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NFL Power Rankings - Week 1

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BetAmerica Staff

September 11th, 2018

by BetAmerica 
The NFL Power Rankings at BetAmerica are slightly different than what you're accustomed to. In our polls, the ATS (against the spread) record, holds significant weight as it represents two things - a team's ability to cover, and it's ability to perform against perceived expectations. So that impacts how we rank teams. Below each game, we'll also preview the line for next week, which is always subject to change depending on what's happening around the league. Anyways, enough rambling. Let's get on to the reason you're here - the NFL Power Rankings for Week 1!

1. Los Angeles Rams (1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS) - The Rams dominated the Raiders on Monday Night on both sides of the ball looking the part of the best team in the league. The only question marks here are whether Todd Gurley can remain healthy and if Jared Goff can consistently repeat performances like this one. For now, they top the NFL Power Rankings for the simple reason that their offensive output seems sustainable, and there's no telling if the oddsmakers will be able to properly price them. Even 12.5 points against Arizona feels like a gift.

Next Game: Arizona at LAR -12.5

2. New England Patriots (1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS) - The Patriots opened the season with a win over a solid Texans team behind a strong outing from Brady and Gronk. Running back remains an issue, but the Pats have proven they can win championships without a dominant rushing attack. The Patriots look en route to another Super Bowl run.

Next Game: New England at Jacksonville +1.5

3. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS) - The reigning Super Bowl champs dispatched the Falcons on Thursday night with a strong performance from the defense. The coaching staff is clearly being cautious with Carson Wentz and have already named Foles the starting QB against the Bucs in week 2. Barring another significant injury, the Eagles are in a strong position to repeat as champs.

Next Game: Philadelphia at Tampa Bay +3

4. Minnesota Vikings (1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS) - The Kirk Cousins era is underway in Minnesota and is off to a promising start. The defense looks to be a strength once again as they were able to force four turnovers against the 49ers in Week 1, handing Jimmy Garoppolo his first career NFL loss in the process. Dalvin Cook will need to prove he is fully recovered and capable of becoming a feature back if the Vikings want to improve on last year’s record.

Next Game: Minnesota at Green Bay -1

5. Atlanta Falcons (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - The Falcons came up five yards short of beating the reigning Super Bowl champs on their home field in Week 1. The defense looked solid against Foles and the Eagles rushing attack, but will lose Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones for an undetermined amount of time due to a foot injury he suffered during the game. The offense will look to perform better against the Panthers in week 2.

Next Game: Carolina at Atlanta -6

6. Green Bay Packers (1-0 SU and 0-1 ATS) - If there were doubts about which QB was the best in the league, Sunday night's game may have silenced them. After a lackluster first quarter that saw Aaron Rodgers go down with an apparent knee injury, Deshone Kizer came into the game subsequently fumbling and throwing a pick-6 in his first two drives. Rodgers returned in the second half throwing three touchdowns and leading the Packers to a 20 point comeback win. Rodgers will need to stay healthy if the Packers want to contend with the Vikings in the NFC North.

Next Game: Minnesota at Green Bay -1

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - There is a lot working against the Steelers right now. Locker room drama, a Pro Bowl holdout, and a freakin’ tie against the Browns. James Conner looked more than serviceable in Week 1, but doubts will remain about his longevity as the feature back sans Le’Veon Bell. There are also questions about Roethlisberger’s ability to stay healthy for an entire 16 game season. Until the team is able to resolve the Le’Veon Bell drama, things may get worse before they get better. A top-7 spot in the NFL Power Rankings is a tenuous place for Pittsburgh as they host a blazing hot Kansas City squad in Week 2.

Next Game: Kansas City at Pittsburgh -4.5

8. Carolina Panthers (1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS) - With a freshly painted logo at midfield, the Panthers defense turned in a dominating performance in Week 1 allowing the Cowboys a measly 232 total yards of offense. Unfortunately, in the process, Carolina lost tight end Greg Olsen and second-team All-Pro right tackle Daryl Williams for an undetermined amount of time. If the Panthers can find a way to generate more offense without two of their better offensive players they should be able make a run at the playoffs despite playing in the crowded NFC South.

Next Game: Carolina at Atlanta -6

9. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0 ATS and 1-0 ATS) - Jacksonville was tested in week one against the Giants as the Jags once again leaned on their defense. Questions will continue to swirl around whether or not Blake Bortles is a franchise caliber quarterback. Leonard Fournette went down in the first quarter with a “minor hamstring injury” which only put more pressure on Bortles. This is definitely one of the tougher teams to grade in the NFL Power Rankings because of how wonky of an asset Bortles is. The Jags have a statement game, and a chance to exorcise the ghosts of the 2017 AFC Championship game, when they battle the Patriots in Week 2.

Next Game: New England at Jacksonville +1.5

10. Chicago Bears (0-1 Su and 1-0 ATS) - The Bears had em’ and they let em’ off the hook. After going up 20-0 to start the third quarter, Rodgers led the Packers to one of the more improbable comebacks in recent NFL history. Fortunately for the Bears, there were a lot of positives to take away from this game, specifically the stellar play from Khalil Mack who looked worth every penny of his new $141 million deal. If the Bears can get more out of Mitch Trubisky they should have a team capable of competing in the NFC North.

Next Game: Seattle at Chicago -3.5

11. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS) - The Chiefs looked a force to be reckoned with on offense against the Chargers in Week 1. Tyreek Hill might be the best skill player in the league and Patrick Mahomes threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns in a game that was not as close as the score would indicate. The Chiefs will need Mahomes to be consistent throughout the year, but weapons like Hill and Kareem Hunt make that task significantly easier.

Next Game: Kansas City at Pittsburgh -4.5

12. Chargers (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - Ok, so the "Chargers to the Super Bowl" talk may have been a bit premature. There were some positives though as Philip Rivers and the offense managed 541 yards of total offense despite the lack of a sustained rushing attack. On the other side of the ball, it’s not that the defense did not play well, it’s simply that Tyreek Hill tore the Chargers apart. The Chargers should bounce back against the hapless Buffalo Bills in Week 2 and maintain their stock in our NFL Power Rankings as a team to keep an eye on.

Next Game: LAC at Buffalo +7

13. Denver Broncos (1-0 SU and 0-0-1 ATS) - Somehow Case Keenum continues to win games in the NFL. Despite Keenum’s three interceptions, the Broncos were able to edge the Seahawks in week 1, mainly due to the stellar play of Von Miller. Miller and the defense came up with three turnovers of their own, while making life very difficult for the Seahawks offense. It’s tough to see where the Broncos will go from here, but if Keenum can stop throwing interceptions they should have the defence to contend for an AFC West title.

Next Game: Oakland at Denver -5.5

14. Houston Texans (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - The return of Deshaun Watson did not go exactly as planned in Week 1 as the Texans fell to the Patriots for the second straight season in Foxborough. The defense played well forcing three turnovers and holding the Patriots to 5.4 yards per play, but the offense struggled to find the end zone for most of the game. The season will be defined by whether or not Watson and the offense can knock off the rust quickly enough to make a playoff run.

Next Game: Houston at Tennessee 

15. Washington Redskins (1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS) - There was a lot not to like about the Redskins heading into this season. The loss of Kirk Cousins, the atrocious run defense, and a season ending injury to second round draft pick Derrius Guice in Week 1 of the preseason. Somehow, the Redskins have managed to turn these negatives into a positive by signing Alex Smith to replace cousins and Adrian Peterson to replace Guice, both of whom turned in monster performances in Week 1. We will have to wait and see whether Washington can parlay these moves into a winning season against better teams moving forward, but the middle seems like a fair spot in our NFL Power Rankings for now.

Next Week: Indianapolis at Washington -6

16. New Orleans Saints (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - Despite being the heaviest favorite in week 1, the Saints managed a loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Many analysts had the Saints as favorites to win the Super Bowl, but week one sobered those expectations. The defense gave up 48 points and 529 yards of total offense to the team predicted by many to finish last in the NFC South. Oh yea, did we mention that team was also without its starting QB? The defense has to get better if the Saints have any hope of competing for a playoff spot this season.

Next Game: Cleveland at New Orleans -8

17. Cleveland Browns (0-0-1 SU and 1-0 ATS) - The Browns got off to their best start since 2004 by earning a tie with the Steelers. Is it a blow-away experience for Cleveland? No. But at the end of that game their playmakers stepped up and showed flashes of what they’re capable of. The defense looks dangerous and will continue to fall into their groove. The offense managed to hit playmakers in stride and get the ball to much of the talent they acquired this year. Taylor appears comfortable in his role and Josh Gordon added another chapter to his redemption story. This team is another notch in an improving AFC North division, and are a team that is begging to be pushed up the NFL Power Rankings as a savvy cover team at the very least.

Next Game: Cleveland at New Orleans -8

18. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS) - The Bengals traveled to Indianapolis and made good use of their trip on the buses getting away with a solid win. The score doesn’t reflect their effort as the team made plenty of mistakes and got beaten up on the right side of the line. What Cincinnati was able to do, though, was overcome some bogus penalties and an ejection that was very much warranted. The team’s defensive line showed its ability to dominate, and their young corners are starting to get a feel for how to contain top level receivers. They may not be a Super Bowl contender, but they won’t be fun to play against. They're starting to show the grit of a strong play in NFL betting, which is something we haven't been able to say for a while.

Next Game: Baltimore at Cincinnati -0.5

19. Seattle Seahawks (0-1 SU and 0-0-1 ATS) - Seattle looks like they’re a bit hard to grade for the purpose of both betting and NFL Power Rankings,  but what we can always count on is Russell Wilson’s ability to get the ball to playmakers. His downfield throws in the middle of the field against Denver were 4/4 for 116 yards. Where Seattle struggles is in what playmakers Wilson is able to distribute the ball to. They aren’t fully loaded with the game breakers they once had, and that is going to hurt what is otherwise one of the best QBs in the league. To be fair, the Seahawks were able to pile up just 13 first downs, which was second fewest in Week 1 behind the Buffalo Bills. Countering that, as always, is Wilson's penchant for big plays. Can they rely on those the whole way through, and will gamblers be able to stomach those swings?

Next Game: Seattle at Chicago -3.5 

20. Oakland Raiders (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - John Gruden is dead set on running the football with Lynch. This is going to set him up for success in some games, and totally destroy the team’s chances in others. The Raiders showed what kind of play they’re capable of against the Rams and really limited the Suh-Donald combo in the pass rush. The O-Line in Oakland should be able to protect Carr, and if he begins to find his targets on the outside the offense in the Black Hole should be dangerous. However, slowing this team down and keeping downfield throws in Jared Cook’s hands instead of Cooper or Nelson will backfire on Gruden’s first season.

Next Game: Oakland at Denver -5.5

21. Indianapolis Colts (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - The Colts look ready to compete again in the AFC South after a tough match with the Bengals to start the year. The score doesn’t entirely reflect the effort made by Indianapolis to keep the game tight as a late turnover stretched out the score deficit to 11 points. Luck had a very solid game and the defensive front gave the right side of Cincinnati’s line a lot of trouble. I think the Colts are going to continue to fine-tune and improve.

Next Game: Indianapolis at Washington -6

22. Baltimore Ravens (1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS) - The Ravens’ first game can’t be given too much weight, but only because the Bills are sincerely that bad. They blew them out, and looked fairly efficient in doing so, but against that competition I think it is to be expected. They’re going to be either dead even or -1 point favorites in Cincinnati this week, but the Ravens offensive line did not perform well enough even against the Bills to look ready for the All-Pro lineup in the Bengals front seven of Lawson, Dunlap, Billups, Atkins and Willis.

Next Game: Baltimore at Cincinnati PK

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS) - What do we do with Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs in the NFL Power Rankings? We have come to know him as a lovable loser who plays mediocre football but is a great backup to have. This great backup lit up New Orleans on the stat sheet, but he only did so targeting one particular direction from scrimmage. His deep throws to the right sideline made him (and the small faction of brave Bucs backers) all his money last week, and while New Orleans weren’t able to identify mid-game, I can’t imagine they sustain this hot spot. They’ll host the defending Super Bowl Champions to try and prove us wrong.

Next Game: Philadelphia at Tampa Bay +3

24. New York Giants (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - The New York Football Giants had a tough go in Week 1 hosting the Jaguars. Sure, Jacksonville covered the spread, but the Giants looked like they had a little more life in them. This team has retained some big name talent and added some as well in Barkley and OBJ. Eli is over the hill, but consistent enough to get the ball to playmakers like Shepherd, OBJ, Engram, and Barkley. We should see more improvements and solid games from this offense going forward. They travel to Dallas this week, but I think the Zeke run game is going to dictate the pace too much for the Giants to even their record.

Next Game: NYG at Dallas -3

25. New York Jets (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) - J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS! The Jets got off to a red hot start against a miserable Lions effort, and made the most out of impressing their fans. I’m going to chalk this one up to poor coaching on behalf of the Lions, and credit goes to the Jets for taking advantage of the opportunity. With that said, they have earned their spot in the NFL Power Rankings for this week and have an immediate challenge to sustain it. They’re at home, they host the Dolphins, but I think Miami comes away on top.

Next Game: Miami at NYJ -3

26. Miami Dolphins (1-0 SU and 1-0 ATS) - Miami is hard to grade in an NFL Power Rankings environment given the strange circumstances of their first game with multiple lightning delays. However, against an athletic and talented Tennessee front seven, the Dolphins kept Tannehill clean on 27/31 throws. The QB earned 230 yards and 2 TD’s to go with 2 INT’s but looks like he should have better pass protection than anticipated. They are +3 point road underdogs visiting the Jets, and we think there’s a good chance to take advantage of Week 1 hype with the Fins.

Next Game: Miami at NYJ -3

27. San Francisco 49ers (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - San Francisco played a fairly tight game against Minnesota and unraveled a bit at the end with some Jimmy Garoppolo turnovers, but their defense kept them hanging on by a thread against a really good receiving corps in the Vikings. While they didn’t cover in Week 1, the 49ers did look much improved from last season and will get Detroit trying to come up from an abysmal first game. I like their chances here at home as -5.5 favorites.

Next Game: Detroit at San Francisco -6

28. Tennessee Titans (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - Tennessee has their eggs in the Mariota basket, but with 14/17 drop backs coming with no pressure from the defense we should expect better from Marcus than a 9/16 completion rate for 103 yards and 2 INT’s. The team did manage to score 20 points in the delayed match-up, which I’m not taking much stake in, but they don’t look too hot before they host the Texans.

Next Game: Houston at Tennessee

29. Dallas Cowboys (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - Jason Garrett can clap all he wants, but that won’t make it any easier on Dak Prescott. As one of the league’s hottest young QBs, Dak is fighting for a contract and he isn’t winning. The one dimensional offense in Dallas is too easy to identify, but they get a break at home against the Giants without Kuechly across the ball from Zeke. They should cover this week, but they don’t appear to be able to do much outside of hoping they get an easy run defense.

Next Game: NYG at Dallas -3

30. Detroit Lions (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - The Lions had nothing short of a disaster to start their season at home against the Jets as -6.5 point favorites. What ensued was a series of Stafford interceptions, between the guard run plays, and no corrections from the coaching staff. While the roster in the Motor City is solid, this team doesn’t look poised to improve and they have a tough road trip against a rising 49ers squad.

Next Game: Detroit at San Francisco -6

31. Arizona Cardinals (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - Arizona was buried at home by Washington while only allowing Bradford to be sacked twice. Their Week 1 results, and their placing in the Week 1 NFL Power Rankings, reflect a bit of inability to execute on the part of the Cardinals in the pass game while still reminding us that David Johnson is for real. However, they will travel to Los Angeles to face a vastly better pass rush and secondary in the Rams. As a 12.5 point underdog on the road I don’t see them hanging a notch in the win column against the spread.

Next Game: Arizona at LAR -12.5

32. Bills (0-1 SU and 0-1 ATS) - The best relationship advice I can give is find someone who loves you unconditionally the way Sean McDermott loves Nathan Peterman. The benching of Josh Allen for Peterman after trading a healthy AJ McCarron is just a small piece of the bizarre Buffalo puzzle. If LeSean McCoy and Josh Allen show up in Week 2 at home against the Chargers this might change, but +7 is a tall task based on Week 1’s blowout. Welcome to the cellar of our NFL Power Rankings, Buffalo. Settle in, you might be here awhile.

Next Game: LAC at Buffalo +7
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