This weeks Power Rankings look like the mid 1980’s at the top. The Giants get into the top 3 for the first time this season. SF stays at 1 only because of the big lead they had going into the week. The top 10 features 8 teams from the NFC while the bottom 7 teams are all in the AFC. The NFC is clearly the superior conference right now.
We are starting to see the Vegas lines become more in line with our Power Rankings. To see if there is value in a line add 2.5 points for home teams.
The most useful aspect of the rankings is to see who is moving up and who is moving down each week. When a team makes a move 3 weeks in a row down or up look to fade that move. The Bills last week slid for the 3rd week in a row and then came out and won on the road. This weeks 3 week movers down are KC, Baltimore and up New Orleans, Washington, St Louis, Detroit and Chicago. KC and Baltimore are off this week. Washington plays the Giants who just won big at SF so they will not be over valued. St. Louis gets Green Bay off a huge win in Houston so they will not be over valued and Detroit plays Chicago so no edge there. The lone team that may be over valued is the Saints this week.
1. San Francisco 49ers – 30.43 (-)
After looking so good SF was taken to school by the defending champs in their own building. The 26-3 loss humbled the Niners who have bigger plans than just the NFC Championship game this season. They stay atop our rankings as they had a pretty good size lead last week. But that gap has narrowed. SF remains the number 1 defense but the offense takes a big step back dropping to 12th. They need to shake this one off fast as Seattle comes in Thursday night in a first place battle.
2. Chicago Bears – 28.14 (+1)
Chicago gets a week off and moves up a spot to 2. This may be a surprise to some but the Bears defense is playing real well this season. Ranked 3 overall the Bears are tough to run on, 65.8 ypg against. A signature of Lovie Smiths teams has been turning teams over and the Bears are +9 in that category this season. They have a huge divisional game with Detroit this Monday.
3. NY Giants – 27.49 ( +8)
A huge road win over number 1 gets you a huge move up to number 3. The Giants played their best game of the season last week. The offense is second to only New England. Eli is making a case for not just the best QB of his class but the best QB in the league. His 94.9 passer rating is 8th in the league but it does not fully show what Eli is able to do week in week out no matter who he has at WR. No time to celebrate as the divisonal rival Washington Redskins are up next.
4. Denver Broncos – 27.42 (-2)
Big brother is one spot behind little brother after pulling off one of the greatest comebacks in Monday Night history. While they drop in the rankings their power number doesn’t change much. We warned that the Broncos will be dangerous now that their schedule loosens up. Do not be surprised with 11 wins and an easy AFC West title. The question is can they get a bye in the playoffs. Denver gets a bye this week.
5. New England Patriots – 26.54 (+1)
Really bad loss in Seattle but that is never an easy place to get a win. The Patriots absolutely dominated the game but come away empty. The offense is number 1 overall but the defense is not holding its own ranked 21. Next up the big talk Jets in a battle for first place. The Pats offense has to be licking its chops as the Jets are just 19th in defense.
6. Dallas Cowboys – 26.16 (+3)
A bit of a surprise at 6 as Dallas moves up 3 spots despite dropping a game to Baltimore and moving their record to 2-3. But the 3 losses are at Baltimore, at Seattle and home to the Bears. And they did beat the Giants on the road handily. So the schedule has been tough and they probably should have won last week. The offense is ranked 11 while the defense is 6. Dallas is one of the toughest teams in the league to throw on. Teams average 193.6 ypg in the air against and just consider who they have played. This week they get Carolina a sub par passing team.
7. Green Bay Packers – 26.02 (+2)
Finally the Packers looked like the Packers. Rogers was not happy answering questions about what was wrong and he came out and showed nothing is wrong. Well at least for a week. The Packers only allowed 2 sacks and Rogers was able to throw 6 TDs. This week they get another very good defense in St Louis. The Rams can rush the QB with 17 sacks on the season. GB is number 1 with 21.
8. Detroit Lions – 23.77 (+2)
We said they were better than their record as they have been lingering high on our power rankings. The Lions came from behind late and won a game in Philly they had to have. Detroit is ranked 4th in offense. This is a very tough team to defend because they are running and passing it well, over 100 and 300 ypg respectively. If they are going to make a run in the NFC North a win this week would go a long way. They matchup with a Bears team that has kept teams to 31 fewer yards than they average on the ground.
9. Atlanta Falcons – 23.72 (-5)
Shocking to see the sole undefeated team so low but they have been a bit lucky to be undefeated so far. Their best win is at home against Denver. If they played that game again today I am not sure Atlanta beats them. The schedule toughens a bit after the bye this week with Philly and Dallas to follow. But in that division there wont be much competition and it could lead to another soft number 1 seed for Atlanta.
10. Seattle Seahawks – 23.50 ( +4)
Seattle won’t go away as they upset the Patriots in dramatic fashion last week. They stop the run, 70 ypg against, and they run it well, 131 ypg. That is their formula for winning especially with a rookie qb who has struggled. They have the game of their season this week in front of a national audience on Thursday night. The game is for first place against defending NFC West champs SF. SF rushes it 55 ypg more than their opponents give up so it will be a struggle for Seattle to keep them in check.
11. Houston Texans – 23.39 (-6)
Former number one on the list the Texans did not look good Sunday night at home to Green Bay. It is just one loss but it is one of the only top teams they have played. Most would be surprised to know they are now ranked 18th in my defensive rankings. The defense gets tested this week when they face Baltimore. The Ravens should be able to move the ball in the air on Houston.
12. Baltimore Ravens – 23.23 (-5)
The Ravens hung on to win a game they probably should have lost. Dallas ran the ball down their throat for 227 yards. They drop 5 spots however. With the losses of Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb both out for the rest of the season the 16th ranked defense may take another step backwards. That is not good with Houston up next, the 9th ranked offense.
13. St. Louis Rams – 23.21 (+3)
This is the type of team you have to look at in the rankings and think there may be value with them. They lost to Miami last week but this defense is very good. Ranked 4 overall they hold opponentss to less yards on the ground and in the air than they average as well as 5 points less per game. Where they struggle is offensively as they pass for 43 fewer yards than their opponents give up. The defense gets tested this week as the Packers come to town.
14. Philadelphia Eagles – 22.35 (-2)
Same Eagles new week. The Eagles lose a game they had no business losing to the Lions. They are now -9 in giveaways. No matter how many yards they are able to put up the mistakes are too costly. The defense is ranked 7th and has been very good at stopping the pass ranked 3rd. They get the week off.
15. Washington Redskins – 21.86 (+4)
The Skins move up 4 spots after their first home win in over a year. RG3 was able to play and he was a big difference maker. With the game on the line in the 4th RG3 ran for a 76 yard TD to put it away. Thanks to RG3 this is a really good running offense. They average 50 more yards than opponents give up rushing. The defense however is worst in the league in passing. That does not bode well for them this week as one of the best passing attacks is on the schedule the NY Giants.
16. Minnesota Vikings – 21.03 (-3)
The Vikings defense give up 38 points to Washington and drop them 3 spots to 16. Despite the big rushing day from Washington the Vikes are still an above average team against the run holding teams to 89 ypg. And overall they rank 11th in defense. The offense comes in at just 22 and will need to improve throwing it. Ranked just 20th in passing. Things won’t be easy on offense this week with Arizona up next.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – 20.73 (+1)
Real bad loss in front of the world on Thursday night for Pittsburgh. We have said all year that this is a mediocre team and they are playing like it. They rank just 23 in offense and a big reason is the lack of a run game ranked next to last. That is not Steelers football. This week they get Cincinnati who has not been very good at stopping the run so perhaps a chance to improve.
18. Miami Dolphins – 20.65 (-1)
The Dolphins have surprised many to this point. The team did not look good in preseason and on Hard Knocks but they are 3-3 and tied for first in the AFC East. Defensively they are stopping the run well, just 73 ypg against but teams have thrown it on them for 274 ypg. This week they are on a bye.
19. Arizona Cardinals – 20.30 (-4)
They are plummeting after being as high as 6th in the rankings. You can not score 16 points at home to Buffalo and expect to be a contender. The Cards are 4-2 and tied for first but this offense does not look like it can keep the Cards at the top for long. They are scoring 18 ppg which is 3 less than opponents are giving up. They are 30th overall in offense but a strong 5th in defense. This week they get the Vikings a team they should have success shutting down but can they score enough.
20. NY Jets – 19.97 (+3)
The Jets have done a good job beating the teams they are supposed to. Last week they put it to the Colts at home. The Jets are16th in offense and 19th in defense. Offensively they struggle with the pass and defensively they do not stop the run. This week they will have to score points to keep up with the number one offense who can run it and pass it the Patriots.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 19.77 (+6)
Tampa was one of the few favorites to win this week defeating a bad KC team handily. They are creeping up the board defensively as they now rank 13th. Running on this team is difficult as they rank number 1 in rush defense. This week they face a team that does not even try to run it the Saints. But they can pass it and the Bucs are 30th in pass defense.
22. Cincinnati Bengals – 19.02 (-)
The Bengals become the first team in 11 games to lose to Cleveland. This playoff team of a year ago is not looking like a team that could go back to the post season. They need to run the ball better ranked just 16th, in order to help out Andy Dalton and the 15th ranked passing attack. They will be tested on offense this week as Pittsburgh is the number 2 pass defense behind SF.
23. San Diego Chargers – 18.87 (-3)
Tough finish to the game on Monday night but they never should have been up that much to begin with. Denver handed them 10 points early and then a trip on the way to the endzone wound up being a 14 point swing. And with all of that the Broncos were able to win by double digits. The Chargers continue the trend of not beating good teams. They are ranked 28th in total offense. They get a week off to think about things.
24. Carolina Panthers – 18.37 (+1)
Panthers are coming off a bye this week and move up a spot. Hopefully they worked on the offense which is now ranked 25th in the league. We said early on that the league may have caught up to Cam and so far we have been right. This week they get Dallas who has been very good on defense. Could be a struggle for Cam to get this offense going.
25. New Orleans Saints – 16.68 (+1)
We know the Saints can throw the ball, 327 ypg. The problem on offense is they can not run it, just 75 ypg. With a defense that is struggling giving up 31 ppg an offense like this does not help. The defense doesn’t get to rest and games become shoot outs. This week they face a team who gives up a lot of yards in the air the Bucs. The Saints will not be looking to start a running game this week.
26. Indianapolis Colts – 16.67 (-5)
A big let down after beating the Packers, the Colts lose to the Jets. The Colt running game has been bad but their run stopping has been worse. The Jets torched them for 252 yards on the ground. The Colts give up 49 more yards rushing than their opponents average. This week they face Cleveland who looks to win 2 in a row. The Browns do not run it well so perhaps the Colt defense can stop the run this week.
27. Oakland Raiders – 16.59 (+3)
The Raiders had Atlanta on the ropes but they could not finish the deal. It was the Statsational biggest play of the week and it won easily. The Raiders are 27th in defense but they look to improve on that this week as they face the worst offense in the leage the Jaguars.
28. Cleveland Browns – 15.09 (-)
It took 11 games but Cleveland finally won one. The reality is there may not be many more this season. This is a young team hoping to be building for the future but right now they need to run it better. They are gaining just 83 ypg on the ground. Richardson is more than capable but they need to give him more opportunities. They get the Colts this week which could be a good time to try and run it more.
29. Kansas City Chiefs – 14.96 (-5)
The Chiefs continue to play bad football now at -15 in giveaways. Nobody else is even close. They are being outscored by 13 ppg. The one bright spot is they have run the ball well averaging 160 ypg. This week they are on the bye.
30. Buffalo Bills – 13.61 (+1)
The Bills get a nice road win at Arizona, holding off the Cards in OT. The offense is respectable at 14th. But the good news stops there. They are dead last in defense giving up 32 per game. Teams have had success throwing and running as they give up 92 more yards per game than opponents average. This week they get another team off a big win the Titans. Tennessee is one of the few teams worse than Buffalo so this should be interesting.
31. Tennessee Titans – 13.48 (-2)
The Titans surprised many beating Pittsburgh on Thursday night. Stats subscribers cashed in however as the Titans were a 71% play. Defensively the Titans struggle ranked 30th. The running game is still below average but has been getting better. This week I would not be surprised if they tried to get Chris Johnson going against a team that ranks next to last in rushing defense.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars – 10.98 (-)
Still on the bottom is Jacksonville and they have a 2.5 point hold on that last spot. Meaning they should not be favored over anyone on any field. The Jags are last in offense and 26th in defense. They travel out west this week to face Oakland. Oakland’s strong suit has been throwing the ball and that is the strongest part of the Jag defense although they are still below average.
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