What an insane week of action we had in week fourteen! We had a miracle in Miami! The Jets, Giants, and 49ers all won games, and the playoff picture in both conferences are starting to take form. The last three weeks have been a wild ride, and our against the spread power rankings have been bouncing all over the place! Remember folks, this is not your typical NFL power rankings. We don’t care which teams win the games, we care which teams cover the spreads! Let’s get started!
1. Seattle Seahawks
2018 straight Up (8-5) 2018 ATS (8-3-2) 2017 ATS (6-9-1) Last Weeks Rank: 3
For the first time all season long, the Seattle Seahawks have ascended to the top spot in our rankings! Seattle picked up what could end up being their biggest win of the season as they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 21-7. The win gave Seattle a two-game lead with just three weeks to go for the first NFC Wild-card spot and all but assured Seattle a spot in the postseason.
It was a defensive masterpiece as the Seattle D completely shut down the Minnesota attack. The Seahawks have been on a covering tear all season long, and now all of the sudden they have emerged as a team to beat in the NFC. Seattle heads to San Francisco next week to play their arch-rivals, the 49ers and are -4.5-point road favorites. I hate to lay points on the road, especially in a division game, but with the way the Hawks are playing right now, it is hard not to like them to take care of business in the Bay and lock up a playoff spot.
2. New Orleans Saints
2018 Straight Up (11-2) 2018 ATS (10-3) 2017 ATS (8-8) Last Week’s Rank: 1
After three weeks on top, the New Orleans Saints slide one spot down to number two this week. The Saints were able to go on the road and pick up a very tough cover against the Tampa Bay Bucs, avenging their week one home loss to Tampa Bay. Drew Brees struggled again though as he threw for just 201 yards and one score. This is now a four-week slump for Brees, and despite the fact that the Saints are still winning and covering nearly every week, this team, and Brees specifically, look like they might be running out of gas, and that is why I have dropped them one spot this week.
The numbers to back the Saints continue to be big ones, and New Orleans is laying seven points next week on the road in Carolina. I know the Panthers are playing awful right now, but to lay a full touchdown in a division road game against a potential playoff team certainly seems like a number I want no part of. The Saints have been winning and covering at an elite rate all season long, but it feels like they might just be coasting into the finish line a bit early this season. The Saints should be on upset alert next week in Carolina.
3. Chicago Bears
2018 Straight Up (9-4) 2018 ATS (9-4) 2017 ATS (8-6-2) Last Week’s Rank: 4
In what was undoubtedly the biggest statement win of the week, the Chicago Bears used a defensive clinic to beat the Los Angeles Rams, 15-6. We all wondered what this Bears attack would look like once Mitchel Trubisky got healthy, and despite the fact that Trubisky didn’t play all that well, the Bears picked up the huge win. The Bears flexed their defensive muscles yet again as they held Todd Gurley to just twenty-eight rushing yards and made Jared Goff look like a rookie as they picked him off four times and sacked him three times.
The Bears are getting healthy at just the right time for a playoff push and need to be feared in the NFC. Next week they host a struggling Packers team, laying seven points. As bad as the Packers have been this season, there just aren’t many times that I won’t back Aaron Rodgers getting a touchdown given the opportunity. The Packers just fired their longtime head coach, and are playing for their playoff lives next week, don’t be shocked if Rodgers wills the Pack to a cover in Chi-town.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
2018 Straight Up (11-2) 2018 ATS (8-4-1) 2017 ATS (10-6) Last Week’s Rank: 2
The Kansas City Chiefs have come in no lower than number two in the rankings all season long, spending much of the year at the top. But the Chiefs failed to cover again this week for the second consecutive game, and they slide all the way down to number four this week. The Chiefs did manage to pick up the overtime victory against the Ravens this week, in dramatic fashion. Patrick Mahomes hit Damien Williams with a five-yard touchdown pass with just under a minute left in the game to force overtime, and the Chiefs then won the game outright in the extra period on a Harrison Butker 35-yard field goal.
The win was a big one for the Chiefs as the Los Angeles Chargers just won’t stop chasing them for the AFC West Division title, matching them win for win down the stretch. Something will have to give next week though as the two teams matchup in Kansas City with the division title on the line. The Chiefs are laying -3.5-points, and that feels just about right. We have been wondering for several weeks now about just how good this Chargers team is, we will find out in week fifteen against the Chiefs.
5. New England Patriots
2018 Straight Up (9-4) 2018 ATS (8-5) 2017 ATS (11-5) Last Week’s Rank: 5
Well, if you haven’t seen it yet, watch this. The play is being dubbed the miracle in Miami, as the Dolphins shocked the Patriots at the buzzer. I mentioned in my rankings last week that to see the Patriots laying double-digits on the road in Miami was ludicrous as the Pats have always seemed to have more trouble than they should against the Dolphins. And even without the aforementioned miracle, the Patriots wouldn’t have come close to covering in this one. I am not going to knock the Patriots too much for this game as it always seemed like too big of an ask and if you backed them last week, you deserved to lose money.
The Pats are historically always super tough coming off of a loss in the Bill Belichick era, and I like them to get things back on track next week, laying -1-point on the road in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are a mess right now as they are coming off of an outright loss to the dreadful Oakland Raiders, and look lost on offense without James Connor on the field. New England would love to win next week and potentially lock up the division title, and as it sits right now, they seem to be the side to back.
6. Miami Dolphins
2018 Straight Up (7-6) 2018 ATS (8-5) 2017 ATS (5-9-2) Last Week’s Rank: Not Ranked
And how about those Miami Dolphins! The Fins jump into the rankings this week at number six with the big win and cover over New England. Miami has very quietly climbed right into the crowded playoff picture in the AFC. Not only could they potentially catch the New England Patriots for the division title lead, they are part of a four-way logjam for the final AFC wild-card spot as well.
The Dolphins head to Minnesota next week and are getting +7.5-points. That seems like a mighty big number for the Vikings to be laying against a solid Dolphins squad. The stat that has been floating around the internet all week is that Kirk Cousins has a lifetime record of just 4-24 against teams with a winning record. And this week Cousins and his Vikings are laying more than a touchdown against a team with a winning record? Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, take the points.
7. Dallas Cowboys
2018 Straight Up (8-5) 2018 ATS (8-5) 2017 ATS (8-7-1) Last Week’s Rank: 8
The Dallas Cowboys made their season debut in the countdown last week and move up another spot this week with a big win and cover against the Philadelphia Eagles. I’m going to be honest here, the Cowboys were lucky to sneak in the cover this week. This game was a tight one throughout, and the teams needed overtime to settle things. With the win, Dallas has basically locked up the division title, as they hold a two-game lead over the Eagles with three weeks to go.
A lot of people laughed at the Cowboys when they traded so much away to Oakland for Amari Cooper. They aren’t laughing now though as Cooper has been an animal with the Cowboys. The Cowboys have won five straight games, and Cooper has given them the deep threat that they have sorely missed in Dallas. Cooper had ten catches, three of them for scores, this week, and has now scored six touchdowns in six games for Big D.
The Cowboys head out on the road to face Andrew Luck and the Colts next week and will be getting +2.5-points. The Colts have seemingly figured things out recently as they have won six out of their last seven games, and this game is sure to be a thriller. In a game that looks too close to call, I will likely end up taking the points and hoping for a close game.
8. Cleveland Browns
2018 Straight Up (5-7-1) 2018 ATS (8-5) 2017 ATS (4-12) Last Week’s Rank: 9
Baker Mayfield and his Cleveland Browns continued their recent hot streak this week as they beat the Carolina Panthers at home. The Browns have won three out of their last four games, and are actually still mathematically in the playoff hunt, which is pretty dang impressive considering this team won a total of one game in the previous two seasons combined. Mayfield completed over 80% of his passes as the Browns played spoiler to the Panthers as home underdogs.
The Browns would need a bunch of help to backdoor into the playoffs, but at this point who am I do doubt this team? Cleveland will try and stay hot next week as they are getting +3-points in Denver. Playing in that mile-high altitude in the mountains of Denver is always a tough task for any team, can Cleveland get the job done?
9. Los Angeles Chargers
2018 Straight Up (10-3) 2018 ATS (7-6) 2017 ATS (8-6-2) Last Week’s Rank: 7
The Chargers failed to cover this week against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was another situation where the number was laughable and had you taken the Bolts you must hate money. This line got to as high as sixteen points in some spots. And to be completely honest, they could have easily lost this game outright as the Bengals missed what would have been a game-tying two-point conversion with less than two minutes left on the clock.
That’s the negative for Los Angeles, but the positive is that this team has now won nine out of its last ten games and is just one game back of the Kansas City Chiefs for the division lead. The Chargers head to KC this week with the division title hanging in the balance. If the Chargers can break through and upset the Chiefs, it will send shockwaves through the entire AFC, that just maybe, the playoffs will go through LA this year.
10. New York Giants
2018 Straight Up (5-8) 2018 ATS (7-5-1) 2017 ATS (7-9) Last Week’s Rank: Not Ranked
The New York football Giants make their season debut in the countdown coming in at tenth this week. The Giants delivered a soul-crushing beat down to their division rival Washington Redskins this week. They beat the brakes off of Washington, running up a 40-0 in the third quarter before calling the dogs off. Saquan Barkley continues to be one of the most explosive players in recent memory and is rewriting the Giants rookie rushing and touchdown records.
While the Giants aren’t going to make the playoffs, they have won four out of their last five games and have a winning ATS record on the year. The Giants are -1-point home favorites next week against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are nearly impossible to predict at this point but have won two straight games and are very much in the hunt for the playoffs in the AFC, so to see the G-Men as favorites is a bit surprising.
And there we have it, folks, my week fifteen against the spread power rankings. We welcomed the Giants and the Dolphins to the countdown this week, and as the season winds to a close, these numbers are getting sharper and sharper.
Make sure you consult my weekly ATS power rankings before you make your bets this weekend! Good luck and thanks for reading!