NFL Power Rankings Week 6
I don't know if I have ever seen a wider disparity between the top and the bottom of the NFL. There is still a clear, muddled middle class in the league right now. That's the forced parity that the league loves and the fuel for all of the weekly surprises on the field and at the window. However, if you look at the top eight and the bottom eight teams in the league right now, the variance is stark.
That's half the league. Eight top and eight bottom teams comprises half of the NFL. And if the top eight played the bottom eight teams 10 times, I don't see the bottom teams winning more than four or five combined games.
What is fascinating to me is that as bad as the bottom feeders in the NFL are, the sportsbooks still can't compensate. The teams that I have ranked as the bottom eight in the NFL have gone a combined 13-28-1 against the spread this season. That is an absurd 31.7 percent success rate at the window and can't be good news for the sportsbooks.
What makes this "effort" by the dregs even worse is that it comes in a football betting season that has been defined by underdog success. To this point in the season, NFL underdogs have covered the NFL spread at a healthy 60 percent clip (47-30-1).
At some point you would expect a regression. However, I won't be the one running to the window looking to bet on teams like the Miami and the Giants, no matter how many points the books are offering.
Here is Doc's Sports NFL Power Rankings:
1. New England Patriots (5-0) - That's back-to-back weeks with end zone interceptions from Tom Brady. And last week's was an awful, rookie-caliber mistake in which Brady just lobbed the ball up while he was falling backwards. The Patriots are 4-1 ATS in their last five Thursday games, 20-7 ATS against teams below .500 and 40-17 ATS at home.
2. New Orleans Saints (4-1) - I love how physical this team is. Honestly, Kansas City should take a lesson and watch how these guys play. It's kind of a red flag that the Saints are underdogs at Jacksonville this week, though. They are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 road games but just 2-5 ATS on grass and 3-7 ATS in their last 10.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (4-1) - That Colts game is exactly what I have been talking about with the Chiefs. It is too easy to push them around, and it is going to cost them. The Chiefs are just 5-9 ATS in their last 14 games overall. In 2016, they went 6-0 ATS after a loss. However, since then, they are 4-6 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight-up loss.
4. Los Angeles Rams (3-2) - That secondary is a mess. I thought Eric Weddle would stabilize their back end on defense. That obviously hasn't been the case as it has been breakdown after breakdown in the back end. I also don't understand why A) they keep putting games on Jared Goff and B) they refuse to let him get rid of the ball quickly. The Rams offense is still putting up numbers. But watching it has been an act of constant frustration the last three weeks.
5. Green Bay Packers (4-1) - Aaron Jones is a bad dude. He leads the NFL in touchdowns (eight), and he doesn't get cheated on his runs, dishing out as much as he absorbs. The last time the Packers hosted the Lions, in Week 17 of last year, their backups got beat up in a 31-0 shutout loss in Lambeau. I feel like Green Bay is going to want a little payback.
6. Baltimore Ravens (3-2) - The Ravens are 0-5 ATS in their last five home games and 0-6 ATS in their last six divisional games. Can they score enough to cover this fat number against the Bengals?
Related: NFL Week 6 Opening Line Report and Predictions
7. Seattle Seahawks (4-1) - I said it last week and I will say it again: absolutely no one in the NFL is doing more with less than Russell Westbrook. It is insane how much incompetence he has to combat with just sheer talent. Seattle is 7-1 ATS in its last eight road games.
8. San Francisco 49ers (4-0) - San Francisco's dominating effort on Monday forced the books to drop the line on the Rams game two full points from an open of 5.5 to its current level of 3.5. That strikes me as a bit of an overreaction considering San Francisco hasn't beaten a team with a winning record yet this year.
9. Dallas Cowboys (3-2) - I imagine that the Cowboys will thrash the helpless Jets this week, therein convincing everyone that they are still a team to take seriously in the NFC. However, it is becoming clearer and clearer that Dak Prescott is not much more than an NFC version of Marcus Mariotta. That's not a good thing.
10. Chicago Bears (3-2) - OK, so maybe the Bears aren't better off without Mitch Trubisky. I said this offseason that the Jordan Howard trade was one of the worst deals I have ever seen a Bears front office make. Not surprisingly, the Bears are No. 26 in the league in rushing while Howard has five touchdowns and is the lead back in a deep Eagles backfield.
11. Minnesota Vikings (3-2) - The Vikings were my top side play last week, and we won an easy 6-Unit score with them. I knew that Kirk Cousins would bounce back. It is obvious that he's not a great fit in this offense. However, he's not Blake Bortles or Brock Osweiler or some other loser that simply can't play. Cousins can play. He just has to maintain his confidence and get the ball out of his hands faster.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) - Over 70 percent of the action in this week's game at Minnesota is coming down on the Eagles. Philadelphia actually lost at home to the Vikings last year, 23-21, just 10 months after hammering them in the 2017-18 playoffs. This is Philadelphia's first trip to Minnesota since 2013, though. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in this series, and the Eagles are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 against the Vikings.
13. Indianapolis Colts (3-2) - This is a great time for a bye week for the Colts. They get to bask in that big-time upset win over the Chiefs for a couple weeks. And they can get their two best players, T.Y. Hilton and Darius Leonard, back and fully healthy.
14. Houston Texans (3-2) - I'm not going to hold my breath that the Texans have turned some kind of offensive corner. Last week showed, again, what this group has the potential to do. But they have scored more than 24 points in back-to-back games only twice over their last 32 games. They are 12-20 against the total in those games.
15. Detroit Lions (2-1-1) - The Lions have actually owned the Packers lately, beating them four straight times by an average of 19 points per game. The Lions are 4-1 ATS on the road and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games on Monday Night Football . Detroit is also 6-1 ATS in its last seven games following a bye week.
16. Buffalo Bills (4-1) - I don't understand why the Bills offense refuses to play as a run-first attack. If you throw out their final drive, in which they were just trying to milk the clock, the Bills threw 32 passes to 21 rushes. And this was a slugfest game that was determined by field position. They need to protect Josh Allen a bit more. And the best way to do that is to run the football more aggressively.
17. Los Angeles Chargers (2-3) - I was in the minority all offseason and preseason when I said that I didn't like the Chargers this year. But so far, they have been a bust. And I am absolutely not surprised. They are also dealing with major injury issues, and it looks like Melvin Ingram and Mike Pouncey are going to miss this week's game. The Chargers are a pathetic 11-28 ATS in their last 39 home games.
18. Carolina Panthers (3-2) - If Russell Wilson isn't the leader in the MVP race, Christian McCaffrey should be. It's not just the ridiculous numbers he put up against a good Jacksonville defense. It's that he made Jaguars defenders look stupid all game long, juking, jiving and shuffling his way to 237 yards and three touchdowns. He's a lot of fun to watch.
19. Tennessee Titans (2-3) - What the hell was Mike Vrabel thinking when he sent Cairo Santos out to attempt a 53-yard field goal on 4th-and-4 from the Buffalo 35 with 6:35 to play? Let's set aside for a moment the fact that Santos had already missed three (!) field goal. The score at the time was 14-7. Three points at that time does absolutely nothing for the Titans!
20. Oakland Raiders (3-2) - I have been saying it for months: the Raiders are better. It is just a question of how much. Imagine for a moment that Antonio Brown had not turned out to be a psychopath? This team really would've been dangerous in the West. They still may be.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) - I swear that it would not surprise me even one bit if Bruce Arians has a heart attack on the sideline one Sunday. I thought he was going to pop an aorta after losing a first quarter challenge. And what is going ton with Mike Evans? After turning 15 targets into 190 yards and three touchdowns against the Giants, Evans has just 10 targets (and only four catches) in the two games since. What does Arians see that I don't as a reason not to force-feed Evans the ball?
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3) - What did I tell you about D.J. Chark? That kid is an absolute baller. Carolina's secondary actually played really well against Jacksonville. But the Jaguars receivers - especially Chark - made tough catch after tough catch. It hurts losing James O'Shaughnessy for the season, though. Also, I have been saying all season that the Jaguars defense is not even close to as good as it has been, and the numbers bear that out. They are No. 24 in total defense and No. 18 in points allowed.
23. Cleveland Browns (2-3) - That really was a pathetic effort. I'm tired of listening to people psychoanalyze the Browns, though. Maybe the fact of the matter is that they aren't as good as people think they are and Freddie Kitchens is in way over his head. Cleveland is 6-19 ATS in its last 25 games against a team with a winning record.
24. Denver Broncos (1-4) - Kudos to Vic Fangio for making adjustments on defense. Two weeks ago, the Broncos looked completely lost on that side of the ball. The defense played great against the Chargers, though, and did not let Phil Rivers get into a rhythm. They need to just keep feeding it to Philip Lindsay. All he does is make plays, and he's averaging 7.0 yards per carry his last two games.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4) - The Steelers are going with Devlin Hodges and Paxton Lynch at quarterback this week when they host the Chargers. Not great. Hodges didn't look overwhelmed against the Ravens and was almost able to steel a win for the Steelers. Pittsburgh is just 3-12 straight up in their last 15 games West of the Mississippi.
26. Atlanta Falcons (1-4) - Good riddance Dan Quinn. You're on borrowed time now. Their secondary is a complete and total disaster. It isn't just Quinn's fault, though. Isaiah Oliver is one of the worst players in the NFL. That's another gem from Thomas Dmitroff. Anyone expecting a turnaround from this group shouldn't hold its breath, and I can't believe that they are favored on the road this week.
27. New York Giants (2-3) - It looks like the Giants will be without Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, meaning they will head to Foxboro without their three best playmakers. Good luck. New York is 8-1 ATS on the road and 5-0 ATS after a double-digit home loss.
28. Arizona Cardinals (1-3-1) - My honest belief is that David Johnson simply isn't as good as everyone thinks he is. Don't get me wrong: he's still a real solid player. But he is not some elite, game-changing back. He had one great year that was the result of nearly 400 touches, and he hasn't been the same since his injury. Anyone waiting for him to erupt and carry this offense is going to be waiting a long, long time.
29. Washington Redskins (0-5) - I can't tell what my favorite part of the Jay Gruden firing was? Was it the obvious attempts to smear him last week when two-year old videos were 'leaked' to the press to embarrass Gruden? Or was it making him come in at 5 a.m. on Monday to get canned? Just a classy organization. This entire toxic group deserves all of the terrible things that happen to them. And anyone that willingly works for this organization deserves exactly what they get.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) - The Bengals are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against the Ravens and 4-1 ATS in their last five trips to Baltimore. The underdog in this series is 8-2 ATS.
31. New York Jets (0-4) - Does anyone really think that Sam Darnold is going to make even the slightest bit of difference for this team? They have been outgained by an average of 170 yards per game and outscored by more than 15 points per game in all four games. No player in the NFL is enough to make up for that.
32. Miami Dolphins (0-4) - The Dolphins have four winnable games left on their schedule. This week's game against Washington is one of them. Two games against the Jets and a December home game against the Bengals are the others. So, if Miami wants to avoid going winless, they need to get one of those games.
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