Overreaction Week is one of my favorite weeks of the NFL season. Those few days after Week 1 games come to a close is unlike anything else during the regular season. Because there are only 16 regular-season football games, compared to 162 baseball games and 82 games apiece to an NBA and NHL season, every win and loss is magnified. And after seven months of build-up, the opening games allow fans, gamblers and all manner of football hangers-on to completely lose perspective and flat-out freak-out over 60 minutes of generally rusty, sloppy football in early September.
"The Bills are going to the Super Bowl!"
"The Seahawks and Colts are done!"
"Marcus Mariota looks like a Hall of Famer!"
The result is an extremely soft NFL gambling market in the second week of the season. Last year the 15 teams that covered the spread in Week 2 (there was one push) did so by an average of 13.9 points per game. In 2013 that Week 2 number was just 6.6, but in 2012 teams covered by an average of 11 points per game and in 2011 it was by 10 points per game.
By comparison, in Week 1 of this year there were two major blowouts (Tennessee and Cincinnati). But if you kick out those two games the other 14 spread-covering teams did so by just over a touchdown per game.
So beware the overreaction in Week 2. I've tried to with my NFL Power Rankings. But now the real trick is to avoid the recency effect spilling over into this week's wagers.
Here is Doc's Sports NFL Power Rankings for Week 2:
1. Green Bay Packers (1-0) - "Wow" is all I can say about Aaron Rodgers' game on Sunday in Chicago. Rodgers was absolutely ridiculous, putting the ball exactly where it needed to be all day and churning out 31 points against a vastly improved Bears defense. This week the Packers can try to downplay the revenge angle against Seattle, but it's no use; this is one of the biggest regular-season revenge situations in the 2015 season. Green Bay has lost three straight to the Seahawks, but they haven't gotten them in Lambeau since 2009. The home team has won nine of the last 10 meetings in this series dating back to 2003.
2. New England Patriots (0-0) - These are the types of games that Brady and Belichick live for, eh? You know they want nothing more than to pile drive Rex Ryan, the Bills, and the enormous hype that's building in Buffalo. New England's defense is very much a bend-but-don't-break group. They allowed the Steelers to move up and down the field with ease (Pittsburgh had 464 total yards), and New England's defense will be defined by its red zone performance this year. They were just No. 11 overall last year. And unlike the Steelers, who are a bit soft offensively, the Bills may be able to cram it down New England's throat. The Patriots are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 in Buffalo and 21-10 ATS in their last 31 against the Bills.
3. Seattle Seahawks (0-1) - Four of my top eight teams lost last week, and two more, Dallas and Denver, were unimpressive. I'm not going to bail on Seattle right away because, again, I don't want to overreact. The fact is that St. Louis was beyond lucky to win that game after falling behind 31-24. That being said, how the hell can the Seahawks give up 31 points to that pathetic Rams offense? Seattle held the Rams to less than 3.0 yards per rush last week, and their 10.35 yards per point allowed is definitely an anomaly.
4. Buffalo Bills (0-0) - I know that this one seems like a major overreaction. I do. But it wasn't that the Bills beat the Colts. It was how the Bills beat the Colts. They pummeled them. They absolutely, physically, overwhelmed an Indy team that most bobbleheads had as the best team in the AFC coming into the season. The Bills were the most impressive team that I watched this preseason, and they were the best team I saw last week. The Bills were actually a small -1.0 favorite at home against the Patriots last season, so I found it interesting that this year's squad, which is vastly superior, is a home underdog. Finally, if you're still skeptical about Tyrod Taylor, don't be. The guy can play. It is blatantly obvious. He won't be perfect. But Taylor is absolutely a viable NFL starter, and he looks great right now.
5. Denver Broncos (0-0) - According to Football Outsiders, last Sunday marked just the 14th time Peyton Manning was sacked four or more times in a single game. My take on Manning's offensive struggles are this: the guy just looks tired. Not just his arm. Five or six years ago he would've approached the challenge of learning an entirely new offense with the famous maniacal Manning preparation and perfectionism that he approaches everything on the football field with. But at 39 years old and in what is likely his final year he just doesn't seem like he has the energy to master Gary Kubiak's scheme. Instead he will rely on Wade Phillips' sensational defense to do the heavy lifting this season.
6. Arizona Cardinals (0-0) - I wanted to see how jittery Carson Palmer looked in the pocket against the blitz-crazed Saints last week. The answer was "not jittery at all". Palmer looked calm and confident, moving effortlessly in the pocket and making plays in the passing game. The Cardinals defense will have to be better against Matt Forte this week than they were against Mark Ingram last week. The Cardinals are 18-7 ATS in their last 25 games overall, and they are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 conference games. They are also very familiar with Chicago's defensive scheme, having faced Bears DC Vic Fangio twice a year when he was the DC for San Francisco.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (0-0) - I really have nothing but terrible things to say about this group of idiots after their performance on Monday night. They absolutely weren't ready to play, and they made all kinds of tactical errors that did them in. Chip Kelly shouldn't have given away his first two series trying to get Demarco Murray involved, and Murray looked like he was running with a refrigerator on his back. Also, how the hell did they not double-team Julio Jones all night? Byron Maxwell was torched for eight catches, 167 yards and an 18-yard pass interference penalty. The good news is that he doesn't have to face Dez Bryant this week. The Eagles are just 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games against Dallas.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) - There's really nothing negative to say about the Bengals after their outstanding Week 1 performance. I know it was only against the Raiders. But Cincinnati was sharp on both sides of the ball and put up one of the biggest yardage differentials of Week 1 (+150). Cincinnati also has a little revenge motivation working for them this week, as the last time the Chargers came to Cincinnati they blew out the Bengals in the 2014 playoffs. The Bengals don't get credit for it, but they have been one of the best home teams in football the past three seasons. They are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 home games and Cincinnati is 24-10 ATS in its last 34 games in September.
9. Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) - Kansas City's efficiency was through the roof last Sunday, and they'll need to be even better if they want to take down the Broncos. The Chiefs have lost six straight to Denver, getting swept each of the past three seasons. Kansas City is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games in Arrowhead, but the Chiefs are just 1-5 ATS in their last six home games against the Broncos. Kansas City's offensive line was a big question mark coming into the regular season. But they only allowed two sacks against Houston's fantastic front four. That bodes well going into a game against Denver's devastating pass rush.
10. Dallas Cowboys (0-0) - I called it last week: Dallas was so arrogant and lackadaisical in the preseason that it absolutely carried over into the regular season. This team isn't nearly as good as it thinks it is. Sure, they are getting credit for their "gutsy" win. But that was an awful Giants team that the Cowboys should've buried. I think last year was an aberration and this year's Cowboys look like the same bunch of shaky, error-prone incompetents and losers that they were from 2009 to 20013. The underdog in the Eagles series is 5-0 ATS in the last five and 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings. The road team has won four straight, and the Cowboys are 5-1 ATS in Philadelphia.
11. Indianapolis Colts (0-0) - Andre Johnson looked like trash on Sunday, and he was another example of why players shouldn't take the entire preseason off. Everyone assumed that Johnson and Frank Gore would be these big offensive upgrades this year. But the fact is that they are old dudes who only have so many good efforts left. The Colts defense was pushed around, their offensive line is still below average, and last Sunday made it 41 straight games without a 100-yard rusher for Indianapolis. The 'over' is 5-2 in Indy's last seven games on Monday Night Football, but the 'under' is 17-8 for the Colts following a loss.
12. Detroit Lions (0-0) - Ameer Abdullah absolutely embarrassed Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle on back-to-back plays on Sunday, first stiff-arming his helmet off him and then the very next play putting a ridiculous juke on him en route to an easy touchdown run. However, the Lions offense inexplicably fell apart after a hot 20 minutes. Some Lions insiders were blaming an elbow injury to Matt Stafford for his second half flop. But I didn't think Detroit worked the middle of the field enough with short throws to soften up San Diego's defense. We'll see if they force the ball to Calvin Johnson 10 or 12 times this week. I'm betting they will. The underdog is 7-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in the Vikings series. The Lions are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games in Week 2.
13. San Diego Chargers (0-0) - Philip Rivers put on a show against the Lions last week, leading the Chargers to 30 unanswered points. San Diego seems intent on taking the pressure off its mediocre offensive line - which suffered another blow by losing D.J. Fluker for at least the next month - with a lot of wide receiver screens, three-step drops, and quick dump offs. I expect a similar approach against Cincinnati's front four this week considering how good the Bengals pass rush was against Oakland. San Diego has to come east for the early local start, and that is always a challenge for West Coast teams. But San Diego is 11-1 ATS in its last 12 games in September, and the road team is 7-1 ATS in this series.
14. Baltimore Ravens (0-0) - I said it last week and I'll say it again: the Ravens do not look comfortable at all in their new offense. This is their fourth different offensive system in four years, and the Ravens don't have nearly the skill position talent that they had two or three years ago. The Terrell Suggs loss can't be overstated. He was the clear leader in the locker room, and the Ravens back seven is still definitely a work in progress. The Ravens are just 5-13 ATS in their last 18 conference games, and they have to deal with a tough travel schedule this week, flying back from Denver before flying across country to take on Oakland.
15. Miami Dolphins (0-0) - A win is a win. But that was an ugly win for the Dolphins on Sunday. Miami was outgained by nearly 100 yards last week, and if you include their preseason games the Dolphins offense has scored more than 17 points just one time in five outings this year. Dating back to last year they've topped 17 points just four times in their last nine regular-season games. Miami is just 3-6 ATS in its last nine games and 4-8 against the total in its last 12 outings. Last October the Dolphins dominated in a two-touchdown win at Jacksonville as a seven-point favorite. And so far this week the Dolphins are the biggest public wager on the board, with the road favorite garnering 91 percent of the early-week betting action.
16. Houston Texans (0-0) - I'm not ready to bury the Texans just yet even though their game with Kansas City wasn't nearly as close as the 27-20 final suggests. I also don't think that Bill O'Brien did himself any favors by benching Brian Hoyer. I'm a firm believer that if you are going to make a quarterback change then just go ahead and do it for the long haul. But the back-and-forth is just going to sow seeds of apprehension and indecisiveness in the locker room. It looks like Ryan Mallett is going to get the start this week. But a flip-flop at the quarterback position this early in the season really isn't a good look for O'Brien and his staff. The Texans are 6-2 ATS after a loss.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) - Get used to what you saw on Thursday night from this Steelers team. Their defense is pathetic, and I do not see where the improvement is going to come from. Those blown assignments on Rob Gronkowski - the one guy they spent all last week talking about stopping - were inexcusable. The Steelers are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games against a team with a winning record, and they are 5-1 ATS in their last six games after a loss. Pittsburgh has had a few extra days to prepare for this game, against a 49ers team coming off a short week, and the Steelers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games. They know they can't go 0-2, and Pittsburgh needs this win.
18. Chicago Bears (0-0) - The Bears actually played a lot better than their final score suggested on Sunday. Last year they were in the Top 5 in the league in red zone efficiency, but their failures near the goal line doomed them against the Packers. Chicago's new offense did an outstanding job of getting the ball out of Jay Cutler's hands quickly, minimizing his chances of making crippling mistakes in the passing game. The Bears defense also played better than the numbers looked. But Rodgers was absolutely on fire in that game. There has been a slight reverse line movement in this week's game for Chicago. The Bears are taking just 18 percent of the wagers in this one but the line has dropped from an open of 2.5 to a current number of 2.0 or 1.5, depending on the book. The Bears are just 7-20 ATS at home, 12-26 ATS in their last 38 games and 10-24 ATS in their last 34 conference games.
19. San Francisco 49ers (0-0) - I said before the season that I did not think that the 49ers, for all their attrition, were as bad as everyone thought. This team is going to take a step back. But they are 6-10 or 7-9 bad, not 3-13 bad. And I don't think the wheels are really going to come off until they reach their brutal late-season schedule. In the meantime, I loved San Francisco's three tight end sets, and Carlos Hyde is absolutely the real deal. Injuries will be the only thing that keep him from 1,300 rushing yards this year. The 49ers do have the situational disadvantage of playing on a short week against a team that had extra rest. And travelling west to east for a 10 a.m. PST start is never kind to West Coast teams.
20. Minnesota Vikings (0-0) - A full year's sabbatical isn't the only thing working against Adrian Peterson. He looks completely uncomfortable working out of Minnesota's spread and shotgun formations. Peterson is an I-back runner that prefers to follow a fullback through a hole at full speed. Norv Turner is going to have to work some base runs into Minnesota's repertoire. The Vikings have had Detroit's number in recent years, going 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings and 6-2 ATS in their last eight home games against Detroit. However, that outstanding preseason seems like a long, long time ago for a Vikings team that needs to rally on a short week.
21. Atlanta Falcons (0-0) - I'm not going to gush about the Atlanta defense after one game. I attribute the Falcons' MNF win more to Philadelphia's idiocy than anything that the Falcons did. That said, it does help that Atlanta actually has NFL-caliber linebackers to work with this season. Atlanta's offense is going to be incredibly difficult to stop this season. The Shanahan Attack is a proven commodity in the NFL, and Atlanta has a lot of talent to work with on that side of the ball. They should be able to chew up a New York secondary that really struggled to defend the short passing attack last week at Dallas. The road team is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 Falcons-Giants games, and Atlanta is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games in New York.
22. Carolina Panthers (0-0) - Next to Miami, I don't think there was a less impressive winning team in Week 1. Ted Ginn dropped a touchdown pass, the Panthers missed field goals, Jon Stewart looked slow and ineffective, and this team struggled to put away a really bad Jaguars team. I expect to see Luke Kuechly (concussion) on Sunday. But if he can't go or is lost for any extended period then that is a massive blow to this team. It would be the equivalent of losing Cam Newton on offense. Carolina has been sneaky good as a home team, going 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games in Charlotte.
23. Tennessee Titans (0-0) - Remember: I said before the season that I would be driving the Titans bandwagon. The bandwagon is filling up quickly, however, as nearly 90 percent of the early action this week is coming down on Tennessee. Their spread in Cleveland vaulted from +4.0 to -1.0 for the visitors. My second-largest futures wager was on the Titans 'over' 5.5 wins, and I think that this is going to be a sneaky team this year. Marcus Mariota - as I have pointed out - looks incredibly comfortable under center and reminds me of Matt Ryan in his rookie year. Note that Ryan guided a 4-12 team to an 11-5 record and the postseason in his rookie season.
24. New Orleans Saints (0-0) - The final score suggested that the Saints got run in Arizona. But they actually had two chances to take the lead in the third quarter of that game and basically played the Cardinals even until the final two minutes. I can't believe New Orleans is as strong of a favorite as it is this week. But everyone knows that they are unlikely to go 2-6 ATS at home again this season. Last year the Saints needed overtime to beat the Bucs as an 11-point favorite in Week 5. But they did handle the Vikings, 20-9, as a 10-point chalk in last year's home opener.
25. St. Louis Rams (0-0) - Maybe I'm just being stubborn, but I am still not buying into the Rams. Last week's win was kind of a fluke as I felt they were outplayed. I don't know that I trust St. Louis enough to be a road favorite this week, but they are taking 88 percent of the early action as a 3.5-point favorite in Washington. That seems optimistic considering they are traveling east for an early start time and going off surface. The Rams dominated Washington 24-0 at FedEx Field last December and the Rams are 6-1 ATS against the Redskins since 2006.
26. New York Giants (0-0) - I don't know how that Sunday night loss doesn't linger with this team. And that loss is really going to be Exhibit A when Tom Coughlin gets canned at the end of this season. How does a guy with two Super Bowl rings blow the end of a game so badly? Unforgiveable. The Giants really had no business winning that game anyway, however, as the lead was more the product of Dallas incompetence than anything else. New York has a slight motivational advantage this week against the Falcons. Atlanta had a short week and has to travel while the Giants will be more focused since they know they can't afford to start the season 0-2.
27. New York Jets (0-0) - I don't like Chan Gailey's long-term prospects as the Jets offensive coordinator, but this week players and analysts alike have been praising his simple, straightforward approach. The Jets have been a dead red 'under' team the past few years. But this is probably the most skilled and experienced offense they've had in years, and I still don't think the New York defense is on par with what we've seen from them most of this decade. The Jets are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against the Colts, and the 'over' is 8-2 in those games.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) - As I've stated time and time again, Jameis Winston is a total loser and is an accident waiting to happen. It was absolutely perfect that his first pro pass was a pick-six going the other way. Winston is a slightly better version of Jamarcus Russell, and I think Winston's absolute ceiling is a worse version of Kerry Collins. Tampa Bay's Cover-2 is, predictably, a disaster, and that defensive system is outdated. The Bucs are 3-1 ATS in their last four against the Saints but have lost seven straight times in the series. Also, prior to last year's OT game in the Superdome the Bucs had lost their previous three trips to New Orleans by a combined score of 110-33.
29. Cleveland Browns (0-0) - Time for Manziel Mania, Part Deux! This should be a treat. Manziel is not an NFL-caliber quarterback. He's going to make a big play or two. But he is simply not accurate enough to produce sustained drives against NFL defenses. In six total games Manziel is completing barely 52 percent of his passes with one touchdown, three interceptions and three fumbles. Titans defensive assistant Dick LeBeau has amazing numbers against young quarterbacks in his illustrious career, and if the Browns can't run the ball and take some pressure off Manziel this game could get ugly. Cleveland is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games after a loss.
30. Oakland Raiders (0-0) - Well, the Raiders showed some promise for a few preseason weeks anyway. Now Derek Carr is hurt (although he will start this week) and Oakland looked totally overmatched against the Bengals. Now the Raiders could be dealing with three new starters in the secondary, including recently signed scrap-heap addition Taylor Mays. The three guys that Oakland lost - Charles Woodson, D.J. Hayden and Nate Allen - have 310 more NFL starts than their projected replacements. The Raiders are 24-49 ATS in their last 73 games against a team with a losing record and just 4-9 ATS in their last 13 home games.
31. Washington Redskins (0-0) - As if things needed to get worse for this flailing mess of a franchise, injuries are savaging their already thin depth chart. Losing safety Duke Ihenacho is a major subtraction from one of the worst secondaries in football, and DeSean Jackson's absence completely changes the scope of Washington's offense. The underdog has gone 4-2 ATS in the last six meetings in this Rams series, and five of the last seven meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0) - The Jaguars pretty much are who we thought they were. Jacksonville had three early drives enter the Carolina 25 and they came away with just three points thanks to a fumble and a missed field goal. Blake Bortles looked awful, missing receivers by a mile and throwing that terrible pick-six in the third quarter. Of course, it would help if the Jaguars had anything above replacement-level players on offense. But they don't. Jacksonville is now 18-38 ATS in its last 56 home games, 8-22 ATS in September, and 0-8 ATS in their last eight games in Week 2. Until they prove otherwise they should probably be catching double digits every week.
Throughout the season I will have my NFL Power Rankings every Wednesday. My next ones will be released on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
Robert Ferringo has been the top football handicapper in the country the past two years, earning nearly $13,000 in total football profit with back-to-back winning seasons. Robert has tallied over $23,000 in football profit the last four years and in 2013 he hit 62.1 percent for the entire NFL season (95-58). Robert has produced an incredible 13 of 17 winning football months. Going back further he has churned out 36 of 52 winning football months and four of five winning overall seasons while hitting nearly 60 percent winners over his last 600 football picks. Also, Robert's proprietary KING College Football Betting System has posted two of three winning seasons and is 104-73 over the last three years (58.8 percent). We are offering new clients $60 in free college football picks for Robert's picks or any Advisory Board handicapper of your choosing. Get your free college football picks now!
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