NFL Power Rankings Week 14
Bad beats, man.
Some weeks things just aren't going to go the way they were supposed to. And last week was that week for me. The Saints laid their first egg in three months. Three college football teams blew double-digit leads. The Bears threw up on themselves against the hapless Giants.
And then the coup de grace: the Pittsburgh Steelers had gone 220-0-2 in home games in which they led by 14 or more points. That's' 220-0! Naturally, my top play of the week went up in smoke thanks to three touchdowns that came:
1. As the result of a blatant, flagrant, how-the-hell-could-you-miss-that false start penalty.
2. As the result of a missed block in the back penalty on a punt return.
3. As the result of Steelers safety Sean Davis hammering his own teammate, corner Joe Haden, and breaking up a would-be end zone interception that instead fell into the arms of Keenan Allen for one of the most bogus touchdowns you will ever see.
But that is the fickle nature of The Gambling Gods. Sometimes, just for fun, they will cut you down to size. Sometimes you will lose games, big games, which you absolutely had the right side on and absolutely should've won. And sometimes you will have weekends when everything that can go wrong, will.
Don't delude yourself into thinking that "everything evens out", either. It doesn't. You will lose in gut-wrenching fashion more than you will ever win with lucky breaks. Yet the true gambler endures thanks to a short memory, an even temper, good money management, and the unrelenting belief that if you do the right thing or make the right play that you will end up on the right side of the ledger when all is said and done.
With that in mind, here is Doc's Sports NFL Power Rankings:
1. New Orleans Saints (10-2) - We will see how this team bounces back from by far their worst game of the season when they head to Tampa. New Orleans won't be on cruise control; they are still playing for home field advantage. The Saints also have a revenge motivation against the Bucs, who dealt New Orleans its first loss of the year in Week 1. The Saints are 15-6 ATS in divisional games and 19-7 ATS on the road.
2. Los Angeles Rams (11-1) - New rules have made recovering an onside kick almost impossible. And it wasn't that easy to begin with. Doesn't that make the seemingly "smart" play that Todd Gurley made a little senseless compared to just taking the points. The Rams are just 30-64 ATS in their last 94 road games against a team with a winning record and just 3-7 ATS in December.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (10-2) - Pat Mahomes was throwing absolute darts on Sunday. The throw he made after Travis Kelce's third touchdown was disallowed - a nine-yard touchdown to Marcell Ateman - was as good of a red zone toss as you will ever see. There is some red flag line movement in the Chiefs game this week. That spread opened at 8.0 and it has already dropped below the key number 7.0.
4. New England Patriots (9-3) - Miami, more than any other team, has given the Patriots fits over the past decade. That includes a 27-20 home win last December as an 11-point underdog. That said, New England is still 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings and 4-1 ATS in the last five.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1) - I have to give a hat tip to Deadspin for this stat: The Steelers are just 26-47-1 straight up in their 74 games in the Mountain and Pacific time zones dating back to 1970. The Steelers are just 19-30 SU in their last 49 games on the West Coast, and they have lost three straight games in Oakland dating back to 1995.
6. Los Angeles Chargers (9-3) - The Chargers are in a killer letdown/look ahead situation this week. Los Angeles is coming off a stunning comeback win over the Steelers on Sunday night. And they have a quick turnaround next week with a crucial Thursday game at Kansas City. Smack in between is this game with the Bolts as a massive favorite against a completely overmatched foe. How much attention will Los Angeles actually give the Bengals?
7. Chicago Bears (8-4) - And that is why Chase Daniel is a backup quarterback and always will be a backup quarterback. The Bears' 12th man this week may just be the cold weather. The forecast calls for below freezing temperatures on Sunday. The Bears are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games.
8. Baltimore Ravens (7-5) - The Ravens ran the ball nearly 50 times last week in Atlanta and held onto the rock for nearly 40 minutes of time of possession. It was a clinic in old school football. And if Baltimore can do it again this week, they could steal a fourth straight win. The road team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings in this series.
9. Houston Texans (9-3) - If you recall, Houston's first win over the Colts came on the road in overtime when Frank Reich decided to go for it on fourth-and-long from half field. That win was the first of Houston's nine straight. The Texans are 0-5 ATS in their last five home games against the Colts, and Houston is just 4-8 ATS in the last 12 in this series.
10. Seattle Seahawks (7-5) - Run the ball and play great defense. Football is a pretty simple game. Seattle is on a 6-0 ATS run in conference games, and they are starting to regain their home-field edge, going 4-1 ATS in their last four at home. The Seahawks are 23-9 ATS in their last 32 December games.
11. Minnesota Vikings (6-5-1) - If you are looking for a reason why this year's Vikings team is so much worse than last year's, just take a gander at their rushing offense. Last year they were No. 7 in the NFL with 122.3 yards per game. This year they are No. 30 in the NFL with just 86.1 per game. That has led to a drop in time of possession.
12. Dallas Cowboys (7-5) - The Cowboys have momentum and confidence at the perfect time. More important than momentum and confidence, though, they have a great schedule. Their win over New Orleans was their first against a team that currently has a winning record. They won't face another this year.
13. Tennessee Titans (6-6) - I don't know if any team in the NFL plays as hard as the Titans. These guys are overmatched at a lot of positions. But, man, do they compete hard for a full 60 minutes. The Titans are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 home games and 6-2 ATS in their last eight divisional games.
14. Denver Broncos (6-6) - If you are looking for the primary reason for Denver's turnaround since their bye week, look no further than turnover margin. The Broncos were even through their first nine games (and 3-6 ATS). Since then they are plus-eight and 3-0 ATS.
15. Carolina Panthers (6-6) - The Panthers are now just 1-7 ATS in their last eight road games, and they will go from the sunny weather of Tampa last week to the cold and winds of Cleveland this week. The Panthers are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games after a loss and just 1-5 ATS against teams with a losing record.
16. Indianapolis Colts (6-6) - The Colts got punched in the face last week. Now we will see how they fight with a face full of blood. They absolutely have to win this week at Houston to have any hope of the division title. And a loss would really cripple their wild card ambitions as well.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (6-6) - I know the final score made it look like a blowout, but that was hardly a sharp effort from a desperate Eagles team. I have a hard time seeing the Eagles going on the road and beating anyone right now, much less a team as hot as Dallas. Philadelphia is 2-7 ATS on a Sunday after a Monday night win and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
18. Washington Redskins (6-6) - This team is done. They may not win another game all year, which would be a horrific beat for my top NFL futures play. I have no idea how Mark Sanchez has a job in the NFL and Colin Kaepernick doesn't.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) - The Jaguars defense was able to mine some pride in a shutout win over Indianapolis. They have lost three straight to the Titans, though, and five of the last six. The Jaguars are 1-5 ATS in their last six against Tennessee and the road team is just 2-6 ATS in this series.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) - Tampa Bay's next three games - New Orleans, at Baltimore, at Dallas - come against teams in the playoff hunt. Because of their No. 1-rated offense, and their nothing-to-lose attitude, the Bucs could make for a hell of a spoiler down the stretch. Tampa Bay is 5-2 ATS in its last seven divisional games and the home team is 4-1 ATS in the Saints series.
21. Miami Dolphins (6-6) - The Dolphins won last week despite getting outgained by 240 yards. That is the sixth straight week in which the Dolphins have been outgained and the ninth time in the past 10 weeks they have been outgained. Miami's .500 record is a total mirage; this is still one of the worst teams in football.
22. Atlanta Falcons (4-8) - Of the top 13 rushing teams in the NFL, 11 of them are .500 or above. The Falcons are the worst rushing offense in the NFL this year at just 79 yards per game. Atlanta has won three straight over Green Bay, but the home team has won the last five meetings.
23. Green Bay Packers (4-7-1) - I wouldn't expect any manner of late-season surge out of the Packers just because they rid themselves of Mike McCarthy. McCarthy was A problem, but he wasn't THE problem. THE problem is that this roster is one of the weakest in football and there isn't a single position group that the Packers have - outside of quarterback - that's in the Top 10.
24. Cleveland Browns (4-7-1) - The spread in this week's Carolina game opened with the Browns +2.5 but was quickly bet down to +1 by sharp bettors. Why? I think a lot of the same people that got burned by Cleveland last week in Houston are going right back to this group. And why not? Oh, right: the Browns are 16-37 ATS in their last 53 games and 8-19 ATS in their last 27 home games.
25. Detroit Lions (4-8) - I just keep waiting for that vintage Matt Stafford backdoor cover but it doesn't appear to be coming this season. Detroit is 1-5 ATS in its last six games overall, and I have no idea why they are road favorites this week, even if it is just against Arizona. The Lions are just 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS in the last eight meetings with the Cardinals, dating back to 2006.
26. New York Giants (4-8) - The Giants' late-season run may be good for morale, but it is bad for the franchise. First, it is worsening their draft position. Second, it may just convince them to give Eli Manning one more year under center. As much as I would love to see that so that we can bet against him, there's no way that Manning should be a starting quarterback anywhere in the NFL in 2019.
27. Buffalo Bills (4-8) - The Bills have actually kind of owned the Jets over the last few years. Buffalo has won seven of the last 10 meetings in this series both SU and ATS. The home team has won three of the last four meetings, and the Bills are 5-1 ATS at Orchard Park in this series.
28. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7) - I said it last week that A.J. Green should hang it up for a season and then look what happens. Honestly, I think that Green should be a cautionary tale for a lot of NFL players on teams whose seasons are done. Guys like Julio Jones and Aaron Rodgers, aging players with injury histories, should be put in bubble wrap until next year.
29. New York Jets (3-9) - Settling for five field goals, going 0-for-3 in the red zone, and committing 11 penalties, are a recipe for a loss. Lack of creativity and lack of discipline are what have undone the Todd Bowles era in New York. The underdog is a solid 6-1 ATS in the Bills series.
30. Arizona Cardinals (3-9) - Disappointing injury to Christian Kirk. The rookie receiver, who happens to lead the team in receiving yards, was put on IR this week with a fractured foot. His development with Josh Rosen was one of the few bright spots for this squad.
31. San Francisco 49ers (2-10) - Some people think that the 49ers season was done when Jimmy Garoppolo was injured. But all this season has done is expose the fact that San Francisco still has one of the worst rosters in the NFL.
32. Oakland Raiders (2-10) - Vintage Raiders moment near the end of the Chiefs game: down three points with five minutes to play, with the potential for a massive upset, the Raiders actually stopped the Chiefs on a crucial 3rd-and-5 near midfield. Naturally, the Raiders were penalized (offsides) and that gave Kansas City a new set of downs and the chance to score a game-sealing touchdown. At least Jon Gruden had the sense to kick the field goal down 10 points with 40 seconds to play.
Throughout the season I will have my NFL Power Rankings every Tuesday. My next ones will be released on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Robert Ferringo has been the top football handicapper in the country the past seven years, earning nearly $28,000 in total football profit. He has also posted seven of nine winning seasons (including back-to-back winning years) and produced 26 of 41 winning football months and an amazing 45 of 71 winning football months over the past decade. Robert has is at nearly 60 percent winners over his last 900 totals picks. Also, Robert's proprietary KING College Football Betting System has posted three of five winning seasons. Robert is looking for a third straight winning football year and wants more profit this fall. SIGN UP HERE TODAY AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR 3-FOR-1 FOOTBALL SPECIALS!
We are offering new clients $60 in free NFL football picks for Robert's picks or any Advisory Board handicapper of your choosing. Get your free NFL football picks now!
Read more articles by Robert Ferringo