NFL Power Rankings Week 4
Beware the mob.
Look, people are idiots. It’s not always their fault. And they try not to be. But most people are morons. And if you don’t think that’s the case, you’ve obviously been living in a cave for the past 2-20 years.
When a group of idiots get together, they form a mob. Any form of rational decision-making generally goes out the window, and the collective group consciousness dulls any sort of reason or expertise. This whole process forms one of the fundamental principles in sports betting: go against the public.
Why do you think that sharp bettors and professionals are always looking to “bet against the public”? I can tell you: because the general betting public is, when considered as one singular entity, a glob of stupidity.
Need an example?
The general held consensus in the NFL right now is that rookie quarterbacks should start. Teams should invest heavily in selecting quarterbacks with high-ranking first round picks. And then those quarterbacks should be thrown into the fire as soon as humanly possible. You hear this nonsense espoused regularly by media bobbleheads and average fans, and there is no doubt that “draft ‘em and start ‘em” is the prevailing theory in the league.
Of course, this approach ignores anything like logic and reason. Like the idea that maybe guys should learn the job before being asked to perform. Or that maybe you want to invest in things like offensive line protection to limit injury risk before putting a young quarterback in. It ignores the bad habits and lack of confidence that can attach themselves to unsuccessful rookie quarterbacks. And it also ignores the career paths of guys like Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb, Matt Hasselbeck, Tony Romo, Steve Young and any number of other guys that have been absolute studs in the NFL over the past 25 years that didn’t start on Day 1.
Over the last two months, everyone and their sister has been clamoring for Justin Fields to start for the Chicago Bears. Matt Nagy, who is a coward, finally caved in last week. The result: Fields was sacked nine times and the Bears finished with one net passing yard (not a typo) in a 26-6 embarrassment in Cleveland.
Fields wasn’t the only one. Three other rookie starters took the field on Sunday: Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Davis Mills. Combined with Fields, those quarterbacks went 0-4 SU and ATS with the average defeat by 18.3 points. They combined to generate a TOTAL of 24 points of offense.
Rookie starting quarterbacks are 1-10 against the spread to start the season.
Despite all of that, this week I’ve already been reading articles clamoring for Trey Lance – you know, the guy that’s started all of one game at North Dakota State since the end of the 2019 season – to take over the reins in San Francisco for Jimmy Garopollo.
Whenever you hear someone calling for a rookie to start at quarterback for an NFL team, you should instantly discount everything else out of that person’s mouth regarding professional football betting. However, you should also find out exactly who that person is betting on each weekend – and do the exact opposite.
Don’t follow the mob. Don’t follow the crowd. Don’t follow the public. Don’t follow the bobblehead media. Find someone that you trust, listen to what they have to say, and then make your decisions based on facts, reason, statistics and experience.
Doc’s Sports offers NFL picks for every game on our NFL predictions page.
Here is Doc’s Sports NFL Power Rankings:
1. Buffalo Bills (2-1) – This is not an overreaction to them pounding Washington last week. They should pound Washington. Washington stinks. I just think that of all the teams that I’ve watched through three weeks, the Bills have the least number of question marks and issues. They are healthy, they are experienced, they are well coached, they are talented, and they are motivated. They can win games on both sides of the ball, and right now I think they are the best of the bunch.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) – Not having Antonio Brown makes a massive difference on that offense. It was obvious on Sunday. And, frankly, I don’t think they would’ve gone on their Super Bowl run without him last year, either. Since last year, the Bucs are 10-2 straight up in games Brown plays and 7-4 without him.
3. Los Angeles Rams (3-0) – I hate doing this. I hate overreacting to individual results. I still think that the Rams are overvalued, and I think that their prospects as a true Super Bowl threat are being overblown. And I can’t be the only person that feels this way because after their line against the Cardinals opened at 6.0 there has already been heavy early week action on Arizona to draw that line down to 4.5.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) – I’m giving the Chiefs the benefit of the doubt by keeping them in the Top 5. However, these guys could very easily be 0-3 right now, and they do not look like a Top 5 or even a Top 10 team. The line doesn’t lie. They are 2-12 against the spread in their last 14 games. Their defense is a disaster, and this team has way outstripped its value.
5. Cleveland Browns (2-1) – The focus on Sunday was on Chicago’s incompetence and Myles Garrett’s big statistical day. My focus when replaying that game was on the overall depth and talent on this roster. The Browns are stacked on both sides of the ball and can beat people a variety of ways. That said, I don’t know how much I trust them as a road favorite, a role they are just 1-7 ATS in.
6. San Francisco 49ers (2-1) – How on earth was anyone putting the loss to Green Bay on Jimmy Garoppolo? I thought he played very well despite getting absolutely no help from his teammates. Receiver drops killed him. He’s getting no help from the running game. And penalties were crippling. Yet San Francisco was 30 seconds away from going 3-0 and beating a Packers team that is pretty damn good. The idea that Lance should be starting is idiocy.
7. Arizona Cardinals (3-0) – The Cardinals played only three corners and two safeties against Jacksonville. I have questions about their secondary, and their depth is absolutely going to get tested this week against the Rams’ passing attack. The Cardinals are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 road games, but they are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games against the Rams.
8. Green Bay Packers (2-1) – It is still tough to trust a team that is allowing opponents to score on 100 percent of their red zone opportunities while also down two starting offensive linemen. The Packers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games, but the home team is just 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings with the Steelers.
9. Los Angeles Chargers (2-1) – The Raiders are benefitting from one of the best home field advantages in the NFL. The Rams definitely got a boost from the home crowd in their monster game against the Bucs. Will the Chargers get a lift from the home crowd on Monday Night Football? Will they gain at all from playing at home in this one? Or will the Raiders fans from Oakland and L.A. fill up the joint? The favorite is just 6-18 ATS in the Chargers-Raiders feud.
10. Seattle Seahawks (1-2) – Seattle’s last six meetings with San Francisco have all gone ‘over’. That’s the likely reason for the bump in this week’s total from an open of 50.0 up to its current 52.0. The ‘over’ is 10-3 in Seattle’s last 13 games as an underdog, and the ‘over’ is 14-6 in their last 20 games against a team that is above .500.
11. Las Vegas Raiders (3-0) – I still feel like we’ve seen this movie before with this team, which has gotten off to hot starts, fooled people into believing in them, and then gone in the tank late in the year. This team could very easily be 1-2 right now. And wins over Jacoby Brissett and Ben Roethlisberger don’t exactly move the needle. I will give Maxx Crosby a ton of credit, though. There aren’t five defenders that have been better than him through three weeks.
12. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) – The Ravens are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games against Denver, and they are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games against the AFC. The underdog is just 1-7 ATS in the Broncos series, though, and the Ravens are yet another 2-1 team that really should probably be 0-3 to start the season.
13. Tennessee Titans (2-1) – This Julio Jones addition is already looking like a dud in Tennessee. Not only am I worried about him underperforming, but I’m also worried that Tennessee’s young star, A.J. Brown, is going to pick up some bad habits from a guy that he referred to as his “favorite receiver”. Never meet your idols, A.J.
14. New Orleans Saints (2-1) – Jameis Winston is the Saints starter. And I’m sure that Sean Payton doesn’t want to undermine Winston’s status. But if New Orleans isn’t going to throw the ball, then why not use Taysom Hill more? I feel like Hill should be getting at least 25 percent of the team’s snaps, and that would give a boost to New Orleans’ No. 31 ranked attack.
15. Denver Broncos (3-0) – All Teddy Bridgewater does is cover the spread! That said, injuries have been chipping away at this team’s offense, with two of their top three receivers and two starting linemen out for at least the next two weeks. Denver has beaten a bunch of cupcakes and has played the weakest schedule in the NFL. A win against Baltimore would make a statement.
16. Dallas Cowboys (2-1) – I bet the Cowboys on Monday morning at -4.0 this week against Carolina because I knew that line was going to spike after Dallas won on Monday. I actually thought the line would jump to 6.0, and I will be surprised if it doesn’t get there by kickoff this weekend. The Cowboys are just 23-47 ATS in their last 70 games as a home favorite.
17. Carolina Panthers (3-0) – The Panthers have faced Zach Wilson, Jameis Winston and Davis Mills so far this season. So, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Carolina is 8-0 ATS in its last eight road games and they are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games as an underdog.
18. New England Patriots (1-2) – Bill Belichick is smart enough to know where Tampa Bay’s weakness is: in the secondary. But that will mean letting rookie Mac Jones, who is coming off his worst game, air it out. That goes against how Belichick wants to play (run the ball and play defense), and it will be fascinating to see how he sets up his game plan for this week’s emotional tilt.
19. Minnesota Vikings (1-2) – Minnesota’s defense has been a wreck so far this season, despite their offseason rebuild. We’ll see how they do going up against an offense that runs the exact same scheme as what the Vikings see in practice every day. The Vikings are just 4-9 ATS after a win and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games. However, they are 20-6 ATS in their last 26 games as a home underdog.
20. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) – All the talk has been about the Bengals offense and the development of Joe Burrow and his receivers. But the Bengals defense has been outstanding this year. Their front seven is physical, and they have been great against the run (No. 8). The Bengals are No. 6 in the league in points allowed and should be able to tool on an erratic Jaguars group this Thursday.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) – I think we can put to bed any questions about Jalen Hurts as a viable long-term quarterback option. The guy is legit. He is getting zero help right now. Philadelphia’s offensive line is decimated – again – and the receivers (and defense) aren’t doing a ton to help Hurts out. The Eagles are 4-10 ATS after a loss.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) – Anyone that has read these power rankings consistently knows that I have been tracking Big Ben’s demise over the last four years. It’s not a surprise. I hate having the Steelers this low, and I want no piece of Mike Tomlin – a guy whose never had a losing season, by the way – when he’s backed in the corner. Pittsburgh is 25-9 ATS in their last 34 games as an underdog.
23. Miami Dolphins (1-2) – This week’s Indianapolis-Miami game seems like a throwaway, but it is actually a make-or-break game for both teams, each of which had legit playoff aspirations entering the season. The Dolphins offense has been a mess, and I’m looking for them to open things up this week against a vulnerable Colts defense. Miami is 12-2 ATS in its last 14 games after a loss, and they are 6-1 ATS at home.
24. Chicago Bears (1-2) – “The Bears are smart not going to Fields because there is absolutely no way that I would start a rookie quarterback behind that offensive line.” I said that two weeks ago because it was obvious. The Bears are dead last in the league in offense and are averaging 13.3 points per game. The idea that they would start Fields again, instead of healthy former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, is the height of idiocy.
25. Indianapolis Colts (0-3) – Injuries have crushed this team. Quenton Nelson, Kwity Paye, T.Y. Hilton and Braden Smith are all out, and Carson Wentz and Darius Leonard are limping around on bad stems. This roster wasn’t supremely talented (or deep) to begin with, and they simply can’t afford to lose this caliber of player.
26. Washington Football Team (1-2) – Washington’s defense has completely collapsed. They are No. 31 in total yards, No. 29 against the pass and No. 29 in points allowed. I didn’t expect them to allow 31 points per game all season long, but right now they look like a soft Cover-2 team that’s just giving away yards in chunks. Washington is 1-7 ATS as a favorite.
27. New York Giants (0-3) – Honestly, I’m tired of trying to figure out what is going on with this team. They have been completely irrelevant for most of the past decade and a joke for most of the last five years. They stink on both sides of the ball and have a weak coaching staff. So it goes. Despite that, New York is 21-6 ATS in its last 27 as a road underdog, 20-7 ATS in its last 27 road games and 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games as an underdog.
28. Atlanta Falcons (1-2) – I’ve giving the Falcons zero credit for that win over the hapless Giants. These Falcons are not a good football team, and they look barely competent on either side of the ball. Atlanta is 12-5 ATS in their last 17 as a home underdog, and they are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 against a team with a losing record.
29. Detroit Lions (0-3) – This team is already playing harder for Dan Campbell than it ever did for that loser Matt Patricia. Detroit has lost seven straight games. But they are 4-3 ATS in those games, 2-1 ATS to start this year, and four of the seven games have been decided by one score. They are going to keep knocking.
30. Houston Texans (1-2) – I actually thought Davis Mills threw the ball pretty well for the Texans last week. In fact, the Texans were way too cautious with him. When they cut Mills loose right before the half, he had his best drive and the game didn’t look to big for him. The 17 points Houston is catching this week feels like too much. But I know I’m not in a rush to grab them.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) – That flea flicker call was by far the dumbest thing I saw in 16 games last week. I don’t even blame Lawrence for that pathetic decision and throw. Why the hell are you calling a trick play on 2nd-and-6 from your own 25 in a game that you are, against all odds, winning? Jacksonville had just lost the momentum when Arizona scored to cut it to 19-17 late in the third quarter. Why hang your quarterback out to dry with such a ridiculous play call? That stuff works against Kent State. Not in the NFL.
32. New York Jets (0-3) – These guys are an embarrassment. I mean, they are not even close to being competitive. Throw out one garbage time drive against the Panthers, and the Jets have scored all of 12 points in nearly 12 quarters of football this season. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, and I have no reason why their spreads are not in the same neighborhood as the ones Houston is seeing.
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