NFL Power Rankings Week 12
It is Thanksgiving week, so I am doing an abridged version of my NFL Power Rankings. But I do want to take this opportunity to point out again that I will be releasing my football selections on Wednesday this week to accommodate the holiday. That goes for all of Doc's football handicappers, and we want to get our action in early so we can sit back and enjoy an orgy of alcohol, eating and gambling this weekend that would make the Romans blush.
With that in mind, here is Doc's Sports NFL Power Rankings:
1. New Orleans Saints (9-1) - Favorites on Thanksgiving have gone 27-11 ATS since 2003, and teams favored by six or more points are an incredible 14-3 ATS. Favorites are 93-62 ATS on all Thursday games over the last 15 years. The Saints are on an 8-0 ATS run, and they are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games against the Falcons.
2. Los Angeles Rams (10-1) - Wow. That's all I can say about the Rams-Chiefs game. Wow. That game was insane and was really one of the greatest games in the history of the sport. Yes, it sucks (for me) that the Rams won but didn't cover. That's gambling. Also, Todd Gurley had his 13-game touchdown streak snapped in that, of all games.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) - I can't say anything bad about the Chiefs. There is no shame. The only thing they should've done differently was milk the clock more when they had the ball with four minutes left. But they barely lost, on the road, to one of the best teams in football. No shame. The Chiefs have averaged more points in their two losses (45.5) than in their nine wins (34.8).
4. New England Patriots (7-3) - The Patriots never seem to play well in New York. They are 3-2 SU and 0-5 ATS in their last five road games against the Jets, and their average margin of victory is just 4.3 points per game. They haven't beaten the Jets by more than a touchdown in any of those five games.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2-1) - The Steelers are now on a 6-0 ATS run, and they have been carving people up. Pittsburgh has had its struggles in Mile High Stadium, and they are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games in Denver. The Steelers are just 2-5 SU in their last seven games against the Broncos, and the road team has only won once in the series dating back to 2007.
6. Los Angeles Chargers (7-3) - The public loves the Chargers to bounce back this week and blow out Arizona. But Los Angeles is just 1-7 ATS as a favorite of 7.5 or more dating back to October of 2014. They are just 1-3 ATS in that role this season.
7. Chicago Bears (7-3) - Mitch Trubisky showed up on the injury report this week with an injury to his throwing shoulder. He finished the game against the Vikings, and there is no reason, at this point, to think he won't start on Thursday against the Lions. But it bears watching.
8. Carolina Panthers (6-4) - It's easy to disagree with "Riverboat Ron" and his decision to go for two at the end of the Panthers' loss to the Lions. Yes, his kicker had been shaky all day. But at that point the right decision was absolutely to kick the extra point and play for overtime. Carolina was the better team and had outplayed Detroit all day. Extend the game and give your playmakers on offense and defense more time to get the job done.
9. Minnesota Vikings (5-4-1) - I don't know why, but I have a feeling that the Vikings are going to play one of their best games of the year this week against Green Bay. This one is really a must-win if this team wants to keep pace for a playoff slot. And they have lost to the Packers only once in the last six meetings. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five in this series, and Minnesota is 36-16 ATS in their last 52 home games.
10. Baltimore Ravens (5-5) - I know a lot of people are lauding Lamar Jackson for his play in a win against the Bengals. But I still think that Baltimore would be better off with Robert Griffin in at quarterback. Jackson is going to be nothing but diminishing returns as teams get more tape on him; he just isn't a very good quarterback and is a flat-out bad passer right now.
11. Houston Texans (7-3) - That's now seven straight wins for the Texans. Only one of those seven wins have come against teams that are currently above .500, and that was last week's win against the 6-4 Redskins. The home team has won five straight and seven of eight in the Titans series, and the favorite is 7-2 ATS.
12. Washington Redskins (6-4) - I have said for years that Colt McCoy is the best backup quarterback in the NFL and that he would be a more than capable starter for half the teams in the league. He'll get a chance to prove it on Thursday in Dallas.
13. Seattle Seahawks (5-5) - This Seattle-Carolina series is an underrated rivalry. They've played five times in the last four seasons and eight times already this decade. The last four meetings have gone 'over' after the four previous meetings had an average of 28.5 points apiece.
14. Indianapolis Colts (5-5) - Center Ryan Kelly will miss the next few weeks for the Colts, which is a tough blow to an offensive line that has been outstanding. Indianapolis hasn't allowed a sack in five straight games, and Quenton Nelson has been one of the most impactful rookies in the NFL that no one is talking about.
15. Tennessee Titans (5-5) - I know it seems like this team has been playing well. But they are just 2-4 SU in their last six games, and they have not been good on the road at all, losing three of their last four away from home. The Titans are 0-4 in their last four trips to Houston, but they are 7-0 ATS on Monday Night Football, 8-2 ATS after a loss and 6-1 ATS in their last seven divisional games.
16. Dallas Cowboys (5-5) - This team is such a fraud. Their five wins have come against teams that are a combined 18-34 this year. However, they have been on the right side of several breaks, literally, as they are the healthiest team in the ugly NFC East right now.
17. Atlanta Falcons (4-6) - Matt Ryan and Dan Quinn absolutely botched Sunday's must-win game against the Cowboys. Yes, the Falcons defense was its normal terrible self. But between Ryan taking sacks to knock his team out of field goal range and Quinn's timid approach to some they-should-go-for-it fourth downs, the Falcons played to lose on Sunday, and lose they did.
18. Green Bay Packers (4-5-1) - I still can't believe that Aaron Rodgers bounced that final 3rd -and-2 throw against Seattle, which essentially cost the Packers the game. That one will haunt Rodgers.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) - I touched on it last week, but it is worth mentioning again: it is pretty clear that Frank Reich was the brains behind that outstanding Eagles offense last year. They have dropped from No. 3 in points and No. 7 in yards last year to No. 24 and No. 19, respectively, this season.
20. Denver Broncos (4-6) - Even in a solid upset win coach Vance Joseph still managed to show his incompetence, failing to correctly challenge Case Keenum's two-point conversion when it was pretty clear that he had broken the plane.
21. Detroit Lions (4-6) - The Lions are on a 4-1 ATS run on Thanksgiving, despite a loss to the Vikings last year. Detroit is just 8-12 ATS over the last 20 years on Thanksgiving.
22. Cincinnati Bengals (5-5) - The Bengals are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games against the Browns, and they are 5-1 ATS at home against Cleveland. The Bungles are also 5-1 ATS in their last six divisional games and 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games against a team with a losing record.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7) - I'm not sure where the Jaguars go from here. Last week's game was a potential season-saver and was a rivalry game against a Steelers team they had physically dominated the last several meetings. Now the Jags have to travel to Buffalo, where it is supposed to be 38 degrees at kickoff, and play a meaningless game against a terrible opponent.
24. Cleveland Browns (3-6-1) - If Gregg Williams is ever going to make a statement that he should be the coach of this Browns team moving forward, this is the week to do it. The Browns have had two weeks to prepare for this divisional game against in-state rival Cincinnati, and the Bengals are off a heartbreaking late loss. The Browns are just 15-36 ATS in their last 51 games. But how prepared they are for this game will be a direct reflection on Williams.
25. Miami Dolphins (5-5) - The spread on the Dolphins-Colts game jumped from 7.5 to 10.0 overnight on Sunday. The news that Ryan Tannehill may return has done nothing to this line. Neither has the fact that the public is on Miami at almost a 2-to-1 clip. Miami is 7-1 ATS in its last eight game in Indianapolis, and the underdog is 6-1 ATS in this series.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7) - For some unknown reason, the Bucs are going back to Jameis Winston this week. Whatever. The reality is that neither Ryan Fitzpatrick nor Winston are NFL-caliber starters. Mix in one of the worst defenses in football, and Tampa Bay is really just a mess right now.
27. New York Giants (3-7) - Don't believe for a second that the Giants are getting hot or that they are set to go on some run. This is still a bad football team. And their two wins in six days last week came against two of the worst teams in football. The Giants are just 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games against the Eagles.
28. San Francisco 49ers (2-8) - The 49ers have to make a long trip to Tampa Bay and play in a 10 a.m. PST kickoff. But they have had two weeks to prep, and the spread is above a key number for this group against an opponent that is really just the walking dead right now. San Francisco is just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games, and they are 0-5 ATS after a bye week.
29. New York Jets (3-7) - The Jets are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 home games. But they are on an 0-4 ATS slide, they are 0-4 ATS in their last four divisional games, and they are 1-5 ATS after a loss.
30. Buffalo Bills (3-7) - Last week was one of the best of Buffalo's season. They finally rid themselves of the scourge of Nathan Peterman, and they didn't lose. (Because they had a bye.) All in all, a great week for the Bills.
31. Oakland Raiders (2-8) - Oakland has to make the dreaded West-to-East flight for an early kickoff against a rough-and-tumble Baltimore team this week. This is only the second time all year that they have been underdogs of more than 10 points this season, though, and they are facing a rookie quarterback making just his second career start.
32. Arizona Cardinals (2-8) - The Cardinals stink. They are outmanned against every team they play. But they lost to the Raiders because of their own stupidity. Those two penalties - the unnecessary roughness on Jermaine Gresham and then the holding call on tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (which negated a David Johnson touchdown) - were self-inflicted wounds that cost them a win.
Throughout the season I will have my NFL Power Rankings every Tuesday. My next ones will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
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