NFL Power Rankings Week 12
I want to start this week’s Power Rankings with some house cleaning. This week all the handicappers at Doc’s Sports will be releasing their football picks on Wednesday to accommodate the Thanksgiving holiday. Like normal, that one release will include all college and NFL selections for the entire weekend.
OK, so now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into some football.
Buuuuuuut, before we get to the football, I just want to take a quick moment to acknowledge something that I am thankful for over this Thanksgiving holiday: the health of my immediate and extended family.
Thank God, but no one in my family or among my friends has been lost to coronavirus over the last two years. Over 95% of family members that I’m in contact with or friends that I’m still close to are vaccinated (which obviously helps). But it has been a blessing that no one has had any serious illness or complications because of COVID (and I know more than a few people that haven’t been as fortunate).
I’m not going to turn this into a coronavirus diatribe. All I am going to say is that it is great that we, as a nation, seem to have the momentum on our side for the first time in this pandemic. It’s been great having sports back to normal, complete with full stadiums and arenas, and I hope that we continue to make progress.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and enjoy the week!
Doc’s Sports offers NFL expert picks for every game on our NFL predictions page.
Here is Doc’s Sports NFL Power Rankings:
1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2) – Colt McCoy is now 3-14 straight up and 5-12 against the spread in his career as a starter in the second half of the season. That was huge that Arizona was able to steal another win without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, as the duo now has two full weeks to heal up for a stretch run.
2. Green Bay Packers (8-3) – Green Bay’s loss at the window last week in Minnesota – in a game that they almost stole in the fourth quarter – snapped a nine-game ATS winning streak for the Packers. Green Bay is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 games after a loss, and they have covered the spread in seven straight meetings with the Rams.
3. Tennessee Titans (8-3) – It was only a matter of time before Tennessee’s emotional bubble burst. They had played (and won) so many big games over the past two months that I’m not surprised that they had a letdown as a big favorite. The Titans also may have lost A.J. Brown (ribs). And if he’s gone, this offense is in major trouble since they already don’t have Derrick Henry and Julio Jones.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) – For the second week in a row, the Bucs saw their opponent rush three and drop eight inside the 10-yard line. This is obviously in response to something opposing defensive coordinators have seen on tape, and I’d expect the Bucs to see a lot more of it in the future. I’m interested what adjustments Bruce Arians and Tom Brady will make to counter. The Bucs are 0-5 ATS in their last five road games and 0-6 ATS as a road favorite.
5. Baltimore Ravens (7-3) – Someone really needs to give Lamar Jackson some vitamins. Or make sure he’s getting plenty of vitamin C; that guy gets sick an awful lot. The Ravens defense is tied with Kansas City allowing a league-high 11 passing plays of 40 or more yards. Baltimore is No. 2 in the NFL (behind Miami) allowing 47 pass plays of 20 or more.
6. Los Angeles Rams (7-3) – The Rams are coming out of their bye week on a two-game losing streak and an 0-4 ATS slide. The Rams also have revenge after taking a 32-18 beating from the Packers in the playoffs last January. Los Angeles is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games against the Packers and 1-4 ATS in their last five trips to Lambeau.
7. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) – The Chiefs defense has allowed fewer than 12 points per game during their four-game winning streak and looked dominating against a high-powered Dallas attack on Sunday. Kansas City has gone ‘under’ in five of its last six games and will have two weeks to prepare for a home game with Denver on Dec. 5.
8. Dallas Cowboys (7-3) – It looks like the Cowboys will be without both Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb when they take the field on Thursday. Ezekiel Elliot is also banged up, and this Cowboys offense has been held to 20 or fewer points in three of its last four games. It looks like teams are catching up to Kellen Moore.
9. New England Patriots (7-4) – Surprisingly, Bill Belichick has a losing record in his career against former assistants. Belichick is 13-17 straight up in his career and faces former pupil Mike Vrabel this Sunday. Belichick is just 1-4 over the past two years against former Patriot assistants.
10. Indianapolis Colts (6-5) – Anyone that’s been reading this space knows that I have been high on the Colts and the way they’ve been playing over the past month. Outside of Tennessee and New England, Indianapolis has been one of the hottest teams in football. Indy is just 1-6 ATS as a home underdog and will be catching points this Sunday against Tom Brady and the Bucs.
11. Buffalo Bills (6-4) – It becomes a lot harder to win football games when you can’t run the ball and you can’t stop the run. The Bills are not legitimate Super Bowl contenders right now. Not the way they’ve have been pushed around in the trenches over the past month (by everyone but the Jets).
12. Los Angeles Chargers (6-4) – After watching the Chargers lose so many games for so many years just like last Sunday’s wild shootout with Pittsburgh, it was bizarre to see them leave that game with a W. The Chargers are 34-17 ATS in their last 51 road games, but they are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games in Denver.
13. Cleveland Browns (6-5) – More baby stuff from Baker Mayfield, and you really have to wonder what his standing in the locker room is right now. The Browns have to face the Ravens twice in the next three weeks (with a bye in between), and they are just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against Baltimore.
14. New Orleans Saints (5-5) – The Saints played Sunday without seven offensive starters. Seven! It was their JV offense, and it looked like it. It is still odd to see the Saints as home underdogs, though, and they are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 tries in that role. The Saints are 35-17 ATS in their last 52 as an underdog overall.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1) – The Steelers have absolutely dominated the Bengals over the last 20 years. Pittsburgh is an incredible 22-9 ATS in its last 31 games against Cincinnati, and they are 17-5 ATS in their last 22 games in the Queen City. Pittsburgh is 19-7 ATS in its last 26 games as a road underdog and 35-16 ATS as an underdog overall.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) – I’ve never thought much of Bengals head coach Zac Taylor. But he deserves a ton of credit for keeping this team disciplined. The Bengals are by far the least-penalized team in the NFL this season, with just 40 penalties on the season for just 343 penalty yards.
17. Minnesota Vikings (5-5) – The Vikings have had a lead of at least a touchdown in every single one of their games this season. They did everything they could to throw that game away against the Packers but managed to hold on, and now the underdog is 8-2 ATS in Minnesota’s last 10 games.
18. San Francisco 49ers (5-5) – Monster game for San Francisco this week, hosting fellow 5-5 squad Minnesota. This is actually a rematch of a 27-10 49ers win in the playoffs two seasons ago. The 49ers ran the ball 47 times for 186 yards in that meeting, and I expect a heavy dose of the ground game this week as well.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) – Football can be a simple game when you run the ball and stop the run. The Eagles have established their identity, and you can just see the confidence that has given them. Next week Philly gets a Giants team that is playing on a short week, and the Eagles are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games in New York.
20. Las Vegas Raiders (5-5) – The Raiders are converting just 27.3 percent of their red zone appearances into touchdowns during their three-game losing streak. They went 1-for-3 in the red zone last week against the Bengals, and that inefficiency is a big reason Vegas is averaging just over 14 points per game during this skid.
21. Denver Broncos (5-5) – This feels like a season-defining game for the Broncos. They are out of a bye week and playing against a division rival that is in a letdown spot. The underdog is 5-2 ATS in the Chargers series, and Denver is 16-7 ATS coming out of a bye.
22. Carolina Panthers (5-6) – The Panthers had been one of three best third down defenses in the NFL prior to last week’s game with Washington. They just couldn’t get off the field, allowing WFT to convert eight of 15 third and fourth downs. That was the difference in that game.
23. Miami Dolphins (4-7) – Tua Tagovailoa is trash. I swear to God every time the ball leaves his hands, I expect it to either be intercepted or to go flying 10 yards over his receiver’s head. The Dolphins are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 home games and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as a home underdog.
24. Chicago Bears (3-7) – It took all of three series to realize how much better of an option Andy Dalton is at quarterback right now for Chicago. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1,000 times this year: Justin Fields never should have been starting. Now he is injured (shocking) and hopefully Dalton will take over for the rest of the campaign.
25. Seattle Seahawks (3-7) – This is a really bad football team right now. Seattle is ranked No. 30 in total offense and No. 31 in total defense. They are ranked in the 20’s on offense and defense against the run and the pass, and they are getting outgained by over 100 yards per game. Rusty Wilson is now 35-12 straight up in his last 47 games after a loss, and Seattle is 38-18 ATS in its last 55 games after a loss.
26. Atlanta Falcons (4-6) – The Falcons have not scored a touchdown in their last 26 offensive possessions. During that stretch, they have had 10 three-and-outs and seven other drives end with interceptions.
27. New York Giants (3-7) – Don’t feel bad for Daniel Jones. He is about to embark on a long and lucrative career as an NFL backup quarterback. I’m looking forward to him tearing it up against third- and fourth-stringers in the NFL preseason over the next 12 years. But he’s proven that he has no business as a starting quarterback in this league.
28. Washington Football Team (4-6) – Taylor Heinicke may not be talented enough to remain Washington’s starting quarterback next season, but you have to love the moxie and the heart that guy plays with. He improvises to make big plays, and I loved how he got in a Carolina defender’s face after taking a cheap shot in the fourth quarter. That guy can play on my team. Washington is just 7-19 ATS in its last 26 games on Monday Night Football.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8) – Trevor Lawrence has thrown for fewer than 160 yards with no touchdown passes three straight games. The Jaguars are averaging 264.5 yards and 10.8 points over their last four games, and things will probably get worse before they get better.
30. Detroit Lions (0-9-1) – The Lions are now 14-42-2 straight up 28-30 against the spread in their last 58 games overall. Detroit has lost four straight Thanksgiving games, and they are just 4-13 straight up on Turkey Day over the last 17 years. It looks like Jared Goff will be healthy enough to start this Thursday against the Bears.
31. Houston Texans (2-8) – It’s kind of tough to lose a game in which you benefit from a plus-five turnover differential, but Houston certainly tried. The Texans will have a chance to put together an honest to goodness winning streak this week at home against the Jets. Be wary: the Texans are 4-11 ATS as a favorite and 3-8 ATS as a home favorite.
32. New York Jets (2-8) – The Jets had multiple chances to break that game open last week. For most of the first half they looked the better team than Miami. But missed field goals, stupid penalties and overall Jetsiness kept them for seizing control of that one and earning their third win of the season. The Jets are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games against a team that is below .500 and 15-35 ATS in their last 50 road games.
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