On the whole the league continues to be dominated by the NFC. No AFC division ranks higher than an NFC division. But the AFC seems to be getting dragged down on the bottom of the conference. The AFC has the 8 worse teams and 3 of the top 4, including the Denver Broncos who remain in the top spot. The NFC North remains the top Division in football with no team under .500. The AFC South is the worst having 3 of the bottom 7 teams in that division.
Denver remains in the top spot with a nice road win at Cincinnati. That game was one of the tougher games Denver has left on its schedule. The remaining teams left for Denver are a combined 23-42 including the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens. The schedule strength may start to move them down a bit in the rankings if they are not dominating those games but as long as they are winning it should not be by much. This week Denver faces Carolina and is a 4 point favorite on the road.
Chicago makes it in to the top 5 knocking out the New York Giants. The Giants lose at home, where they have not played well all year, to Pittsburgh last week. Chicago showed why they may be the best defense in the league, at least at turning the ball over and scoring. The Bears put up 51 on Tennessee getting 5 turnovers, scoring on 1 of them and adding a blocked punt for a TD. The Bears are +16 in turnovers in just 8 games played. When teams are +2 in turnovers in a game they win 84% of the time. You can see why the Bears are 7-1. This week the Bears have a huge matchup with Houston on Sunday night.
The only undefeated team in the league, the Atlanta Falcons, just miss the top 5. They are in 6th after a win over Dallas on Sunday night. Atlanta’s 18th ranked strength of schedule coupled with many very close wins is not impressing the computers. You wonder how long Atlanta can keep this up. They are the 7th ranked offense and 11th ranked defense. Very solid numbers but they are not going to scare any of the top 10 teams in the league. They get division rival New Orleans this week.
Looking at the teams in the top 10 you could make a case for any of them winning a Super Bowl right now. Dallas may be the one stretch but if the Cowboys turn around a -11 turnover ratio, they too could become a serious contender. That is a big if however.
Game of the Week
Houston @ Chicago -1
The Houston Texans rank 3rd overall, 4th in defense, and 8th in offense. Chicago ranks 5th overall, 6th in defense and 10th in offense. These teams are very evenly matched. The biggest mismatch in the game is Chicago ranked 27th in passing offense, the Texans are ranked 12th in passing defense. The Bears will try and run it but Houston ranks 3rd in rushing defense. The Bears strength has been turnovers but Houston is +8 in that category.
Worst Game of the Week
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville +3
Indianapolis is coming off an emotional win as their head coach, Chuck Pagano, was able to attend a game in person for the first time since being diagnosed with cancer. Jacksonville once again looked bad in a loss at home to Detroit. Both teams come in near the bottom of the rankings despite Indy’s 5-3 record. The problem with the Colts is they have played the 31st schedule in the league so far. And this week it gets worse. The Colts strength is their passing offense ranked 7th. The Jags have been about average in stopping the pass. Their is interest in the game because of Luck and the Colts trying to get to 6-3 but these are the two worst teams playing each other this week.
Buffalo @ New England -11
New England ranks 4th overall against the 29th ranked Bills. New England is the top offense in the league and Buffalo is the 31st defense. The models are looking for a big day from the Pats offense. 194 yards rushing and 309 yards passing. Buffalo should be able to move the ball but it may be because they are down early.
Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington,
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