NFL Power Rankings Week 13
I have talked about it often in this space, but I just want to be unequivocal in my stance about young quarterbacks in the NFL:
No team should ever start a rookie quarterback. Ever. Under anything less than emergency circumstances. And not only that, but with rare exception, quarterbacks should not go into their second season as the unquestioned starter. Anything short of that should be considered football malpractice.
The whole idea of drafting a first-round quarterback, starting him, and then hoping to win a Super Bowl while he is on his rookie contract is one of the dumbest trends in the NFL. And it is shocking to me that so many otherwise smart football people, with so many resources regarding analytics, scouting, and support, are so clueless when it comes to developing signal callers.
Aaron Rodgers didn’t start as a rookie. Tom Brady didn’t start as a rookie. Patrick Mahomes didn’t start as a rookie. Kirk Cousins. Jimmy Garoppolo. I could go on and on, but I don’t think I should have to.
Beyond that, several other currently successful quarterbacks – guys like Geno Smith and Ryan Tannehill – didn’t find success until they moved away from the teams that drafted (and mismanaged) them.
Now, I’m sure you will point go guys like Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert as examples of guys that have been successful starting from Day 1. And there are historical examples like Peyton Manning.
The problem is that for every one success story, there are 20 guys whose careers were torpedoed because they were thrown into action too early.
Beyond that, Joe Burrow almost had his career ended when he got hurt behind a faulty offensive line his first season. Manning stunk his first year. And Herbert still hasn’t taken his team to the playoffs.
The Jets benching Zach Wilson was the obvious move. Mike White is better than Wilson! The fact of the matter is that Wilson never should’ve been a starting NFL quarterback to begin with! Not until he learned how to be an NFL quarterback. None of these guys should be.
Rookie quarterbacks come in and start for bad teams. Bad teams usually have terrible offensive lines and/or horrible coaching and little offensive talent. As a result, the rookie quarterbacks get overwhelmed. They develop bad habits. They get injured. They have their confidence shook. They lose the confidence of the locker room. And any other number of negative results that come from starting a guy before he is ready.
I would rather start the season with a guy that has had experience in NFL games. A guy that’s been through three or four training camps. A guy that’s been through OTAs, that’s had game prior game experience, that’s had thousands of throws against NFL defenses in practice or game situations. Give me that guy while the teams develop young talent.
Part of the reason that NFL football is so bad right now is because there are a lot of quarterbacks taking snaps and slinging passes each that that should be holding clipboards and learning. Until NFL front offices figure out the obvious, we are doomed to the weekly dreck that we are currently being subjected to.
Doc’s Sports offers NFL expert picks for every game on our NFL predictions page.
Here is Doc’s Sports NFL Power Rankings:
1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) – It is hard to nitpick the best team in football right now, especially when they are coming off a 16-point win. But going 1-for-6 in the red zone should never happen to an Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes offense. Kansas City ran 14 plays inside the Rams 10-yard line in the fourth quarter alone! All they had to show for it was two 22-yard field goals and an interception. Not good enough.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) – I’ve been talking about it all year: running the ball is back in vogue in the NFL. And the reason the Eagles are on the short list of NFC contenders is because of performances like they had on Sunday, jamming the ball down Green Bay’s throat for 363 yards and 7.4 yards per carry. What are they doing to do this week when the Titans slow down their running game, though?
3. Buffalo Bills (8-3) – I think it is clear that Josh Allen misses Brian Daboll. I think without Daboll, Allen doesn’t have anyone to call him out for trying to do too much and for his egregious turnovers. His interception in the end zone in Detroit was a perfect example. The receiver was open. Allen has to know that if he misses that throw to miss high, through the back of the end zone. Instead, he threw short, it got tipped, and Allen had yet another crippling end zone interception that could’ve cost his team yet another win.
4. Dallas Cowboys (8-3) – Between weird overtures toward Odell Beckham Jr. – who is completely unnecessary and would be a cancer in this locker room – and now issues regarding racism, Jerry Jones is doing absolutely everything in his power to screw up the best chance Dallas has had to go back to the Super bowl in a quarter century. There is a reason that this loser organization has been a laughingstock for the past three decades; and it starts at the top.
5. Minnesota Vikings (9-2) – I am a fan of Mike Zimmer’s work in the NFL. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he found another head coaching gig (Denver?). But I think that last Thursday’s response from the Vikings after the savage beating they took from the Cowboys is a difference between last year’s Vikings and this year’s Vikings. No way they rebound in such a positive fashion with Zim at the helm.
6. Miami Dolphins (8-3) – I know that Tyreek Hill left last week’s game in the fourth quarter, but he will be back this week. He had cramps last week, and that game was out of hand. Expect Full Reek this week against San Francisco. Also, Miami’s offense has been outstanding over the last month. They haven’t exactly played a murderer’s row of defenses, though. Their last four opponents have been rated No. 32, No. 27, No. 30 and No. 23 in scoring defense this season.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) – Reverse line movement in this week’s game against the Chiefs. Cincinnati is taking around 35 percent of the early action in the Kansas City game, but the line has dropped from 3.0 to 2.5. These two teams met twice last January, with the Bengals winning outright and covering the number in both games.
8. San Francisco 49ers (7-4) – San Francisco’s defense has held four straight opponents below 17 points and are allowing an average of just 10.0 points per game since getting strafed by the Chiefs. They are facing a Miami offense that has averaged nearly 34 points per game over that same stretch, though.
9. Baltimore Ravens (7-4) – Going 2-for-5 in the red zone, including two trips inside the 10-yard-line that netted just six points, absolutely crushed the Ravens last week. They outgained the Jaguars by over 100 yards, and Baltimore lost another game that they shouldn’t have. Baltimore inability to close out games and protect leads is a glaring weakness and the only thing keeping this team from being a true Super Bowl contender.
10. Tennessee Titans (7-4) – The Titans took a punch to the mouth last week against the Bengals. They don’t stay down for long, though, and they are 4-1 ATS in their last five games after a loss. The Titans will bring the league’s No. 3 rushing defense into Philadelphia this week, and these are exactly the type of rock fights that Tennessee has won time and time again over the last few years.
11. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) – Please don’t misconstrue this ranking as tacit approval of either the Chargers or the direction this team is heading. I mean, look at teams ranked No. 11-17 and you tell me what order they should be in! The Chargers are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games on the road against the Raiders.
12. New England Patriots (6-5) – The total in this week’s matchup with the Bills seems high. The temperature in Foxboro is supposed to be around freezing with some wind. The last two games between these teams have seen 64 and 54 combined points. However, five of the previous seven had 41 points or fewer. The Patriots have gone ‘under’ in three of four, and the Bills have gone ‘under’ in seven of nine.
13. New York Jets (7-4) – The Jets are averaging 28.0 points per game with Mike White under center over the last two seasons and just 17.8 points per game over the other 24 games.
14. New York Giants (7-4) – Slowly but surely this team is coming back to earth. They have lost three of four (the win was over Houston, so that barely counts), and two of three losses have been by double-digits. Prior to last year, they had owned this series with Washington, though, going 12-4 SU in the last 16 meetings and 5-2 ATS in the last seven.
15. Seattle Seahawks (6-5) – This defense showed some signs of life in the middle of the season, but for the most part has just been bad. They are No. 30 in total defense, No. 29 in rushing defense and No. 28 in points allowed. This young team might make the playoffs. If they do, they are going to get trucked by someone with a legit offense.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6) – I think that besides Tom Brady, Tristan Wirfs was the one guy that the Bucs could not afford to lose. Their offensive line is basically a couple traffic cones, a mop and pail, and Shaq Mason. The Bucs are just 1-8 ATS in their last nine games. If they lose this week to the Saints, and if the Falcons lose, then there will be three teams in the NFC South with five wins, and Carolina, at 4-8, would still be in the hunt.
17. Washington Commanders (7-5) – That is now a 6-0-1 ATS run for Washington, and this team is on fire. They have been taking care of business against weaker competition, even if they haven’t been definitive in their wins. Washington is 4-0 ATS on the road and they are 20-7 ATS following a win.
18. Cleveland Browns (4-7) – There’s no way that Deshaun Watson will start this week for the Browns, which takes a lot of the bite out of the story of his return this week in Houston. It shouldn’t matter who is under center for Cleveland this week. They are facing the No. 32 rushing defense in the league and should run the ball no fewer than 45-50 times.
19. Detroit Lions (4-7) – Another spread cover and the Lions are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games and they are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games. I know the general public cares more about actual wins than spread wins. But there is absolutely no denying that this team is making serious progress. And if they stay the course, they should be a playoff contender next season.
20. Atlanta Falcons (5-7) – The Falcons have the advantage of facing a Steelers team that is coming off a short week, coming off a MNF win (win on Monday, lose on Sunday), and playing back-to-back road games. Atlanta’s offense is a mess, though, and they have been held to 17 points or fewer in three of four. I don’t see any way that total stays above 41.0 before kickoff.
21. Arizona Cardinals (3-8) – Two weeks off. Plenty of time for video games.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-7) – These guys are going to be a handful through the final month of the season and will embrace the role of spoiler. Pittsburgh’s defense is still a turnover-producing machine. And the Kenny Pickett-to-George Pickens combination looks like it will be a lot of fun.
23. Green Bay Packers (4-8) – I don’t see any reason not to go to Jordan Love down the stretch of this lost season for the Packers. If Green Bay can cut the cord with Aaron Rodgers – and free up $30 million in cap space – then they should leap at the chance and rebuild the receiver room and the defense.
24. Carolina Panthers (4-8) – Consistency has been a major issue with this defense, and you just never know what you’re going to get from week to week. They have allowed 37 or more points in three of their last seven games but have also held four opponents to 15 or fewer points in their last nine. It’s all or nothing with these guys.
25. Las Vegas Raiders (4-7) – This week is just Vegas’ second home game in the last six weeks and only their third home game in the last two months. That doesn’t excuse their piss-poor play. It is a tough draw, though. The underdog is 19-8 ATS in the last 27 meetings between these two teams.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) – I love how people are acting like last week’s last-second comeback win over Baltimore is some kind of turning point for these losers. They are still the Jaguars. They have had Baltimore’s number. This team is just 1-8 ATS on the road, 2-7 ATS against teams below .500 and 5-14 ATS in their last 19 games. Let’s take it easy over one fluke win.
27. New Orleans Saints (4-8) – Injuries, man. I’m not going to make too many excuses for Dennis Allen. His career record as a head coach speaks for itself. However, this team is still in the Top 15 in the league in both total offense and total defense, they are in the Top 10 in both passing offense and passing defense, and when healthy they have one of the best rosters in the NFL. Poor injury luck, poor coaching and a brutal schedule have stolen this season.
28. Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) – Matt Ryan failure to recover Jonathan Taylor’s fumble near the goal line (Chris Wormley ripped it out of his hands), Ryan’s failure to get the first down on his scramble in the final minute of regulation because he dove too early, and Ryan’s taking no responsibility for the clock mismanagement in the final minute, kind of sum up his career.
29. Chicago Bears (3-9) – Even if Justin Fields does get cleared to play against the Packers this week, why would you? Chicago has a bye week after this game. So even if Bears brass is idiotic and delusional to play Fields down the stretch of this wasted season, who not give him two weeks off to heal? Chicago also lost Darnell Mooney and Eddie Jackson to injury, so the number of NFL-caliber guys on the two-deep is right around nine.
30. Los Angeles Rams (3-8) – Things have gone from bad to bleak for the Rams. And we are finally going to see what this defense looks like without Aaron Donald, Destroyer of Worlds, dominating people up front. Donald has a high ankle sprain and will likely join Pro Bowlers Cooper Kupp, Matt Stafford and Allen Robinson on the sideline for the next few weeks.
31. Denver Broncos (3-8) – Did you watch Jordan Love last Sunday night? He looked like a different guy, right? After two years of looking lost? Do you know who Jordan Love’s quarterback coach was for his first two years: Nate Hackett. So as soon as Hackett leaves and Love actually gets some coaching from a real QB coach, he looks like an NFL-caliber quarterback. At this point, it almost seems cruel to pick on Hackett’s incompetence. Yet there’s yet another example.
32. Houston Texans (1-8-1) – I have absolutely no idea how this team won a single game this year.
Robert Ferringo has been one of the best football handicappers in the country and for a full decade from 2010-2019 he banked over +$40,000 in football profit. Robert has produced five of six winning seasons (including last year) and 9 of 12 profitable years. Robert expects a MONSTER football season. Robert is looking for another winning football year and wants more profit this fall. SIGN UP HERE TODAY AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR 3-FOR-1 FOOTBALL SPECIALS!