NFL Power Rankings Week 12
It’s Thanksgiving week, which is easily one of my favorite times of the year. It won’t seem like quite the same respite this year, given that lockdowns and quarantines and a complete social and business slowdown this year leaves me less in need of this holiday week’s slow pace. Though it is always a good time to take stock of all the benefits, accomplishments and good fortune that one has in their life; A little self-reflection never hurt anyone.
And after that three minutes of self-reflection, it is time to get drunk and gamble!
I’m going to try to keep this week’s Power Rankings short and sweet. Daddy’s got things to do! And let me start off with random notes and general Doc’s Sports related house keeping:
- Football plays are being released on WEDNESDAY this week. Not Thursday. Plays will be live at 6 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 25 so that everyone can get their action down before the holiday hits will full force.
- College basketball starts on WEDNESDAY! I know this is a football column, but college basketball is by far the best moneymaker in gambling, and I, for one, am itching for the games to start so I can absolutely punish the books for the next few weeks while they are drowning in uncertainty.
- We all have our own holiday traditions. I feel like I need to bring one to your attention that we have here at Doc’s: Strike Point Sports releases a play in all three NFL games every Thanksgiving. This is the ninth straight year the have done so. Well, they have turned a profit on seven of eight Thanksgivings, they have swept their cards (5-0-1, +2,600) the last two years, and they are an absolutely ridiculous 18-4 (82%), +6,160 over the last eight years with Thanksgiving picks (two pushes). I know I’m going to be betting along with them!
Here is Doc’s Sports NFL Power Rankings:
1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) – It is still just way too easy to score on this team. I know that the Chiefs offense is unstoppable. But this team is exposed because it is just too easy for other teams to move the ball, control the clock, and put points on the board. If/when the Chiefs run into other teams in the Top 10 on this list (except Buffalo), they are vulnerable. Kansas City is starting to remind me of those 2000’s Colts teams. And I don’t mean that in a good way.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0) – That was a great job by Pittsburgh not to get caught looking ahead against the Jaguars last week. The Steelers are just 1-5 ATS at home in their last six games against the Ravens, and the host in this series is just 2-6 ATS. The favorite is just 8-20 ATS in the Steelers-Ravens series.
3. New Orleans Saints (8-2) – I said last week that I 100 percent would have gone with Taysom Hill and then on Sunday he showed everyone why he was definitely the right choice. The Saints are so deep, so talented, and so well coached that it is more likely that they lose a game because they beat themselves than an opponent is just better than them. New Orleans is now 6-0 without Drew Brees the last two seasons, and that speaks for itself.
4. Tennessee Titans (7-3) – The underdog is 7-3 ATS in Tennessee’s 10 games this year and 34-23 ATS in their last 57 games dating back to the 2017 season. It is a feature, not a bug; the Titans always hang around, and they always let teams hang round.
5. Los Angeles Rams (7-3) – Win on Monday, lose on Sunday. MNF winners are notoriously poor wagers the following week. The Rams are an excellent 5-1 ATS in their last six games at home, and they are 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games as a favorite. The Rams are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games against San Francisco.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4) – This team is limping into the bye week. They are one of the last teams in the NFL to have a week off. And when you consider how many primetime, high-intensity games this team has played this year, it is understandable that they would be physically and mentally drained. That’s how they looked on Monday in their late game loss to the Rams. We’ll see if they can re-energize after an extra week off.
7. Indianapolis Colts (7-3) – It is really tough to beat the same team two times in three weeks, especially when they are a very good team and a division rivals. However, the Colts have really owned the Titans over the last three years. They’ve beaten them four of the last five times with a cumulative score of Colts 141, Titans 92.
8. Baltimore Ravens (6-4) – There’s never a good time for a COVID outbreak, but leading up to a Thursday game with your division rival is about the worst time. Baltimore has not practiced yet this week and will be without J.K. Dobbins, Mark Ingram and Brandon Williams against the Steelers.
9. Green Bay Packers (7-3) – The only win that Green Bay has this season against a playoff-caliber opponent is a Week 3 win at New Orleans. Beyond that, they have pounded a bunch of lightweights like the Jaguars, 49ers, Falcons and Lions. Green Bay is just 2-4 ATS in its last six games, and this looks like a team that may be running out of steam. The Packers are 42-19 SU against Chicago dating back to 1990.
10. Buffalo Bills (7-3) – Be careful of this team this week. They have a situational advantage this week with the Chargers having to travel across the country and getting a warm weather opponent in a cold weather game. But, as I have touched on several times this year, betting on teams coming off a bye week has been an absolute money burner. That is especially true when the team off a bye is installed as a favorite. Last week the Chiefs didn’t cover off a bye as a favorite, and the week prior the Eagles and Browns didn’t cover off a bye as a favorite.
11. Seattle Seahawks (7-3) – The Seahawks are seeing the most lopsided action of any game on the board this week. A whopping 85 percent of the action in this game is coming down on Seattle, resulting in a line move from -3.0 to -5.5. I don’t be surprised if this line is 6.0 or 6.5 by the time it kicks off on Monday night.
12. Arizona Cardinals (6-4) – The Cardinals probably should’ve moved Patrick Peterson to safety last year. They didn’t, and now his play is killing their defense. He is allowing 65 percent completions against this year – and he’s supposed to be their No. 1 guy – and every week it seems like Peterson is getting torched for a big play. He’s one of the best corners of his generation. But if this team wants to take that next step on defense, he has to play better.
13. Las Vegas Raiders (6-4) – This is a definite letdown spot for the Raiders this week. They are coming off an emotional last-second loss against the defending Super Bowl champions. Now Las Vegas has to fly across the country for an early (10 a.m. PST) start time against a weak opponent. Las Vegas is on a 4-0 ATS run and is 6-1 ATS on the road. They are also 4-0 ATS against below .500 teams, meaning they are taking care of business against weak opposition.
14. Miami Dolphins (6-4) – I love Brian Flores. Love him. That guy 100 percent made the right call to bench Tua – a guy that had never played a cold weather game at any level – in favor or Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tua looked like a guy that had never played quarterback before in his life, and the Dolphins offense was pathetic. Fitzpatrick gave it some life and nearly pulled off some magic. The fact that Miami didn’t come back doesn’t matter. Flores made the right call at the right time, and he wasn’t worried one iota about what people were going to say about it after the fact.
15. Chicago Bears (5-5) – The Bears are just 7-15 ATS in their last 22 games, and they are just 3-8 ATS on the road. They are 3-8 ATS against teams with a winning record and a pathetic 5-14 ATS in their last 19 games against Green Bay. The underdog (usually the Bears, like they are this week) is just 6-13 ATS in the last 19 games between these two. However, just seven of the last 24 meetings between these teams have been decided by 9 or more points.
16. Cleveland Browns (7-3) – Don’t be fooled by this team. They are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games, and their last three wins have come against the Eagles, Texans and Bengals (combined record: 8-20-2). Cleveland is running over weak front sevens and basically winning in spite of Baker Mayfield, who is obviously one of the 10 worst starters in the league. He’s also the worst guy to be playing QB when you’re trying to win by running the ball, playing good defense and not turning the ball over.
17. Carolina Panthers (4-7) – It’s obviously a system thing. That’s a great sign for Matt Rhule that you can lose Christian McCaffrey and Mike Davis steps in and produces. Then you lose Teddy Bridgewater – who I have been writing about all season; I am less than impressed with his play – and plug in P.J. Walker and he produces. This team is 6-1 ATS as an underdog and 4-0 ATS as a road underdog. They are much better than their record suggests.
18. Los Angeles Chargers (3-7) – Once again, the Chargers play like a bunch of losers in the second half. It is ridiculous that this team cannot close games out and an absolute joke that they couldn’t make a 24-6 lead against the loser Jets stand up and pay out for their backers. It’s going to be interesting to see how they respond to the long flight and early kickoff in Buffalo this weekend.
19. New England Patriots (4-6) – A pretty clear pattern has emerged in New England games. The favorite is 0-6 ATS in their last six games, with the underdog winning outright four times. I know the Patriots suck. But I’m still not in a rush to bet against them as a home underdog in a cold weather game against a warm weather team in a situation where 70 percent of the action is coming down against Bill Belichick.
20. Minnesota Vikings (4-6) – The Cowboys and Vikings tried to out-idiot each other last Sunday. That was a really sloppy game between two bad teams, and the more I see this team the less I’m impressed. The Vikings are 39-19 ATS in their last 58 home games and 38-13 ATS in their last 51 games after a loss. But this team is nowhere near as talented as the teams that put most of the worst to rack up those gaudy ATS numbers.
21. San Francisco 49ers (4-5) – The 49ers are getting healthier. They should get three of their top running backs, Richard Sherman and Arik Armstead all back in the fold this week. San Francisco is just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games. However, the underdog is 7-3 ATS in the 49ers-Rams series and San Francisco is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 overall against Los Angeles.
22. Atlanta Falcons (3-7) – Two negative things have absolutely defined the Atlanta Falcons over the past decade: their complete and total lack of a pass rush and their amazing inability to convert 3rd-and-1. I hope whoever takes over the front office invests a lot of resources into the offensive and defensive lines because I’ve never seen a franchise so consistently pathetic in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
23. Denver Broncos (4-6) – Melvin Gordon proving to be a loser once again, fumbling at the one-yard-line and costing the Broncos what would’ve been a game-sealing touchdown. They’re not going to be able to the run the ball 33 times for 189 yards against New Orleans’ No. 2 ranked passing defense, so the Broncos better have a solid counterpunch ready.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1) – I’m not entirely sure why everyone is so shocked at Carson Wentz’s precipitous drop. It’s not like we haven’t seen this before. Robert Griffin III went through the same inflated early highs only to come back to reality the longer his career went on. The reality is that Wentz was never really as good as people thought he was or wanted him to be.
25. Houston Texans (3-7) – I think that this is easily the worst slate of Thanksgiving games that I can ever remember. The combined record of the first two games is 13-27. Sure, the Ravens-Steelers game is juicy. But I’m always way too drunk to ever remember the late game. The Texans are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games and 3-9 ATS as a favorite. I seriously have no idea why the Texans are road favorites. None.
26. Detroit Lions (4-6) – If I’ve said it once I’ve said it 30 times: how the hell does Matt Patricia have a job? At this point what good does it do to keep Patricia? His players obviously hate him and the team sucks. Why not just cut the cord and move on with starting your coaching search now?
27. New York Giants (3-7) – Joe Burrow’s injury was a huge break for the Giants. New York went from being a three-point underdog in the early release line to a 5.5-point favorite. I don’t know how much I trust the Giants laying points on the road, though, and this is a team that still doesn’t have a win against a non-divisional opponent.
28. Washington Football Team (3-7) – The more I watch Cam Sims the more I like this kid as a solid compliment to Terry McLaurin. Sims has nine catches for 184 yards the last three games and Washington needs to keep finding ways to put the ball in his hands. The underdog is 28-13 ATS in the Dallas series and Washington is 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games in Big D.
29. Dallas Cowboys (3-7) – This is what drives me nuts about guys like Mike McCarthy that talk so much s#*t about “using analytics”. This guy will go for it on 4th-and-1 from the 40. But on 2nd-and-1 from the 1-yard-line with five seconds left in the half he kicked the field goal rather than trying to run one more play for the touchdown. The fade the play before took three seconds. McCarthy doesn’t have another three-second play?
30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-7-1) – Once again: I don’t like starting rookie quarterbacks. They are usually strapped with a terrible offensive line. That leads to the quarterback facing constant pressure – leading to bad habits – and taking a ton of hits – which leads to injury. Burrow had to deal with both this year, and now he’s out for the rest of this season and likely won’t be ready for the start of next season. This is all just very vintage Bungles.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) – The offensive numbers all look bad. They are 27th in total yards, No. 22 in passing, No. 28 in rushing and No. 28 in scoring. But when I watch the Jaguars play, they don’t have an outright awful offense. They just are not converting in the red zone. They are at 20% over their last three games, and they are No. 31 in the league at just 44.1% on the season.
32. New York Jets (0-10) – So far this season, the four teams in the NFC East are a combined 3-19-1 straight up against the rest of the league. The four teams have just 12 combined wins. Nine of those 12 wins have come against other teams in the division. Their only three non-divisional wins have come against Cincinnati (by Washington), Atlanta (by Dallas) and Minnesota (Dallas), three teams with a combined 9-20-1 record. Every other team in the NFC would currently be in first place in the NFC East. What does any of this have to do with the Jets? Nothing. But what the hell else is there to say about these losers?
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