NFL Power Rankings Week 2
The sky is definitely falling!
There is a comically large build up and anticipation for the opening week of the NFL season. Inevitably the results of the Week 1 games lead to an irrational overreaction by fans and gamblers alike on the Monday and Tuesday following the openers. The sportsbooks know this. In fact, they count on it. And they generally use that rush to judgment against desperate bettors in Week 2.
The Jets swung from 1.5-point home underdogs to three-point favorites based solely on their blowout road win at Detroit. The Bills were one-point preseason favorites over the Chargers - a team that has to travel across the country for a 10 a.m. PST start - and are now seven-point home underdogs. These are just some of the examples of the rashness and instability in the NFL betting market. And over the next two or three weeks that is where we need to keep our focus in order to turn a profit.
Below are my NFL Power Rankings for Week 2. This is your go-to place for an NFL betting perspective and an overview of the league landscape. Check back for these rankings every Tuesday until the end of the season.
(And if you are interested in my NFL season win total predictions for every NFL team - CLICK HERE .)
Here is Doc's Sports NFL Preseason Power Rankings:
1. New England Patriots (1-0) - I still think it's funny that people came into this season doubting whether or not the Patriots were one of the top two or three teams in the NFL. New England is an unreal 19-0 straight up and 14-5 against the spread in their last 19 games against AFC South opponents.
2. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) - Mike Zimmer just keeps cashing tickets. Not only is the Vikings coach an NFL Preseason juggernaut, but also now he has the Vikings on an outstanding 11-1 regular season ATS run. Minnesota is now 43-22 ATS since Zimmer took over in 2014, and they have been the best bet in football over the past six seasons, covering 65 percent of their last 100 games.
3. Los Angeles Rams (1-0) - It has to be slightly terrifying to the rest of the league that the Rams could play poorly for three quarters yet still put up 33 points and a 20-point victory on the road. At the moment this group has no weakness.
4. Green Bay Packers (1-0) - Aaron Rodgers has received - and deserves - all the credit for that amazing fourth quarter comeback against the Bears. But Mike Pettine's contributions can't be overlooked. After being put on their heels early, Pettine made several key defensive adjustments in the second half - including going with a smaller, faster lineup - that helped limit the Bears to an average of just 20 yards per drive over their last eight drives.
5. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) - Matt Ryan absolutely deserves all the criticism that he has been getting over the past week; he was awful on Thursday. But I still don't understand why the Falcons are backing Steve Sarkisian. That guy is a loser, and it is blatantly obvious that he is not an NFL-caliber offensive coordinator. I have no idea why they have any loyalty to this guy.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) - There is no way the Eagles should've won that game last Thursday. I do think that they will snap out of it this week down in Tampa Bay, though, after having some extra time to prepare for this matchup. Defending Super Bowl champions have gone 14-4 ATS in weeks 2-4 over the last six years.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0-1) - The Steelers have dominated the Chiefs the past two seasons, going 3-0 SU and ATS against them, including a blowout 43-14 home win in Week 4 of the 2016 season and a 19-13 win at Kansas City last year. The Steelers have definitely had Andy Reid's number.
8. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) - This Thursday is a definite revenge game for the Ravens. The last time they were in Cincinnati they were getting eliminated from the playoffs in a Week 17 loss to A.J. McCarron. The Ravens are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road openers, and they are bringing a ton of momentum and motivation into this game.
9. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) - Yes, it is difficult for a team to win on the road on back-to-back weeks. Especially when the travel calls for the team to play in two time zone extremes. But Kansas City handled Los Angeles without breaking a sweat. And now they catch a flagging Steelers team that is dealing with several off-field issues.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) - It is hard to overstate how bad the Jaguars offense is right now. However, we've seen teams generate enough points with their defense to be a playoff participant, and that's exactly what it looks like the Jaguars will need to do.
11. New Orleans Saints (0-1) - Over the course of the past four years the Saints have finished No. 28, No. 32, No. 31 and No. 10 in scoring. So, you tell me which was the outlier: last year's No. 10 scoring defense or last Sunday's atrocious 48-point points allowed?
12. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) - People always crush Marvin Lewis. But give the guy some credit. The Bengals could've very easily lost that game on Sunday. They were down 13 in the second half. Andrew Luck was dealing. The refs were handing the Colts call after call. Cincinnati could've rolled over. But Lewis and Andy Dalton lent a steady hand and the Bengals outscored the Colts 17-0 in the fourth quarter.
13. Carolina Panthers (1-0) - It was kind of a Pyrrhic victory for the Panthers on Sunday. They lost their left tackle and starting tight end, both Pro Bowlers, and Luke Kuechly is banged up as well (but will play this weekend). Eight of the last 10 meetings with the Falcons have gone 'under', and Carolina is just 3-7 SU in those games.
14. Washington Redskins (1-0) - Alex Smith put on an absolute clinic against the Cardinals. And Washington physically dominated the Cardinals while controlling the ball for more than 38 minutes. I was higher on this team than most coming into the season. But there is no doubt that they were the most impressive NFC East team last weekend.
15. Denver Broncos (1-0) - The Broncos piled up 470 yards of total offense on Sunday and won by only three points despite outgaining the Seahawks by around 170 yards. Case Keenum can't turn the ball over three times. He just can't. That was the whole point of bringing in a limited upside, low-risk, low-reward type of quarterback.
16. Houston Texans (0-1) - As I pointed out this preseason, it has always been way too optimistic to assume that Deshaun Watson was going to bounce back from another knee injury and revert back to his rookie form. I think Watson is going to be erratic for most of this season, and Houston is going to need someone - anyone - in the running game to step up if they are going to reach any of their potential.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) - Ryan Fitzpatrick does this once a year. For one game every season he goes nuts and puts up some huge numbers. But there's a reason no one other than the Bills every considered this guy a realistic answer at starting quarterback. Fitzpatrick will likely come back to earth this week and justify his 49-70 career record as a starter.
18. New York Jets (1-0) - I don't want to overreact to Monday's blowout win. But the Jets were as impressive as any team I saw in Week 1. Forget about Sam Darnold. Their defense is incredibly organized and has a lot of playmakers and the running game was outstanding. This is definitely a team to keep an eye on.
19. San Francisco 49ers (0-1) - This team wasn't off by much last week. Turnovers killed any chance they had at stealing a win (or a cover) in Minnesota. But a lot of that was the Vikings incredible defense dictating tempo. I expect a much sharper effort out of the 49ers this week, and they were a lot closer than the numbers suggest at having a big day last week.
20. Seattle Seahawks (0-1) - Rusty Wilson is going to be running for his life all season long. And after dealing with Von Miller last week the Seahawks offensive line will have to tangle with Khalil Mack this Monday. Seattle played fast and physical against Denver. But they were clearly overmatched at the skill positions on both sides of the ball.
21. New York Giants (0-1) - Pat Shurmur has said that he wouldn't hesitate to use Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham in the kick return game. Is there going to be a more obvious situation to use Beckham than on that final fumbled punt to end the Jaguars game? The Giants are just 10-23 against the total since the start of the 2016 season. They are also just 1-4 in their last five trips to Dallas, losing by an average of five points per game.
22. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) - As I've said, if the Cowboys offensive line isn't dominating then this is an extremely below average team from top to bottom. The Cowboys swept the Giants last year by a combined score of 49-13, and the two teams have combined to average just 29.5 points per game in their last four meetings over the past two years. All four games have gone 'under'.
23. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) - Dropped passes killed this team on Sunday. But San Diego's defense wasn't close to stopping the Chiefs at any point. It looks like Joey Bosa will be out again this week, and there's a chance that San Diego's stud defensive end may not return for several weeks.
24. Detroit Lions (0-1) - I am firmly on record as saying that Matt Patricia is a huge loser and he is going to be a total dud as a head coach. Monday's massacre at the hands of the Jets - not exactly a juggernaut - did nothing to dispel that notion. This guy is a pud, and I think the Lions are going to be a mess this season.
25. Oakland Raiders (0-1) - New head coaches went 0-7 straight up in their Week 1 games, the worst mark in NFL history, topping the 0-6 record they put in 2001. The Raiders now have to pick themselves up after an emotional loss and travel to face division rival Denver on a short week. This will be a big-time test.
26. Chicago Bears (0-1) - Kyle Fuller should definitely throw himself off a bridge. The Bears offense showed plenty of creativity in scheme. But they ran out of steam in the second half as their overall lack of talent came back to bite them. It will be interesting to see how this team bounces back from such a gut-wrenching loss.
27. Miami Dolphins (1-0) - With the exception of his two interceptions - and that second INT was just horrific and unforgiveable - Ryan Tannehill and the Miami offense were very sharp. These guys are going to put up some points this season. But the defense is still overmatched, and they are certainly going to give up some points this year as well. Look for a lot of shootouts in South Beach.
28. Cleveland Browns (0-0-1) - I have been defending Tyrod Taylor for the past three years. But he absolutely has to play better than that. He made some plays with his legs. But he wasn't even close on a lot of his throws while going 15-for-40. If this team can't get a win when they have a +5 turnover differential, then when will they get a win?
29. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) - Andrew Luck was absolutely dealing on Sunday. T.Y. Hilton cannot be covered one on one. And now with Luck back to full strength this offense is going to move the ball. The problem is that this roster is still awful. And besides those two players, there aren't a lot of guys that would be starting on any of the Top 15 teams on this list.
30. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) - These guys looked like trash all preseason and they looked like trash in their opener, posting more penalty yards in the first half (37) than yards from scrimmage (36). The Cardinals are a solid 11-4 ATS in their last 15 divisional road games.
31. Tennessee Titans (0-1) - Tennessee basically lost their three best offensive players (Marcus Mariotta, Delanie Walker and Taylor Lewan) in the first game. Mike Vrabel was spotty in an odd opener. But the most encouraging thing was his decision, down 10 with less than 20 seconds to play, to try for a 52-yard field goal. That was absolutely the right call there, even if it cost 'under' bettors. That one call at least gives me some hope for Vrabel's in-game strategy moving forward.
32. Buffalo Bills (0-1) - Look, I like Sean McDermott. I think he is a promising young coach. But the fact that twice now he has looked at Nathan Peterman and seen anything but one of the all-time quarterback losers makes me instantly question every other decision he has ever made in his life. And, frankly, I hope Peterman gets a lot more starts this year as the Bills try to save Josh Allen from working behind that putrid offensive line.
Throughout the season I will have my NFL Power Rankings every Tuesday. My next ones will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
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