NFL Power Rankings Week 13
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 Thanksgiving 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.
Here is Doc's Sports NFL Power Rankings:
1. New England Patriots (10-1) - Defense wins championships. And the Patriots defense, which is No. 2 in yards allowed, No. 2 against the pass, and No. 1 in points allowed, is championship-caliber. However, the Patriots defensive yards per point this season (24.1) is so far beyond the norm that there is no way that they can keep it up. The Patriots have gone 'under' in four of their last five and eight of 11 games this season. They will go 'over' in at least three of their last five regular season games. Bank it.
2. New Orleans Saints (9-2) - This week will be New Orleans' fourth straight game against a divisional opponent . They are just 1-2 ATS in the previous three and have been outgained in two of those three games. The Saints are 24-8 ATS in their last 32 road games and are 7-3 ATS against teams below .500. New Orleans is also 6-3 ATS in its last nine games against their rivals in Atlanta.
3. Baltimore Ravens (8-2) - I can't say it enough: I love how the Ravens play football. They are a legit Super Bowl contender because they have gone back to 1970s and 1980s football and dedicated themselves to being the most physical, most violent, best running (and stopping the run) team in the league. That David Skara injury - he is their starting center - is a huge one, though. It will be interesting to see if their running game suffers over these next few weeks as they now have to rely on a rookie center.
4. San Francisco 49ers (10-1) - The 49ers have six wins this season by at least 13 points, one of the highest totals in the NFL. They have played all of their most difficult opponents at home, though. And this week's trip to Baltimore is a massive test. San Fran has played three straight, four of five, and six of nine at home. Yes, San Francisco is 5-0 straight up at home this year. But this will be the first time that they play an NFL playoff-caliber team in a big game on the road.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) - Which Chiefs defense are we going to see against the Raiders this week ? Is it the one that held Dalvin Cook to 71 rushing yards on 21 carries or the one that got bowled over for 188 yards on 23 carries by Derrick Henry? The Chiefs are 5-1 ATS at home against the Raiders and 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings. The favorite is 10-4 ATS in this series and the home team is 5-1 ATS.
6. Seattle Seahawks (9-2) - I'm telling you right now, whatever odds your book is offering on the NFL MVP, you have to put something on Russell Wilson. I don't think there is any doubt that he has been the best player in football this year. His stats are his stats. And his numbers are excellent. But if you have actually watched him play, you realize just how bad this Seattle team is and just how much he actually compensates for that. It is ridiculous.
7. Minnesota Vikings (8-3) - Kirk Cousins is 7-13 in his career in prime-time games heading into this week's Monday Night Football tilt with the Seahawks. The Vikings are 4-12 ATS against a team with a winning record, 2-8 ATS after a bye week and 2-10 ATS on Monday Night Football. Minnesota is also 1-4 ATS against the Seahawks and 1-5 ATS in their last six games in Seattle. Basically, every meaningful trend
8. Green Bay Packers (8-3) - The Packers got demolished by the 49ers on Sunday. They got manhandled and, frankly, there is no point in dissecting it. Yeah, the Packers have gotten rolled in two of the last three weeks. But I would be much, much more worried about this team if they can't blow out the Giants than I am about them getting crushed at San Francisco. The Packers are 4-0 ATS after a loss and 5-0 ATS after a loss against the spread.
9. Los Angeles Rams (6-4) - The Super Bowl hangover is real. The Rams aren't going to make the playoffs in a deep NFC. However, that doesn't mean that they aren't one of the 10 best teams in football. The reality is that injuries and an absolutely brutal schedule have put this team in a vise. The Rams are still 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games, and they are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 conference games. The Rams are 6-1 ATS on the road and are 4-0 ATS in their last four against Arizona.
10. Houston Texans (7-4) - I love Deshaun Watson. Love him. He's awesome. However, I have noticed that he makes shockingly few plays outside of the pocket. It is weird, I know. He runs around a lot and holds the ball way too long while dancing around the pass rush. But the number of times he actually turns that into a positive play is shockingly small compared to the amount of times it becomes either a negative play or a throw away.
11. Indianapolis Colts (6-5) - It was surprising to see T.Y. Hilton play so poorly. He's still not 100 percent and he had missed three straight games (and five of eight). However, he had some huge drops in that game, and that is something I 100 percent am not used to seeing from one of the best in the game. The Colts are 13-3 ATS against Tennessee, and they are 7-1 ATS at home against the Titans. Indianapolis is 19-7 ATS against a team that is over .500.
12. Dallas Cowboys (6-5) - Jason Garrett is getting rightly skewered for his completely moronic decision to kick the field goal, down seven points, on a fourth-and-7 from the Patriots 11-yard-line with six minutes to play. People are acting like they are surprised by this level of stupidity. However, they should only be surprised if they have not watched Dallas football over the last 20 years.
13. Buffalo Bills (8-3) - This is a big-time prove-it situation for the Bills on Thanksgiving. They are not used to being in prime time. Buffalo is 1-4 ATS in their last five Thursday games. But the Bills are 6-0 ATS in their last six road games, and they are the type of tough, rugged team that can give the Cowboys problems. However, the Titans are the only one of Buffalo's eight wins that have come against a team with a winning record, and the Cowboys are a big step up in class.
14. Los Angeles Chargers (4-7) - I'm not sure how the Chargers are going to adjust to the role of spoiler. From a talent perspective, this is a team I wouldn't want to face if I were working on a playoff bid. But can Anthony Lynn keep this team's focus? I think that is going to tell us a lot about who Lynn really is and what he is capable of as a head coach. The Chargers are 10-3 ATS on the road and the road team is 16-6 ATS in the last 22 in the Broncos series.
15. Carolina Panthers (5-6) - The Panthers have now dumped three straight and they have been outgained in six of their last seven games. Carolina is just 3-9 ATS in its last 12 home games and the favorite in the Redskins series is just 2-11 ATS.
16. Tennessee Titans (6-5) - Ryan Tannehill, learn to slide, dude. He took some unnecessary hits from the Jaguars defense on Sunday. Tannehill has been an above average quarterback in the NFL when he's been healthy. His biggest issue is that he's never healthy for an extended period of time. He has given the Titans a huge jolt of energy - they are 4-1 SU And ATS with him under center - and I think one of the only things that can derail the Titans right now is if he gets hurt. The Titans are 15-33 ATS in their last 48 divisional games.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) - Anyone that has read these power rankings over the last few years knows that I have never been a big Carson Wentz guy. He's a fine quarterback. He's OK. He's not terrible. But he's not nearly as good as people have suggested since his rookie year. Wentz is 10-12 SU in 22 starts since Frank Reich left town and it is pretty clear that Reich - not Doug Pederson, not Wentz - was the brains behind that Super Bowl team for Philadelphia.
18. Oakland Raiders (6-5) - I said at the start of the season that this Oakland team was vastly improved. I also said that it would be impossible for this team to survive their schedule because of the travel. After that disastrous trip to New York last week, the Raiders now have to fly home and then go back on the road to face the Chiefs - who are coming off a bye - in Kansas City.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) - I don't even know what to say about this joke of a team right now. Anyone that has ever doubted Mike Tomlin needs to go away. The fact that this team isn't 3-8 right now is ridiculous. As is the fact that the Steelers Nation is deifying Devlin Hodges, who completed 45.5 percent of his passes and earned 79 of his 118 yards on one play! I will be surprised if this team wins another game this season.
20. Chicago Bears (5-6) - The Bears could end up facing Detroit's third-string quarterback this Thursday. Jeff Driskel was limited on Monday because of a hamstring injury. Rookie David Blough is in line to start if Driskel can't go, or if he gets injured during the game.
21. Cleveland Browns (5-6) - Do not be fooled by the 41-24 final score in Cleveland's win on Sunday. They almost blew a 28-0 lead to a Dolphins team that is completely hapless. Baker Mayfield missed a bunch of throws, and this team once again showed that it is an undisciplined mess. The Browns are 7-22 ATS against a team that is over .500, and people just still refuse to accept that the Browns are not as good as their talent suggests.
22. Denver Broncos (3-8) - The Broncos are 1-4 ATS in their last five divisional games, and they are just 8-17 ATS in their last 25 games after a loss. Denver is just 5-12 ATS in their last 12 home games against the Chargers.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) - I admit that the Bucs have played better than their record suggests this season. However, they are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games, and they are just 3-8 ATS overall this season. So how good are they really? Jameis Winston committed his 100th career turnover last week, meaning that he has averaged over 20 turnovers per season in his five years in the league. How is it even a question of whether or not this loser is a franchise quarterback? God, people are stupid.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) - Doug Marrone is an idiot. And he is a loser. That's not my opinion; that's an objective fact based on his career coaching record. The fact that Marrone refuses to admit that he made a mistake by benching Gardner Minshew and going back to the hilariously rusty Nick Foles just tells you everything you need to know about Marrone. Oh, by the way, the Jaguars are 9-18 straight up since Marrone choked away a two-touchdown lead against the Patriots in the 2018 AFC Championship Game.
25. Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1) - I know that the Cardinals have had an extra week to prepare for this game. And I know that they are catching the Rams on a short week. But I don't think that this week's spread takes into consideration how pissed off the Rams are going to be after getting freight trained on Monday. The Cards are 5-2 ATS in their last seven divisional games but 0-4 ATS against the Rams and 0-4 ATS at home against the Rams.
26. Atlanta Falcons (3-8) - Atlanta's victory in New Orleans, winning outright as a 14-point underdog, was one of the biggest upsets in the NFL this season. Now they will host the revenge-minded Saints this Thursday. The Falcons have lost four straight home games, and I wouldn't expect much of a crowd on Thanksgiving. The underdog is 9-3 ATS in the last 12 meetings and the Falcons are 7-3 ATS on Thursday games.
27. New York Jets (4-7) - A lot of people are getting excited about the fact that the Jets have won three straight games and seem to be playing better football. However, those wins have come against the Giants, Redskins and Raiders, so let's temper expectations a bit. New York had a major situational advantage against Oakland and exploited it.
28. Detroit Lions (3-7-1) - How are the Lions even debating whether or not to bring Matt Stafford back this year? How is this even a question? Detroit has a legit franchise quarterback, and they are seriously having a discussion over whether or not to bring him back from broken bones in his back in a season in which they are 50-50 to win more than five games? PS - Matt Patricia is a huge loser.
29. Miami Dolphins (2-9) - The fact that there are three teams that I think are worse than the Dolphins really shows just how completely and utterly pathetic the bottom tier of the NFL is. Miami is absolutely clueless. Not only are they overmatched from a personnel standpoint, but they also look completely lost in terms of scheme on a play-to-play basis.
30. New York Giants (2-9) - Just when it seemed like things couldn't get any worse for the Giants on the injury front, Jabrill Peppers gets lost for the season and Golden Tate suffered a concussion. Right now, this roster is CFL-caliber. The Giants are just 5-16 ATS in their last 21 home games, and their fan support will be about nil on Sunday.
31. Washington Redskins (2-9) - Wow Dwayne Haskins. Wow. Haskins isn't going to get many opportunities to take a snap in the victory formation, so he really shouldn't skip out on them to take selfies.
32. Cincinnati Bengals (0-11) - The Bengals are actually going back to Andy Dalton this week, as if that will make a difference. Dalton has been a good player and a solid representative for this franchise during his career. And Cincinnati is rewarding him for his efforts by benching him for Ryan Finley and then going back to Dalton when Finley, predictably, sucked. The best thing that will ever happen to Dalton's career is being able to leave this wreck this offseason.
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