SPORTS

NFL Power Rankings – Preseason Primer Edition

TAGs: NFL, NFL Power Rankings, Nick Gianatis

You know what I hate? I hate boring blurbs in power rankings. “Denver lost a close one last weekend. Hopefully they can do better next week.” Thanks for coming out, Joe Sportswriter. I really appreciate the hard work you put in.

NFL Power Rankings – Preseason Primer EditionInstead, I’ve cobbled together my own version of the NFL Power Rankings where I basically scream and TYPE YELL about all the things I love and hate about what’s happening in the league. It’s more fun for me to write an opinionated rankings piece, and (hopefully) more entertaining for you to read.

Plus, you might learn something!

So a couple introductions on how this whole thing works:

  • Eventually the straight up and ATS records of each team will replace the Super Bowl LI odds in the brackets.
  • How a team performs against a spread is vital to how it’s ranked. If a team is winning lots of games, but not covering that many I’m going to chop block them at their knees because this is a gambling article about gambling on sports featured on a site about gambling. Hopefully that makes sense.
  • Please remember that rankings are, for the most part, completely useless. This is a fun way for me to tell you what I think about your favorite team, and to highlight the lines for next week.

Without further adieu, I welcome you to the only NFL rankings that matter. Please note that the Super Bowl futures market has been a roller coaster for the past week, so the numbers listed may not reflect what’s currently on the board. I ripped them from our good friends at Oddshark.com who amalgamate a lot of futures boards at once. You should pay them a visit. Again, all of this chaos will take a more definitive shape after we crawl through the mud of Week 1.

  1. Carolina Panthers (+1200 to win Super Bowl LI)

Josh Norman’s in Washington and that sucks because he was a big part of the defence, but the return of Kelvin Benjamin is going to be massive for an offense that really struggled to hit gold last year. Listen, you can poke holes in how they play but they won 15 games last year and went to the Super Bowl. You tell me who deserves to enter as the preseason number one.

Next Game: Carolina -3.0 at Denver (Thursday)

  1. New England Patriots (+600 to win Super Bowl LI)

I love that most everyone I know in Boston refers to incumbent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as Jeanine Garofalo. I’m also ecstatic that whomever designed the schedule threw him at Arizona to kick off his career…on the road…on national television.

Next Game: New England at Arizona -6.0 (Sunday Night)

  1. Seattle Seahawks (+1000 to win Super Bowl LI)

So nobody else is worried that Russell Wilson has lost some of his edge now that he’s married and consummating all the time? I mean, if “a quarterback having sex with his wife” is the only weakness that you can come up with, then your team is probably in pretty good shape.

Next Game: Miami at Seattle -10.5

  1. Denver Broncos (+1800 to win Super Bowl LI)

Trevor Siemian will make history on his first snap of Thursday night’s game against the Carolina Panthers to open the season. No quarterback has ever started on a defending Super Bowl champion team having never thrown a pass in an actual game before. And even with all that inexperience, he’s still a better option than Mark Sanchez. The Broncos won a Super Bowl without a quarterback last year, they can probably threaten the throne again this year.

Next Game: Carolina -3.0 at Denver (Thursday)

  1. Green Bay Packers (+850 to win Super Bowl LI)

I have suspicions about the Packers. I always have. Remember that Hail Mary they needed to beat Detroit? That horrifying 1-4 SU and ATS that nearly capsized their entire season? I don’t believe that this team is mentally tough, but on paper they’re probably the strongest team in the NFC outside of Carolina and Seattle. So if I end up throwing shade at them throughout the year for reasons you might not understand, you’ve been warned.

Next Game: Green Bay -4.5 at Jacksonville

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (+1800 to win Super Bowl LI)

Does anyone remember which team was the biggest betting tour de force in 2015? Yup, it was Dalton/McCarron’s Bengals. Everyone dismisses the Bengals because of their silly tiger striped pants, their red headed quarterback and the fact that they always flame out in the playoffs. But in the regular season, they’re one of the biggest profit churning teams in the NFL.

Next Game: Cincinnati -2.5 at NYJ

  1. Arizona Cardinals (+1200 to win Super Bowl LI)

One of my favorites stats from last year is this one: Arizona went 10-2 SU when playing against NFC opponents. They combined that with a 9-7 ATS record overall.

Next Game: New England at Arizona -6.0 (Sunday Night)

  1. New York Jets (+5000)

There are probably still a few of you that think these are the Jets that your father used to hate. All that is gone, just so you know. Even Mark Sanchez is having trouble finding stable employment and Rex Ryan is off running his mouth with his brother in the confines of Buffalo. Todd Bowles’ Jets went 10-6 SU and a very respectable 8-6-2 ATS. And nothing has changed for the most part. Leave your biases behind and start fresh. The Jets sure have and I love the Matt Forte pickup.

Next Game: Cincinnati -2.5 at NYJ

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (+1200)

Pittsburgh has benefited from having one thing that a lot of other teams on this list don’t have: a really good quarterback. When Ben Roethlisberger is on the field, you know that the Steelers always have a chance of ripping off drives, scoring touchdowns and winning games. You can doubt their depleted roster all you want, but this same team went 9-6-1 ATS last season and most of that was built in the first half where they went an insane 5-0-1 to start the year.

Next Game: Pittsburgh -3.0 at Washington (Monday)

  1. Indianapolis Colts (+2500)

After winning 33 games in his first three seasons, Andrew Luck finally hit hard times with just seven starts and two victories credited to his name in 2015. This is a friendly reminder that the Colts have never really been that good while he’s been in the pocket, and yet they continue to overreach their place in the league as long as Luck is being one of the best passers in the league. Doubt them all you want. I don’t see anyone in the AFC South who’s really ready to steal the mantle from the former Stanford star. If he’s healthy, I’m rolling the dice.

Next Game: Detroit at Indianapolis -3.5

  1. San Diego Chargers (+6600)

Everyone is constantly down on the Chargers, and I get it. They have a crap stadium, were abysmal last year and only won four games while going 8-8 ATS. And you know what? That all happened when everything around Philip Rivers was collapsing. His offensive line was full of backups, he lost Keenan Allen, and then the guy who replaced Keenan Allen and his rookie running back was so bad that he nearly ran himself straight out of the league. And even with ALL OF THAT Rivers still put up the second most yards in the league. If the Chargers are even a slight degree better overall this season, they’re a legitimate, spread busting threat. Believe in Philip Rivers, damnit!

Next Game: San Diego at Kansas City -7.0

  1. Washington Redskins (+5000)

Don’t you ever doubt Kirk Cousins in a contract year! Ok, maybe you can but the overall make-up of this team is pretty threatening. Of anyone in the NFC East, I like the Redskins the best, which probably means nothing because this division blows itself up every year. Screw it; I’m getting on the Cousins train early just so if he asks me “if I like that” I can say “yes!”

Next Game: Pittsburgh -3.0 at Washington (Monday)

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (+2800)

The Chiefs are one of the best teams that nobody talks about because Alex Smith has this nasty habit of giving sports fan erectile dysfunction. It’s just so difficult to get amped up about these Chiefs. Admit it – you only check in on the Chiefs if you have Jamaal Charles as your RB1 in fantasy. Admit it to my face!

Next Game: San Diego at Kansas City -7.0

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6000)

Listen I have no idea where to put this team. They changed nothing aside from getting rid of Lovie Smith (thankfully) and drafting a kicker in the second round that was so mentally weak that he needed a therapist by Week 2 of the freaking preseason. I’m as optimistic as anyone heading in to Week 1 but that’s not a good sign. Let me see them play Atlanta first before I shape real opinions about them.

Next Game: Tampa Bay at Atlanta -3.0

  1. Oakland Raiders (+2500)

Oakland is entering that dangerously exciting territory known as the “leap team”. So-and-so is in his third year and that guy’s in his second year! You know the drill. Let’s not forget that these are the Raiders, but let’s also get excited about guys like Carr, Cooper and Mack. I really want to like Oakland. They just have to stop being the Raiders we all love to laugh at first.

Next Game: Oakland at New Orleans -1.0

  1. Minnesota Vikings (+1200)

Yup, Sam Bradford is the answer. Don’t worry, Vikings fans! Everything’s going to be A-OK.

Next Game: Minnesota -2.0 at Tennessee

  1. Dallas Cowboys (+1800)

There’s a long trend of rookie running-backs and quarterbacks not being able to maintain momentum during the tortures of a lengthy NFL season, where there’s no such thing as an off week. This is why banking on rookies in key starting positions is always risky. Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott may light the world on fire for a little, but you can’t count me among the few who will be ready to sell high once we hit Week 7 or Week 8. Especially if Romo comes back.

Next Game: NYG at Dallas PK

  1. Buffalo Bills (+6600)

Tyrod Taylor was the 7th most efficient quarterback according to rating. That’s wonderful. It’s one of the reasons that the Bills extended his contract to the tune of 6 years and $92 million. But efficiency in football is relative. Taylor also attempted the fewest passes of any starting quarterback that played in at least 14 games with just 380. And the worst part is that he threw fewer passes than Andy Dalton (13 games, 386 attempts) and Joe Flacco (10 games, 413 attempts). “But Nick, he just did what his coaches asked of him?” Sure, because they don’t trust him. Remember, his contract doesn’t kick in until next year when the Bills have the option to pick it up. So if his own team doesn’t trust him enough to give him any real money this year, what makes you think you should trust him? Remember that before you go all buck wild on Buffalo this year.

Next Game: Buffalo at Baltimore -3.0

  1. New York Giants (+2500)

So the Football Giants won six games last year, somehow went 8-7-1 ATS, didn’t make any real improvements and we’re supposed to think that they’re good because why? Even Lena Dunham isn’t stupid enough to assume that they’ll be good.

Next Game: NYG at Dallas PK

  1. Houston Texans (+2400)

Do you know how I know Brock Osweiler isn’t a solid starting quarterback in the NFL? Because the Texans signed him. Welcome to the hysterical legacy carved out by greats such as Brian Hoyer, Matt Schaub, Ryan Mallett, Matt Leinart, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates, Sage Rosenfels and David Carr.

Next Game: Chicago at Houston -6.5

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (+4000)

I’ll agree that this is probably too low for Jacksonville, but I have to be a little righteous about a team that won just five games last season. This team should get bonus points simply because Allen Robinson got a tattoo of himself catching a football.

Next Game: Green Bay -4.5 at Jacksonville

  1. Detroit Lions (+6600)

It’s sad watching Detroit Lions fans talking themselves in to Marvin Jones as the heir apparent to the number-one receiver role that Calvin Johnson vacated this offseason.

Next Game: Detroit at Indianapolis -3.5

  1. Atlanta Falcons (+5000)

Is Kyle Shanahan still the offensive coordinator? Then good luck. He’s been at the helm for the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns prior to landing in the Dirty Dirty last season. Those offenses outputted the 21st most points per game on average over 7 seasons. Where did Atlanta rank last year? You guessed it – they were 21st. So when Atlanta can’t seem to get things going despite having Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, you now know why.

Next Game: Tampa Bay at Atlanta -3.0

  1. Baltimore Ravens (+5000)

Last year was as “bad luck” as it gets for a team like the Ravens. They lost Flacco, Steve Smith and just about every single running back they had. Luckily they kept everyone around! And just like every other sports writer or blogger, I don’t know if that’s a good thing.

Next Game: Buffalo at Baltimore -3.0

  1. Chicago Bears (+5000)

Don’t let your infatuation with hating Jay Cutler with every fiber of your being deter you from believing that the Bears can be good at football. It’s that typical herd mentality that oddsmakers try to take advantage of, and last year it nearly screwed them over big time. Chicago ripped off an awesome 7-1 ATS stretch in the middle of 2015 that barely anyone took notice of because EVERYBODY HATES JAY CUTLER FOR SOME REASON. Remember, you love making money more than you love hating Jay Cutler. Say it with me now.

Next Game: Chicago at Houston -6.5

  1. New Orleans Saints (+6600)

To be frank, I don’t know what to make of the Saints. Are they the team that miraculously went 8-7-1 ATS or the one that spiraled in to hell as a 5-11 ATS team the year before? I really have no idea. I just don’t know what the plan is here. Is Drew Brees just supposed to keep throwing until his arm falls off? Because that feels like the only thing that’s written on the white board.

Next Game: Oakland at New Orleans -1.0

  1. Tennessee Titans (+6600)

Ummmm…is anyone as excited as I am for whatever the hell “exotic smash mouth” is?! I love smash mouth football enough as it is, but this could be fun with the like of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry busting up defenses. On the flip side, if you picture the pop band “Smashmouth” in exotic lingerie it’s a lot less fun. A lot. You can’t unsee that by the way.

Next Game: Minnesota -2.0 at Tennessee

  1. Miami Dolphins (+6600)

The Dolphins have put their entire stock in to Ryan Tannehill, and have quickly become the case and point of why you don’t put your entire stock in to Ryan Tannehill. It’s never good when an offensive line that has zero depth hates their quarterback so much that they refused to block for him on the final play of a game the team could’ve won in Week 16. That was against the Colts in case you forgot. That single play says everything you need to know about Miami.

Next Game: Miami at Seattle -10.5

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (+6600)

Excuse me for not getting too excited about a team that has a head coach nobody else wanted, a comical running-back depth chart and a quarterback that last played at a division two school while nearly breaking his ribs in his first taste of NFL action.

Next Game: Cleveland at Philadelphia -4.0

  1. Los Angeles Rams (+6600)

One of the only reasons to love the Rams last year was how pesky they were at home. I don’t know if that element stayed in St. Louis or made the trip to the west coast. And to be frank, despite being on Hard Knocks, I still don’t know anything about this team. They lost the heart (James Laurinaitis) and soul (Chris Long) of their defense. Thankfully they start their season against a team that has more questions than they do.

Next Game: Los Angeles -2.5 at San Francisco (Monday)

  1. San Francisco 49ers (+10000)

It must be so sad to be Blaine Gabbert. A top-10 draft pick in 2011 that was essentially dropped by Jacksonville because they wanted nothing to do with him, he has fought tooth and nail to stay relevant in a league that’s desperate for genuine quarterbacks. Gabbert finally gets to start on one of the most well known franchises in the league…and he’s still a second rate citizen on his own team because his backup is leading an immensely powerful social revolution by protesting the national anthem. When’s it going to be Gabbert’s time?! WHEN?!!

Next Game: Los Angeles -2.5 at San Francisco (Monday)

  1. Cleveland Browns (+10000)

It’s not fair to put the Browns this low on the totem poll to start the season, and if their first week goes brilliantly I will happily skyrocket them up the ladder. But just because the Cavaliers won the NBA title, doesn’t mean that the Browns can overhaul their rich history of losing. They’ve had two winning seasons this entire millennium.

Next Game: Cleveland at Philadelphia -4.0

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