The Ravens fell into the trap that everyone could see coming, but Baltimore is still the best in the AFC. Frank Doyle ranks ‘em after Week 10 of NFL 2011.
1 (-). Green Bay Packers (9-0, 7-2-0 ATS).
Magnificent. Just magnificent.
2 (-). San Francisco 49ers (8-1, 9-0-0 ATS).
It’s genuinely incredible that the Niners have covered the number in every single game they’ve played. They’ve a big one to cover at home this weekend against the dangerous Arizona Cardinals.
3 (-). Baltimore Ravens (6-3, 5-4-0 ATS).
Everybody who has even the vaguest sense of football or sports knew that Baltimore’s visit to Seattle was a trap game. That’s why the Ravens were only a -6.5 NFL betting favorite against a team with a 2-6 record, instead of -8 or -10. But Baltimore tumbled in just the same. Baltimore remains third in the Rankings though, because the Ravens swept the Steelers this year and that has to count.
4 (-). Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3, 5-5-0 ATS).
Ben Roethlisberger proved on Sunday that he is up there with Brady, Brees and Rivers when it comes to elite quarterbacks in the league. The defense is showing signs of age, but Roethlisberger is a future Hall of Famer.
5 (+5). Houston Texans (7-3, 6-3-1 ATS).
Some people will tell you Houston is the best team in the AFC. For a team that’s under-performed over the years, the Texans have now gone the other way, and are getting it done without Andre Johnson and Mario Williams. And now they have to do it without Matt Schaub as well. I don’t know. It’s a big, big ask.
6 (+1). New England Patriots (6-3, 4-4-1 ATS).
New England was fantastic on Sunday night, but the Jets weren’t good at all. The Patriots are dangerous but far from invincible.
7 (+1). New Orleans Saints (7-3, 6-4-0 ATS).
The Saints find a way to get it done and now control their destiny in the NFC South.
8 (-2). Cincinnati Bengals (6-3, 7-2-0 ATS).
It broke my heart to drop the Bengals. They were fantastic against Pittsburgh, coming back from 14-0 and were unlucky to turn it over with two minutes left to lose the game. Ben Roethlisberger said that Andy Dalton is the best rookie quarterback in the League, and he’s right.
9 (+3). Chicago Bears (6-3, 5-4-0 ATS).
Huge win for the Bears over a divisional rival.
10 (-5). Detroit Lions (6-3, 5-4-0 ATS).
And just as painful a loss for the Bears’ NFC North and wildcard rival. The Lions are looking shaky, and are lucky to be hosting Carolina this weekend. That should settle them a little.
11 (-2). New York Giants (6-3, 4-4-1 ATS).
There’s no shame in losing to the Niners this year.
12 (+3). Oakland Raiders (5-4, 5-4-0 ATS).
Carson Palmer turned back the years on Thursday night. The Raiders will be well rested for their journey to Minnesota this Sunday.
13 (+5). Dallas Cowboys (5-4, 4-5-0 ATS).
Dallas can beat teams. It’s just not always easy to know which team it is they’ll beat on any given Sunday.
14 (-3). Buffalo Bills (5-4, 5-3-1 ATS).
I guess they couldn’t have lasted. It’s still kind of sad though.
15 (-2). New York Jets (5-4, 4-4-1 ATS).
The Jets will struggle to make the playoffs. Norv Turner and Rex Ryan had a spat during the year – maybe they’ll be able to talk over their differences in 2012, when they both might have a lot more free time on their hands.
16 (-2). Atlanta Falcons (5-4, 4-5-0 ATS).
Going for it on fourth and inches was the right call. You want to go to the playoffs, you have to be able to gain a foot of ground in the clutch. The Falcons aren’t good enough, and no amount of second-guessing the play will change that.
17 (+4). Tennessee Titans (5-4, 5-4-0 ATS).
Matt Hasselbeck’s career best year in terms of passing yards was 2007, when he threw for 3,966. He’s currently on course for 3,980. No-one saw that coming.
18 (-2). Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5, 3-6-0 ATS).
It’s a bad year for the Bucs. Only Packer fatigue after Monday night can prevent a slaughter in Green Bay on Sunday.
19 (-2). San Diego Chargers (4-5, 2-7-0 ATS).
Cleveland is the only team in the League that’s worse against the spread than San Diego this year. That tells its own tale.
20 (-). Kansas City Chiefs (4-5, 5-4-0 ATS).
Just when you thought Kansas City had turned it around the Chiefs fall to pieces again. Matt Cassel will be a huge loss.
21 (+4). Denver Broncos (4-5, 4-5-0 ATS).
Tebow-ism can’t continue indefinitely. But I get the feeling it’ll be good enough for the Jets’ visit to Mile High on Thursday. I’ll also take the under in that game. Even if it’s in single digits.
22 (+4). Seattle Seahawks (3-6, 6-3-0 ATS).
Six covers, wins over Baltimore and the Giants and no discernable quarterback under center. Maybe there’s something to Pete Carroll after all.
23 (-4). Philadelphia Eagles (3-6, 3-6-0 ATS).
The Eagles have played five games at home this year, and lost four of them in the fourth quarter. Fork, please.
24 (-2). Washington Redskins (3-6, 3-6-0 ATS).
Grossman is better than Beck in the same way that getting punched in the belly is better than getting punched in the face. Back to square one for Washington.
25 (+3). Arizona Cardinals (3-6, 4-4-1 ATS).
Will Skelton stay the starter? Well, why the hell not? What have they got to lose?
26 (+3). Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6, 3-5-1 ATS).
They ought to start marketing Jaguar pyjamas as a cure for insomnia.
27 (-3). Carolina Panthers (2-7, 5-3-1 ATS).
Cam Newton can’t do it all on his own.
28 (-1). Minnesota Vikings (2-7, 5-4-0 ATS).
How often do Minnesotans think of Favre’s pick six against New Orleans in the playoffs a few years ago? Very often, I would guess. That’s the difference between what is and what might have been.
29 (-6). Cleveland Browns (3-6, 1-8-0 ATS).
One cover in nine games? The people of Cleveland deserve better than this.
30 (+1). Miami Dolphins (2-7, 4-5-0 ATS).
The Dolphins wanted Tony Sparano gone since the start of the season but he might be the best thing they have. He’s got his team playing as hard as they can for him, and no coach can do more than that.
31 (-1). St. Louis Rams (2-7, 2-7-0 ATS).
32 (-). Indianapolis Colts (0-10, 2-8-0 ATS).
A blessed bye week before Indianapolis gets set to play the last game in which it’s likely to be favorite this year – at home to Carolina on November 27th.
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