No matter what your reaction to Tuesday's election results was - shock, elation, horror - I think that everyone agrees on one thing: thank god this cycle is actually over.
I've worked in sports, first as a reporter and then as a handicapper, long enough to be jaded by its seedier behind-the-scene elements. I'm not big on people hyping the importance of sporting events, and I think that a lot of people take them way, way too seriously relative to real-life issues. But there is no denying that sports are a fantastic escape and distraction from those issues and that they play a very important role in our national consciousness and identity.
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I've heard and read a lot of people talking about the "power of America's institutions". Well, football is one of those institutions. It is a pillar of our national economy and a fundamental part of our entertainment-industrial complex. People, regardless of political leanings and affiliations, love football! And it really is something that a helluva lot of people across the spectrum can bond over and agree on. (You know, when opposing fans aren't trying to rip each other's heads off!)
No, I don't believe in the NFL's benevolent power to heal all things in this country. But I know that I, for one, am looking forward to sitting down on Sunday, tuning out everything else, and just enjoying some big hits and backdoor covers.
Here is Doc's Sports NFL Power Rankings for Week 10:
1. New England Patriots (7-1) - I feel like playing teams off the bye week is one of the most overrated angles in pro football betting right now. All season I've seen teams come back from a week off and look sloppy and lethargic, getting off to slow starts in their next game back. The Patriots are just 10-7 ATS in their last 17 games after a week of rest.
2. Dallas Cowboys (7-1) - Shockingly, I think the Cowboys are handling the Prescott-Romo situation properly. They aren't trying to lie or scheme about Romo's health or dodge and evade the fact that they are sticking with Prescott. Not only are they making the correct choice but also they are actually handling it like a big boy franchise, something they haven't done well the past 20 years.
3. Seattle Seahawks (5-2-1) - This is obviously a big situational disadvantage for the Seahawks this week. They are off a short week, coming out of an emotional Monday Night Football win, and they have to travel cross country to play a team that is out of a bye week and had extra time to prepare. However, since Nov. 13, 2011 - they've played 80 games, including playoffs, since then - the Seahawks have lost only 21 times. And of those 21 losses only three have come by more than a touchdown.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) - The Chiefs have won four straight and are now 16-2 SU in their last 18 regular-season games. However, there are a lot of numbers suggesting that this might be a little unsustainable. Kansas City ranks in the bottom half of the league in both offense and defense, getting outgained by an average of 27 yards per game. They are also ranked No. 20 or worse in both rushing offense and rushing defense. They are living on their plus-13 turnover differential. But if those turnovers dry up, this team could be in trouble. K.C. also may be without Jeremy Maclin, who injured his groin and played only two snaps last week.
5. Atlanta Falcons (6-3) - The amazement and plaudits being heaped onto Atlanta's No. 1 ranked offense is blurring the fact that the Falcons are a horrific defensive football team. These guys can't stop anyone. They are allowing 28.8 points per game and are No. 26 in total defense and No. 31 in pass defense. Their gaudy offensive numbers, solid record, and 6-2 ATS mark in their last eight games is going to force them into laying a lot of points. But that defense is going to be leaving the back door wide open for the rest of the season.
6. Denver Broncos (6-3) - I've touched on this a little bit in previous Power Rankings, but Denver's defense is not even close to the level that it has been the past two seasons. I know they are No. 4 in total defense and No. 7 in points allowed. But the Broncos have allowed 28 or more points in four of their past six games, and they are getting pushed around at the point of attack. The Broncos are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 games against AFC opponents.
7. Oakland Raiders (7-2) - Well, it looks like I can't hold the Raiders back any longer. This is the first week that I've had them in the Top 10 of my Power Rankings. And, honestly, I don't think they are one of the 10 best teams in the NFL. But they just keep winning, they don't have any bad losses at all (Atlanta and Kansas City) and they are still unbeaten on the road. Their Pythagorean win number suggests that their record should be just 5-4, though, and that's usually a good indicator of a regression.
8. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1) - I wrote in my Patriots blurb that the bye week has become overrated in NFL handicapping. But I can't think of any team that needed a bye last week more than the Cardinals. It has been an extraordinarily frustrating couple of weeks for Arizona after their tie with Seattle and sloppy loss at Carolina. Resting up and then feasting on the hapless 49ers is just what they need. The Cardinals are 4-2 ATS in their last six games against San Francisco, but just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games against their division rivals.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4) - Are the Steelers the AFC Packers? Were we all just duped by this team, seduced by potential offensive potency and distracted by the fact that they are terrible defensively and lacking continuity? Pittsburgh has gone 'under' in six of its last seven games and has scored an average of just 15 points per game in their past three contests. They are 3-0 ATS at home with Big Ben under center this year. But I wouldn't hold my breath expecting the No. 24-ranked defense in football to slow down Dallas' multidimensional attack. The Steelers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games and 14-6 ATS against teams with a winning record. Pittsburgh is also 11-5 ATS after a loss.
10. Washington Redskins (4-3-1) - I think we are going to find out a lot about this Redskins squad, which is coming out of a bye, over the next two weeks. They host Minnesota and Green Bay. Washington is on a 5-1 ATS run, and the only game they lost in that stretch (20-17 at Detroit) was a game in which they clearly outplayed their opponent. Washington is just 1-7 ATS after a bye week.
11. San Diego Chargers (4-5) - I've said it before and I will say it again: I seriously have no idea how teams haven't figured out San Diego's offense. They either run the ball or they throw one of the following pass routes: a quick out, a screen, a short drag, or a leak out with a back. That's it. Next time you watch these guys count how many times Uncle Phil actually throws a seam route or makes a toss more than 10 yards down field.
12. Minnesota Vikings (5-3) - I think I might still have this team too high, and they are really starting to look like last year's Falcons, going in the tank after a dominating start. I also have no idea why they are keeping Blair Walsh around. Kickers are completely replaceable, and every time that guy jogs onto the field you can just feel the impending doom. The fact that Mike Zimmer decided to go for it on fourth down late last week inside the 15-yard line rather than let Walsh attempt a chip shot (he had already missed an extra point and had a FG blocked a few minutes earlier) says everything you need to know about how much confidence the Vikes have in this guy.
13. Buffalo Bills (4-5) - I think the Bills gained more respect in losing last Monday night up in Seattle than they have after some of their wins this season. But after three straight losses both SU and ATS, the Bills can't afford any more morale victories. Tyrod Taylor continues to be unappreciated due to the fact that his receiving corps is comprised of a Swifter and an old traffic cone.
14. Houston Texans (5-3) - The Texans have beaten the Jaguars four straight times by an average of 13.8 points per game. But Houston has been outgained in three of its last four games and they have been embarrassed on the road this year, going 0-3 and being outscored by a combined 85-22.
15. New York Giants (5-3) - I wanted to take a wait-and-see approach to the Giants out of the bye week. And I still don't know that I can trust these guys. New York's wins this year have essentially come as the result of opponents melting down, as was the case last week with Philly's ugly start. The Giants have been outgained by over 110 yards in each of their last two wins and have been outgained in four of their last five. Much like Kansas City, the Giants have a winning record despite fielding both a total offense and total defense ranked in the bottom half of the league. New York's offense and defense are both ranked No. 23. Proceed with caution.
16. Carolina Panthers (3-5) - I heard an insane statistic this week that Cam Newton hasn't had a roughing the passer penalty called against him since 2014. That is nuts! The Panthers defense looked better against Los Angeles last week but still gave up 339 total yards (280 in the air). I know a lot of those yards came in garbage time. But the Panthers are not dominating anyone right now, and I don't expect them to at any point this season. Carolina is still 1-5 ATS in their last six games and 0-4 ATS after a win.
17. New Orleans Saints (4-4) - New Orleans can prove that is regaining its dominating home-field advantage with a win over Denver this week. This matchup is very similar to the Seattle win two weeks ago, and a win this Sunday would be a third straight against a 2015-16 playoff team. The spread on this game jumped a point from a 1.5 open to its current state at 2.5. That was a bit surprising considering that New Orleans' defense is still a sieve.
18. Baltimore Ravens (4-4) - Now THAT is the Ravens that we are used to seeing. Baltimore was fast and physical on defense last week against the Steelers, and the home crowd absolutely played a role. Baltimore will want to get some revenge for an upset home loss to the Browns in Charm City last year. But be wary: Baltimore is still just 3-12 ATS in its last 15 home games, 2-7 ATS in its last nine Thursday games, and 3-11 ATS in its last 14 games against a team with a losing record.
19. Green Bay Packers (4-4) - People can keep trying to rationalize Green Bay's season all they want, but the fact is that this roster just isn't any good. There are no playmakers or difference-makers on either side of the ball. And outside of the first half against Detroit in Week 3 this team hasn't played well at any point this season. Half of their wins came against the sad sack Jaguars and Bears, and the Packers trailed in both games. If you are still waiting for this team to "turn it on", don't. And don't get caught burning your money on this crop of losers.
20. Detroit Lions (5-4) - That 17-play, 84-yard touchdown drive right before the end of the half was an absolute classic. Yes, they benefitted from a gift first down on a third-and-10 penalty. But the Lions soaked 10 minutes off the clock and all of the energy out of the stadium with that one. The Lions still were outplayed, though, and amazing Detroit has been outgained in every single one of its five wins. Stop me if you heard this one, but like Kansas City and New York, Detroit has a winning record despite getting outgained on the season (the Lions have been outscored as well) and fielding both an offense (No. 24) and a defense (No. 23) ranked No. 19 or lower.
21. Indianapolis Colts (4-5) - Chuck Pagano: master motivator. I can laugh at this clown all I like, but there is no denying that the Colts were focused and ready to play last week. Had they held on and won that Houston game a few weeks ago they would be on a 4-1 SU and ATS run, so I wouldn't count this team out just yet.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) - I wasn't buying into the Eagles earlier in the year when they were 3-0, and my skepticism has paid off. They are 1-4 SU and ATS in their last five games, with all four losses coming on the road and against teams that are currently over .500. None of the losses are by more than a touchdown. The Eagles are one of two Pennsylvania teams that is favored this week despite facing a team with a better record. That is usually a red flag.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1) - The Bengals are just 6-6 ATS out of a bye under Marvin Lewis. But they are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road games and 6-2 ATS after failing to cover the spread. A.J. Green could have a field day against New York's disorganized secondary (ranked No. 25 against the pass), but the Bengals still need a reliable second option to arise. Green has just 11 fewer receptions than the next three top receivers combined.
24. Tennessee Titans (4-5) - Kudos to Mike Mularkey for how he handled the end of the Titans-Chargers game. Down 15, the Titans scored a touchdown. Some idiot coaches would go for two in that situation. But Mularkey, wisely, kicked the extra point. That was a killer throw from Marcus Mariota to Delanie Walker for a touchdown to cut it to 33-28. But two defensive touchdowns is just brutal. The Titans are in a favorable line range this weekend. But they are just 12-36 ATS in their last 48 games and 15-34 ATS in their last 49 home games. Caveat emptor.
26. Miami Dolphins (4-4) - There is a reverse line movement in the Dolphins-Chargers game this weekend. Just under one-quarter of the bets in this one are coming down on Miami, yet the books moved off of a key number from 4.0 to 3.5. That is a bit of a red flag. Miami is finding some mojo, though, winning on the field and at the window in three straight games. But it is still tough to trust a team that is 9-20 ATS in its last 29 games overall and 6-17 ATS in its last 23 conference games.
26. New York Jets (3-6) - Brutal beat for Jets backers last week, losing on a kickoff return for a touchdown and coming a half-point short with the spread. New York already suffered a loss this week after being forced to shelf Ryan Clady for the season. The Jets won each of their last two games as a favorite, taking down Cleveland and Baltimore, but they are just 3-7 ATS after a loss and 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games in November.
27. Los Angeles Rams (3-5) - The Rams snuck in the back door against Carolina last week thanks to one missed tackle by Thomas Davis. The Rams needed a conversion on fourth-and-9 at their own 26 with 2:40 to play. Case Keenum actually threw a three-yard pass and Bennie Cunningham broke a tackle and labored 11 yards. Also, the Rams covered because Jeff Fisher is an idiot. Down 10 with less than two minutes to play, the Rams should've kicked the field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-goal from the 10 with 44 seconds left. The field goal was the higher-odds play and would've extended the game to the all-important onsides kick. The fact that Fisher's gambit worked (Keenum threw a TD) doesn't excuse the fact that it was the wrong call.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) - This line is off the board at most books, but Jameis Winston practiced on Monday and he looks all clear to start on Sunday. When the numbers back online I expect the Bucs to be right around a 1.5-point favorite. The Bucs have lost outright the last four times they have been favored and are 2-5 ATS as a favorite under Winston's lead. Going back to his final year at Florida State, Winston-quarterbacked teams have gone a horrendous 12-24 ATS.
29. Chicago Bears (2-6) - John Fox went 4-0 ATS after a bye week in Denver. But he has gone a combined 5-6 ATS after a week off in his stints with the Panthers (5-5) and Bears (0-1). It is shocking to think that if Chicago had not blown fourth-quarter leads to the Jaguars and Colts they would actually be in the thick of the NFC North playoff race. Their offensive line should get a big boost this week as both Josh Sitton and Kyle Long could be back in action.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) - The good news for the Jaguars is that the offense finally found a rhythm last week against the Chiefs, racking up 450 yards. The bad news is that the Jaguars are still losers, and their four turnovers cost them a game that they should've won. The Jags did sneak in the back door, though, and they are now 4-2 ATS in their last six games. The underdog in the Jags-Texans series is 5-2 ATS, but the home team is just 2-8 ATS.
31. San Francisco (1-7) - According to ESPN, the 49ers are the first team in league history to allow a 100-yard rusher in seven straight games. That is completely believable because San Francisco cannot stop anyone. At all. Not even a little. Their woes on the stop unit are exacerbated by the fact that the 49ers play so fast on offense. San Francisco has gone 'over' the total in four straight and six of their last seven games. Most of those 'overs' weren't even close, with San Francisco beating the total by an average of 13 points per game.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-9) - The Browns are actually taking a majority of the action this Thursday in their game with the Ravens despite the fact that Cleveland is 4-15 ATS in its last 19 games. Cleveland blew a 20-0 lead in their first matchup with the Ravens. And they haven't lost by more than 10 points in any of the last 10 meetings with their rivals. The Browns are 5-1 ATS in their last six games at Baltimore. But Cleveland is 0-7 ATS in its last seven divisional games and 3-7 ATS in its last 10 road games.
Throughout the season I will have my NFL Power Rankings every Wednesday. My next ones will be released on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
Robert Ferringo is one of the top football handicappers in the country and tallied an unrivaled $20,800 in football profit between 2011 and 2015, including his amazing 2013 NFL season in which he hit 62.1 percent (95-58). Robert has produced 15 of 23 winning football months and an amazing 38 of 58 winning football months over the past decade. Robert has hit nearly 60 percent winners over his last 750 totals picks and is the most prolific big play football handicapper in the nation, going 110-69 (62%) on all football plays rated 5.0 or higher since 2010. Also, Robert's proprietary KING College Football Betting System has posted three of four winning seasons and is 122-92 over the last three years (57.0 percent).
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