the start of 2003.
22. St. Louis (26) - Quiet preseason. No notable injuries (yet). Defense reportedly making strides. Also, they've lost four straight at home. What are the odds that they lose five? The Rams, along with the Eagles and Lions, could are sleepers in the NFC this year.
23. Houston (22) - Man, that Domanick Davis situation is just making the Mario Williams pick soooooooo much more suspect. I like the Texans, but that leaky line is going to get manhandled by Javon Kearse and Darren Howard. Early prediction: six sacks.
24. Detroit (20) - If this game was in November, I would be taking the Lions and the 6.5 points in a heartbeat. But it's not in Nov.
25. Minnesota (21) - When Koren Robinson drinks, everyone loses. The Vikings are one of the most intriguing teams playing this weekend. How good is that offensive line? Will that defense play with heart?
26. Tennessee (24) - Last year the Titans had teams dangling second-round draft picks for Billy Volek. Now they can't give the guy away. In what I saw of him - and with that feeble WR corps - Volek's preseason didn't merit a demotion. But I'm not at practice every day.
27. Cleveland (25) - What do you have for me Charlie Frye? Hank Fraley was a real good get for a team desperate for a center. The Browns are a plucky team, and I expect them to be tough at home this season.
28. Green Bay (27) - I hate to say it, but the Pack is in a position to capitalize on the Bears disorganization this weekend. Stud Wideout Greg Jennings - the guy I had no idea existed when I handicapped potential ROY candidates - will start opposite Donald Driver.
29. N.Y. Jets (29) - If you've been watching the waiver wire over the last week you'll notice that the Jets have been grabbing anyone with the letters DT next to their name. They've been doing some serious junkyard work.
30. New Orleans (30) - Sunday will mark New Orleans' 18th consecutive road game. I hate to say it, but the Saints might want to consider sitting Reggie Bush in Cleveland this week. Just think about the horrendous luck that No. 1 picks have had there over the past few seasons.
31. San Francisco (32) - Yeah, they impressed me that much in the preseason. At least they had the sense to cut ties with Kevan Barlow, whose contract was absurd.
32. Buffalo (31) - That hack Chris Berman picks the 49ers and the Bills for the Super Bowl every year. I have them picked to face-off in the Brady Quinn Sweepstakes.
Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.