Week 3 NFL Power Rankings
by Robert Ferringo - 09/21/2007
Week 1 in the NFL was a cornucopia of cash for square bettors as favorites posted a solid 11-5 record against the spread. But the books came back with a vengeance in the sequel, capitalizing on Overreaction Week when the chalk posted a feeble 4-12 mark against the number in Week 2. So what does that have in store for us in Week 3? Well, my friends, that's why they play the games.
We have three home dogs and three more games with teams favored by eight points or more this week -- both situations that a savvy bettor normally looks to exploit. But the question is whether or not you have the stones to back Buffalo and a 17-point lead or to take Atlanta at home against a shaky Carolina squad. Remember, it's not about being a hero - it's just about winning money.
OK, so that's pretty much the most boring lead I've ever written. Seriously, it's sickening and it's crap. Forgive me. But the truth is that I've spent so much time prying apart all of these games that I haven't had time to manufacture some cheesy storyline. Look, it's Week 3. We still don't know much about any of these teams. Injuries are rampant, no one can run more than 10 plays without fumbling, and the influx of young quarterbacks in the league has sharps making the same face that O.J. must've made when he heard the first siren. It's early, and while a lot of my preseason inclinations were sound there are some kinks to be worked out. In the meantime, sit back, relax, and soak in the knowledge of Doc's Sports Week 3 Power Rankings:
1) New England Patriots (2-0) - It's just a matter of how much, if any, mercy this team will have this weekend against Buffalo. I mentioned it in this week's Ferringo Report but it bears repeating: the Patriots are 73-37-3 ATS since the start of 2001. That's a 66.4-percent clip. The Patriots have won 12 of the last 13 meetings and have held Buffalo to a TD or less in four of the last seven meetings.
2) San Diego Chargers (1-1) - There has been a rush of mid-week money on San Diego, and I think it could force this number up to -6 or higher by kickoff. The Chargers are 16-7-2 ATS on the road and 16-5-2 ATS following a loss. And don't tell me San Diego isn't missing Cam Cameron and Wade Phillips right now.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) - Granted, it has been against pretty feeble competition, but the Steelers have dominated both of their opponents this season. Pittsburgh is 13-2-2 against the total in its last 17 home games and 9-3-1 ATS against the NFC since the start of 2004. The Steelers haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher against them in their past 27 games.
4) Indianapolis Colts (2-0) - The Colts are 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games and are 1-3 ATS in their last four against Houston. They do have revenge on their side, losing 27-24 to the Texans last December. The Colts are 9-1 ATS as road favorites with revenge.
5) Chicago Bears (1-1) - I'm guessing the Bears defense will be geared up for T.O. this week. The Bears held perhaps the best two running backs in football - LT and LJ - to a combined 80 total rush yards in two games this year. Also, there are starting to be rumblings the Rex's time may be up if he doesn't start to produce. FINALLY!!!
6) Baltimore Ravens (1-1) - Brian Billick is a stellar 10-2 ATS against a team off a straight up win as an underdog. I think Steve McNair will play this weekend, but after watching him in the opener you have to wonder if that's a good thing.
7) Dallas Cowboys (2-0) - Terrance Newman has been able to do a bit more this week in practice, and the return of Dallas' top corner can only help what has been a putrid defense. The Cowboys are 8-20-3 ATS after a win of more than 14 points, meaning they are constantly overvalued after a blowout.
8) Tennessee Titans (1-1) - You definitely have to worry about a letdown this week after Tennessee's near-upset of the Colts. However, playing on Monday Night Football - with an extra day of preparation and the juice of a primetime audience - should minimize that. Also, teams are 71-49 ATS (59.6 percent) after facing Indianapolis over the last seven years. The Titans are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games overall and 11-1 ATS as an underdog.
9) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) - The Jags have been ranked in the top 15 in rushing defense every year since 1999, including fourth last year. Jacksonville is just 2-7 ATS in its last nine road games but is 10-3-1 ATS as an underdog. The Jags have been allowing 4.9 yards per rush this year while Denver has yielded 5.1.
10) Washington Redskins (1-0) - Losing your top two offensive linemen (Jon Jansen, Randy Thomas) definitely hurts, but it also helps to have experienced veteran guys like Jason Fabini and Todd Wade to step in. In the Skins-Giants series, the favorite is 5-0 ATS and the home team is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
11) Denver Broncos (2-0) - Travis Henry never runs well against Jacksonville. He averages a personal-low of 52.7 yards per game and 2.7 yards per carry against them. Denver is 0-7 ATS in AFC games but is 4-1 ATS against Jacksonville. Also, the underdog is 5-2 ATS in this series. Call me crazy, but I see some points getting put on the board in this one.
12) Houston Texans (2-0) - No Andre Johnson means no chance this week. Johnson has accounted for 60 percent of Houston's passing offense and 24 percent of its total offense. The Texans are 5-2 ATS as an underdog and 5-2 ATS at home lately. And get this: the home team is also 5-2 ATS in this series.
13) Philadelphia Eagles (0-1) - That did not look like an Andy Reid team last Monday Night. Reid is 5-2-1 ATS on a Sunday game following a MNF contest. This team has big questions in its secondary. The Eagles are 39-11 SU when Donovan McNabb completes more than 60 percent of his passes. Also, Brian Westbrook will be limited this weekend with a strained knee. Things are not looking good in Philly.
14) Green Bay Packers (2-0) - Banged up isn't the word for what the Packers are. A whopping 15 players - including six starting defenders - were on the injury report and limited in practice this week. Most will play, but you have to wonder about how physical they can be against the Chargers. Green Bay is 3-9-2 ATS at home and 4-9 ATS following a win.
15) Seattle Seahawks (1-1) - If Seattle can't generate pressure with their front four again this week they are in big, big trouble. Shaun Alexander will again be playing with a protective cast on his left wrist, but there is no word yet on whether or not he'll take his tampon out and run like a power back. Seattle is 9-4-1 ATS at home and 1-6-1 ATS as a favorite.
16) New Orleans Saints (0-2) - The Saints are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games and haven't covered since their Sunday Night blowout win over Dallas. And if you're expecting a boost from the home crowd, know that New Orleans is just 8-20-1 ATS as a home favorite. Maybe last year really was a fluke.
17) San Francisco 49ers (2-0) - Mike Nolan has been getting criticized this week for being too conservative with the offense, so look for him to open it up a bit this week. San Francisco has been so poor because they are just 6-for-25 on third down. The Niners have been outscored 95-23 in the first half of their last five games in the Eastern Time Zone. Also, SF lost Manny Lawson for the year with a torn ACL.
18) Carolina Panthers (1-1) - What a shaky, sketchy team this is. Carolina is just 5-12-4 ATS against Atlanta in the organization's history, but they are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings. Carolina is 21-9-2 ATS on the road and a stellar 11-3 ATS in domes.
19) Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) - There is a very distinct ceiling on how good this team can be because it simply does not have NFL-caliber linebackers on the roster. Now they've signed retread Dhani Jones to bolster the cause. Cincinnati is 15-5-1 ATS in its last 21 road games.
20) New York Jets (0-2) - You have to be impressed with how New York battled back against the Ravens last week. Now they face Miami, a team the Jets have covered seven consecutive times against. New York is also 7-1-1 against Miami in the Meadowlands.
21) St. Louis Rams (0-2) - The Rams are 3-12 on the road against non-divisional NFC opponents. The Rams are 4-12 ATS as a dog between 3.5 and 10.0. They are also 9-42-2 ATS after failing to rush for 90 yards in their previous game.
22) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) - The Bucs are 2-7-1 ATS against the NFC and 3-8-1 ATS overall. The Bucs are 0-8 ATS after a blowout win of 14 or more. The Bucs are 4-0-1 ATS vs. the Rams. The underdog is 4-0-1 ATS in this series.
23) Detroit Lions (2-0) - Before we get too excited about the Detroit defense let's remember that they've faced Josh McCown and Tav Jackson to this point. It will be interesting to see how the Lions o-line handles Philly's blitz-heavy defensive scheme. Jon Kitna was getting crushed last weekend whenever the Vikings blitzed. Detroit is 3-8-1 ATS against the NFC.
24) Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) - Right now the Chiefs have nearly as many punts (12) as they do total points (13). Not good. What is good is getting back All Pro end Jared Allen. What else is good is Kansas City's 11-3 ATS mark at Arrowhead.
25) Oakland Raiders (0-2) - The Raiders are 21-45-1 ATS since he middle of 2002. So, if you had bet $1,000 against the Raiders and on the Patriots every week since 2002 you would be up over $50K. Oakland is 0-6 SU and ATS as a favorite dating back to 2005.
26) Miami Dolphins (0-2) - Zach Thomas has been out of practice this week with migraines and concussion-like symptoms. Also, the Miami secondary is in shambles. At the moment it looks like Mike Lehan will get more work at corner and Travis Daniels will get his first start at safety.
27) New York Giants (0-2) - The good news is that most Yankees fans I know are also Giants fans, so when I get sick of listening to them bust my balls about the Mets' collapse and their late run I just switch the topic to football and bring up their G-Men. You can literally see the blood rush out of their face. It's beautiful.
28) Cleveland Browns (1-1) - Antwan Peek was a steal for this team in the offseason. Houston had given up on him, but now that Willie McGinest is out he's paying big dividends. Cleveland is 3-0 ATS in its last three trips to Oakland, but Charlie Frye was QB for two of them. Don't be surprised to see Oakland squibbing the ball away from suddenly dangerous return man Josh Cribbs.
29) Arizona Cardinals (1-1) - Another thing to consider about this weeks' game in Baltimore is that Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm are used to game planning against the Ravens defense. However, where Seattle couldn't control the line of scrimmage against the Cards, that's something I don't think Baltimore will have trouble with.
30) Minnesota Vikings (1-1) - Is anyone else bothered that the Vikings don't know who their quarterback is this week? Apparently it hasn't fazed bettors, who have pounded the Vikings all week. But I've seen this out of Minnesota before: the Vikings are 7-15 ATS on grass.
31) Buffalo Bills (0-2) - Friction is developing between J.P. Losman and OC Chad Fairchild. Losman wants the playbook opened up and Fairchild wants the plays that are being called to actually be executed. Maybe next week. Losman has one TD and five INT's to go along with his 54.1 rating in three starts against New England.
32) Atlanta Falcons (0-2) - I don't think that what a team that's given up 13 sacks in two games needs is a statue at QB, and that's just what they're getting in Leftwich. Also, the Falcons may be without LT Wayne Gandy (hamstring) meaning they'll be going with an undrafted rookie free agent going against Julius Peppers. Atlanta is -10-1 ATS in their last 12 games as a home dog between 3.5 to 10.0.
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