NFL Power Rankings Week 17
I made the trek north to Upstate New York to spend the holiday season with my family, friends and frigid temperatures. I'm going to keep this week's Power Rankings short and sweet. At this point, we know who everyone is and the hierarchy in the NFL is pretty well established.
I will give the same bit of advice that I give out every year heading into Week 17: tread lightly.
Betting on Week 17 in the NFL is akin to betting on the final week of the preseason. There just isn't enough reliable information out there about who is going to play, or how long. Motivation is crucial in the NFL. And since the majority of the teams suiting up this week are out of the playoff hunt, it is difficult to predict what the motivation level is going to be for the majority of players and teams this weekend.
I have seen more than one gambler flush four months' worth of profit down the toilet with a horrendous Week 17. Sure, there is some value in this week's games. However, there are more than a few landmines waiting out there and plenty of trouble just waiting to be stirred up.
Here is Doc's Sports NFL Power Rankings:
1. Baltimore Ravens (13-2) - I wouldn't assume that the Ravens are going to roll over at home against the Steelers this week . Baltimore is going to rest Lamar Jackson. But Bob Griffin is more than capable as a backup, and this Ravens roster is one of the deepest and most talented in the league. And there is no way that Baltimore wants to do anything to help hated rival Pittsburgh steal a playoff bid.
2. New Orleans Saints (12-3) - The Saints still have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Unfortunately for them, they still need either the Packers or 49ers to lose to secure a bye. Because the 49ers play at 8 p.m., the Saints will have to go all out against the Panthers and win that game to even set up the possibility of a top seed.
3. San Francisco 49ers (12-3) - You can't overstate how big this game at Seattle is on Sunday. The loser drops to the No. 5 seed in the NFC. The winner could be the No. 1 seed. The 49ers are just 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games against the Seahawks and just 1-7 ATS in their last eight games against Seattle.
4. New England Patriots (12-3) - The Patriots have dominated the AFC East for, oh, say, the last 20 years. However, Miami has given the Patriots the most problems during that stretch. Also, former defensive coordinator Brian Flores might have some tricks up his sleeve attacking a shaky Patriots offense.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) - That is now five straight wins both SU and ATS for the Chiefs. And since their bye week, they have won their four games by an average of 20 points per game. Kansas City is also 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games against the Chargers.
6. Green Bay Packers (12-3) - The Packers are 0-5 ATS in their last five games against the Lions. However, they are 5-0 ATS on the Sunday following a Monday Night Football game.
7. Minnesota Vikings (10-5) - Kirk Cousins is now 0-9 on Monday Night Football. But anyone that watched that game on Monday should realize that Cousins wasn't the reason that the Vikings lost to the Packers. Cousins will have another chance to prove himself in the playoffs. But, again, I think he's the least of Minnesota's worries right now.
8. Seattle Seahawks (11-4) - I think it is great that Marshawn Lynch is back with the Seahawks. However, running back is just one of several positions that have been decimated by injuries for the Seahawks. I actually think the injuries on the offensive line and in the secondary are going to have a bigger impact on this team.
9. Buffalo Bills (10-5) - The Bills don't have anything to play for this week. However, something about Sean McDermott and something about this team suggests to me that they will not roll over and rest their starters this week against the Jets.
10. Houston Texans (10-5) - It looks like the Texans are set to face the Bills in the playoffs next week pretty much no matter what. They should want to beat the Titans to keep their division rivals out of the playoffs. But it is tough to gauge what Houston's real motivation will be this weekend.
11. Los Angeles Rams (8-7) - I am shocked that the Rams have been installed as a full touchdown favorite over the Cardinals this week. What do the Rams have to play for? This team was in the Super Bowl nine months ago, and now they are eliminated from the playoffs. What type of effort do you really expect to get from this group?
12. Tennessee Titans (8-7) - This will be the third year in a row that the Titans enter Week 17 in a win-and-in playoff scenario. The last two were at home, though, and the Titans are just 16-34 ATS in their last 50 divisional games.
13. Chicago Bears (7-8) - The Bears are just 4-11 ATS on the season. They are just 1-5 ATS in their last six games and 2-8 ATS in their last 10. This has been one of the most disappointing teams in football.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8) - If Jameis Winston throws two interceptions this week, then he will be the first quarterback ever to throw over 30 touchdowns and over 30 interceptions in the same season.
15. Indianapolis Colts (7-8) - The Colts are 7-1 ATS in their last eight divisional games. And Frank Reich is too good of a coach to let his team quit on the season. I think it means something to these guys to finish the season at .500.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) - I have never been as high on Carson Wentz as a lot of people. However, even I have to admit that it is pretty impressive what he's done over the last month. He was brilliant against the Cowboys on Sunday. And no matter how his career goes, that will likely be one of the 10 best games he ever plays.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7) - The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings in the Ravens series, and the road team is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings. Pittsburgh is on a 9-4 ATS run overall.
18. Denver Broncos (6-9) - The home team has won seven straight in the Raiders series, and Denver is 4-1 ATS in its last five home games. The Broncos are on a 6-2 ATS overall run.
19. Los Angeles Chargers (5-10) - That is two straight weeks of pathetic efforts out of the Chargers. Their -16 turnover differential can't all be placed at the feet of Anthony Lynn. No, the Chargers shouldn't bring Philip Rivers back. But, much like the Giants and Eli Manning prior to this season, it is ridiculous that Los Angeles didn't start planning for Rivers' departures years ago.
20. Dallas Cowboys (7-8) - Dallas going to Philadelphia and laying an egg may have been the most predictable outcome of the weekend in Week 16. Being complete and total losers - while still conning the bobblehead media into thinking they are not - has been the Cowboys' superpower for over two decades.
21. Atlanta Falcons (6-9) - The Falcons don't merit a lot of national attention, but they could be headed toward an offseason of massive transition. If they win this week, they will have finished 7-9 for a second straight season. However, if you look at just about every major category (points, yards passing and rushing, touchdowns, turnovers and yards per play), they were worse this season than last year. At least offensively. Somehow, they were actually better on defense, which shows just how far away from being a good D they actually are.
22. Oakland Raiders (7-8) - Of all of the things that need to happen for the Raiders to make the playoffs - including the Colts over Jags, Texans over Titans, and Ravens over Steelers - I actually think the Raiders winning in Denver is the least likely thing to happen. Oakland is 16-34 ATS after a win.
23. Cleveland Browns (6-9) - If this roster wasn't chock full of head cases, they would realize that this season was never going to be successful. But that said, if they get a real head coach, upgrade the offensive line, and get some help in the back seven, then this team has a chance to be very good over the next three years.
24. New York Jets (6-9) - Is there any doubt that the "I'm rich as f**k" rumor about Adam Gase is true? That guy is a clown, and the Jets are just wasting their time with him as their head coach.
25. Arizona Cardinals (5-9-1) - I don't expect to see Kyler Murray this week. Also, Chandler Jones has 19 sacks and is a four-sack game away from a new NFL record. Jones had four sacks last week, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility.
26. Carolina Panthers (5-10) - Christian McCaffrey deserves better than this. And, frankly, why are the Panthers even giving him the ball at this point in the season? Why risk an injury to their only offensive weapon?
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) - As I have been saying all year, the biggest reason the Jaguars suck is that their defense has fallen apart. They are No. 27 in total defense, No. 28 against the run and No. 22 in points allowed. That's precipitous fall over just a two-year period.
28. Miami Dolphins (4-11) - The Dolphins are 6-14 ATS in their last 20 road games and 0-7 ATS in their last seven games in Foxboro. However, they are still a dangerous opponent this week because they have absolutely nothing to lose.
29. New York Giants (4-11) - Eli Manning should absolutely get the start this weekend against the Eagles. It is his final home game. The Giants aren't playing for anything. Even if they just want to give him a quarter and then go to Danny Jones, fine. But Manning deserves a send-off. Don't be surprised if Pat Shurmur is too dumb to realize it though.
30. Detroit Lions (3-11-1) - That is now eight straight losses straight up, and the Lions are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games. They aren't even close to competitive and have obviously quit on this season.
31. Washington Redskins (3-11) - Whatever decision that Danny Snyder makes this offseason regarding his new head coach, you can pretty much guarantee that it will be the wrong one. He is one of the worst owners in professional sports and deserves every terrible thing that happens to this organization.
32. Cincinnati Bengals (1-14) - It looks like the Bengals won the Joe Burrow Sweepstakes. However, if I'm Cincinnati, I would be wary of using the No. 1 overall pick on a guy that pretty much came out of nowhere to have one amazing college season. Also, quarterback is an issue for the Bengals. But it is not the only issue.
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