NFL Power Rankings Week 2
Obviously, the Patriots are going to win another Super Bowl, beating the Cowboys next February. Miami is going to go 0-16 and get the No. 1 overall pick, and Kyler Murray is going to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Everything has already been determined after just one week, so we can all just save ourselves some time.
The week between Week 1 and Week 2 of the NFL season is Overreaction Week. Despite the fact that only six percent of the NFL regular season and four percent of the overall NFL season is complete, the general football-loving public are treating last week's results as if they are the end-all, be all of determining what path this season is headed down. It happens every season, and this year is no exception.
Against the spread success in NFL betting is based on one thing: expectations. The spread is a measure of expectations. And those expectations are set based on what the general public thinks about a given team or situation each week. So, understand that the Week 2 lines are going to be the some of the most skewed, out of whack numbers that we deal with all season.
Need proof? Last year in Week 2 the Steelers were 4.5-point favorites at home against the Chiefs, the Redskins were nearly touchdown favorites at home against the Colts, and San Francisco was nearly a touchdown home favorite against Detroit. The numbers weren't the only bizarre things about Week 2 last year. The Jaguars throttled the Patriots, Tampa Bay handled the Eagles, and the Browns lost by three in a game that they should've won at New Orleans.
Week 2 is one of the strangest of the entire NFL season. So, with that in mind, here is Doc's Sports NFL Power Rankings:
1. New England Patriots (1-0) - The Patriots are the largest road favorite in the NFL in over a decade. Despite that, everyone playing this game is laying the big number with New England. This spread opened at -15.0, and the majority of the action is coming in on New England. I know they've struggled in Miami in the past. But I will be stunned if they win this one by less than three touchdowns.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) - This team isn't winning a Super Bowl. Now, that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of money to be made on this high-powered offense. But there is no way that the Chiefs can win a Super Bowl with that defense. How do you give up 26 points to Gardner Mishnew and the Jaguars? The Chiefs are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games and 13-4 ATS in their last 17 divisional games.
3. Los Angeles Rams (1-0) - Jared Goff showed a lot of rust in the first half after sitting out the preseason. However, he kept his composure and made several big-time throws in the season half. The home team in the Rams series has gone 6-1 SU and 7-1 ATS over the last 10 years. The lone loss was the Rams' lucky win in New Orleans in the NFC title game last January.
4. New Orleans Saints (1-0) - Big revenge game for the Saints this week as they head to Los Angeles to take on the Rams. New Orleans is coming off an emotional last-second comeback win, and they have a short week to contend with. Further, the Saints are just 2-13 ATS in Weeks 1 and 2 dating back to 2012. They are just 3-6 SU and 2-7 ATS in their first road game of the season over the last nine years.
5. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) - This week will be the fifth year in a row that the Eagles have tangled with the Falcons. All four of the previous meetings have gone 'under', and the last two games - in the playoffs in January 2018 and last September - have seen a combined 55 points. Philadelphia has won three straight over Atlanta. But all four of those games were one- or two-point games in the fourth quarter and could've gone either way.
6. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) - I have no idea how people are so surprised that Lamar Jackson can throw the ball. The guy won the Heisman! No, he is never going to be Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. But the Ravens are going to be a ground-and-pound team with a solid defense. And Jackson will simply have to make throws when he needs to, and I think he's more than capable.
7. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) - I love the fact that the Vikings are returning to their smash mouth roots. But the Packers defense shut down a pretty decent Bears running game, holding them to just three yards per carry. Will the Vikings be able to counterpunch if their running game - which is still not top tier - gets shut down? I think they will be fine, and I am one of the few people that are not worried about Kirk Cousins. Minnesota is 5-2 ATS in its last seven against the Packers.
8. Dallas Cowboys (1-0) - The sharp money is clearly on the Redskins this week, and there is a heavy reverse line movement against the Cowboys. Despite catching 80 percent of the early action, the line in the Cowboys game has dropped from an open of 6.5 all the way down to 4.5. Dallas is 4-1 ATS in its last five games in Washington, and the road team is 7-3 ATS in this series.
9. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) - Nothing about Seattle's Week 1 win over the Bengals impressed me. Every play this team made on offense seemed to be some kind of scramble or desperation ploy. The Seahawks are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games, and they are just 1-7 ATS in their last eight games in September. They are always a live underdog but are facing a desperate Steelers team this week.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) - I talked about it last year in this very spot. And I will say it again: Big Ben is shot. He cannot carry this offense anymore. This guy hasn't exactly kept himself in great shape, and his physical skills are deteriorating rapidly. Sunday night's poor play against the Pats wasn't an aberration. Roethlisberger is no longer a top-tier quarterback. The Steelers are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 home games and 2-6 ATS in their last eight games overall.
11. Chicago Bears (0-1) - The Bears offense was a horror show in Week 1 against the Packers. I don't think it will get any easier this week against the Broncos. Denver's offense was terrible in its first game, but new Broncos head coach Vic Fangio was the defensive coordinator in Chicago the last four years and knows the Bears personnel inside and out. Add in an early trip to altitude, and the Bears could be in trouble again this week.
12. Houston Texans (0-1) - Memo to offensive coordinator Tim Kelly: it's called a screen pass. And quick slants are allowed to counter constant blitzing and pressure. It was ridiculous to watch Houston's attack fail to make any adjustments to New Orleans' defensive pressure. Regardless, Monday night was an impressive effort from the Texans in one of the league's toughest venues. It will be interesting to see if that crushing last-second loss carries over into this week's game against the Jaguars.
13. Tennessee Titans (1-0) - Teams playing the Titans this year better have a solid plan for handling their screen game. Derrick Henry's 75-yard screen pass touchdown completely changed that game, and the Titans had several other near misses for big plays in the screen game. The Titans have a big-time revenge motivation this week. Their 33-17 Week 17 loss at home to the Colts last year kept them out of the postseason.
14. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) - The Chargers haven't had any problems travelling east to play early kickoff games the past two years. They are 5-2 ATS the past two seasons in 10 a.m. PST kickoffs. One of the losses came in New England in the playoffs last year, and the other was a game in which they won 14-7 but couldn't cover the 7.5-point line. Los Angeles is catching more than 80 percent of the early action this week, making them one of the squarest picks on the board.
15. Green Bay Packers (1-0) - All of the talk this offseason was about Aaron Rodgers and the new offense. What people ignored is that Green Bay (finally) massively upgraded its talent level and athleticism on defense. I don't think their effort against the Bears was a one-off. The Packers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games against the Vikings but have beaten Minnesota only once in the last seven meetings.
16. Carolina Panthers (0-1) - Christian McCaffrey was a one-man army on offense on Sunday. It wasn't just the 29 touches for 209 yards and two touchdowns. Those are just numbers. It was the way that McCaffrey earned those yards. It was the third down pickups. It was the way he repeatedly bailed out Cam Newton. This kid is no joke. The Panthers are 0-4 ATS on Thursday nights, and they are on a 2-7 ATS slide.
17. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) - That right there is why I am worried about the Falcons this year and why I don't quite know what to make of them. This team is soft as hell. It is too easy to push them around on defense and along the offensive line. Matt Ryan is still a stud, and they have plenty of pop at the skill positions. But this team can't win consistently in the trenches. Atlanta is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven home games, but the host is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings in the Eagles series.
18. Cleveland Browns (0-1) - Hahahaha! That right there is the Browns that we know and love. Getting outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter skewed this final score, though. Tennessee played really, really well. Yet despite that, this was still a 15-13 game late in the third quarter. Cleveland actually outgained the Titans for the contest. And that doesn't even factor the turnovers and penalties. The Browns got knocked back down to size. That doesn't mean that they are worth completely giving up on.
19. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) - This is a tough spot for the Colts, having to travel for a second straight week after a rough overtime loss last week. The Colts have dominated their series with the Titans, though. They are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games against Tennessee and they are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games in Nashville. Indianapolis is also 37-18 ATS in their last 55 games following a loss.
20. Buffalo Bills (1-0) - Can someone explain Buffalo's offensive game plan to me? They dropped back to pass on their first 17 plays of the game. Seventeen! If the Bills are planning on Josh Allen throwing them to victory every Sunday, then it is going to be another long season. Also, John Brown played out of his mind on Sunday and was one of Week 1's stars.
21. San Francisco 49ers (1-0) - Jimmy Garappolo was all kinds of shaky in his first start since coming back from a knee injury. However, the 49ers had three touchdowns erased by penalties, including a pair of touchdown passes to George Kittle. San Francisco is at a situational disadvantage this week, having to travel across country for the second straight week to play a 10 a.m. PST kickoff. It's extremely rare for a West Coast team to win two games in a row in the East Coast.
22. Oakland Raiders (1-0) - I give the Raiders a lot of credit for rallying together as a team in the face of the Antonio Brown distraction. But we've seen them play well on MNF in Week 1 in the past. And that win doesn't change the fact that the Raiders have no depth, a lack of high-end talent, and an impossible schedule. This team will be better. And all of their young players look like keepers. But expecting anything significant is a tall order.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) - Yes, some of the Jaguars struggles on Sunday had to do with playing the prolific Chiefs offense. However, as I have said repeatedly, this defense is not as good as it was two years ago. It is not going to help that they have somehow gotten worse at quarterback, either.
24. Denver Broncos (0-1) - Maybe there is a reason that it took Vic Fangio this long to get an NFL head-coaching job. The Broncos looked completely discombobulated and got run over by the Raiders on Monday night. The result is that their spread this week against Chicago shifted from Denver at -1.0 to Denver at +2.0, with that move spurned by 86 percent of the early action coming in on the Bears.
25. New York Jets (0-1) - These guys were a complete no-show. Even when they were winning 16-0, it was less about anything they had done and more about Buffalo's screw-ups. It is tough to lose a game in which you benefit from five turnovers. That's the Jets for you.
26. Detroit Lions (0-0-1) - Vintage Lions as they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They called a timeout that negated a potentially game-ending third down conversion late in the game, giving Arizona another chance to tie it up and go to overtime. Matt Stafford was sharp, and Kenny Golladay and T.J. Hockenson were outstanding. But they still blew a 24-6 lead and a much-needed road win.
27. New York Giants (0-1) - All of the talk this offseason has been about Eli Manning, Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and the mess of a receiving corps. In the meantime, everyone was ignoring the real weakness of this terrible team: a defense almost completely devoid of talent at all three levels. The Giants really only have three guys in their starting 11 that I think would start on a decent defense.
28. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) - This team looked much better than I was expecting. The defense had a lot of pop, and offensively they were aggressive all over the field. This is a group to keep eyes on. The Bengals are 4-0 ATS in their last four games after a loss and 22-8 ATS in their last 30 games in September. They are just 1-5 ATS in their last six home games, though.
29. Washington Redskins (0-1) - It is tough to blow a 17-0 lead. Even if you are the Redskins. And Jay Gruden isn't making any friends in his already jittery locker room with the way he has handled the Adrian Peterson situation. AP will be back in the fold this week, one week after being forced into a healthy scratch, and I think that will make things more than a little awkward. The underdog is an amazing 31-11 ATS in the last 42 meetings between these two. That is an incredible 75 percent winning trend for over 20 years.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) - Every time Jameis Winston drops back to pass, I expect something truly awful (or hilarious) to happen. The Bucs earned a split with the Panthers last season despite getting outgained 851-616. The underdog is 7-3 ATS in this series, and the road team is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
31. Arizona Cardinals (0-0-1) - Do not be fooled by Arizona's fourth quarter comeback. Were it not for some Lions idiocy, and some heroic play from Larry Fitzgerald, then Arizona would've lost by double-digits at home while putting up fewer than two touchdowns. Kyler Murray was excellent in desperation time. But his first 10 drives resulted in 13 passing yards and three points. The road team is 4-0 ATS, and the underdog is 5-1 ATS in the series with Baltimore.
32. Miami Dolphins (0-1) - It is even worse than it looks. This roster is absolutely worse than the 0-16 Browns team from 2017. And I 100 percent believe the reports about players calling their agents and trying to get traded off this team. Why would you sacrifice a year of your career - and several years off your life span - to play for a team that has zero interest in attempting to win this season?
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