Week 7 NFL Power Rankings
by Robert Ferringo - 10/18/2006
Oh baby. For those of you that love them home underdogs and like to make moneyline plays on the puppies, there's a plethora of opportunities this weekend. Since we have eight teams on a bye this weekend - NFL schedule makers clearly don't play fantasy football - there are only 13 games. Of those 13, seven feature home dogs.
My point here is this: be prepared for another surprising, grind-it-out, illogical week. Even a handful of "really good" teams that are playing this week (Indy, Jacksonville, Philly, New England, Cincy) have all experienced a bout of Shakiness over the past few weeks. Things good get ugly real quick, especially after every scrub team in the NFL was given some semblance of hope by Arizona's gutsy first three quarters against Chicago. If the Cards can play with the Bears at home, what's to say that the Texans can't hang around the Jaguars?
Tread lightly, as a smaller slate of games results in sharper lines. And without further ado, here are my Week 7 NFL Power Rankings:
1. Chicago (6-0) - It's not all warm and fuzzy. Mike Brown may be gone for the season (again). Fortunately, the Bears have several safeties - Brandon McGowan, Chris Harris, Cameron Worrell and Todd Johnson - that have starting experience.
2. Indianapolis (5-0) - Six of the next nine teams that the Colts play have winning records, and five of them made the playoffs last season.
3. Denver (4-1) - Broncos are 5-16-1 against the spread when the total is set at less than 40. Also, they are 1-6 ATS against the AFC North recently.
4. Seattle (4-1) - In two games without Shaun Alexander the Seahawks have averaged 101 yards rushing against the fifth- and 23rd-ranked rush defenses.
5. New Orleans (5-1) - The Saints offensive line is yielding just one sack per game. Their six total sacks allowed is the fewest for any team that's played six games.
6. San Diego (4-1) - San Diego is the only team in the top three in third down efficiency both offensively and defensively.
7. Philadelphia (4-2) - Even though their offense is ranked No. 1 in productivity the Eagles are just 29th in time of possession. Philly is surrendering 21 points per game and is thinking about benching overrated safety Michael Lewis.
8. New England (4-1) - The Patriots are 24-6 ATS over the past three years in games where the total is posted between 36 and 42.
9. Carolina (4-2) - As bad as this team has been on third down offensively (24.3 percent) they've been equally dominant on third down defensively (26.2 percent).
10. Jacksonville (3-2) - It will be very interesting to see how the defense responds without Mike Peterson. Outside linebacker Daryl Smith will take over in the middle after 35 starts on the outside.
11. Baltimore (4-2) - "Offensive genius" Brian Billick has been in charge in Baltimore since 1999. In that time the Ravens offense has never ranked higher than 14th in either yards per game or scoring.
12. Dallas (3-3) - Against divisional foes, the Cowboys are 9-1 ATS when playing at home after a double-digit ATS win. Dallas hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher yet this year.
13. New York Giants (3-2) - The Giants are 3-3 in Texas Stadium recently and 9-5 SU against the Cowboys since 1999. Tom Coughlin is 11-2 ATS after a SU underdog win, and Eli Manning is 6-1 recently against the NFC East.
14. Atlanta (3-2) - The loss of starting guard Matt Lehr is no small matter. This line steamed from the Falcons (-2) to the Falcons (+2.5) in about two days. This is a desperation game for both Pitt and Atlanta.
15. Pittsburgh (2-3) - Is anyone else really excited to see the game-within-a-game between Vick and Polamalu this weekend?
16. Cincinnati (3-2) - Cincy is 1-7 ATS in October as a favorite against a non-divisional opponent. Rookie left tackle Andrew Whitworth is 6-7, 340 pounds and will start against Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker, whose eight sacks lead the NFL.
17. St. Louis (4-2) - Tight end Dominque Byrd will get some work in the backfield as a fullback during the bye week. The Rams' top two FBs are both injured, but Madison Hedgecock may be back for their next game.
18. Minnesota (3-2) - The Vikings have the ninth-ranked passing offense and they will be facing Seattle's 28th-rated passing defense. Also, this is the reunion of Steve Hutchinson and Nate Burleson with their former teams.
19. Washington (2-4) - Clinton Portis was handed the ball on consecutive plays only twice against the Titans, who were allowing an NFL-worst 172 rushing yards per game. The Al Saunders Project isn't working.
21. New York Jets (3-3) - Oddsmakers have finally caught on that the Jets are an Over Team. New York is 13-3-1 against the total in their last 17 games, so it might be time to go the other way.
20. Kansas City (2-3) - Has any back fallen from "totally dominant" to "completely irrelevant" faster than Larry Johnson? I know his line is a wreck, but this guy was an animal last season and now he looks like just another guy.
22. Tampa Bay (1-4) - Defensive tackle Ellis Wyms registered two sacks against Washington last week. The result: Booger McFarland is traded and now Wyms is a starter.
23. Buffalo (2-4) - Buffalo is 1-5 SU (2-4 ATS) at home against New England since 2000, and the Bills are just 4-11 as home dogs over the past five years.
24. Cleveland (1-4) - It's going to be cold (high of 52 degrees), rainy (40 percent chance of showers), and very windy (17 miles per hour) in Ohio on Sunday.
25. Detroit (1-5) - The loss of Shaun Rogers really is a huge blow. The Lions are already banged up, and without his Pro Bowl presence their ability to stop the run is severely hindered.
26. San Francisco (2-4) - It's believed that Jonas Jennings and Larry Allen may be back and ready to go in two weeks at Chicago. But if they're at all weak, the Bears may feast on their flesh.
27. Houston (1-4) - I keep waiting for these guys to put a game together. Clearly I was wrong about where they were headed. I suppose Adrian Peterson should start getting ready for that Houston heat.
28. Tennessee (1-5) - If I'm in the Titans organization, I'm keeping Kookie Collins as far away from Vince Young as I can.
29. Arizona (1-5) - If the Cardinals get up 14-0 in the first quarter they're in trouble. They're the first team in history to lose two games in the same year after posting a two-touchdown lead in the first quarter.
30. Green Bay (1-4) - Robert Ferguson is done for the year and now Koren Robinson is suspended, so now the Packers have a severe shortage at receiver.
31. Miami (1-5) - Against non-conference opponents, the Dolphins are 9-2 against the total in their last 11 games.
32. Oakland (0-5) - If you don't get it this week, it might be awhile before they score that first win.
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