NFL Power Rankings Week 10
by Robert Ferringo - 11/4/2014
Last week's action triggered a massive massive shakeup in the power rankings, and right now there's no telling who the Super Bowl favorite is. In fact, as we trudge our way through November and there is one thing becoming more important than talent and coaching: momentum. The stakes continue to rise as we head toward the stretch run. And right now the overriding factor in determining where to go with your money is which teams are getting hotter as the weather is getting colder.
No one is hotter than the Patriots, Chiefs, Cardinals and Dolphins at the moment. Conversely, the Cowboys, Seahawks, 49ers and Chargers have each hit major skids and are clinging to their slots in the NFL hierarchy by their fingernails. Which begs the question: how are we supposed to rank these teams? Do we focus and reward them for what they have done up to this point or what they seem primed to do over the next several weeks?
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It's a tough a question to answer but one I've tried to find a middle ground on this week. So without further ado here is Doc's Sports NFL Power Rankings for Week 10:
1. Denver Broncos (6-2) - I'm not going to crush the Broncos for running into the Brady buzz saw last week. I still think Denver is the best team in football, and that loss had to do more with a confluence of situational factors than anything fundamentally wrong with this team. The Broncos have beaten the Raiders five straight times, all by double-digits. They are 5-0 ATS in those games and the average margin of victory is 18.8 points per game.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (6-2) - I loved Chip Kelly's play call when Mark Sanchez came into the game to relieve an injured Nick Foles. Kelly called for a bomb to Jeremy Maclin - the same play that Foles had completed earlier in the contest. It sent a not-so-subtle message that Kelly and the Eagles aren't going to play things any differently with Sanchez under center. I think he will be fine. He throws a good ball, but his major issue has been decision making. I don't think Sanchez is a long-term solution, but I do think he'll come to play on "Monday Night Football" next week.
3. Arizona Cardinals (7-1) - Bruce Arians is a savant. And for that reason it was strange to see him mismanage the end of the first half so badly. I don't know why he didn't use a timeout after a second-down sack set up third-and-forever. Blocked field goal or not, he cost his team a shot at points against a sagging defense. The Cards are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games but they have actually been outgained in four of them. They are a seven-point favorite this week. Outside of a game last November against Jacksonville, the seven points is the most they have been favored by since 2009.
4. New England Patriots (6-2) - Everyone can blame the Chiefs for pissing the Patriots off. They have now won five straight games and, for the most part, have dominated, winning by 26, 15, 2, 28 and 22 points. New England has had a favorable schedule, though, as it has played three straight home games and five of its last seven at Foxboro. I am not saying that is WHY they are slaughtering people right now. I'm merely pointing out that just as the books are starting to jack up the prices on the Pats they are hitting the road to play teams like the Colts, Packers and Chargers. Be wary.
5. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) - The Colts are now 12-1 ATS after a loss and put on a clinic on Monday Night Football. They will have two weeks to prepare for Tom Brady and New England when the Patriots come to town on Nov. 16. They will also be getting safety LeRon Landry back from suspension on the other side of the break, and he should be able to bolster Indy's shaky defense.
6. Green Bay Packers (5-3) - The Packers are an exceptional 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games after a bye week, and they smell blood in the water. They know they have an opportunity to essentially end Chicago's playoff hopes this week, and the Packers have gone 7-1 ATS in the favorite role in this series recently. Green Bay is 36-16 ATS in its last 52 divisional games, and their average margin of victory over Chicago is 11.8 points in their last six wins.
7. Seattle Seahawks (5-3) - The books are kind of stuck with the Seahawks. They have to inflate their spreads at home because Seattle has had such a ridiculous run of success in CenturyLink Field. Seattle is 22-10 ATS in its last 32 home games, and they are 18-8 ATS in their last 26 conference games. However, this is not the same caliber Seahawks team that we've seen the last three years. Despite being in the Top 5 in total yards and rushing yards, the Seattle defense has allowed an average of 22.7 points per game over the last seven games and has held just one of their last four opponents below 24 points.
8. Dallas Cowboys (6-3) - I don't know that I am as bad at anything as Brandon Weeden is at quarterback. That said, I still think the Cowboys are making a mistake by rushing Tony Romo back. They should be good enough to beat Jacksonville on a neutral field with an old mop at quarterback. If they had let Romo stay home, rather than fly to London, he would have had three weeks to rest before they played their next real opponent (at the New York Giants on Nov. 23). I expect at least 25 carries for Demarco Murray this week, and I would also look for a bounce back-effort from Dropz Bryant, who has been a complete nonfactor the past two weeks.
9. Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) - Andy Reid has always been a master at utilizing the bye week. The Chiefs have won three straight since their Week 6 time off. In a bit of a schedule quirk, this is actually the seventh straight year the Chiefs have played the Bills. Kansas City won here last year despite being outgained by 260 yards. They scored two defensive touchdowns and managed to beat Jeff Tuel thanks to a plus-three turnover differential. They are going to have to play better than that if they want to escape Orchard Park with another win.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) - The public can't get its money down fast enough against the Steelers this week. Over 90 percent of the wagers in the Steelers-Jets game have come down on Pittsburgh. Yet the line has actually dropped from 5.5 to 4.5. This is a letdown spot for the Steelers, who are another team that is coming off a three-game home stand (Dallas and New England are the others).
11. New Orleans Saints (4-4) - I said last week that the Saints record was completely misleading. They had three losses by a field goal or less and two, at Atlanta and at Detroit, that were in the final seconds. They could very easily be 6-2. And if they were then most people would have them in their Top 5 teams. I won't go that far because their defense is still a sieve. Safety Rafael Bush is one of the worst secondary players in the league. I can almost guarantee he gets beat for at least one touchdown this week against San Francisco.
12. Miami Dolphins (5-3) - Here comes the Fins. Miami has won three straight, and right now they boast the No. 3 defense in football. And they have earned that ranking, essentially shutting down Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler and Phil Rivers this season and holding those four to an average of just 15.3 points per game. The road team has been the play - automatically - in Dolphins games over the last five years, and the visitors have gone 5-2 ATS in Miami's last seven games this season.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2-1) - I know that this seems low for the Bengals right now. But all of their wins have come against the Falcons, Titans, Jaguars and Ravens. The first three are three of the worst teams in football, and the Bengals actually trailed in the fourth quarter in both Ravens games. However, the return of A.J. Green changes the entire tenor of this offense. And defensively the Bengals have already seen the same scheme the Browns have run twice this season. Baltimore and Cleveland run essentially the same offense. That will give the Bengals an edge on a short week.
14. San Diego Chargers (5-3) - It is pretty clear that the Chargers were playing way above themselves when they got off to a 5-1 start. This team isn't nearly as good as it looked the first month of the season. And until they find some healthy cornerbacks, they can't stop anyone defensively. They have allowed an average of 30.8 points per game in their last four, and this team desperately needed that bye week.
15. Baltimore Ravens (5-4) - This is another team that needs to get healthy in the back seven. Quickly. Baltimore just allowed 70 points to division rivals Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and they are licking their wounds as they head home this week. The Ravens are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against sub-.500 teams, and the favorite in the Ravens-Titans series is just 5-17 ATS.
16. San Francisco 49ers (4-4) - Jerome Boger is an absolute moron. He is basically a real-live version of Brick Tamland from "Anchorman". I don't know how that guy manages not to run into glass doors constantly, much less how he is able to be an actual NFL official. Can you believe that asshat actually called the Super Bowl?!?!? Seriously - that happened! The 49ers won in New Orleans in 2012 and covered a 3.5-point spread in a close 23-20 loss here last year. The 49ers are 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings in this series dating back to 2010, and three of the four games were determined by four points or less.
17. Detroit Lions (6-2) - The Lions have gone 3-0 this season without Calvin Johnson. But his return, along with the return of Reggie Bush, should be a huge boon for the Lions offense. Detroit is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a bye week. However, they are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games and they are just 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games as a favorite. They are 1-3 ATS when laying points recently, and last year they went 2-5 ATS in November and December as a favorite.
18. Chicago Bears (3-5) - This is it. It is a do-or-die situation for the Bears against their "rivals" the Packers. Considering the Packers are 10-2 SU in the last 12 meetings and 20-8 ATS in the last 28 meetings, I don't know how much of a rivalry it has actually been. The Bears better have a drastically different defensive game plan to stop Aaron Rodgers this week. Because that garbage, soft Cover-2 zone they have been featuring is the equivalent of playing high school defense. Chicago is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games against teams above .500 and 8-20 ATS in its last 28 games overall. They are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 conference games, and I don't have high hopes for Chicago's resurgence out of the bye week. Their issues are too systemic.
19. New York Giants (3-5) - If I were the Giants I would be making back channel overtures to get Jim Harbaugh this offseason. I think that he would be the perfect replacement for Tom Coughlin. Coughlin has earned the right to choose his own exit after a decade of outstanding service. But the bottom line is that this team is still two years away from actually competing in the NFC, and I don't know that Coughlin is the guy to lead the rebuild. The Giants are 4-1 ATS on a Sunday after a Monday night game, and they are 5-1 ATS after a double-digit loss at home. But they are just 5-11 ATS in their last 16 road games.
20. Buffalo Bills (5-3) - I think we're going to find out everything we need to know about the Bills on Sunday. If they come out and play well - win or lose, they need to play well - then this is a team that will be playing meaningful games in December. The Bills have three of their next four games at home, including games against the Jets and Browns, so if they can find a way past the Chiefs then 10 wins wouldn't be completely out of the question. The Bills have actually dominated the Chiefs over the past seven years and are 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS in this series over the past decade.
21. Houston Texans (4-5) - These guys should trade for Colt McCoy immediately. I think that he is a quarterback that this team could situate the rest of its talent around. Houston's offense has been one of the worst in football on third down this year, converting just 37.6 percent. But a large part of that comes from the fact that they average eight third downs of eight or more yards per game. Their 75 third-and-long situations is No. 29 in the NFL, and it tells me that they are failing on third down because they are losing first and second down. That's a telltale sign of an inefficient offense, and they have a lot to work out during their bye week.
22. Carolina Panthers (3-5-1) - Last week played out perfectly for my 7-Unit futures play on the Panthers 'under' 8.5 wins. And I think that two losses to two quality opponents in a four-day span has really sapped this team of any fight that it may have had left. Carolina has been outgained in all but one of its games this year, yet they are still somehow 5-4 ATS in spite of their losing record. That's not unheard of with Cover-2 teams. But the Panthers are just 1-5-1 in their last seven games and are not showing signs of improvement. Carolina is just 2-5 ATS on the road, but they are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 conference games and 6-2 ATS in their last eight games after a loss ATS.
23. Cleveland Browns (5-3) - I'm not fooled at all by this team's record. They have played five of their last seven games at home - where their defense has been playing above itself - and they have been squaring off with weak competition. Cleveland's last three opponents have been Tampa Bay, Oakland and Jacksonville (combined record: 2-23), and all three have outgained the Browns. Also, Cleveland has been outscored 62-19 in the first half of its three road games this year. I wouldn't expect that to turn around this week.
24. Washington Redskins (3-6) - I think that was the best I've seen Robert Griffin play in the last two years. Yes, he missed some throws down the stretch. But Griffin seemed much more confident and more decisive than I've seen him in a long time. Now we will see if he can play like that on a consistent basis. Also, I don't know if any position group in football is having a worse season than the Redskins tight ends. I swear. Every week they just plague the Redskins offense with penalties, drops and/or fumbles. They have been pathetic.
25. Minnesota Vikings (4-5) - Teddy Bridgewater did some very nice things on Sunday. Most notably winning a tight game in which he had to come from behind. However, he has been terrible throwing the deep ball. That missed throw to Cordarrelle Patterson early in the game - Patterson had beaten a blown coverage and was open by at least 20 yards - is completely inexcusable, and Bridgewater wasn't even close with his deep ball. It also seems to take Bridgewater a little while to get into rhythm. He has just a 54.3 rating on his first 10 pass attempts per game this year.
26. St. Louis Rams (3-5) - Jeff Fisher, the underdog master, pulled off another upset last week in San Francisco. But anyone that watched that game could see pretty obviously that the Rams offense was overmatched against essentially the second-string San Francisco defense. The Rams have been outgained by an average of 134.3 yards per game in their last four. Things won't get any easier for the Rams and their comical collection of third-rate skill players this week in Arizona. The Rams lost 30-10 in the desert last December, and they are just 3-6 ATS in their last nine games against the Cardinals. However, it is clear that the Rams are fighting hard and playing gamely against one of the toughest schedules in football. This will be the seventh straight week they face a team that is above .500 when they squared off.
27. Tennessee Titans (2-6) - Here is another team that is going to tell us everything we need to know about them in the first 30 minutes of their game this weekend. Tennessee is virtually eliminated from playoff contention and coming off a bye. They are still struggling to get used to the new coaching staff, and they don't really have a quarterback. Will they mail it in? Tennessee has played a soft schedule. And yet they are still just 1-6 ATS in their last seven games and lost 33-7 (Cincinnati) and 41-17 (Indianapolis) in their last two road games against playoff-caliber competition. In fact, the Titans are just 16-36 ATS in their last 52 games against teams with a winning record.
28. New York Jets (1-8) - This is the fifth straight season the Jets have taken on the Steelers, and this is the 11th meeting in the last 14 years for these old school rivals. The home team has had a bit advantage, winning seven of nine, but the favorite has gone 6-3 ATS in the last nine meetings. I wouldn't expect to see Geno Smith this week. Instead, Mike Vick will be the one turning the ball over for the Jets.
29. Atlanta Falcons (2-6) - Boy, have things changed since the last time the Falcons and Bucs met. That was the high-water mark for Atlanta's season as they doled out a 56-14 blowout win in a Thursday night game in Week 3. Atlanta has lost five straight games since then and is 1-4 ATS. Perhaps most disconcerting is the fact that only two of Atlanta's losses during that stretch have come against teams that currently have a winning record. And one of those (Baltimore) is technically a last-place team. There have been a lot of disappointing teams in the NFL this year. But I don't know that anyone has as much pressure on them this week as the Falcons, because a Sunday loss could result in a Monday pink slip for several front office members.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7) - This is a big revenge spot for the Bucs, who were flat-out humiliated in Atlanta. The public is looking for another blowout, though, since just 12 percent of the wagering in this game has come in on the home team. There hasn't been a sweep in the Atlanta-Tampa Bay series over the past four years, and the home team has won five of the last seven.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) - I can respect that Blake Bortles is in over his head. He is trying to learn how to be an NFL quarterback and trying to do so surrounded by an awful team. But man, he misses a lot of reads. He has a long way to go. The Jaguars have covered three of their past four games and have outgained three of their last four opponents. This team is making clear progress. But I still think they will be a blowout magnet in the second half of the season.
32. Oakland Raiders (0-8) - Good luck against pissed off Peyton Manning this week, guys. You're going to need it.
Robert Ferringo is a lead writer for Doc's Sport and he has exploded for $8,080 in football profit over the last six weeks. Robert demolished the books for $2,700 in football profit last weekend alone and has produced more cash for his clients than any handicapper in the country the past two years ($15,100 profit). Robert has 10 of 12 winning football months and 17 of 24 winning NFL weeks and he is going to build on that sensational resume again this week.
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