Week 12 NFL Power Rankings
by Robert Ferringo - 11/21/2007
Thanksgiving is here and not only does that mean flavorful food and fantastic football, but it also means that as much as I want to be a degenerate gambler this week I have to take a few hours, or maybe even a day, to really think about what is important to me in my life and how fortunate I am. With a beautiful, loving wife, our first child on the way, great friends and family, and a job that I love even when it drives me crazy, I really don't know how I could be any happier.
Well, another 7-1 NFL run would help. But I don't want to push it.
Here's Doc's Sports Week 11 NFL Power Rankings:
1) New England Patriots (10-0) - Just in case anyone cares, I think that New England is running up the score and I think that's bad karma. You learn when you're six years old that it is not just if you win or lose, but how you play the game. That being said, I'm going to be backing them this week as an unheard of 23-point favorite.
2) Indianapolis Colts (8-2) - I know there's been a lot of whining about poor Peyton Manning having to play without Marvin Harrison, but the numbers back up Marv's impact. The Colts have stayed 'under' in all four of the games Marv has missed and they are averaging just 18 points in each of their past three outings.
3) Green Bay Packers (8-1) - Last year's win, as a six-point dog, was Green Bay's first cover in the Motor City in over a decade. Can they do it again? The Pack owns the league's No. 1 pass offense and they are facing the league's No. 30 pass defense. Also, Green Bay should be able to get pressure on the Lions - who doesn't? - with just their front four.
4) Dallas Cowboys (8-1) - Right now the difference between the Cowboys and the Packers could come down to one factor: home field. Also, don't be surprised to see a special teams touchdown by the Jets this week. If Dallas has shown a weakness this year it's definitely been in special teams. And here's a sleeper Defensive POY: DeMarcus Ware.
5) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) - Pittsburgh is an amazing 12-2 ATS at home on Monday Night Football. So even though they'll be without Troy Polamalu and Santonio Holmes I wouldn't look for that spread to drop. Also, the Steelers have been pretty poor on the road this year in their three non-divisional trips. That's a concern if you think they will be the team that beats New England.
6) Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) - Mike Peterson underwent hand surgery and is sidelined indefinitely. This is a huge loss to the Jags defense, which fell apart without its leader in the middle of last season. Toss in that Jacksonville owns the league's No. 27 pass defense and their long-term prospects aren't looking as promising.
7) New York Giants (7-3) - How happy are the Giants that they brought Michael Strahan back this year? Also, I don't think we'll ever know how good Brandon Jacobs is because he will never, ever, stay healthy. Finally, Mathias Kiwanuka's injury means that New York will no longer be able to go with a four defensive end alignment and it means more snaps for DT Fred Robbins.
8) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4) - Cato June got busted for a DUI last week but will be suiting up in a big game against Washington this week. Tampa Bay has a two game lead in the division and only faces one team with a winning record the rest of the way. Be wary: Tampa Bay is 1-9 ATS as a favorite after allowing less than 10 points, 2-8 ATS after a win of 14 or more points, and 3-12 ATS after back-to-back victories.
9) Seattle Seahawks (6-4) - The Seahawks' defense has been the best bend-but-don't break unit in the NFL this year. They are allowing 20.14 yards per point against, which means that teams have to gain nearly 300 yards of total offense just to equal around 14 points. They are allowing just 1.29 points per drive, second to Pittsburgh in the NFL.
10) Tennessee Titans (6-4) - Monday night's performance more closely resembled the Titans team I expected to see this year. The truth is that they lack playmakers on offense and if the defense is giving up more than 17 points per game they are a very below-average club. Tennessee is just 6-14 ATS over the past three years when they give up 24 points or more.
11) Cleveland Browns (6-4) - I really hate to have the Browns this high, but there is just so much muck in the middle of the rankings. Their defense just allowed Kyle Boller to hit them for 30 points and is now running into a sharp Houston offense. Cleveland has covered five straight and are 5-2 ATS as a home favorite.
12) San Diego Chargers (5-5) - Besides the obvious incompetence of Norv Turner, the thing that has been killing the Chargers is the absence of Pro Bowl center Nick Hardwick. He should be back on Dec. 2, but not having him for the past four games has had a major ripple effect on the offense.
13) Washington Redskins (5-5) - This Sunday will mark the fifth time in the last four years that the Redskins and Bucs will tangle. Washington is 2-1-1 ATS in those games and every one of them have been decided by a touchdown or less.
14) Detroit Lions (6-4) - Detroit is giving up an average of over four sacks per game and now facing a pretty vicious Green Bay front four. However, the Lions are an amazing 11-1 ATS as home dogs against the Packers, a byproduct of Brett Favre's infamous struggles in domes.
15) Denver Broncos (5-5) - Win on Monday, lose on Sunday. Denver is 1-6 ATS against Chicago and 4-14 ATS in its last 18 games overall. They're riding high and are reinvigorated after getting themselves back in the AFC playoff hunt. However, they continue to struggle to defend the deep ball and that is really the only thing that Rex Grossman can do. Smells like trouble.
16) Houston Texans (5-5) - Welcome back Andre Johnson. Houston was able to slow down New Orleans' offense last week but that was at home. The Texans have surrendered an average of 28 points in their five road games this year.
17) Kansas City Chiefs (4-6) - Don't tell me coaches don't know the line. Here's a quote from Herm Edwards this week: "Yeah, I was playing it conservative at that point. I guess people think we should take a chance because we were 14-point underdogs. But I'm trying to win the game." I think Kolby Smith will be fine running the ball because he doesn't dance around. That will work just fine against Oakland, which is giving up a league-high 4.8 yards per carry.
18) Arizona Cardinals (5-5) - This is the largest that an Arizona team has been posted as a favorite in, well, over a decade. The second largest amount of points that the Cardinals have had to lay over that span is 8.5 in last year's home opener against San Francisco. They did not cover.
19) Chicago Bears (4-6) - What a debacle. I wagered against the Bears last week in Seattle for one simple reason: I knew that Rex Grossman would make a crippling mistake, likely a turnover, at a crucial part of the game to cost Chicago. Sure enough, that fumble in the fourth quarter doomed the Bears and their season.
20) Buffalo Bills (5-5) - It looks like Marshawn Lynch is going to be out at least two more weeks with a severe ankle sprain. Buffalo is 4-1 ATS in their last five games against the Jaguars and an outstanding 14-1 ATS after playing the Patriots.
21) Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) - Really glad I'm not in this locker room this week. This is a proud, veteran team; a poor man's version of the Patriots in the NFC until McNabb broke down and Andy Reid's family started to draw his attention away from football. All I know is that the Eagles just struggled to beat the worst team in the league and are now facing the best. And they shouldn't expect any mercy.
22) New Orleans Saints (4-6) - The Saints have covered five straight in Carolina and are 7-3 ATS as a road favorite. Turnovers are the entire story for New Orleans. They averaged three per game during their season-opening four-game losing streak, and then had only four turnovers in their four-game winning streak. Sure enough, they gave it up in Houston five times.
23) Baltimore Ravens (4-6) - The Ravens are in the midst of a 1-10 ATS slide. They are a suspect 6-18 ATS on the road and 0-8 ATS against the AFC. With games against San Diego, New England, and Indianapolis on the horizon, things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get better.
24) Carolina Panthers (4-6) - It looks like the end for John Fox in Carolina. This team is bad, and only getting worse. The foundation is simply not there and this team is a couple years away from competing for titles. The final nail in the coffin will likely be how poorly Carolina has been at home. They are 2-11-1 ATS in their last 14 home games.
25) Minnesota Vikings (4-6) - The road team is 4-0 in the last four games between Minnesota and the New York Giants. The Vikings will be facing the league's No. 7 rush defense this week and may be doing it without All-World fullback Tony Richardson (MCL sprain). Monitor his progress, as well as that of Antoine Winfield, this week.
26) Atlanta Falcons (3-7) - Joey Harrington should be starting right now. He has not performed that poorly this year despite a horrific offensive line and no playmakers at wideout. He won't make a difference this week though. Atlanta will be without both of its starting defensive tackles for the rest of the year as Rod Coleman and Trey Lewis both saw their seasons end.
27) Cincinnati Bengals (3-7) - The Bungles are just 1-4 ATS in their last five home games against Tennessee, but they are catching the Titans in a road game after a MNF road game. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 97.3 with 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
28) New York Jets (2-8) - Kellen Clemens has completed just 50 percent of his passes this year but has engineered a pair of overtime-forcing drives. His mettle will be tested again on Thursday against a blitz-happy Dallas defense. Lav Coles will not be playing, leaving the Jets without their offensive captain.
29) St. Louis Rams (2-8) - The Rams could be trouble in the second half of the season. They have finally adjusted to their terrible offensive line and their defense has played admirably considering how undermanned they are. However, they are one of the worst in the league in terms of yards per point allowed (12.6). The underdog is 8-2 ATS in this series with Seattle and the Seahawks are just 4-11 ATS on the road.
30) San Francisco 49ers (2-8) - Get used to the Trent Dilfer Machine. Alex Smith is going to miss at least two more games with an injured right arm. This season is pretty much a complete waste for the former No. 1 pick.
31) Oakland Raiders (2-8) - Generally, you would expect a franchise to get up for a game against a bitter rival. But this is Oakland, and they are pathetic. The Raiders are actually 3-1 ATS in their last four trips to Arrowhead and the road team is a stellar 8-1 ATS in the last five meetings. But Oakland is 23-51-1 ATS in its last 75 games - a 31-percent clip - so play on them at your own risk.
32) Miami Dolphins (0-10) - Since I have nothing positive to say about the Dolphins I will take this time to pile on their former coach, Nick Saban, for what a bunghole he is. I mean, that guy is a complete and total joke.
For more info on Robert's members picks, check out his Insider Page here.