Week 9 NFL Power Rankings
by Robert Ferringo - 10/30/2008
1. Tennessee Titans (7-0) -I believe I mentioned it on the blog, but the single biggest thing I see with Kerry Collins is that he is no longer throwing lasers to his receivers. Collins has one of the strongest arms in the league. But if you watch him this year he's throwing everything almost at half- or three-quarters. It's made for a more "catchable" ball, I think it's increased his accuracy, and its helped limit tipped interceptions. The Titans have covered seven straight games this year but are 0-5 ATS in their last five Sunday games following a Monday night game.
2. New York Giants (6-1) -The Giants have not been a very strong large favorite over the past several years. And this Sunday I would really like to see some killer instinct out of them by taking down a division rival that is wounded. The G-Men should be able to light up Dallas' injury-riddled secondary, but they need to avoid overconfidence and mistakes. The Giants are 5-2-2 ATS in the last nine against Dallas and are 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 divisional games. The Giants do have some red zone issues on offense. They have made 31 trips but scored just 13 touchdowns (their .419 rate is No. 27)
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) -It's time for the Steelers to circle the wagons a bit. They are now 0-2 SU and ATS against the NFC East this year and have not looked particularly strong in either outing. I still have faith that this team will be even better if they get healthy. But you can't bank on that. The Steelers are just 1-5 ATS in their last six MNF games. But they are 10-6-1 ATS as a road dog in their history on MNF.
4. Washington Redskins (6-2) -Jason Campbell - who was getting railed in the preseason - has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league. He is No. 5 in quarterback rating and, most importantly, is the only NFL starter yet to throw an interception on the season. Washington is 22-8-1 ATS in their last 31 against a team with a winning record.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-3) -Tampa's defense has allowed just 14 trips into the red zone and their .357 TD percentage against is No. 4 in the NFL. However, they are the only team that has yet to get a red zone stop. Their play on the road has to be a concern. But the thing working in their favor is that offensively they are getting very healthy. And with Antonio Bryant and Joey Galloway healthy I expect to see a lot more points out of this team.
6. Carolina Panthers (6-2) - The great news for Carolina is that for the first time in a month they are going to have their entire offensive line healthy. The bad news is that Carolina has five of its last eight games on the road, and the Panthers will face three of the top offenses in the league. However, their next two games are against Oakland and Detroit. If they can get both of them they are virtually guaranteed a playoff spot.
7. Chicago Bears (4-3) -Can the prevent defense cover the big number? That's the only question I have about the Bears this week. I really like the fact that their offensive attack does not have a go-to guy in the passing game and I think it makes the Bears tougher to stop because there is not one guy that defenses can focus on taking away. Chicago beat Detroit by 27 in the first meeting and are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall. However, they are just 2-7 ATS after a bye.
8. Dallas Cowboys (5-3) - The thing you have to be careful of this week is that the Cowboys don't mail it in this week knowing that they have a bye coming up, and that they'll be getting Romo back during that time. I could definitely see Wade Philips letting them mail it in. The Cowboys are 2-5 ATS on the road and 0-6 ATS in divisional games.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3) -This is a dangerous game for the Eagles because it does come on the road in Seattle, but also because it comes one week before a key game at home against the Giants. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in this Seahawks series and the road team has covered five straight. Philadelphia is getting healthy and looking sharper, and they are 8-1 ATS in their last nine road games.
10. Buffalo Bills (5-2) -After near perfect execution en route to a 5-1 start, the Bills absolutely gave that game in Miami away with four turnovers. Something you absolutely have to keep in mind about the Bills: they are a notorious choke franchise. Don't think they couldn't blow this great start. Buffalo is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings with the Jets and 4-1 ATS at home against them. The Bills are 12-4 ATS at home overall.
11. Arizona Cardinals (4-3) -It's still odd to see the Cardinals as a road favorite. Especially considering that they are just 16-59 straight-up on the road and are 9-23-1 ATS as a road favorite. Arizona is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games and 7-3 ATS against the NFC West. And finally it sounds like Arizona is listening to me: within two weeks it looks like Tim Hightower will be the starter for the Cards.
12. New England Patriots (5-2) -The Patriots are actually in a very strong spot heading into Indianapolis this weekend. New England is 24-12 ATS as an underdog, 15-6 ATS on the road and 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings. Matt Cassel is starting to look more comfortable. But the key is that the Patriots are now No. 6 in the NFL in rushing yards per game. That was the switch they had to make
13. Atlanta Falcons (4-3) -The Falcons have not looked good on grass this year and are really in a tricky spot heading out to Oakland. They are clearly the better team here, but the Jets got tripped up there two weeks ago and stranger things have happened. Atlanta will also get a shot at former Falcon DeAngelo Hall this week.
14. Green Bay Packers (4-3) -The Packers have been a sensational road team and are in as good of a spot as anyone to knock Tennessee from the ranks of the unbeaten. They represent the best offense that the Titans will have seen all year and the bye week allowed The Pack to get healthy on defense. Look for less A.J. Hawk and more Brandon Chillar in the heart of the Green Bay defense. Green Bay is 11-3-1 ATS in its last 15 road games and 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 games overall.
15. Denver Broncos (4-3) -The Broncos are 6-0 ATS following a bye week and Mike Shanahan is 12-1 ATS after a week of rest against a non-divisional opponent. That is the good news. The bad news is that the Broncos have been one of the most overrated teams in the league this year and are 4-13-1 ATS at home and 7-23-1 ATS overall. Champ Bailey won't be suiting up this week and the Broncos' already thin defense lost Boss Bailey for the season last game.
16. San Diego Chargers (3-5) - Norv Turner. What a joke. I just can't say it enough. He didn't have the Chargers anywhere close to being ready to play in Europe and they lost, yet again, to an inferior team. This club stinks right now. And after four years of dominating ATS I'm looking for a major backslide over the next three years - similar to the one that Denver is in the midst of.
17. Minnesota Vikings (3-4) - I haven't been able to get a clear answer about whether or not Pat and Kevin Williams will be suiting up this week. They were among the eight players facing suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. If they are not, this Minnesota defense becomes really average, really quick. The Vikings are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games overall but are 5-1 ATS after a bye week.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4) -The Jaguars are 4-1 ATS in Cincinnati, 7-2-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings, and the favorite is 10-4-1 ATS in the last 15 meetings. Interestingly, the underdog has covered all seven of Jacksonville's games this year. Jacksonville has scored in just 73.7 percent of their red zone trips, worst in the NFL. Weren't all those big wideouts supposed to help their red zone attack?
19. Indianapolis Colts (3-4) -The Colts have scored less than 20 points three times this year after doing so just once last year. And to make matter worse they just lost Marlin Jackson from their secondary. This team is on life support. And with games against the Patriots, at Pittsburgh and at San Diego coming up in the next four weeks I think their playoff prospects are pretty bleak. The favorite is just 4-10-1 ATS in the Pats series.
20. Baltimore Ravens (4-3) -When the Ravens met the Browns earlier this year they absolutely overwhelmed them in the second half. But the Browns were actually leading early in that game. Baltimore just continues to struggle on the road, going 8-22 ATS over the last four seasons. They are also 0-4 ATS in Cleveland and are another team this week that are playing on an off-surface.
21. New York Jets (4-3) -Just another unimpressive win from the unimpressive Jets. This week's game at Buffalo is a crucial one if the Jets are really going to be players in the AFC East race. The key, as always, is Brett Favre, who has already been sacked 16 times and has thrown seven INTs in his last three games. Working in their favor is the fact that the underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five Bills-Jets games. New York is 13-6 ATS after an ATS loss.
22. New Orleans Saints (4-4) -Great effort from the Saints in London and that was really a must-have game in the rock solid NFC South. However, if these substance abuse suspensions ravage their defensive line - Will Smith and Charles Grant are on the list of possible suspended - then this team's season is going to go south in a hurry.
23. Miami Dolphins (3-4) -Don't sleep on the Dolphins, who have wins over San Diego, New England, and now Buffalo this year. That said, the Bills handed Miami that game as much as the Fins won it, and Miami is 9-22-1 ATS after an ATS win. Miami should move the ball at will against the Denver secondary, and they have covered five straight against the Broncos.
24. Houston Texans (3-4) -How large is that blown game against the Colts looming now for the Texans? Houston is coming out of the bubble that they've been in playing at home and now have to go on the road to face a team off a bye week. Tough draw. Want to know how bad the Texans defense has been? They have allowed 15 touchdowns in 18 trips into the red zone by their opponents.
26. Cleveland Browns (3-4) -Here come the Browns. Their defense has given up an average of just 14.3 points per game over the last four games. They have now covered four straight - since I stopped betting on them - and their offense has gotten much sharper since they've started throwing to secondary receivers. They are 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings and the home team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine with Baltimore. The Browns are 14-3 ATS against a team with a winning record and 17-5 ATS overall.
25. St. Louis Rams (2-5) -The Rams are 19-40-1 ATS following a loss and 3-10 ATS against a team with a winning record. They are 5-16-1 ATS overall and are also the worst red zone team in the league, scoring just three TDs in 10 trips there. Oh yeah, and they are No. 30 in the league in third-down efficiency. So let's not get too wrapped up in the Rams resurgence. Also, Richie Incognito is nothing but a drain on this team and cannot help himself from getting crippling (and ridiculous) penalties at critical times.
27. Seattle Seahawks (2-5) -Seattle is 34-9 SU at Qwest Field and are 7-2 ATS at home. But they have lost four of five at home and will again be without Patrick Kearney. .
28. San Francisco 49ers (2-6) -I'm a Bears fan, so I have nothing but love for Mike Singletary. But let me be the first to say that he is not going to be a good NFL coach. There is a reason that he has been passed over for several jobs before being given the keys to the Niners. And last weekend he had the fire, but he had absolutely no idea about scheming and in-game adjustments against Seattle.
29. Oakland Raiders (2-5) -Oakland is 13-31 ATS at home. Yeah, they still suck. Don't really have much more to say about them. If you bet on the Raiders, you are an idiot. If you think they are going to cover, I would just not bet on the opponent.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) -Kansas City has now lost 15 of its last 16 games, putting them on par with the 2007 Dolphins. They are pathetic, and have been outscored 96-34 in their last 130 games.
31. Detroit Lions (0-7) -Do you believe me now that Dan Orlovsky is nowhere near being an NFL-caliber quarterback? All I can think of is the backup QB from Necessary Roughness ("Blow the whistle. Blow the whistle!"). The Lions are 3-12 ATS overall and 8-20-1 ATS against the NFC. Further, the underdog is 7-2 ATS in this series and the road team has won four of six in this series.
32. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8) -Odds on Marvin Lewis making it through the rest of the season: 4-to-1. Should he? Absolutely not. He is the worst coach in the NFL. Right there with Romeo Crennel, Wade Philips, Lovie Smith, Norv Turner, Mike Singletary, Rod Marinelli, and Jim Haslett.