NFL Power Rankings Week 2
One of the most important skills that an NFL bettor can have is a good hype filter.
You need to be able to separate verifiable fact from mainstream fiction. Having a long-term perspective and not overreacting to everything that happens on a week-to-week basis is absolutely crucial. If not, you will simply get swept up in a wave of public sentiment and see your bankroll circle the drain right along with your pride.
Week 2 of the NFL season is a unique test of the hype filter. Every NFL fan, bettor, hanger-on, and media bobblehead has been waiting seven months for the official start of the new season in Week 1. That’s seven months of buildup for 16 games. So, when they are finished, the reaction to those games is outsized and the backlash is bigger than at any other time of the season.
As it stands right now, after one week of NFL action, some corners of the Interweb are convinced that the Bears, Giants and Commanders are better than the 49ers, Packers and Rams. Seattle was right to get rid of Russell Wilson. The Raiders never should’ve hired Josh McDaniels. Trevor Lawrence is a bust. Jameis Winston is a sleeper MVP pick. And we might as well just cancel the season now anyway because the Buffalo Bills are obviously winning the Super Bowl.
There is no bigger overreaction in the sports betting market than the one between Week 1 and Week 2. The test for gamblers this week is to be able to determine what occurrences last week were true harbingers of future results and which were fluke byproducts of a limited sample size.
We won’t know the answer to that question for several more weeks, if not months. So, my best advice for you heading into this week’s action is to pretend that last week didn’t happen and handicap all these games as if this was the season opener for each team. You’ll be amazed how differently that makes you approach the Week 2 spreads.
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 (1-0) – I’m still kicking myself for not going harder on the Chiefs last week. They were my biggest personal bet of the week at -3.5. However, I backed down my release to my clients when the line spiked to -6.0 during the week. That was a mistake. But it is also abnormal to see that large of a line movement in a Week 1 game that late in the week. This week’s line with the Chargers has been firm all week. The home team is just 5-17 ATS in this series.
2. Buffalo Bills (1-0) – OK, so that’s what all the hype was about. Buffalo was clearly the most impressive team in the NFL on both sides of the ball in Week 1. Now they have extra time to prepare for their home opener, which should be a table-breaking rampage of a good time on Sunday. The Bills have lost to the Titans each of the past two season as a favorite. Now they get a potential revenge game in Orchard Park.
3. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) – On paper it was a win and a cover. There were still some things that needed to be cleaned up, though, in terms of decision making from both the head coach and quarterback. None of the Chargers starters played in the preseason (and, ostensibly, Brandon Staley wasn’t really ‘coaching’ in the preseason). So, some rust should be expected. Los Angeles will need to play better if they hope to knock off the Chiefs on Thursday, though. The Chargers are 36-16 ATS as a road underdog and they are 4-0 ATS in their last four games in Arrowhead.
4. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) – The Ravens are now 7-1 ATS in their last eight season openers, and they are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games in Week 2. Obviously, there is something to the theory that playing hard and playing to win in the preseason carries over into the regular season.
5. Green Bay Packers (0-1) – After watching Christian Watson and Trey Lance both humiliate themselves on Sunday, my first thought was, “Hey, NFL general managers, maybe let’s NOT waste first- and second-round draft picks on guys from North Dakota Friggin’ State!” If Aaron Rodgers wasn’t so unlikeable it would be a crime what the Packers have let their receiver room become. You can’t tell me there were five or six low-cost veteran free agents they could’ve brought in to help the offense out.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) – It was brutal that the Bucs suffered yet another injury along the offensive line, this time with Donovan Smith. They still have to feel great about how the backups-cum-starters held together against a fierce Dallas front seven.
7. Los Angeles Rams (0-1) – We’ve seen defending champions flop out of the gates the following season. We’ve seen that in just about every sport at one time or another. I’ll give the Rams the benefit of the doubt that their Thursday night opener was a blip on the radar. That said, I don’t know if they deserve to be double-digit favorites this week after such a feeble performance in their opener. The Rams are 13-5 ATS after a loss but just 3-7 ATS against a team with a losing record.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) – For the second year in a row, everyone that bet against the Lions in Week 1 had to suffer the frustration of a backdoor cover. Don’t be fooled by the final score: the Eagles absolutely dominated Detroit last weekend. Philadelphia rushed for 216 yards on 39 carries, and all three running backs scored a touchdown. Philly is going to be rocking on Monday night for the Eagles game against the Vikings. The Eagles are now 10-2 SU in their last 12 season openers, but they are just 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games in Week 2.
9. New Orleans Saints (1-0) – Welcome back Michael Thomas. Also, I must give credit to Jameis Winston. I rag on him a lot (because he’s a clown and a turnover machine, among other things) but he went 10-for-11 in the fourth quarter and was money when the Saints needed him most. The Saints are 4-1 against the Bucs since Tom Brady came to Tampa and 7-1 SU and ATS in the last eight in this series. A win on Sunday would give the Saints two divisional wins to open the year.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) – Losing Tee Higgins is a much bigger deal than it may seem. I have seen a lot of great offenses over the past 25 years. The ones that have three legit receivers are always a cut above the rest. Hell, even last year the Cowboys were a completely different team when Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Mike Gallup were healthy. As soon as one of them went down, the drop off was clear. I think it is going to be the same for the Bengals.
11. San Francisco 49ers (0-1) – At no point have I agreed with anything that San Francisco has done with Trey Lance. I didn’t agree with trading up to draft him. I didn’t agree with drafting him at all. And I don’t agree with starting him this year. He was not the reason that San Francisco lost on Sunday. Penalties, turnovers, and general sloppiness contributed most directly to the loss. However, a good veteran quarterback can overcome those things and still guide a team to a win. Lance is going to lose games for the 49ers this year. He won’t go out and win any for them.
12. Las Vegas Raiders (0-1) – As poorly as the Raiders played, they still had the ball with 3:30 to play and a chance to win a road game against a top division rival. That is encouraging. But there are no moral victories in the NFL. Injuries in the secondary are becoming an issue for this group. The Raiders are 20-45 ATS in their last 65 games as a favorite, and the public is going to be all over this group in Week 2.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) – Betting on the Steelers as an underdog is one of the best systems in sports wagering. Pittsburgh is now an amazing 37-16 ATS (70%) in its last 73 games as a lined underdog. That stretches back well over a decade. Pittsburgh is 20-6 ATS in its last 26 games as a home underdog
14. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) – Uh-oh; this week we get Kirk Cousins in prime time. Cousins is 8-17 straight up in primetime affairs and 6-15 ATS in these games since joining the Vikings. Cousins is 8-17 ATS in games played on any day but Sunday, and the Vikings are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games played on Monday Night Football.
15. Miami Dolphins (1-0) – It was pretty funny to hear CBS color man Adam Archuleta say, “I don’t know if I really love this decision” a split second before Jaylen Waddle’s 42-yard touchdown on fourth-and-seven with 20 seconds left in the first half. D’oh! The Dolphins are on a 9-2 ATS run overall, and they are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games as an underdog.
16. Indianapolis Colts (0-0-1) – Matt Ryan is too old and too experienced to be as shaky as he was in his first game. He had two turnovers, two more fumbles that he recovered himself, and three passes that all should’ve been intercepted. He didn’t get any help from his weak receiver room, which dropped two touchdown passes, but Ryan must be better. Especially because I think Jonathan Taylor is going to get injured.
17. New England Patriots (0-1) – Bill Belichick might be completely delusional about his own team’s steady slide into mediocrity. But he wasn’t wrong in his assessment that the Patriots, despite the final score, played the Dolphins pretty even outside of two or three plays in the first half. Since their throwback in in Buffalo last Dec. 6, the Patriots are 1-5 SU and ATS (the one win came over the Jags) and lost those five games by an average of 15 points per game.
18. Tennessee Titans (0-1) – This will be the fifth year in a row that the Titans have faced the Bills. The underdog has won all four of the previous meetings, and the underdog is 11-1 ATS dating back to the Music City Miracle game in January of 2000. The Titans have thrived in this role under Mike Vrabel, going 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as an underdog and they are 4-1 ATS following a loss. Tennessee is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games on MNF.
19. Denver Broncos (0-1) – What an unorganized disaster this team was on MNF. They outgained Seattle by nearly 200 yards and lost. They had three drives get inside the Seattle 5-yard-line lead to three points. They got to the three-inch line and ran a play from shotgun – twice – and they fumbled on those plays – twice. Rusty Wilson, despite spending his entire career in Seattle, constantly let the play clock run down leading to three false starts, two delay of game penalties, and numerous hasty decisions.
20. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) – It is still too early for an “I told you so” about the 2022 Cardinals. But I had this team ranked way, way lower than just about anyone else in the country heading into the season. There is a dark cloud over this group, and their body language in their 44-21 loss to the Chiefs was awful. The Cardinals are 18-7 ATS as a road underdog, and they are 19-8 ATS in their last 27 road games overall.
21. Cleveland Browns (1-0) – They can still run the ball. They can still play defense. So not all is lost for this team’s season. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for 38 touches, 213 total yards and two touchdowns, and this team will go as far as that duo can take them. Also, not a great day for Grant Delpit. Yes, he had the interception. He also got burned deep two different times and then got injured. The Browns need more from the 2020 second round pick.
22. Carolina Panthers (0-1) – The idea of Baker Mayfield has always been better and more interesting than his actual skills on the football field. He stinks. He stunk Sunday against the Browns. He misses way too many throws and always looks like he is laboring to complete even basic passes. The Panthers did not win because he did not play well. Period. Matt Rhule’s group is also now 3-13 ATS in its last 16 games.
23. Washington Commanders (1-0) – Carson Wentz is still a turnover waiting to happen. Beyond that, I really like what I saw from Washington’s offense. They spread the ball around, they have a lot of nice weapons, they used a lot of misdirection, and they were generally creative when they had the ball. Also, great game by Derrick Forest. Pressed into action due to injury, Forrest had two big plays in the red zone and the game-sealing interception. Good day for the second-year player.
24. Detroit Lions (0-1) – The Lions are who we thought they were. This defense is terrible. It is going to be terrible all season long. Yelling and screaming on the practice field isn’t going to make up for the talent and schematic deficiencies that Detroit has. They had almost five months to prepare for the same Eagles rushing attack that gouged them 236 yards in a 44-6 loss last October. The Lions looked like they had no idea what Jalen Hurts was going to do and gave up another 216 rushing yards and another 38 points. Not great.
25. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) – I think that the Falcons are kind of sneaky solid. I am high on Marcus Mariota. He isn’t Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. OK. He can still be a solid, reliable NFL quarterback and can still move the chains and put points on the board. The Falcons defense looked like a completely different unit, and I liked the attitude and energy that Atlanta played with against New Orleans.
26. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) – I’m kicking myself for not betting more on my Dallas ‘Under’ 10.5 Wins futures tickets. You can already pencil in a 4-13 season, Mike McCarthy’s firing, Sean Payton’s hiring, and a complete roster turnover next offseason.
27. New York Giants (1-0) – Saquon sighting! Saquon Barkley was a horse on Sunday and will attempt to paper over a lot of ills on the Giants offense. Daniel Jones’ fourth quarter red zone interception was one of the worst throws of the weekend, and on the day he was just kind of Daniel Jones. There aren’t going to be a ton of great days for the G-Men this season, so they should enjoy that one. And for what it’s worth, on the 21s anniversary of 9-11 the New York team scored 21 points and won a two-point play. There has to be some kind of karma at play.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) – I know I am on an island with this thought, but I think that Trevor Lawrence is awful and that he will never not be awful. He missed three open touchdowns in the first half, took two intentional grounding calls, and generally spent the day missing throws. Two of those missed TDs were throws to Travis Etienne, with whom he’s supposed to have some Clemson connection. This team looks improved. Lawrence does not.
29. Chicago Bears (1-0) – You want to talk about completely misleading final scores. Chicago should’ve lost that game by double digits. Instead, they gained 205 yards – 51 of which came on one broken play – and won by nine. This team was not good on either side of the ball and are still in for a long season. The Bears are 7-22 ATS in their last 29 games against the Packers and 1-5 ATS in their last six games in Lambeau. Chicago is 3-7 ATS on the road and 4-12 ATS as an underdog.
30. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) – File Seattle’s win on Monday right up there with the Bears in terms of completely misleading wins. Just like the Bears got a big assist from their home field advantage (the rain) the Seahawks owe a large portion of their win to the home crowd. Seattle is 15-5 ATS in its last 20 games against the 49ers and they are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games in San Francisco.
31. New York Jets (0-1) – Even in his prime, any game plan that involved Joe Flacco throwing the ball 59 times was a bad idea. Beyond that, the Jets (who are now 63-115 SU in their last 178 games) were in midseason form. There were shanked punts, missed extra points, blown assignments, penalties, and no coherent game plan. The Jets are 5-13 ATS as an underdog, 17-36 ATS on the road, and 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games overall.
32. Houston Texans (0-0-1) – When Davis Mills misses a throw, he really, really misses. He has a real long delivery on his throw – kind of like Carson Wentz – and when Mills misses, he usually misses high. Houston was efficient and organized in its tie against Indianapolis. They still have a large talent gap to overcome, though, and they can’t afford to be as conservative as they were in the last 25 minutes of that game.
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