NFL Power Rankings - Week 10
by Robert Ferringo - 11/5/2013
The public continues to take it on the chin this year in the NFL after another windfall week for the sportsbooks.
Houston’s collapse against Indianapolis saved a lot of gamblers on Sunday. But overall it was another big winning week for the books. Ten of the 13 games on the board last week had lopsided action, with 70 percent or more of all betting coming down on one side. Only four of those square plays came through.
Further, all three of last week’s double-digit favorites – Dallas, Seattle and Green Bay – all lost against the spread. Not only did they go 0-3 against the number, but also Seattle and Green Bay were among two of the most-used teams in teasers last weekend. Seattle wasn’t close to covering, and Green Bay lost outright.
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Early-week betting has produced five games with lopsided action this week. Washington is getting nearly 80 percent of the betting in the Thursday night game at hapless Minnesota. The public is piling on Philadelphia (73 percent) due to the Aaron Rodgers injury. Seattle (76 percent), San Francisco (72 percent) and Denver (83 percent) are also big-time square plays this week.
Remember: if it looks too good to be true…
Here are Doc’s Sports Week 10 NFL Power Rankings:
1. Denver Broncos (7-1) – I expect a pretty seamless transition with Jack Del Rio stepping in as head coach of the Broncos. Things ended poorly for Del Rio in Jacksonville, but people forget that he actually did some really good things for that franchise and won a lot of games. Denver has beaten San Diego three straight times, and they had a misleading 30-23 final in their last meeting last year. Denver was up 30-16 (after winning the first meeting, 35-24) late in that contest. Denver overcame a 24-0 halftime deficit here last year, and I’m sure they will be better prepared for this rivalry game this season.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) – It’s a much-deserved bye week for the Chiefs. They have two weeks to prepare for a huge Sunday Night Football game at Denver next week. I anticipate that spread to be somewhere around 7.5, with the home team favored.
3. San Francisco 49ers (6-2) – Michael Crabtree has been cleared to practice and could be back within a couple weeks after a torn Achilles. If the 49ers are smart, they will slowly work Crabtree back, and he won’t suit up until early or mid-December. The 49ers lost to St. Louis as a 13-point home favorite following their bye last season, and San Francisco is just 1-4 ATS in its last five games following a week of rest.
4. New Orleans Saints (6-2) – You can’t underestimate how important Darren Sproles is to this Saints offense. After Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham, he is New Orleans’ most important offensive player. Sproles was knocked out of last week’s game in the first series, and the Saints struggled without him. I have not seen an update on his condition, but that’s a key for this week’s matchup with Dallas. Brees loves facing a Cover-2 defense, as he will this week, and New Orleans is 7-2 ATS against the Cowboys since 1992.
5. Seattle Seahawks (8-1) – Should we be worried about the Seahawks? That has to be the question this week after a relatively embarrassing six-day stretch in which they should have lost to the lowly Rams and pathetic Bucs. Seattle takes on another bad team this week in Atlanta, and this is a revenge game for the Seahawks after losing in the Georgia Dome last January in the playoffs. Seattle has beaten just one team on the road by more than six points over the last two years.
6. Indianapolis Colts (6-2) – I still have no idea how the Colts converted that two-point conversion to get ahead of the number versus Houston on Sunday. What a joke. Had Houston not missed three makeable field goals, no one would be slobbering all over Andrew Luck this week and instead they might be talking about how terrible he was for the first three quarters. Instead, he continues to take credit for a lot of things that had nothing to do with him. I’m sorry, I know it is stubborn and I am probably costing myself cash in the short-term. But I am still not drinking the Kool-Aid with Luck.
7. New England Patriots (7-2) – The Patriots have the week off and two weeks to prepare for their “Monday Night Football” tilt at Carolina. Despite leading the NFL in dropped passes (27), the Patriots are No. 9 in scoring and have averaged 36 points per game in their last four outings. New England has gone 3-1 ATS in its last four games and is on a 5-2 ATS rush despite being one of the most heavily-bet teams in the NFL. There are not enough superlatives to hurl at Tom Brady.
8. Green Bay Packers (5-3) – Uh-oh. Aaron Rodgers is out for three weeks, and Green Bay is toast. The equivalent would be taking Brady away from the Patriots. Green Bay is not a very good team, but Rodgers covers up a lot of holes. The spread on this week’s Eagles game dropped from an early open of Green Bay -10.0 (with Rodgers) to Green Bay -2 (without Rodgers). That is an astounding adjustment for one player.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) – The Geno Atkins injury is a big one for the Bengals. But it is not insurmountable by any means. If anything, I think his importance, from a macro perspective, is being a bit overblown. But if the Bengals lose in Baltimore this week, that would make back-to-back Ls, and the mental impact would start to be felt in the locker room. This is Cincinnati’s fourth road trip in five weeks, and they are 0-6 ATS as a road favorite against a divisional opponent over the last seven years.
10. Detroit Lions (5-3) – This is a critical game for the Lions. Green Bay is weak and wounded. And if the Lions can win at Chicago this week, they will not only vault themselves into first place but they would also own the tiebreaker over the Bears. Detroit has gone 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven against Chicago, and road teams that are favored out of a bye week have covered the spread around 70 percent of the time the last 15 years. That includes a 2-1 ATS mark by teams in that spot last week.
11. Chicago Bears (5-3) – That was a season-saving victory in Lambeau on Monday night. But now the Bears need to guard against the letdown this week when hosting the Lions. Chicago has won nine of 11 against the Lions, and the team that won the first meeting of the year in this series (Detroit) has failed to cover the spread in the second meeting in each of the last three years. The Bears are in desperate need of safety help. Chris Conte and Craig Steltz are pathetic.
12. Tennessee Titans (4-4) – “Gutsy” would be the best way to describe Tennessee’s win in St. Louis last week (which cashed a 7-Unit NFL Game of the Year play for me, by the way). There were several chances for them to fold, but the Titans kept battling. The Titans are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games against Jacksonville. But they did win 38-20 at home last December while hosting the Jaguars.
13. Carolina (5-3) – Sunday’s win over Atlanta may have looked like a blowout, but it was not. It was a seven-point game with around 10 minutes to play, and those seven points could be accounted for in two Atlanta penalties. Cam Newton just continues to miss receivers, and the guy just isn’t a very good quarterback. Carolina has actually beaten the 49ers three straight times, though the last was in 2010. And the Panthers are 9-1 ATS versus the 49ers dating back to 1998.
14. New York Jets (5-4) – I want to make it clear: I still don’t buy into the Jets as a real competitor. But I’d be foolish to ignore the roster of teams that they have beaten this year. New York had one of the most difficult first half schedules in the league. But only one of their final seven games is against a team that is currently over .500.
15. Arizona Cardinals (4-4) – Quietly. Ever so quietly the Cardinals have positioned themselves as a stalker in the NFC. I was a bit surprised to see them posted as such a solid 2.5-point favorite over Houston before the Texans-Colts game. I was less surprised to see the Cards line moved to 3.0 after Houston’s collapse.
16. Dallas Cowboys (5-4) – The collapse in Detroit is the only thing standing between Dallas and four straight wins. However, Tony Romo threw yet another crippling fourth-quarter interception last week. He picked himself up with that performance on the final drive. But the fact is that Romo is still a disaster with the game on the line. The road team has won five straight in the Saints series, but Dallas has beaten New Orleans just one time since 1995.
17. Baltimore Ravens (3-5) – The Ravens are just 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games against the Bengals. And let’s face it: Baltimore just is not a very good team. They have dumped three straight and four of five. Perhaps even more damning is the fact that those five games have all been decided by six points or less (four decided by just a field goal), and the Ravens are continuously failing in the last 10 minutes of these games. So much for a champion’s savvy.
18. San Diego (4-4) – Philip Rivers’ outstanding play has been masking a lot of problems that the Chargers have. But at the end of the day he can only do so much to carry the league’s No. 28-ranked defense and one of the worst secondaries in football. The Chargers can neither run nor stop the run, and their shoddy back seven is simply overmatched. The Broncos are scoring on 78 percent of their red zone trips this year, and San Diego allowed the Redskins to cash in on 80 percent of their trips. That will be the key stat in this week’s Broncos-Chargers game.
19. Cleveland Browns (4-5) – Do you think the coaching staff and front office personnel are looking at each other during this bye week and saying, “Why the hell did we ever start Brandon Weeden?” Cleveland has two weeks to prep for a key stretch at Cincinnati, hosting Pittsburgh and hosting Jacksonville. Cleveland will be favored in two of those games.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) – All of a sudden things seem to be opening up for the Eagles. It won’t be pretty or easy for this team. But if they can beat Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers this week, the Eagles get three straight home games (with a bye week mixed in). This is still a very dangerous team for bettors and opponents alike. Philadelphia is just 5-11-1 ATS against NFC teams, 7-19-1 ATS against teams above .500 and 2-6 ATS following a win.
21. Miami Dolphins (4-4) – I have been writing for years about what a dick Richie Incognito was, so I was completely unsurprised to find him in the middle of a controversy. But I am with those that take the practical view on this whole “controversy”: the Dolphins just lost two starting offensive linemen from a line that had been shaky at best this year. I also believe that none of this would’ve happened if Miami hadn’t dumped Jake Long in the offseason, a move I railed against at the time and that looks even more ridiculous now.
22. Oakland Raiders (3-5) – Terrelle Pryor is “day-to-day” with a sprained knee, but I would be stunned to see him play this week in New York. Darren McFadden is also out, and I think that the only surprise about McFadden’s injury is that it took nine weeks for it to happen. Matt McGloin will get the start for Oakland, which looks destined for a late-season free fall. The Raiders are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 on turf and 22-45-1 ATS in their last 68 games against a team with a losing record.
23. Buffalo Bills (3-6) – E.J. Manuel has been cleared to play this week, but I am curious if Doug Marrone will throw him back into the fire. I would be surprised if Manuel started this week. The offense really hasn’t been that poor without him, and the Bills are just two weeks shy of a bye. If Thad Lewis is healthy, I would go with him and allow Manuel the time to heal. Buffalo is just 5-13-1 ATS in their last 19 road games, and it will be interesting to see how they respond to the disappointing result against Kansas City.
24. Houston Texans (2-6) – What do you think Wade Phillips was like as a kid? I mean, he is such a clueless, unrepentant loser; I can’t help but think about all the things that Phillips screwed up as a teenager or a college kid. Less surprising that Richie Incognito is a racist prick was the fact that Phillips was completely unprepared when he was forced to take over the Texans last week. Granted, it was a scary situation for Houston when Gary Kubiak went down. But some people step up in those situations. Phillips is not “some people”. Phillips is a loser.
25. Atlanta Falcons (2-6) – That is now eight turnovers – seven interceptions – and 17 penalties by the Falcons in their last two embarrassing losses. This team has come completely unglued. Yet, anyone who is trying to throw this season’s free fall at the feet of Matt Ryan is an idiot. He’s doing the best he can with Harry Douglas as his No. 1 receiver. There is bad blood in this Seattle series, and I do expect a better effort from the Falcons, who were on the wrong end of a misleading final last week.
26. Washington Redskins (3-5) – Who is a bigger loser right now: Tony Romo or Robert Griffin? I can’t decide. Griffin’s numbers may look alright from last week – 23-for-32 for 291 yards – but he did it against a terrible Chargers pass defense. Griffin has three touchdowns to five interceptions in his last four games, is continuously missing reads, and is just 75-for-130 (57.6 percent) during that stretch. I can’t bet on the Redskins with any confidence while he is playing so poorly because Washington’s defense is still a train wreck.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6) – Mike Tomlin can play the heavy all he wants. The reality is that the Steelers just aren’t any good. They let their offensive and defensive lines completely rot out over the past four years. This team has no foundation. No turnaround is coming. This team really is this bad. They are No. 31 in rush defense and No. 28 in rush offense, and they are in a letdown spot this week at home against the Bills. The Steelers are just 2-9 ATS as a non-divisional home favorite.
28. New York Giants (2-6) – I understand the Giants being a solid favorite against Oakland this week. But a 10-point favorite? I can’t wrap my mind around why that number is so high. The Giants have been pathetic so far this season. But they have three straight games at home, and if they are going to make a run now is the time. If they beat Oakland this week, they host a Rodgers-less Green Bay team next week, followed by a revenge game at home against wobbly Dallas. This is it for the Giants. This could be where they make their move. But it all starts with that first step.
29. St. Louis Rams (3-6) – I fear the mustache no more. Jeff Fisher’s underdog magic has wavered. The Rams are just 2-5 ATS when getting points this year. Had Sam Bradford been healthy, I would’ve been all over St. Louis this week in a regional rivalry game against the Colts. But I don’t know about backing Kellen Clemens on the road. The Rams are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 away from home and 8-2 ATS against a team with a winning record. However, they are just 22-47 ATS in their last 69 road games against an above-.500 opponent.
30. Minnesota Vikings (1-7) – Kyle Rudolph is out for a month with a broken foot, and that zaps the Vikings of their best weapon in the passing game. The Vikings have gone an amazing 7-1 against the total this year as their mix of underrated offense and pathetic defense has made them undervalued in the totals market. But the combination of Rudolph’s injury and market correction could make them a team to play “under” over the next several games.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-8) – If you are looking for an alternative to the atrocious Miami-Tampa Bay game on “Monday Night Football,” that evening begins a stretch of 29 straight hours of college basketball on ESPN. The network touts Tuesday’s 24-hour hoops marathon, with games from midnight to midnight. But the action really starts Monday night at 7 p.m. and runs for the next 29 hours. I know where my attention will be. (Hint: not in Tampa.) And of if you’ve been taking a beating in the NFL remember: nonconference college basketball is the best time of the year to turn a profit betting on sports.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8) – I would like to say that the Jaguars bye week was a success because they didn’t lose another game. But according to published reports, several Jags got their asses beat in a bar fight in London and were sent to the hospital. This really may be the most pathetic team in NFL history.
Throughout the season I will have my NFL Power Rankings every Tuesday. My next ones will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Robert Ferringo is a lead writer for Doc’s Sport and he is off to a strong start to the season. Robert nailed his 7-Unit NFL Game of the Year last week with Tennessee over St. Louis and banked $1,300 in profit in Week 9. Robert has earned three of four winning football weeks overall and will be back with more this week. Take advantage of our free, no-strings-attached $60 credit to use toward a purchase of Robert’s football selections and get on this big game. CLICK HERE for $60 absolutely free!
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