Week 8 NFL Power Rankings
by Robert Ferringo - 10/25/2006
Bounce-back games, interconference tilts, look-ahead games, bye weeks, let-down spots, teams with new life, benchings, suspensions, season-ending injuries, indecision, undefeated, rivalries renewed, backup quarterbacks and a little cold weather. That's what we're looking at as we head into Week 8.
There have been a few soft early lines, but so far the market has held rather steady. The largest variance can be found in the Seattle-Kansas City game. The number opened at the Chiefs -4.5, but after Matt Hasselbeck was deemed out for three-to-six weeks it rose to -6. However, right now you can get the home team at -5.5 at some books and -7 at others.
It seems books are split on the Indianapolis-Denver game as well. The line opened at Denver -2.5. It can be had at some books with the Broncos -2 while at others at -3, so apparently the action has been up-and-down.
Regardless, I have a good read on a few games this weekend. It's all in the details and here are a few tips that may help you with your weekend plays. And without further ado here are my Week 8 NFL Power Rankings:
1. Chicago (6-0) - Chicago hasn't been this large of a favorite in more than a decade. Last year they only beat San Fran by eight, failing to cover a 13-point line.
2. Indianapolis (6-0) - A win would make the Colts the second team in NFL history to start 7-0 in consecutive years. Bob Sanders is expected back to support the league's second-worst run defense, but they will be without Montae Reagor.
3. Denver (5-1) - In the past 28 games the Broncos have had the same five starting linemen. That streak ends Sunday, as starting left tackle Matt Lepsis is out for the year with a torn ACL.
4. New England (5-1) - Tom Brady is 7-0 ATS in domes, and the Patriots are 6-1 versus the total in their last seven on turf.
5. New Orleans (5-1) - Sean Payton has a 3-4 SU record following a bye week as a coordinator with Dallas and the New York Giants. As an organization, New Orleans is 8-9 SU with rest.
5. San Diego (4-2) - Over the last three years San Diego is 9-3 ATS in non-conference games. Also, Shawne Merriman will play in San Diego's next two games while he appeals his suspension.
6. Philadelphia (4-3) - Does Philly really think it can consistently win (and cover) by throwing the ball 35 times a game? They've committed the eighth-most turnovers and are 31st in time of possession. That's selling out your defense.
7. Baltimore (4-2) - Baltimore is 6-0 ATS coming off an upset loss and 3-1 ATS in its last four against New Orleans. There's no chance Steve McNair doesn't start on Sunday.
8. Seattle (4-2) - The Seahawks have allowed 21 sacks already this season after yielding just 24 all of last year.
10. New York Giants (4-2) - That's three wins in a row, all by double digits. Considering their schedule, and the fact they've claimed two divisional road wins, the G-Men may be the most impressive team in the NFL over the course of the past month.
11. Atlanta (4-2) - Jim Mora is 1-7 ATS as a road dog off a SU win. Also, John Abraham is out for a month after electing to have surgery on his abs.
12. Carolina (4-3) - The Panthers are 26th in the NFL in rush attempts. They ran just four times in the second half against Cincinnati even though they had the lead until there was eight minutes remaining.
13. Cincinnati (4-2) - Peter Warrick worked out with the Bengals and may sign to help upgrade the Bengals depleted receiving corps. Cincy is 3-7 as a home favorite over the past two years.
14. Jacksonville (3-3) - In three games at home the Jags are 3-0 (avg. score 25-6) and in three on the road they are 0-3 (avg. score 17-28). The Jaguars defense looked lost in Houston without Stroud and Peterson.
15. Dallas (3-3) - Going with Romo was absolutely the right call. The team had a little bounce in its step with him in there. But this week is the first of three consecutive road games for the Cowboys. Not an enviable position.
16. Minnesota (4-2) - The Vikings are 3-0 ATS against New England, with the 'under' hitting in all three contests. Minnesota is a late TD against Chicago away from being 5-1 and in first place in the NFC North.
17. Pittsburgh (2-4) - With so many guys banged up, this is not the same Steelers team. Pittsburgh is 12-6 ATS against the AFC West and 10-1 ATS after two straight 'over' games.
18. St. Louis (4-2) - This will be STL's first trip to San Diego since 1994. The Rams will also have a full compliment of players, as everyone on the roster is expected to suit up.
19. Kansas City (3-3) - Huard has been flawless and LJ might be back to dominating. Kansas City is 13-6 ATS against former AFC West foe Seattle. Herm Edwards' teams are 9-3-1 ATS against a team off a double-digit straight-up loss.
20. New York Jets (4-3) - The Jets are one of five teams giving up more than four yards per rush that still have a winning record. Leon Washington is averaging 18 carries for 96 yards, a 5.3-yard average, over the past three games against Top 15 rush defenses.
21. Washington (2-5) - Shawn Springs, Carlos Rogers, Lemar Marshall, Marcus Washington and Cornelius Griffin - five starters - are all battling injuries for this defense. Look for Jason Campbell to be named starter after the Dallas game.
22. Tampa Bay (2-4) - Currently shackled with the league's 27th-ranked defense, this appears to be in the first time in nine years that the Bucs won't finish in the Top 10 in total defense.
23. Houston (2-4) - Houston is 1-9 ATS off a home win and 4-10 ATS off an underdog win. However, they are 4-1 ATS in their last five against the Titans and 3-1 ATS in their last four at Tennessee.
24. Buffalo (2-5) - Considering where the Bills drafted J.P. Losman, there weren't many other better options. Matt Schaub and Andrew Walter are about the best they could've done, and Walter wasn't taken until the following year.
25. San Francisco (2-4) - In what's become an annual event, the 49ers have switched back to a 4-3 defense. San Fran is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 against The Monsters, and they will have Larry Allen and Jonas Jennings back on their offensive line on Sunday.
26. Cleveland (1-5) - So long Maurice. From what I understand, no one will miss him. In October, the Browns are 1-8-1 ATS off a SU loss against a team off a SU win.
27. Detroit (1-6) - Offensively, the Lions have seen 18.5 percent of their drives end in a turnover. That's the fourth-worst ratio in the league.
28. Tennessee (1-5) - Since 1996, the Titans are 13-2 ATS as a home favorite of three points or less. Jeff Fisher is just 6-9 ATS after a bye week.
29. Green Bay (2-4) - The Packers face the 1-6 Cardinals and the 2-5 Bills in the next two weeks. They will lose one of those games. The Pack is 4-0 ATS against the NFC West recently.
30. Arizona (1-6) - The Cardinals now own the league's longest losing streak at six games. Also, Edge James leads the league in carries so he can't really bitch about touches.
31. Miami (1-6) - At 0-7 the Dolphins are the only team in the league without an ATS win.
32. Oakland (1-5) - Oakland is 1-3 ATS recently against Pittsburgh. Since 2003, the Raiders are also 2-10 SU and 4-7-1 ATS in their last eight games after a SU win since 2003.
Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his Insider Page here.