SPORTS

NFL Power Rankings Week 4 – Fight! Eagles! Fight!

TAGs: NFL, NFL Power Rankings, Nick Gianatis

Well after a weekend of major upsets, I really tried to mix up the Power Rankings…but the rest of the league is absolutely dreadful. It’s downright embarrassing. The Eagles are somehow ranked third? The Vikings just beat the Panthers? The Rams won another game???

Just as a refresher, these power rankings are based purely on gambling value, which you can find both on the spread and the moneyline. Undefeated teams get a special nod, but great spread records can boost the overall value of a team. They’re also – most importantly – my power rankings so I can stack them as I see fit anyways. Hopefully you at least enjoy all the dumb things I have to say.

1. New England Patriots (3-0 SU and ATS)

In this week’s edition of “Bill making other coaches look like idiots”, he gets to take on Rex Ryan who needs no help in that department whatsoever.

Next Game: Buffalo at New England

2. Denver Broncos (3-0 SU and ATS)

The Bengals and Geno Atkins held the Broncos to just 52 rushing yards on 23 attempts, which equates to a 2.3 YPC average. They forced Trevor Siemian to beat them. And boy did he ever. The Broncos picked a good season to have an inexperienced quarterback at the helm of a great team because the rest of the league is falling apart at the seams. You know how I know this?

Next Game: Denver -3.0 at Tampa Bay

3. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0 SU and ATS)

Because the Philadelphia Freaking Eagles are actually legit! I don’t get it at all. Of all the coaching hires this offseason, Doug Pederson was the most ridiculous especially given his ties to Andy Reid. The Carson Wentz pick hasn’t just been good; it’s been absolutely awesome. If he had NFL Power Rankings Week 4 – Fight! Eagles! Fight!better receivers, the Eagles would look like an outright juggernaut. And the real shocker? The Eagles are ranked first in points allowed with just 9.0 against on average. I don’t know how long this holds up, but after beating Pittsburgh in the battle of Wentzylvania is as big of a statement as there was this weekend.

Next Game: BYE WEEK

4. Minnesota Vikings (3-0 SU and ATS)

Recognizing a team that’s just flat out good at scoring points is important. Through three weeks, the Vikings have scored rushing the football, passing it, off of turnovers and now kick returns. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if a team isn’t scoring in bunches offensively if their defence is routinely finding the end zone. It all factors in to the spread. For those who’ve been around a long time, finding the team that scores turnover touchdowns often is a gift horse. Basically what I’m saying is, don’t look the Vikings in the mouth.

Next Game: New York Giants at Minnesota -4.5

5. Green Bay Packers (2-1 SU and ATS)

Jordy Nelson does not look like Jordy Nelson. He’s a surefire, reliable hands guy but there’s no explosiveness off of his routes or his open field dashes like there used to be. That’s probably to be expected of a 31-year old receiver coming off an ACL tear, but it also takes Aaron Rodgers time to adjust what his favorite target looks like at game speed. Now that they’re back in sync, the Packers are as good as you wanted to think they were.

Next Game: BYE WEEK

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1 SU and ATS)

These days we get in to a lot of two-sided arguments. Either the Pittsburgh Steelers laid on egg, or the Philadelphia Eagles are a legitimate top team. Pick a side, right? Wrong. Both were true. The Steelers were completely out of sorts while being routed by their in-state rivals. It happens. Get over it.

Next Game: Kansas City at Pittsburgh -5.5 (Sunday Night)

7. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2 SU and ATS)

The Bengals have faced the Jets, Steelers and Broncos in the first three games and gone 1-2 SU and ATS. That’s totally justifiable. All three of those are playoff worthy contenders. Well they face no winning teams from now until their Week 9 bye outside of the Patriots. After that they don’t face anybody that good except for Philadelphia, Houston and their division rivals. And who knows what we’ll make of the Eagles or Texans by then? Stay calm, carry on.

Next Game: Miami at Cincinnati -7.5 (Thursday Night)

8. Arizona Cardinals (1-2 SU and ATS)

Want to know why Arizona looks all out of sorts? Bruce Arians is known mostly as an offensive genius. He’s had Todd Bowles as his defensive coordinator up until the last year. It takes about two years before a coordinator can really start imprinting his own methodologies on to his roster. So in 2015, the Bowles effect lingered over even though there were glimpses of it leaking away.

This year it’s all James Bettcher who has been nothing more than an outside linebacker’s coach for the most part. There’s still a lot of talent here, but the guy calling and designing the plays is probably outclassed. It doesn’t help when Carson Palmer is throwing four picks, but they still let Buffalo drop 27 other points outside of the one defensive score. Arizona’s only this high based on reputation. I’m not touching them against Los Angeles.

Next Game: Los Angeles at Arizona -8.0

9. Carolina Panthers (1-2 SU and ATS)

How fun was Fozzy Whitaker? Yes, I’m talking to all of you that burned a waiver wire priority in fantasy football. I’m not sold that Carolina is in the crapper completely. If any team can let this offence get rolling again, it’s Atlanta’s.

Next Game: Carolina -3.5 at Atlanta

10. New York Jets (1-2 SU and ATS)

Ryan Fitzpatrick has truthers. He really does. I’m sort of one of them because I think he’s more dependable than he’s given credit for, and considering that he’s been a journeyman his entire career it’s great to see him land on his feet somewhere solid. But then he goes and throws six picks and it totally deflates any argument I’ve ever made to defend him while drunk at a bar. Why do you make it so hard to like you, Fitzmagic?

Next Game: Seattle at New York Jets

11. Houston Texans (2-1 SU and ATS)

I was going to write this whole thing that excused the Texans from getting blown out by New England because that happens sometimes. But then J.J. Watt got sent to the injured reserve for at least the next six weeks. So I don’t know where to rank them. Let’s just let them enjoy having a high spot for now until we bury them somewhere down the road.

Next Game: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans -5.5

12. Seattle Seahawks (2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS)

Everyone who was ready to sell the Christine Michael Reclamation Project up the river like I was suddenly has to eat crow for the rest of the season. It’s hard to take him seriously, and not just because he has a girl’s name or because…ok it’s totally because he has a girl’s first name.

Next Game: Seattle at New York Jets

13. New York Giants (2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS)

What happened to Odell Beckham Jr. on the sidelines is a lot funnier if you just pretend that nets of all kinds grow up being told horror stories about David Beckham bending it in to their kind for an entire generation. The nets are fighting back! Watch out, Dorial Green-Beckham!

Next Game: New York Giants at Minnesota -4.5

14. Baltimore Ravens (3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS)

Nobody wins ugly, boring games like Baltimore. This is the most boring looking gravy train I’ve ever seen. This team is far better than they looked on Sunday. I’m buying in early. Unfortunately, the odds makers have caught on as well. Not enough to make them untouchable in betting, but enough to give you pause.

Next Game: Oakland at Baltimore -3.5

15. Kansas City Chiefs (2-1 SU and ATS)

Get Travis Kelce the damn ball! The world needs to see him dance!

Next Game: Kansas City at Pittsburgh -5.5 (Sunday Night)

16. San Diego Chargers (1-2 SU and 2-1 ATS)

Is anyone as excited as me to see Philip Rivers rip the New Orleans secondary to shreds? Everybody’s doing it, Phil! Join the party!

Next Game: New Orleans at San Diego -3.5

17. Oakland Raiders (2-1 SU and ATS)

People are convinced that young teams age in dog years. They don’t. The young guns of the Oakland Raiders are exactly one year older than they were last year. Sometimes there’s a big leap that captures the attention of America (like the Eagles). Sometimes it’s a slow, painful and agonizing grind upwards. Guess which one Oakland is.

Next Game: Oakland at Baltimore -3.5

18. Dallas Cowboys (2-1 SU and ATS)

Ezekiel Elliott had a ton of room to run, but kept getting shut down in the final level where the secondary closes the roof on his head. His longest run was 21 yards. I think he’s capable of maximizing his situation, but that says more about the offensive line than him. He’s not a home run hitter. Despite a convincing win, I don’t trust the Dallas Cowboys all that much. If they can work over the Niners (yes even these Niners) it’ll go a long way for me.

Next Game: Dallas -2.5 at San Francisco

19. Washington Redskins (1-2 SU and ATS)

Can we stop with all the garbage about Kirk Cousins being a lousy quarterback now? Please? The guy deserves better than you overreacting because he had two bad games.

Next Game: Cleveland at Washington -7.5

20. Tennessee Titans (1-2 SU and ATS)

I’m not trying to paint an absolutely terrifying picture for the Tennessee Titans, but let’s take a look at the top two quarterbacks taken in the last eight drafts, shall we? The list is below with the 2013 class being omitted because neither of those guys are starting (it’s the EJ Manuel and Geno Smith) this year and don’t look like they ever will.

What you’ll notice is that in each pairing, at least one of the quarterbacks is a bust and the other one is a current starter. Usually it’s the first guy taken. You have to stretch all the way back to 2008 to get a draft where the top two quarterbacks in the league are still starters (Ryan and Flacco). Wentz and Goff get a bit of a pass because in NFL terms they’re still three week old babies. One of them is already walking and talking, the other one is just learning to lift his head.

I’m not saying that this is a death sentence for Mariota, who I genuinely like as a citizen. When the debate existed between him and Jameis Winston, I said something to the effect that “I’d rather go down with a good citizen of the game, then a guy with a bad reputation if I’m Tampa”. Right now, Winston is a Rookie of the Year and a guy going through growing pains. I’m not saying it’s impossible for Mariota to turn things around, but it does not look good. Getting rid of Mike McCoy would probably be a good start.

2016 – Jared Goff (1st), Carson Wentz (2nd)

2015 – Jameis Winston (1st), Marcus Mariota (2nd)

2014 – Blake Bortles (3rd), Johnny Manziel (22nd)

2012 – Andrew Luck (1st), Robert Griffin III (2nd)

2011 – Cam Newton (1st), Jake Locker (8th)

2010 – Sam Bradford (1st), Tim Tebow (25th)

2009 – Matthew Stafford (1st), Mark Sanchez (5th)

Next Game: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans -5.5

21. Indianapolis Colts (1-2 SU and ATS)

T.Y. Hilton had a monster game against San Diego, which he’s good for every now and then. Some might suggest that feeding their top receiver is the best thing to do, but I beg to differ. The Colts are just 12-7 in the 19 games where he posts 100+ yards, and the team has a pretty abhorrent -0.6 point differential in those matchups. What does essentially boil down to? Hilton gets a ton of garbage yards in blowouts on either side of the scoreboard.

Next Game: Indianapolis -2.5 at Jacksonville (Wembley Stadium)

22. Detroit Lions (1-2 SU and ATS)

So I guess Marvin Jones was absolutely worth that $40 million contract. It’s really weird to say this. Calvin Johnson had a 20-199-1 line through his first three games last season. Marvin has a 29-408-2 line.

Next Game: Detroit -2.5 at Chicago

23. Atlanta Falcons (2-1 SU and ATS)

It was preposterous for the NFL to paint Atlanta as a villain in this game. They were the post-Katrina opponent for the Saints and the league beat that drum yet again on Monday Night Football. And as I touched on last week, the Falcons are 3-0 in the OVER. No, I don’t know why we have to capitalize OVER and UNDER.

Next Game: Carolina -3.5 at Atlanta

24. Los Angeles Rams (2-1 SU and ATS)

That “worst team ever” talk lasted a whole week and was never really all that justified. New city, new routine, a lot of new moving parts and Case Keenum as their quarterback was never a recipe for instant success. Of course, if they want to maintain this momentum they have to beat the Arizona Cardinals, which seems totally plausible if Buffalo can do it.

Next Game: Los Angeles at Arizona -8.0

25. Buffalo Bills (1-2 SU and ATS)

You know what I love? In a 33-18 victory, Tyrod Taylor still couldn’t get more than 119 yards and threw more picks than touchdowns. A game against New England will bring them right back down to earth which is why they’re not moving out of the basement just yet. Every dog has its day.

Next Game: Buffalo at New England

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2 SU and ATS)

No team fell as hard in the rankings as these putrid Buccaneers. It’s nice to see the Tampa Bay honoring the culture that Lovie Smith built during his tenure by botching a two-minute drill, leaving timeouts on the board and having their quarterback running around looking completely lost at the most critical times of a game. Will someone please send on exorcist to Raymond James so they can get rid of his damn ghost already?

Next Game: Denver -3.0 at Tampa Bay

27. Cleveland Browns (0-3 SU and 1-2 ATS)

The Browns have been probably the most cursed team this year, which is saying a lot given that they’re the Browns. And even with all the early season disasters, they’ve shown more resolve than a team like them should. That’s why they brought Hue Jackson to town.

Next Game: Cleveland at Washington -7.5

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3 SU and 1-2 ATS)

Do you think people in Britain are overly elated that they get to see the Jacksonville Jaguars every year? Do they circle that date on the calendar, or are they still all like, “Where in the bloody hell is Jacksonville anyways?”

Next Game: Indianapolis -2.5 at Jacksonville (Wembley Stadium)

29. San Francisco 49ers (1-2 SU and ATS)

The bad news is that Blaine Gabbert looks like Blaine Gabbert. The good news is…oh wait, there’s no good news. Apparently Colin Kaepernick is hurt too.

Next Game: Dallas -2.5 at San Francisco

30. New Orleans Saints (0-3 SU and 1-2 ATS)

So the NFL does all it can to make kick returns safer, and they overlook the fact that you can push a blocker in to the return man even after he’s called for a fair catch? Good lord.

Next Game: New Orleans at San Diego

31. Miami Dolphins (1-2 SU and 1-2 ATS)

Listen, I’m not sold on a team that needed a full four quarters and overtime to beat a team that somehow successfully rotated Terrelle Pryor and Cody Kessler. Are you? Seriously?!

Next Game: Miami at Cincinnati -7.5 (Thursday Night)

32. Chicago Bears (0-3 SU and ATS)

Why exactly is Alshon Jeffrey here? If Jay Cutler and Jeremy Langford are out for the foreseeable future, you have Brian Hoyer throwing 14 passes in Kevin White’s direction, and you’re not going to extend Jeffrey long-term anyhow, then why don’t you just trade him? Can you imagine what a top team would give up to get Jeffrey? I’m pushing this trade watch for the next six weeks. It’s got to happen. And knowing the Bears, they’ll probably just send him to the New York Jets for a fifth rounder. They already gift-wrapped them Marshall and Forte.

Next Game: Detroit -2.5 at Chicago

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