Week 5 NFL Power Rankings
by Robert Ferringo - 10/04/2006
Things seem like they're falling into place in the ol' National Football League. However, week five can be a treacherous time. The betting public is getting a little too comfortable, and this is the part of the movie where some bizarre twist or hair-raising surprise comes into play and knocks everyone off kilter. It's the stage of the game where crafty oddsmakers run a Kansas City Shuffle. And if you don't know what that is, well, I can't tell you. You'll just have to find out for yourself.
But I will tell you this, there are four teams that have either covered every game or failed to cover in any game. It's more than likely that three of those four are going to reverse their luck this week. Similarly, there are five teams that are either undefeated or totally defeated against the total. It's about that time to start fading them. Remember, odds have a funny way of working themselves out. For odds, 50 percent is home. And everyone eventually makes it home.
Here are my Week 5 NFL Power Rankings:
1. Indianapolis (4-0) - The drop-off in the Colts running game hasn't been as bad as people claim. Last year they rushed 29 times per game, at 3.7 yards per rush, for 106 yards per game. This year the numbers are 28.5, 3.5, and 100.
2. Chicago (4-0) - You have to expect a little bit of a letdown this week after such a dominating performance. Also, it may be nit-picking, but rookie Devin Hester is making me really nervous returning punts.
3. Baltimore (4-0) - Starting guard Edward Mulitalo is out for the year. He had played 92 of the Ravens last 100 games. Steve McNair's overall passer rating is 75.4, but in the fourth quarter it has been 103.8.
4. Seattle (3-1) - People want to paint the Seahawks as a passing team but they aren't. The Seahawks were just 13th passing last year. Also, they averaged 7.3 yards per throw last year but have managed just 5.9 this season.
5. Denver (2-1) - The Broncos have only made four trips into the red zone through three games, with just one touchdown and three field goals. Courtney Brown has been working out in full pads, so expect to see him against Baltimore.
6. Atlanta (3-1) - The Falcons have averaged an astounding 6.1 yards per rush and only 5.1 yards per pass. John Abraham will be back to face the Giants, but he's played just 36 of a possible 52 games over the course of the past four seasons.
7. Philadelphia (3-1) - The Eagles are 7-3 straight up and 6-4 against the spread at home against Dallas. Brian Westbrook and Lito Sheppard will play, as will Reggie Brown. But Rod Hood and Donte Stallworth are both up in the air.
8. Cincinnati (3-1) - A major concern for the Bengals has to be the high-priced offensive line. They've allowed 15 sacks, third highest in the NFL, which is putting Carson Palmer's knee at risk.
9. Pittsburgh (1-2) - The Steelers are 18-4-1 ATS as an underdog and 21-9-1 ATS on the road in October. Jerome Bettis was huge in Pitt's win in S.D. last year.
10. San Diego (2-1) - Since 2004, Marty Schottenheimer's record in games decided by a touchdown or less is just 8-9. The Chargers are just 1-10-1 ATS against Pittsburgh and 0-4 ATS at home.
11. New England (3-1) - The Patriots are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 regular season home games. However, they are 24-3 ATS over the past five seasons when they allow less than 75 yards rushing.
12. Jacksonville (2-2) - After two straight road losses the Jags return home to lick their wounds. Their defense is eighth against the rush, while the Jets ground game is just 25th.
13. Carolina (2-2) - Carolina is just 4-6 ATS as a favorite of a touchdown or greater.
14. Dallas (2-1) - Jason Witten has averaged five receptions a game over the past two years. This season he's only snagging three balls per game. Look for Witten to get some love this week while all of the attention is focused on Owens and Glenn.
15. New Orleans (3-1) - I really do feel like I should have the Saints higher than this, but they have to prove themselves by sacrificing the blood of Bruce Gradkowski this weekend before they go any higher.
16. Washington (2-2) - Washington and New York combine to average more than 50 points per game. So isn't it odd that the total for their meeting was just 44? The Redskins desperately need Shawn Springs back.
17. New York Giants (1-2) - After a week of rest the Giants are just 6-15 SU and 7-13-1 ATS. Carlos Emmons is out at LB, so rookie Gerris Wilkinson will start on the weak side.
18. Minnesota (2-2) - For all the smack talked about the Vikings offensive line, their running attack is ranked 22nd in the league with a paltry 3.6 yards per carry average. None of Minnesota's games have been decided by more than five points.
19. St. Louis (3-1) - The Rams are 14-35 ATS on grass since the start of 1996. Since 2000, they are 10-16 straight up on grass and 4-17 ATS as a road favorite on grass.
20. Kansas City (1-2) - If you throw out two touchdowns scored in the last 5:30 of the second quarter against Cincinnati, the Chiefs have yielded just six first-half points on the year.
21. New York Jets (2-2) - Mangini's third-quarter call to go for it ignored what one prominent football writer calls an "Immutable Law" of football. That law is Kick Early, Go For It Late. That applies to field goals and two-point conversions.
22. Buffalo (2-2) - The Bills have gone Under in five of their last six games where they were an underdog of three or more points. Losman hasn't committed a turnover in three of Buffalo's four games.
23. Miami (1-3) - Daunte Culpepper has been sacked an NFL-high 21 times. Some of that is Culpepper's lack of elusiveness and some is just the scheme. Miami used the shotgun a lot more against Houston but still surrendered five sacks.
24. Arizona (1-3) - At least now when bust Leonard Davis gets beat at left tackle the Cardinals will have a quarterback that can see the defensive end coming to maim him.
25. Tampa Bay (0-3) - The Bucs are going on the road, with a rookie starting his first game, and are just 6-12 ATS after a bye. Gulp.
26. Houston (1-3) - The Texans have only been in the red zone nine times, but they've scored six touchdowns (67 percent) and put points up 89 percent of the time. Those are two of the best totals in the NFL.
27. Cleveland (1-3) - 2003 was the last time the Browns won back-to-back games. They are 0-10 following a win since. Over the past two seasons, Cleveland has gone 1-5 ATS in road games following a victory, with an average score of 23-13.
28. San Francisco (1-3) - The 49ers are 17-145-3 ATS when they lose SU. They are also 1-3 ATS in their last four games against their Bay Area rivals.
29. Green Bay (1-3) - Ahmad Carroll, we hardly knew ye.
30. Detroit (0-4) - The Kitty Cats are 10-2 ATS within their division after a nondivisional SU-ATS loss in which they gave up 35 or more points. Try saying that three times fast.
31. Tennessee (0-4) - Besides his two horrific turnovers I would say that after watching a replay of the Dallas game that Vince Young didn't play as badly as stats would dictate. He floats his deep ball, but is relatively accurate with the underneath routes.
32. Oakland (0-3) - If anyone out there doesn't believe in karma, just look at Randy Moss.
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