2012 NFL Power Rankings - Week 8
by Robert Ferringo - 10/23/2012
The Yo-Yo Effect was in full effect last week in the NFL. Two weeks ago underdogs dominated public bettors while going 11-3 against the spread and posting eight outright winners.
Well, with the public now looking hard at the puppies, the favorites came back and went 7-4 on Sunday, with several of the squarest bets on the board (Dallas, Indianapolis, Green Bay) coming through for Joe Public.
But that’s the NFL: just when you think you’ve got something figured out it gets completely twisted upside down. Gotta love it.
Here are Doc’s Sports Week 8 NFL power rankings:
1. Atlanta Falcons (6-0) – We will see if the bye week blunted this team’s momentum. But they are in a dangerous spot facing an Eagles team that has been incredible coming off a bye under Andy Reid (see below). Asante Samuel has been a valuable resource this week as well. He knows the Eagles personnel and offense inside and out, and I’m sure he’s been working with Mike Nolan the past two weeks to find Philly’s weak spots. The underdog is just 3-7 ATS in this series and Atlanta is just 3-9-1 ATS in the last 13 meetings with Philadelphia.
2. New York Giants (5-2) – This week’s trip to Dallas almost seems like too obvious of a situation to bet on the Giants. I don’t think New York is going to get swept by the Cowboys. And the G-Men are back in their preferred role as a road underdog. The Giants are 37-15-1 ATS in their last 53 road games and the Giants are 4-1 ATS in their last five trips to Big D.
3. San Francisco 49ers (5-2) – The Niners have flopped the last two weeks as a touchdown favorite at home against the Giants and the Seahawks. For all the Alex Smith bashing, the guy does have a passer rating of 93.4. The Niners are a spectacular 20-6 ATS in their last 26 “Monday Night Football” games and they are 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings with the Cardinals. San Fran has covered five of six trips to Arizona and they are still on an 18-7-1 ATS march despite back-to-back disappointing performances.
4. New England Patriots (4-3) – Josh McDaniels is facing his former employers this week as the Patriots head to London to face St. Louis. I actually don’t expect that to be a very big advantage this week, though, since McDaniels has proven himself to be somewhat of an incompetent. New England will likely have the edge in this week’s game in London because of their travel schedule. Also, the Rams have been a terrible team when playing off their usual surface.
5. Chicago Bears (5-1) – Brandon Marshall, noted woman beater, is going around calling Ndamukong Suh “classless” and “dirty”. With that level of hypocrisy, Marshall must vote Republican. Chicago just keeps plugging away, and as long as they are healthy they are one of the best teams in football. They need to do a better job than they normally do on Steve Smith this week. Smith averages nine catches and nearly 150 yards per game in his career against the Bears.
6. Houston Texans (6-1) – I know that the final score from last week made it look like the Texans earned a “statement” win. But, again, I am not buying this team’s long-term potential. They took advantage of the chaos in the Baltimore locker room this week. But were it not for an early safety and pick six from the defense I’m not sure that game ever becomes a blowout. I’m just saying: I think that Houston is a paper tiger right now.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) – One win does not a season make. And just because the Steelers – who I swear, are the evil twin of the Giants – were able to score an outright road win as an underdog last week that does not mean all is well. Pittsburgh’s defense is going to have its hands full with Robert Griffin this week. Fortunately, this team has already squared off with running quarterback Mike Vick. That said, the Washington offense is completely unique and can be overwhelming to teams that haven’t seen it yet. Pitt is 0-5 ATS after a win against the spread and they are 1-5 ATS against sub-.500 teams.
8. Minnesota Vikings (5-2) – The Vikings were efficient and business-like in their win over Arizona. However, it was somewhat disturbing that they won despite being outgained by nearly 150 yards. Minnesota actually took Monday off from practice to rest up for Thursday’s home game against Tampa Bay. This is normally the day on which the Vikes do their film work, so I wouldn’t expect any game plan wrinkles from the home team this week. The home team is 9-2-1 ATS in this series with the Bucs but Minnesota is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven home games.
9. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – I actually predicted last year that Ray Lewis and Ed Reed would get hurt, that the Ravens locker room would come a bit unglued, and that John Harbaugh’s shaky coaching would be exploited. I know it was only one game, but it looks like that could be exactly the case this season. The next shoe to drop might be for some of the age on the offensive line to start to fall prey to the injury bug. But despite their record this team is definitely teetering.
10. Denver Broncos (3-3) – Historically the Broncos have been a great organization after a bye week. They are 16-6 straight up, and head coach John Fox is 6-3 straight up in his career following an extra week of preparation. I felt like the bye came at the perfect time for the Broncos, who are still efforting in new schemes on both sides of the ball. The Broncos are just 16-35-2 ATS in their last 53 home games though. They need to reclaim the Mile High advantage.
11. Green Bay Packers (4-3) – Losing Charles Woodson for most of the year is a massive blow to an already shaky defense. The injury came just when it looked like the Packers were starting to get some momentum and starting to figure some things out. The Packers should have little problem taking down an equally banged up Jaguars team this week, although Green Bay is just 4-6 ATS in its last 10 games as a double-digit favorite. There is no spread yet on this week’s game but I expect it to be around 13.
12. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) – This week will mark Seattle’s third trip east in the last five weeks. However, they had extra time to prepare coming off a Thursday night game and they are facing a Detroit team that has a short week off their “Monday Night Football” loss. This makes four road games in five weeks for Seattle, which has played one of the toughest schedules in football to this point. Seattle is just 9-20-1 ATS in its last 30 road games. Also, NFC West teams are a combined 7-20-1 against the total so far this season.
13. Arizona Cardinals (4-3) – A lot of things are starting to catch up to this team. You can clearly see that the quarterback shuffling – albeit because of injury, not poor play – is disjointing this offense. And the offensive line just gets worse and worse each week. The Cardinals are 0-4 ATS in their last four games, and it is obvious that they are trending downward. However, I expect them to be a very active home underdog this week and I actually believe we might see a little higher scoring game than expected when the Niners come to town.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) – Andy Reid is a perfect 13-0 straight up and an exceptional 10-3 against the spread coming out of a bye week. That includes a 34-7 thrashing of Dallas last season after an extra week of rest. The Eagles also have a nice revenge angle this week as Mike Vick faces his former team. Atlanta won 35-31 at home in Vick’s homecoming last year in a game that the Eagles dominated. But – surprise – three Vick turnovers sunk the Eagles in that one. Man, is he awful or what?
15. Washington Redskins (3-4) – The more I see this team the more impressed I get. And I think that right now, as excellent as the offense is, the thing that most impresses me is how hard they are playing on defense. Despite missing three starters from a group that was already undermanned these guys are fighting in the trenches week-in and week-out. RGIII will be facing a 3-4 defense for the first time in his career this week. And after five of six games being decided by a touchdown or less, including last week’s thriller, I am curious to see how much the Redskins have in their emotional reserves.
16. St. Louis Rams (2-4) – Including the preseason the Rams are now 8-2 ATS under Jeff Fisher. They should be properly prepared for the Patriots this week after getting shredded by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing game last week. Also, did I or did I not call it last week that Rodgers was going to attack Janoris Jenkins? That guy might end up being a player, but right now he’s pretty bad. Rodgers went 9-for-11 for 121 yards and a TD when throwing at Jenkins last week. He should expect to get picked on a lot the rest of the year because if I saw it watching him the last two months you know NFL OCs see how easily exposed he is.
17. Dallas Cowboys (3-3) – I know a lot of people are torn on this team. The bobblehead media still thinks they are one of the best teams in the NFC, which couldn’t be further from the truth. But then the section of the public that hates the Cowboys is gleefully predicting their total collapse. The truth is somewhere in the middle. But no matter how well this team plays, they will continue to look for ways to piss games away in the fourth quarter. That is just a fact. The Cowboys are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven against the Giants and the favorite is just 1-6 ATS in this series.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) – I absolutely jinxed the Bengals. Three weeks ago I said that this team might be better than I thought, after spending the last year saying that they are pretenders who can only beat up on the dregs of the league. Three straight losses later and the Bungles certainly look like mediocre pretenders.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) – Put me in the camp that thinks that Greg Schiano is just looking like an ass-clown with this gimmicky, campy, high school-level “sneak” defensive tactics. Last week’s bush league maneuver – the defenders shifting on a New Orleans field goal attempt – might have cost them a game that they absolutely should’ve won.
20. New Orleans Saints (2-4) – Again, I know that people want to jump back on the bandwagon. But let’s look at this realistically: the last two games the Saints won were against very mediocre teams and they were down two touchdowns in each of them. This defense is still atrocious, Vilma or not, and this team is not going to make a run in the loaded NFC. The public still loves this team though, with 70 percent of the betting in their game at Denver this week coming in on the Saints.
21. Detroit Lions (2-4) – This is a gross football team. They have some nice numbers on paper – they are in the Top 10 in offense and defense right now, including the No. 2 pass offense and No. 6 pass defense in the league. But the two other teams that I pointed to recently as “having a Top 10 offense and defense” are the Chiefs and Cowboys, and both of those teams are pretty bad as well.
22. San Diego Chargers (3-3) – The Chargers cupcake schedule continues this week with a trip to Cleveland to face the Browns after a two-week layoff. Naturally, they are a short road favorite this week, and I expect the public to pile on San Diego’s bandwagon with at least 80 percent of the betting down on the Bolts. The Chargers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as a road favorite, but are actually 3-2 ATS in that role the last two seasons. Norv Turner is also on a 1-4 ATS slide out of a bye, which should be shocking to no one.
23. Carolina Panthers (1-5) – I have played this team like a fiddle. I was selling their stock and warning people off the Panthers during the preseason because they were the Sexy, Trendy Team. And every year Sexy, Trendy Team falls on its face. (Just ask the Bills, the AFC’s Sexy, Trendy Team this offseason.) Now, that said, I am kind of buying back into the Panthers. This defense has made excellent strides. And if you look at the Panthers schedule they are losing to heavyweight teams. Their last four losses have come against the Giants, the Falcons, the Seahawks and the Cowboys. Those are all legit teams and I think three of them will be in the postseason. The vibes are bad on this team, but they are playing some very good teams tough in some very tight games.
24. Miami Dolphins (3-3) – The Dolphins have a big situational advantage heading into this week. They are coming off a bye while the host Jets are trying to find themselves after an emotional overtime loss to the Patriots. Miami also has revenge for a tough overtime loss in South Beach last month. Over 75 percent of the betting action this week is going against the Fins. But the road team has won 7 of 10 meetings in the Jets series, and the road team is 8-3-1 ATS in the last 12. The Dolphins are also 24-9-1 ATS in their last 34 road games.
25. Tennessee Titans (3-4) – Isn’t it amazing what a team can do when they have a competent quarterback? As I have said time and time and time again: Matt Hasselbeck is the most underrated quarterback of this generation. He has lit a fire under this team, and that offense looks dangerous right now. If Mike Munchak goes back to Jake Locker at all this season he is a loser. Of course, I hope no one is really buying that Downy-soft Chris Johnson is “back”. C’mon: it was the Bills. I could crack the century mark on the ground against them.
26. New York Jets (3-4) – The Jets have been running on adrenaline for the last 17 days. From their “Monday Night Football” loss to Houston to the blowout of Indianapolis to their near-miss in Foxboro, this team has to be emotionally spent. Yes, Mark Sanchez played well against the Patriots. And no, he doesn’t have much to work with. But the guy is always going to be a worse version of Tony Romo: he looks the part 90 percent of the time, but that other 10 percent of the time he just absolutely kills your team (and your bet) with stunning decisions and turnovers.
27. Indianapolis Colts (3-3) – Still not impressed. I am still not impressed with Andrew Luck or the Colts. There is no way that they should’ve beaten the Browns last week. Luck is a Check down Charlie. He simply dinks and dunks his way through the playbook and has not shown me the command that people raved about him having coming out of college. Luck has wavering accuracy and he sails a lot of throws in the middle of the field. Also, the Colts have played four of their last five games at home. I think they are set up for a brutal stretch over the next month with three of the next four games off-surface and away from the RCA Dome.
28. Buffalo Bills (3-4) – Dave Wannstedt: all-time loser. It is any real surprise that a Wannstedt-led defense looks absolutely clueless? Who the hell hired this guy as defensive coordinator? Wannstedt is still living off of one good season that he had 20 years ago! It is stunning to me. But all he has done the past two decades is prove how inept he actually is.
29. Cleveland Browns (1-6) – I wouldn’t expect to see much of Trent Richardson over the next 2-3 weeks. His rib injury is significant. And anyone that has ever had severely bruised ribs can tell you that it usually hurts to breath and roll over, so forget about taking hits from NFL middle linebackers. Josh Morgan – punch yourself in the face for dropping that game-changing touchdown last week. But then again, that is why they are the Browns.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) – How on earth can anyone watch Chad Henne and think that this guy is an NFL quarterback? He is a horror show. I hate to say it, but if the Jaguars had made a move to get Tim Tebow last offseason they would at least be .500 right now. Maurice Jones-Drew’s injury is important. But it is not totally crippling to the offense. I like Rashard Jennings, and I still think this team is going to move the ball on the ground.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5) – A Romeo Crennel-Brady Quinn brain trust? What could possibly go wrong? This team has the potential for an explosive offense and a sound, stout defense. But Crennel is beyond an idiot and I don’t trust him to get anything out of this team’s talent. Quinn will have some moments. But he is inexperienced and overrated and I wouldn’t expect any level of consistency out of him. The Chiefs need to clean house in the front office and coaching staff.
32. Oakland Raiders (2-4) – Yes, the Raiders won last Sunday. But there is absolutely no way that they should’ve earned the ‘W’ in that game, and once again they failed to cover as a favorite, now running their 11-year mark to 8-26 ATS when laying points. The underdog in the Chiefs series is an exceptional 18-7-1 ATS in the last 26 meetings and the road team is an astounding 20-5-1 ATS when these two teams play. The Raiders have covered six straight in Arrowhead.
Robert Ferringo is a professional NFL handicapper has banked nearly $10,000 in football profit over the last 11 months he has had football picks. He nailed his 7-Unit Monday Night Football Game of the Year last week and will have another top play on MNF again this week. He will keep it going this week and is looking forward to building on his stellar football handicapping resume again this fall. You can check him out here.