Week 13 NFL Power Rankings
by Robert Ferringo - 11/26/2008
Here is a look at Doc's Sports Week 13 NFL Power Rankings:
1. New York Giants (10-1) -Last week there were three systems - strong, solid systems that have covered over 70 percent for time periods ranging from 10-20 years - that suggested the Giants wouldn't cover in Arizona. They then lost their two best offensive weapons (Jacobs and Plax)…and they still absolutely hammered a very good Arizona squad on the road. There is just not enough I can say about this Giants team. They are scary good and are head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.
2. Tennessee Titans (10-1) -The loss to the Jets last weekend wasn't altogether surprising and I'm not going to ding this team too much as a result of it. But the formula for beating the Titans is there. They have below average weapons in the passing games. So any team that is tough enough to stand up to their rushing game for a full 60 minutes can beat this team. The problem is that there really are only about 6-8 teams that I believe can do that.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3) -I hate to sound like a broken record, but the Bucs have the third-most red zone opportunities in the league (44) but they are No. 30 in the NFL in touchdown percentage. This is a revenge game for the Bucs for a grueling loss at New Orleans in Week 1. And home teams in NFC South divisional games are 7-0 SU and ATS with the average margin of victory at 16.1 points.
4. Carolina Panthers (8-3) -I read an interesting article about the Panthers and how they have been catching teams at precisely the wrong time - from a situational standpoint - over the last month or so. This week's trip to Green Bay is a perfect example. Green Bay is playing for its life, and after giving up 51 points on Monday Night Football you would expect a more game effort. But Carolina's power running game should have a field day against a horrid front seven. The Panthers are 6-0 ATS after an ATS loss and the underdog is 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine meetings.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) -Nine days off in between games at this time of year, especially for a team that has been as banged up as the Steelers, is gold. Pittsburgh has held their last 11 opponents under 300 total yards and will be hard pressed to keep that streak going against a suddenly potent Patriots pass attack. Starting corners Deshea Townsend and Bryant McFadden are both doubtful for the Steelers, who could also be without end Brett Keisel and left tackle Marvel Smith. Oh, yeah, and no Willie Parker either. The Steelers simply cannot run the ball like they need to without him.
6. New York Jets (8-3) -Not much more to say other than the Jets are playing at an incredibly high level right now. I think if there was going to be a letdown, it would have occurred heading to Tennessee. But because they will be able to carve up Denver's pathetic defense I am not worried about their ability to perform this weekend. The weather isn't going to bother the Broncos. But if that Meadowlands wind is whipping around it actually could slow down the Jets attack. If that's the case, look for a big game out of Thomas Jones, who is the most underrated running back in the NFL of the last five years.
7. New England Patriots (7-4) -The Patriots-Steelers has been one of the NFL's top rivalries over the last decade, but it really has been very one-sided. New England is 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings against Pittsburgh. And with the exception of a three-point game in 2005 five of the last six have been decided by double-digits.
8. Arizona Cardinals (7-4) -The knee-jerk reaction is to pound the Cardinals this weekend against the sagging Eagles. But there are some disturbing numbers working against Arizona this week. They are just 1-2 against the NFC East this year and they are just 2-16 SU in the Eastern Time Zone recently. The Cards are also just 1-16 SU in nondivisional road games. That said, their passing attack is going to put tremendous pressure on a Philadelphia team with a fragile psyche. If the Cards can get some scores early then the boo birds might become their 12th man.
9. Dallas Cowboys (7-4) - It's really difficult to tell if the Cowboys are "back" right now because they are beating up on NFL lightweights. I don't doubt this team's talent. No one does. But what I doubt is their heart. If they get into a slugfest with a tougher team I still think this Cowboys team will fold like the French army. Dallas has covered five straight against the Seahawks, but are just 1-2 SU in the last three meetings. Dallas is 1-4 ATS in its last five games as a favorite of 9.0 or more.
10. Washington Redskins (7-4) - This team is flying way under the radar right now. And over the last four years this has been the time of year when the Redskins play their best football. In 2004 they went 4-1 ATS over their last five games. In 2005 it was 5-0 ATS en route to the playoffs. They were down in 2006, going just 1-4 ATS down the stretch, but they bounced back with a solid 4-1 ATS run to close the regular season last year. That is a combined 14-6 ATS in their last five games over the last four years.
11. Atlanta Falcons (7-4) -This is very dangerous territory for the Falcons. They are coming off their biggest win of the season and have to travel across the country to tangle with a dangerous San Diego team. The Falcons are taking 64 percent of the action from the public this week. They and Arizona are the only underdogs that are taking that much action, and that is usually not a good sign. The Falcons have been a very solid 'over' play over the last three years, but the 'under' is actually 35-16-1 ATS in their last 52 road games.
12. Chicago Bears (6-5) -That was a "get right" game for Chicago in St. Louis against a Rams team that had no interest in competing. But this weekend is a bad matchup for Chicago heading to Minnesota. I don't see any of the NFC North teams sweeping one another (other than Detroit, that is) and after Chicago tattooed the Vikings in Soldier Field I expect the Vikes to get some revenge. The Bears are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings but they are also just 4-12-1 ATS following a win.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5-1) -Lincoln Financial Field is going to be an emotional powder keg on Thursday. The fair-weather Philly fans will be going crazy and will give their team a lift if the Eagles get off to a fast start. But at the first sign of adversity the crowd will turn on them. The pass defense has been a strength all season (No. 5 in the NFL) and will have a great game to contain Arizona on Thursday. The favorite is 5-1 ATS in this series and the Eagles are 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings.
14. Green Bay Packers (5-5) -I will agree with Mike McCarthy that his team is not dead in terms of the playoffs. But they are certainly on life support. And Green Bay's regression really has very little to do with Brett Favre and everything to do with a defensive line that was decimated in the offseason. Green Bay is 8-2 ATS following a SU loss and they are 8-3 ATS at home.
15. Indianapolis Colts (6-4) -Do not underestimate the Jeff Saturday injury and the effect that it could have on this Colts offense. They really struggled without him early in the season, and the center is the most underrated position in football. The Colts are just 1-7 ATS after they cover the spread, as the books continue to inflate their lines and the public continues to bite on the worst Colts team we've seen in six or seven years.
16. Miami Dolphins (6-5) -This week Miami will be playing only its second road game in seven weeks. They have played three straight home games - going 0-3 ATS - before this week's trip to St. Louis. Through just 11 games the Dolphins have already scored more red-zone touchdowns (21 in 32 opportunities) than they did all of last season (20 in 39 opportunities). The Fins are No. 2 in the NFL in red-zone offense.
17. Minnesota Vikings (6-5) -Minnesota absolutely dominated Jacksonville at the point of attack last week, as the Williams boys completely controlled the line of scrimmage. Gus Frerotte is going to have to avoid mistakes - not just turnovers, but mistakes - this week against Chicago because I really don't think the Vikings are going to be able to run the ball as easily as they have been against a solid Bears front seven.
18. Baltimore Ravens (7-4) -Baltimore was able to run the ball at will against the Bengals in the first meeting, pumping out over 220 yards on the ground. However, the Bengals have tightened up somewhat on the ground and Joe Flacco will have to continue to make plays in the passing game. The favorite is 13-5 ATS in this series.
19. San Diego Chargers (4-6) - Never bet on Norv Turner. Not much more I can say than that. The Atlanta Falcons are going to come in and punch San Diego in the face, much like Miami did when it traveled to Denver a few weeks back. I don't think that the Chargers have the heart to fight back with their season on the line.
20. Denver Broncos (6-5) -I am kicking myself for not going against the Broncos last week. Their win in Atlanta was a total fluke and this is still a pretty bad Denver team. They simply cannot get stops unless the other team commits a penalty of has a miscue. Denver is also 9-25-1 ATS and Brett and the Jets should tear up their secondary -which allows a league-high 69.6 percent completions -.
21. New Orleans Saints (5-5) -Charles Grant, Will Smith and Deuce McAllister will all avoid suspensions for at least another week. The NFL usually announces suspensions by Tuesday, so it looks like these three will be in uniform again this weekend. Lance Moore is everything that Reggie Bush isn't when it comes to a rusher. Hey, I'm not trying to bash Bush. He is a playmaker, at times. But he is way overhyped for basically being a rich man's Dave Megget.
22. Cleveland Browns (4-7) -I really don't know if losing Brady Quinn is really going to have a dramatic effect on this team from a scheme and from a talent perspective. But what it has done is sucked the life out of a team that realizes that it is not going to the postseason. And I have zero faith in Romeo Crennel's ability to keep his team's focus for the next five weeks.
23. Buffalo Bills (6-5) -Don't be fooled by Buffalo's incredible offensive outburst against the Chiefs last week. It was the Chiefs. And all Buffalo is doing is setting up its tortured fan base for another heartbreaking December. I've seen this story too many times. If Trent Edwards was as aggressive as he was last week for the entire season this team would be onto something. But it's turning into a question of which Trent will show up - the turnover-prone pussy or the fearless gunslinger?
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) -You should not have been going anywhere near this team for about two months now, but anyone who is thinking about backing the Jags now would be better off setting their money on fire. Fred Taylor said earlier this week that this team is the worst he's ever been on and you could see them mailing it in for the year in the second half of the Minnesota game.
25. Houston Texans (4-7) -The Texans are 9-2 against the total this year despite the fact that they are not in the Top 10 in the league in scoring. The reason is a defense that has yielded the fifth-most points in the league. However, you have to give Gary Kubiak some credit. The four teams that have given up more points - K.C., Detroit, San Fran, and St. Louis - are a combined 6-38.
26. San Francisco 49ers (3-8) -After a pathetic start, West Coast teams traveling into the Eastern Time Zone are actually 3-1 ATS in their last four games.
27. Seattle Seahawks (2-9) -The Seahawks really have very little to play for the rest of this season but they do have some talent. And playing on national television on Thanksgiving should give them the motivation to play one of their best games. But will that be enough? They have been outgained in eight consecutive games and five of six games have gone 'under' the total. The Seahawks are 0-3 SU and 0-2-1 ATS against the NFC East this year.
28. Oakland Raiders (3-8) -What a flakey team this is. The Raiders are 17-35-1 ATS in their last 53 home games and they are 19-39-1 ATS in their last 59 games against a team with a losing record. The road team has won four straight in this contest and the underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (1-10) -Amazingly, the Chiefs gave up 54 points last week but actually OUTGAINED Buffalo by 18 total yards. That is unreal. The Chiefs have actually only been outgained by an average of 32 yards in their last five games, and all five of those games have come against teams in the playoff hunt: Buffalo (6-5), New Orleans (6-5), San Diego (4-7), Tampa Bay (8-3) and the Jets (8-3).
30. Cincinnati Bengals (1-9-1) -I have been bashing Marvin Lewis for years. And I still am stunned that he has a job. But I will give him credit for keeping his team playing hard and playing with some pride. The Bungles are actually 6-2 ATS in their last eight against the Ravens and the home team has won five of six outright. Cincy has gone 'under' in 11 of 17 games.
31. St. Louis Rams (2-9) -I said it last week and I will say it again: this team has given up on the season. They are sloppy, undisciplined, disinterested, and uncompetitive. The line on this game is off because of the status of Marc Bulger. He has to have a psych evaluation before they will let him play due to another concussion. But does it really matter? They have been outgained by 125 or more yards in six of their last 10 games and their average loss has been by 24 points and just one of their nine losses have been by less than 17 points.
32. Detroit Lions (0-11) -The problem for the Lions this week (I'm trying to stay on the field because everyone and their sister is all about them not playing on Thanksgiving, etc.) is that their glaring weakness - rush defense - plays right into the overwhelming strength of the Titans. This team has been flirting with covering over the last few weeks, but seem to keep blowing it. But even if they wanted to come out and play inspired on Turkey Day they simply don't have the manpower.