NFL Power Rankings Week 11
Every NFL season is unique. The same can be said for the NFL betting season. Every year there is a betting trend that usually presents itself as kind of a through line or subplot to the pro football betting season. Sometimes home underdogs crush it. Some years it is NFC teams over AFC teams. Things like that crop up from time to time, the public gets ahold of it, and then everyone starts banging the books with the same picks each week.
This year’s betting trend may have revealed itself, and right now one “system” is making its way through the Interweb and into the minds of NFL bettors:
Bet on any team that didn’t cover the spread last week when facing a team that did cover the spread the week prior.
Consider this the 2021 NFL season’s version of the NBA’s zig-zag theory. It’s not terribly scientific, and I don’t think that the long-term prospects for something this basic are all that great. However, there are no denying the results. So far this season, this system is a jaw-dropping 41-16 against the spread. That’s a 72 percent win rate for the full year.
Last week alone, the system went 4-1, with Dallas, Carolina, New Orleans and Philadelphia all cashing and Baltimore the lone loser.
Look, 72 percent systems don’t last long in NFL betting. And I’ll be surprised if this system hits over 50 percent for the rest of the year. However, when something is winning, you go to the well until the well is dry. And if you are interested this week, there are four games that fit the bill, with Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis and the New York Jets all system plays.
Doc’s Sports offers free NFL picks for every game on our NFL predictions page.
Here is Doc’s Sports NFL Power Rankings:
1. Tennessee Titans (8-2) – How could the Titans not be No. 1 right now? They are tied for the best record in the sport, and they have been by far and away the best team over the last five weeks. I don’t think that Mike Vrabel gets nearly enough credit for being one of the best head coaches in the NFL. In his early years, his teams always outperformed their expectations and their stats. Vrabel has really established himself as an elite head man, and right now I think he has clearly been the coach of the year.
2. Green Bay Packers (8-2) – The Packers should count their lucky stars that they did not end up with Odell Beckham. The guy is just toxic. The Packers are seeing the most lopsided betting action on this week’s games, with over 80 percent of the bets and over 90 percent of the money coming in on Green Bay. Why not? The Packers are an ungodly 34-8 straight up and 29-13 against the spread in their regular season games since the start of 2019. Green Bay is on a 9-0 ATS run.
3. Arizona Cardinals (8-2) – My money would be on Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins both missing this week’s game against the Seahawks. Honestly, I think that would be the smart play for Arizona. They have a bye week after this trip to Seattle, so that would be two more full weeks of rest for their star players. Arizona needs to play the long game here. The Cards are 5-1 ATS in Seattle, the underdog is 10-2 ATS in this series, and the road team is 10-3 ATS when Arizona faces Seattle.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3) – Well, I said it just two weeks ago: teams coming off bye weeks are always overestimated. The Bucs were the latest victims, with their sloppy, passive play obvious from the get-go on Sunday. In the first 18 minutes, they ran 10 plays for 13 yards and two interceptions, while Washington mustered 25 plays for 96 yards and 13 points. The Bucs are 7-1 ATS at home and 5-2 ATS
5. Baltimore Ravens (6-3) – It is just weird how many glaring, obvious, complete and total defensive meltdowns this Ravens team has. It is one thing to give up a lot of big plays. Bad defenses do that all the time. It is something else when 2-3 times per game players on the Ravens defense just completely forget to cover wide open opposing receivers streaking down the sidelines. Their 12.6 defensive yards per point over their last three games is tied with Detroit for fourth worst in the NFL.
6. Los Angeles Rams (7-3) – It is the OBJ Effect! I think it is hilarious that such a big deal was made last week about Odell Beckham signing with the Rams and then Los Angeles comes out and plays its worst game of the season. Beckham is a loser! Everywhere he goes, his teams are become worse with him than without him! I have no idea why people still act like he is some star receiver in the NFL.
7. Dallas Cowboys (7-2) – I was a bit surprised to see Dallas getting so much love from the oddsmakers this week heading to Kansas City. The Chiefs, who have a tremendous home field edge, aren’t even laying out the full field goal to the Cowboys, who are just 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games against teams that are above .500. But Dallas is 8-1 ATS this year and Kansas City is 3-7 ATS, so the books are obviously adjusting for recent form.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-3) – Buffalo’s 20.3 rushing attempts per game is the third worst in the NFL over the past three weeks. And that is after the Bills ran the ball 24 times last Sunday in their win over the Jets. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was lauded for his focus on the running game after the Bills’ win. But honestly, how can you not run the ball at least 24 times in a 45-17 win?
9. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) – I like to keep my power rankings pretty static. I don’t like wild swings back and forth based on the previous week’s performance. But when the Chiefs finally play like they did on Sunday night, they make it hard to leave them in the middle of the pack. I still don’t think that this team’s issues are solved. And I think that their newfound defensive success is going to get flushed down the toilet this week against the Cowboys. But it is still tough to bet on or against this group when they are capable of efforts like last week’s.
10. New England Patriots (6-4) – New England has won and covered in four straight games, beating the posted spread by an average of 22.5 points per game during that stretch. I don’t love the Patriots as a road favorite. However, right now, who is hotter than this group? New England is 5-2 ATS on its last seven Thursday games and 26-10 ATS in their last 36 games against a team with a losing record.
11. Indianapolis Colts (5-5) – This week’s trip to Buffalo is a revenge spot for the Colts, who lost 27-24 in Orchard Park last January in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. Indy absolutely outplayed the Bills in that game, outgaining them and owning a time of possession advantage of nearly nine minutes. The Colts went just 2-for-5 in the red zone, though, and must find a way to be more efficient this weekend if they want to earn a win either SU or ATS.
12. Cleveland Browns (5-5) – Baker Mayfield now has a knee injury. That goes with the rest of his maladies this season. I have absolutely, positively no idea why Kevin Stefanski won’t just bench Mayfield – whose play has been perfectly mediocre this season – and go with veteran Case Keenum, who I think is better than Mayfield. Stefanski seems content to burn this season standing by Mayfield, who now has a career record of 27-27 as a starter.
13. New Orleans Saints (5-4) – Forget the quarterback position: the Saints wide receivers (and tight ends) are absolutely killing this offense. Dropped passes, fumbles and false starts are sabotaging this team’s prospects. Their receiving group has tremendous physical gifts. But these guys are just bad at football. The Saints are 24-8 ATS as a road underdog and 36-15 ATS on the road.
14. Los Angeles Chargers (5-4) – It’s put up or shut up time for the Chargers. And I feel like this week’s game against a banged-up Steelers team is a Rorschach test on this team. If you believe that the Chargers are a true contender in the AFC, you should load up on them to get a convincing blowout win. If you think that this is the same old Chargers, then you should hold your nose and take the points with a Steelers team that is an outstanding 34-15 ATS as an underdog. The Chargers are 18-40 ATS in their last 58 home games.
15. Las Vegas Raiders (5-4) – The Raiders forced a punt on Kansas City’s opening drive. On Kansas City’s final drive, they kneeled out the clock. The Raiders allowed a touchdown or a field goal attempt on Kansas City’s other eight drives on Sunday. I know the offense has scored only 30 points in the past two games. But if the Raiders defense – which has allowed seven straight opponents to score 20 or more points – can’t get it together, this season is headed for the toilet.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3-1) – I dug around and couldn’t find anything – and I may be wrong about this – but I feel like there is some crazy stat about how poorly the Steelers play in the state of California. Pittsburgh is just 1-2 ATS in Cali over the last five years, but the one win was over the Chargers in 2019 as a six-point underdog.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) – I think that this week’s Bengals-Raiders game is one of the most interesting matchups of the weekend. Las Vegas got embarrassed in primetime by the Chiefs and have had all kinds of issues over the past month. The Bengals are coming off a bye and back-to-back ugly losses. Who is going to show up in this game between perennial bottom feeders? Early in the week, the action is split 50-50, but over 90 percent of the money is coming in on the Bengals.
18. Minnesota Vikings (4-5) – Dating back to 2019, the underdog is now 21-9 ATS in Minnesota’s last 30 games. I can’t really explain it, but at this point I feel like it is almost an automatic play to take the points in Vikings games. The underdog is 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings with the Packers.
19. San Francisco 49ers (4-5) – The 49ers are in an absolutely killer letdown situation this week. They are coming off an emotional rivalry upset win on Monday Night Football over the Rams. Now San Francisco has to fly across the country for a 10 a.m. PST kickoff against the lowly Jaguars. This situation screams for coaching. If the 49ers come out flat and blow this game, that should be another nail in Kyle Shanahan’s coffin. San Francisco is 16-34 ATS in its last 50 games as a favorite.
20. Chicago Bears (3-6) – The Bears have traditionally been one of the worst teams in the NFL after a week of rest. Chicago is a woeful 5-17 ATS in their last 22 games after a bye week. The Bears are also 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games against a team with a winning record.
21. Denver Broncos (5-5) – I am a big Ted Bridgewater fan. The guy has been an absolute ATS machine in his career as a starter with Minnesota, Carolina and Denver. However, he deserves all of the mocking, ridicule and scorn that he has received over his pathetic effort on Darius Slay’s fumble return touchdown. Bridgewater absolutely should’ve made the tackle with minimal effort. It was a 20-13 game at that point! Saving that touchdown would’ve been one of the biggest plays in that game.
22. Carolina Panthers (5-5) – Forget about Cam Newton. The reason that the Panthers suddenly have life is the return of Christian McCaffrey! He turned 23 touches into 160 yards and singlehandedly set up two touchdowns by himself. He has injected some juice into Carolina’s offense, and keeping him healthy is a must for this squad. The Panthers are just 4-13 ATS in their last 17 home games and just 1-6 ATS as a home favorite.
23. Seattle Seahawks (3-6) – Rusty Wilson, indeed. Ol’ Rusty wasn’t nearly 100 percent last week in Green Bay, and that was one of the worst games I’ve ever seen him play. Wilson airmailed several easy throws, and his game-changing interception in the end zone, when Seattle was on the cusp of taking a 7-3 lead in the second half, was one of the worst throws he’s made in his career.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) – I absolutely love Philadelphia’s philosophical shift over the last few weeks. Their throwback style – they have rushed the ball 125 times in three games – mimics what Baltimore has done to great effect with Lamar Jackson under center. I also think Quez Watkins has been a big disappointment this season (with a horrible drop on what should’ve been a beautiful Jalen Hurts touchdown pass). He was so good in the preseason and still hasn’t found the end zone for this squad.
25. Miami Dolphins (3-7) – If this defense plays like it did against the Ravens last Thursday, then this team is going to be a handful down the stretch. It is too late for a playoff run. But if the Dolphins play like that over these final two months, they will be an ATM machine for backers and a team that no one wants to play.
26. Atlanta Falcons (4-5) – Third downs told the tale in Atlanta’s game with Dallas. Dallas went 9-for-17 on third and fourth downs, while the Falcons were a pathetic 1-for-13 on those downs for the day. I still cannot believe that this game – with 39 first half points – did not make it over the 54.5 game total. That was a brutal beat for ‘over’ bettors.
27. New York Giants (3-6) – With the old Tom Coughlin Giants, you would’ve known exactly what to expect from the G-Men and they would be a great underdog play this coming Monday night. New York is 6-0 ATS in its last six games in Tampa Bay and 20-6 ATS as a road underdog. The road team is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings, and the underdog is 4-0 ATS. New York should be healthier coming out of its bye, and we’ll see how much fight this team has left for the second half of the season.
28. Washington Football Team (3-6) – Credit where credit is due; WFT’s game-sealing drive was a thing of brutal beauty. I also tip my hat to Ron Rivera for going for it on fourth down and playing for the game-winning touchdown instead of kicking the field goal. It would’ve been interesting to see what his decision-making process would’ve been if Washington had been up only three points rather than four at that juncture.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7) – The Jaguars have covered the spread in three of their last four games, with their no-show against Seattle the only blemish. Jacksonville is on a 4-2 ATS upswing and showed a lot of fight in the second half against the Colts. However, they are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games.
30. Detroit Lions (0-8-1) – This team plays too hard not to earn a win or two before the end of the season. They have almost taken out the Steelers, Vikings and Ravens – three teams that are all above .500 – and with games against the Bears (at home), Vikings (at home) and Falcons left, the Lions will find that W.
31. New York Jets (2-7) – This series with the Dolphins has been a big-time underdog series. However, the Jets have floundered against their AFC East rivals over the last four seasons, going 0-7 ATS in the last seven meetings.
32. Houston Texans (1-8) – Tyrod Taylor should be healthier and sharp heading into this week’s game with the Titans. Tennessee has had a monster month full of emotional, physical games. If Houston comes out with some fire, they may catch Tennessee in a letdown spot. Underdogs of 8.0 or more have gone 10-5 ATS over the last three weeks.
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