Minor changes this week in the top 5. San Francisco flips with Houston and Chicago flips with New England despite losing on Sunday night.
If we break up the rankings into thirds we see the AFC with 4 teams in the top third, 3 teams in the middle third and 9 teams in the bottom third. The NFC has 7 Teams in the top third, 8 teams in the middle third and 1 team in the bottom third. You may look at that and think the NFC is a lock to win the Super Bowl but remember 3 of the top 5 teams are in the AFC. I would actually look at the future line for the Super Bowl and take the +3 with the AFC right now.
Some interesting notes on the Strength of Schedule rankings. Carolina has played the toughest schedule in the league thus far. There is a team with some talent that could benefit from playing a softer upcoming schedule. They have a future schedule of 19.69 which is an average 20th ranked team. Dallas is a team still hoping to make a playoff run and is certainly talented enough to do so. The remainder of their schedule is much easier than the early part of it was. They have a 19.83 average opponent ranking left. Dallas should be favored in 6 and maybe all 7 of their remaining games.
Game of the Week
Chicago @ San Francisco OTB
It is rare these days that the Monday night game is the game of the week but that is what we have this week. The Bears come off a home loss to one of the best teams in the AFC last Sunday night in the national game. They now have to travel to the west coast and take on possibly the best team in the NFC. Now they may be without their QB Jay Cutler. Cutler is probably worth 5 points to the Bears according to the Chad Millman rankings. That may sound a bit low to the average football fan but that is actually quite high in the gambling world. When you take 5 points off the Bears rankings below instead of being on par with New England they are on par with Tampa. Big difference. Alex Smith is questionable in the game and if he does not play that will be a 1.5 point move against the Niners. His value is not as high as Cutler. Nonetheless the game has huge implications in the NFC playoff picture and home field advantages. The Bears as we know can turn over any offense and rank 5 on my defensive rankings. The 49ers, however, rank first in defense. Both teams are comparable in offense, when healthy, so this game looks tight on paper.
Worst Game of the Week
New Orleans @ Oakland +4.5
The game on paper comes up as the worst because of the poor ranking by the Saints to this point. If the Saints are in fact going to play the rest of the season like the team we anticipated in the pre season then this is not the worst game of the week. But for now it is. The Saints have improved but still struggle on defense ranked 31st. They counter that with the 4th best offense in the league. It is tough to always have to rely on one side of the ball to win however. The models are looking for almost 900 yards in total offense in this game with 58 points scored. You will want to start or pick up anyone playing in this game for fantasy.
Jacksonville @ Houston -16
You can be sure nobody will be betting Jacksonville, despite the fact that the line “evens” the game out. The only game that could have a bigger spread according to my model is if Jacksonville was at Denver. The model is looking for Houston to be able to run it for 156 yards and control the game. Jacksonville can not run it well, ranked 30, and Houston is 4th in stopping the run. That means its all on Gabbert which has not worked well at all for the Jags. We are looking for Jacksonville to throw it for just 157 yards.
Minnesota, NY Giants, Seattle, Tennessee
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