Week 5 NFL Power Rankings
by Robert Ferringo - 10/04/2007
After a strong 6-3-1 weekend NFL week (+7.5 Units), I'm forgoing the flood of statistical information that I normally pack into my NFL Power Rankings and we're going to get back to basics. Sometimes, NFL handicappers can make things too complicated when it's really as easy as, "New England is awesome and Cincinnati can't possibly stop them. I'll lay the points and start spending that money at halftime." I know it seems odd to change things up after a big Sunday, but I'm just trying to stay sharp by looking at both sides of the coin.
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So this week, Robert Ferringo is taking some time off and Captain Obvious is stepping in to spice up the column. Hope you enjoy it. And without further ado, here's Doc's Sports Week 5 NFL Power Rankings:
1) New England Patriots (4-0) - With the exception of this week against Cleveland - a putrid team but one that I think could score enough to slide in the back door of this 16- or 17-point spread - I'm taking the Patriots every week. Every single week. Without exception, and with no handicapping necessary. They're that good.
2) Indianapolis Colts (4-0) - Decidedly not soft. That's my take on this Colts team. And I actually think that they're ready to stand up to the Patriots on a physical level. Will they win that game? No, because Tom Brady is unbeatable in domes. The Colts are 3-1 ATS against the Bucs and are 6-2 ATS recently.
3) Dallas Cowboys (4-0) - I'm not trying to knock the Cowboys. They are clearly the class of the NFC and are the legit Super Bowl contender that I didn't have them pegged to be (mainly because their offensive line is the best it's been since the mid-90's).
4) Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) - I wouldn't normally hold their loss in Arizona against them. It was just a bad setup from go - in the desert, where the Cards actually defend, against their two former coaches and two guys who got a kicking tee shoved up their ass on the way out of town. But there's one thing that stood out that kind of rattled me: Big Ben once again turning the ball over with horrid interceptions at the goal line. It was the Oakland game from last year all over again, and I though that "Shell Shocked Ben" got all those throws out of his system last year.
5) Tennessee Titans (2-1) - Tennessee is just 5-5 ATS as a home favorite coming out of a bye week. The Titans have covered four straight against the Falcons. We know that Vince Young is a fantastic underdog play but this week we're going to see what he can do as a nearly double-digit dog against a team that's better than teams are giving them credit for.
6) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) - I think there is a ceiling on this club due to the fact that they simply do not have playmakers in the passing game. I think it's a bit premature to have the Jags posted as a road favorite in Arrowhead, especially considering the Chiefs have played well for three straight weeks. Jacksonville is 1-6 ATS in October as a non-divisional road favorite.
7) Green Bay Packers (4-0) - Things are going perfectly for the Pack. Maybe too perfectly. They are 4-0 ATS and facing a Chicago team that is 0-4 ATS. This games seems a bit too easy for the Pack, and five-game ATS winning streaks in the NFL are rare.
8) Seattle Seahawks (3-1) - The Seahawks are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four trips to Pittsburgh and a stellar 6-1-1 in their last eight against the Steelers, with the lone loss coming in Super Bowl 40. However, the Hawks are 2-9 ATS in AFC road games and 7-19 ATS in road games, on grass, against teams in the Central or Eastern Time Zones.
9) Washington Redskins (2-1) - Between 1981 and 1992, Joe Gibbs was 86-11 SU when his team held a lead at halftime. However, since 2004 the Redskins are tied with Miami with an NFL-worst 11 blown halftime leads. Washington has dropped four straight home games in which they led at halftime and six of eight at home in those spots since the start of 2005.
10) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) - I really don't think that the Bucs will miss Cadillac Williams. But I know they'll miss Luke Petigout. But that right there is why the Giants let the talented tackle walk: the guy just can't stay healthy. The Bucs haven't allowed a single point in the first half of each of their past three games. I see that changing this week against Indianapolis.
11) San Diego Chargers (1-3) - Norv. Oh, and San Diego simply wasn't as good as they thought they were after last year's 14-2 season.
12) Chicago Bears (1-3) - Three-fourths of Chicago's secondary is on the shelf right now and the fourth member, Adam Archuleta, has a broken hand and is awful in most phases of the game. I think the offense will be fine but for the first time in about seven years I wonder if the defense can stop an opponent from throwing the ball.
13) Detroit Lions (3-1) - I know I'm going to catch hell from Lions fans for having Detroit listed behind Chicago. Well, I hate to be the one that breaks it to you but I don't think the Lions have more than three or four wins left on their schedule. They're converting 32 percent of their third downs and I think we're three weeks away from their season-altering injury to Jon Kitna. I've already got my pen ready to sign his full body cast.
14) Houston Texans (2-2) - Houston's weakness this year was their depth, particularly on defense. To this point, the injury bug has only taken a bite out of the offense but Houston is simply not good enough to overcome those losses. For the second weak in a row Houston is favored over a desperate, winless, healthier team. I smell trouble.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) - I'm not going to join the litany of "Poor Winston Justice" criers. That was, plain and simple, a horrendous coaching job by the Philadelphia staff. The good news is that the defense showed some signs of life.
16) Baltimore Ravens (2-2) - The thing that pisses me off is that I knew these guys weren't going to be any good this year and yet I haven't been betting against them. I think Baltimore has to make a move to Kyle Boller - as horrifying as that idea is - because Steve McNair is completely and totally washed up. McNair is 3-for-10 in the red zone (TDs only) while Boller is 2-for-4 (including Todd Heap's drop in the MNF opener).
17) Denver Broncos (2-2) - You can't really hold it against the Broncos that they got mauled in Indianapolis. But it's the way that they lost that's so troubling. We know that they can't get any pass rush with their front four, but now Denver is 31st in rushing defense and they are 30th in per-rush against average (5.0).
18) Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) - Again, Herm Edwards teams are notorious for their slow starts. But that was a big-time win against San Diego and we finally saw the Damon Huard that looked so calm and skilled navigating the offense in the middle of last season. Now they just need to figure out how to get L.J. into the second level and this team could be back in the mix.
19) San Francisco 49ers (2-2) - To this point, the 49ers are completing just 24 percent of their third-downs. Not good. And without Alex Smith and Vernon Davis I wonder just how much it can improve.
20) Carolina Panthers (2-2) - Never, ever, back this team as a home favorite. Ever. Simply put: the same holes that were on this team last year are there again this year because they didn't have the cap room to fix them. Throw David Carr in the mix and you've got yourself a 7-9 team. Also, there are a lot of rumors that Julius Peppers is already mailing it in. He's in a contract year so the door may be hitting him on the way out.
21) New York Jets (1-3) - Tough to be a Jets fan and not be disappointed by how amazingly soft this team is. On both offense and defense these guys are weak-willed girls. Also, this team needs to take a shot down the field whether Chad Pennington's shoulder can handle it or not. Only two of his 82 pass attempts have traveled over 20 yards in the air.
22) Oakland Raiders (2-2) - This team is so predictably unpredictable. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in Oakland's four games this year. Oh, and for all of you that think that Daunte Culpepper is back, I guarantee you're going to be kicking yourself by Week 10. Guaranteed. His knee may be OK, but he's still got some five-turnover days left in those hands.
23) New York Giants (2-2) - The Giants are who we thought they were. Did I call it or what: the Giants are fantastic when no one expects anything from them (see: back-to-back SU wins as an underdog) and they are a perennial disappointment as a favorite.
24) Arizona Cardinals (2-2) - I don't know about you, but I don't know if I want any part of the Arizona Cardinals as a road favorite. The Cards are 5-1 ATS in their last six trips to St. Louis, but they've been getting at least nine points in four of their last five there.
25) Atlanta Falcons (1-3) - With all of the off-field distractions going on in Atlanta last week that was a really impressive win for Bobby Petrino against Houston last week. The Falcons have yet to top the 100-yard mark rushing this year. I really think they need to go to Jerious Norwood as a 20-carry back and that situation will be remedied.
26) Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) - Ocho Cinco, T.J., and Carson Palmer can do all the interviews, commercials, and endorsements they want but this is a terrible, terrible team and Marvin Lewis is a terrible, terrible coach. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it was the Ravens players in Baltimore that made that defense tick and clearly not any coaching or scheming that Lewis brought to the table. Every week they put on a missed tackle clinic, and that, my friends, is coaching.
27) New Orleans Saints (0-3) - They miss Joe Horn. And I'm not just talking numbers. The Saints are 0-6 ATS in their last six home games against the Panthers.
28) Cleveland Browns (2-2) - I had to see it with my own eyes, but now I believe it - Derek Anderson is for real. Not "for real" in that Honolulu kind of way, but "for real" in that Jon Kitna kind of way.
29) Buffalo Bills (1-3) - If teams like Carolina, New Orleans, or San Diego had half the heart of this Buffalo team they'd be 4-0 right now. Despite all of the injuries, this team just keeps playing hard. I still don't think they'll win more than four games, but they will battle.
30) Miami Dolphins (0-4) - I'm alluded to it, but now I'm just going to come right out and say it: Cam Cameron is going to be an absolutely awful NFL head coach. I just hope he sticks around long enough for me to cash in on it.
31) Minnesota Vikings (1-3) - Wait, does this mean you can't win in the NFL with Kelly Holcomb, TV Jackson, or Brooks Bollinger at quarterback? Oh, really? But how is this for twisted: right now the Vikings have a better offense than New Orleans (No. 1 in 2006), San Diego (No. 4 in 2006), and St. Louis (No. 6 in 2006). Weird.
32) St. Louis Rams (0-4) - Fearless prediction for this weekend's action: if your fantasy league has 10 teams or more in it, someone is going to pick up Gus Frerotte off waivers after he throws for at least three TD's this weekend. That's a hunch play.
For more info on Robert's members picks, check out his Insider Page here.