For the second consecutive week, we have seen some huge upsets! The Green Bay Packers lost to the Arizona Cardinals, the Chicago Bears lost to the New York Giants, and the New Orleans Saints finally lost a game to anybody. It was the week of the underdogs as many of our top ten struggled this week and failed to cover. And with that, let’s jump right into week fourteen’s against the spread power rankings, where we don’t care who wins the game, we care who covers the spread!
1. New Orleans Saints
2018 Straight Up (10-2) 2018 ATS (9-3) 2017 ATS (8-8) Last Week’s Rank: 1
Well, when the entire top three failed to cover this week, it doesn’t make a sense to shift them around too much. The Saints finally came up short after winning ten straight games, covering in nine of them, but remain at number one in the rankings this week with a 9-3 record ATS this season. New Orleans found themselves in a very tough spot as they were road favorites, laying a full touchdown, against a first-place Dallas Cowboys team on Thursday night. Not only did the Saints not win and cover, they lost the game outright.
The loss comes as a bit of a shocker as the Saints have looked unbeatable recently, but to be honest, it really isn’t that big of a deal. They are still going to win their division, and they still hold the tiebreaker over the Los Angeles Rams for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The MVP talk for Brees quieted down some as he had the worst game of his season with just 127 passing yards.
Sometimes a well-timed loss is just the right thing for a team. Trying to run the table adds so much more pressure to a team. The goal for the Saints is to win the Super Bowl, and I don’t see how this one loss does anything to change that. The Saints are laying -9.5 points next week in Tampa Bay against the Bucs. Assuming the Saints get right back on track, I still have to believe they are the team to beat in the NFC. But if they drop a second straight game, it will be time to start worrying in the Big Easy.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
2018 Straight Up (10-2) 2018 ATS (8-3-1) 2017 ATS (10-6) Last Week’s Rank: 2
At the number two spot this week we have the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs had all kinds of trouble this week in Oakland as the Raiders gave them a run for their money. The Chiefs were actually at risk of losing this game outright as the Raiders scored seventeen fourth-quarter points to get the lead down to just one score. KC managed to hang on to win outright but failed to cover. Mahomes had another huge week, and with Brees slipping up in Dallas, has taken the lead back for the NFL MVP race.
The Chiefs are laying seven points next week against a Baltimore Ravens team that has won three straight games. The Ravens look like a completely different team with Lamar Jackson at quarterback, and this number seems awfully high. The books don’t like to come off of a key number like a seven, so I am not sure if it is going to move, but where it stands now, the Ravens seems to surely be the side to back in that one. And with the Los Angeles Chargers lurking just one game back for the division title, the Chiefs have no room for error.
3. Seattle Seahawks
2018 straight Up (7-5) 2018 ATS (7-3-2) 2017 ATS (6-9-1) Las Weeks Rank: 4
The Seattle Seahawks jump into the top three this week for the first time all season. Seattle has been on an absolute tear as they have won three straight games. A season that looked lost just a few weeks ago now has Seattle on the brink of the playoffs in the NFC. This week the Hawks beat up on their division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, and easily covered the -9.5-point number. Russell Wilson reminded everyone that he can still play as he threw four touchdowns and the power running game continues to roll for Seattle as they gained 168 yards on the ground.
Seattle hosts the Vikings this week on Monday Night Football is what could very well be a playoff eliminator. The NFC wild-card picture is suddenly very crowded with the Seahawks and Vikings currently on the inside looking out. But three teams are just a game back at 6-6, and even the Tampa Bay Bucs aren’t completely out of things at 5-7. When a home team is laying -3-points that’s basically the books saying they don’t know what to do with the game. And I can feel their pain as this game could go a bunch of different ways. The winner won’t lock up a spot in the postseason, but the loser is likely going to find themselves in a hole they can’t dig out of.
4. Chicago Bears
2018 Straight Up (8-4) 2018 ATS (8-4) 2017 ATS (8-6-2) Last Week’s Rank: 3
The Bears slide one spot this week as they lost outright to the New York Giants in overtime. It is hard to punish the Bears too much for losing on the road without their starting quarterback, but this is the NFL, injuries happen, and you have to be able to navigate through adversity. The Bears almost made a huge comeback as they trailed by ten points with under two minutes left to play. Chicago scored twice to tie the game up and send it into overtime but came up short in the extra period.
A win would have all but locked up the NFC North division title for Chicago, but luckily for Bears fans, the entire division lost this week. The Bears host the Rams next week and are +3-point home underdogs. Mitchell Trubisky is expected to play, and if he is at 100%, I like a play on the Bears as home dogs. But that is a big if as he has missed the last couple of games with a shoulder injury.
5. New England Patriots
2018 Straight Up (9-3) 2018 ATS (8-4) 2017 ATS (11-5) Last Week’s Rank: 6
A December home game for the New England Patriots? They don’t ever seem to lose those, and this week was no different. The Pats used two late touchdowns to pull away from and cover against the Minnesota Vikings, 24-10, this week. Tom Brady finally eclipsed the thousand-yard rushing mark, for his career. Brady made light of the accomplishment on social media, but there was nothing light about this win for New England.
The Patriots will travel to warmer climates this week as they head to Miami to play the Dolphins. The Dolphins are a garbage can fire right now, but to see them getting +9-points at home is a bit surprising. Miami always seems to give the Patriots trouble, so unless that line comes down some, I would stay away from backing New England.
6. Minnesota Vikings
2018 Straight Up (6-5-1) 2018 ATS (6-5-1) 2017 ATS (11-4-1) Last Week’s Rank: 5
The Vikings and the Patriots swap spots this week with New England’s win and cover in Foxboro. It is hard to blame the Vikings too much for not beating New England at home in the cold so I will give them a bit of a pass. The Vikings are in a must-win scenario next week in Seattle, another very tough place to play. The schedule has been a tough one for Minnesota, and it continues to be tough, but the Vikings will need to find a way to win this week if they want a shot at making the playoffs. As the number sits right now, I am leaning towards backing the home team in Seattle.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
2018 Straight Up (9-3) 2018 ATS (7-5) 2017 ATS (8-6-2) Last Week’s Rank: Not Ranked
After a slow start against the number, the Los Angeles Chargers break into the top ten this week with a huge home win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Maybe it is because they moved cities and are playing in a temporary stadium, maybe it is because they are the second-best team in their own city. Whatever the case may be, this is the quietest 9-3 team I have ever seen. Los Angeles has won eight out of their last nine games and now have a winning record ATS at 7-5.
After getting very little respect in the betting markets the last several weeks, the Chargers are way over-valued this week. Los Angeles is laying -15.5-points against the Cincinnati Bengals. Look, the Bengals are really awful right now, but anything more than two touchdowns in the NFL is just absurd. I would stay away for the Bolts this week.
8. Dallas Cowboys
2018 Straight Up (7-5) 2018 ATS (7-5) 2017 ATS (8-7-1) Last Week’s Rank: Not Ranked
I generally stay away from teams that get a lot of public action like the Dallas Cowboys, but what “Dem Boys” are doing right now just can’t be denied. The NFC East has been a division that seemingly nobody wanted to win all season long. Then Dallas decided to get its act together and has won four straight games, none bigger than upsetting the New Orleans Saints this week.
The Cowboys now must be considered a legit threat in the NFC. They aren’t getting all the hype that the Saints and Rams are getting, but that hype didn’t matter at all this week when the Cowboys shut down the high-flying Saints passing game. The division is on the line next week as the Cowboys host the Eagles. If Dallas wins that game, they will all but lock up the division crown. The number sits at Dallas -3.5 and that seems about right, but if I had to make an early week stand, I would back the Boys.
9. Cleveland Browns
2018 Straight Up (4-7-1) 2018 ATS (7-5) 2017 ATS (4-12) Last Week’s Rank: 7
It was a tough week for the Browns as they ran into the buzz saw that is the Houston Texans, snapping Cleveland’s modest two-game covering streak. Now that the Saints have lost a game, it is the Texans that own the longest active winning streak in the league at nine straight games. Baker Mayfield was terrible in the first half but saved face in the second half and actually ended up with nearly four hundred yards passing. The Browns are one-point home underdogs next week to a Carolina Panthers team that has lost four straight games.
10. Washington Redskins
2018 Straight Up (6-6) 2018 ATS (7-5) 2017 ATS (7-9) Last Week’s Rank: 9
The Washington Redskins continue their slide down the rankings and come in at number ten this week after losing to the Eagles 28-13. Don’t let the final score fool you, this game was very competitive as the Redskins trailed by just one point in the fourth quarter. For some reason, the Redskins have completely abandoned the run since losing starting quarterback Alex Smith to injury. And that made very little sense with Colt McCoy as the starter, and now that they are forced to turn to Mr. Buttfumble himself, Mark Sanchez, it is unforgivable.
Peterson scored a 90-yard touchdown, yet still somehow managed to not gain 100 yards on the day. That has to be some type of record. With Sanchez in the game, the Redskins could do nothing at all on offense and their season appears to be just about done. Washington is in a must-win spot next week as they are +3.5-point home underdogs to the New York Giants. Getting points at home against a terrible team like New York is why the Redskins have remained in my top ten. They are bad, but are they needing points at home to Eli Manning bad? We will find out next week.
And here they are folks, my against the spread power rankings for week fourteen. Week thirteen was a wild week where a lot of the elite ATS teams lost. Will that trend continue again next week? The later we get into the season, the more teams are going to fall out of contention, making it harder and harder to know how just hard each team will be playing.
Make sure you consult my top ten each week before making your bets. Thanks for reading and good luck betting in week fourteen!