The Packers remain in a class of their own, San Francisco stumbles and the Broncos continue to upset the odds. Frank Doyle ranks ‘em after Week 14.
1 (-). Green Bay Packers (13-0, 9-4-0 ATS). The ball of yarn puts up more resistance to the kitty-cat than the Raiders managed against the Packers on Sunday. Men and boys.
2 (+1). Baltimore Ravens (10-3, 7-5-1 ATS). The frustrating thing about Baltimore is that they can’t do any more than they’re doing. It’d be nice if the Ravens covered more often from a sports betting perspective, but otherwise they’re doing all they can. People just won’t believe until Baltimore wins another Super Bowl I guess.
3 (-1). San Francisco 49ers (10-3, 11-2-0 ATS). Are the Niners running on empty? Patrick Willis is a big loss on defense, and a lack of productivity in the red zone are causes for serious worry. They have a tough one next week too.
4 (-). Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3, 6-7-0 ATS). James Harrison has been suspended for one game for his hit on Colt McCoy. Looks like somebody hasn’t forgotten that Men’s Journal interview.
5 (-). Houston Texans (10-3, 9-3-1 ATS). What an amazing performance by the Texans and rookie quarterback TJ Yates. They’re going to the playoffs for the very first time. Good luck to them. Whatever else happens in the year, the Texans have overcome serious adversity to even get this far and hey, who knows what January will bring?
6 (-). New Orleans Saints (10-3, 9-4-0 ATS). That was a big win for the Saints in the cold of Nashville. If New Orleans wants to win another Super Bowl, they have to be able to win in the snow.
7 (-). New England Patriots (10-3, 6-6-1 ATS). That defense will break New England’s heart. I have no doubt about it.
8 (+4). Denver Broncos (8-5, 7-6-0 ATS). If Denver beats New England on Sunday, we might all just as well put our kidneys on eBay and put the proceeds on Denver for the Super Bowl. How much more of a sign will we need?
9 (+1). Detroit Lions (8-5, 6-7-0 ATS). The Lions nearly got caught by the Vikings, but they got away with it. That’s the bottom line, and it’s a bottom line League.
10 (+4). Atlanta Falcons (8-5, 6-6-1 ATS). Mike Smith had a health scare after Atlanta beat Carolina but the Falcons won and keep their hopes very much alive.
11 (-2). Chicago Bears (7-6, 7-6-0 ATS). The defense is going to have play sixty minutes at this rate. Cutler and Forte can’t get better quickly enough.
12 (+4). New York Jets (8-5, 6-6-1 ATS). The Jets have won three straight to return to some sort of contention, but those wins came against Buffalo, Washington and Kansas City. Not quite Murderers’ Row.
13 (-5). Cincinnati Bengals (7-6, 7-5-1 ATS). Is it all over for the Bengals? You can’t give up two eighty yard scoring drives in the six minutes. You just can’t.
14 (+1). New York Giants (7-6, 6-6-1 ATS). The Giants proved the worth of not lying down for the Packers by beating the Cowboys on Sunday night.
15 (-4). Oakland Raiders (7-6, 7-6-0 ATS). The Raiders have said all year that Darren McFadden won’t be out for the rest of the season. If he is coming back, now would be a really good time.
16 (-3). Dallas Cowboys (7-6, 4-9-0 ATS). The Cowboys blew a 12 point lead in the fourth quarter, but they can still make it to the playoffs. That’s how close the NFC East is this year.
17 (-). Tennessee Titans (7-6, 7-5-1 ATS). Losing to the Saints hurt Tennessee, but the Titans aren’t dead yet. I’d start Locker and say “son, you leave this locker room a boy but you’ll come back a man!” That’s what I’d do, anyway.
18 (-). Seattle Seahawks (6-7, 9-4-0 ATS). Seattle is having a great year. 9-4-0 against the spread is a great number.
19 (+1). Kansas City Chiefs (5-8, 7-6-0 ATS). The Chiefs have fired head coach Todd Haley, with former Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel taking over as interim coach. If the Chiefs go well, Crennel may get the job full time. Will the Chiefs give Crennel a show of support on Sunday? All they have to do is turn over the Packers. Easy-peasy.
20 (+3). San Diego Chargers (6-7, 4-9-0 ATS). The Chargers still have a shot at the playoffs. Baltimore might put an end to that on Sunday night.
21 (+3). Arizona Cardinals (6-7, 7-5-1 ATS). Arizona is still in with a shot too. Biggest problem for the Cardinals is that a team with two quarterbacks often has no quarterback at all.
22 (+4). Philadelphia Eagles (5-8, 5-8-0 ATS). Too little, too late from the Eagles at Miami.
23 (-4). Miami Dolphins (4-9, 7-6-0 ATS). Todd Bowles has been named the interim head coach after Tony Sparano was fired on Monday. The Dolphins say they’re looking for a “young Don Shula” to take over the team. That seems a little like hoping to find one of Wily Wonka’s Golden Tickets, but good luck to them all the same.
24 (-2). Buffalo Bills (5-8, 6-6-1 ATS). Buffalo was 4-1 after Week 5, and is 1-7 since.
25 (-). Carolina Panthers (4-9, 7-5-1 ATS). A frustrating day for the Panthers against Atlanta.
26 (+1). Washington Redskins (4-9, 6-7-0 ATS). Was the Redskins’ strong showing against New England a sign that maybe the Redskins aren’t really that bad, or that New England has the worst defense in the League.
27 (-6). Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9, 4-9-0 ATS). Tampa Bay got run over last week by Maurice Jones-Drew, all five foot and maybe six inches of him. Raheem Morris’s job looked rock-solid at the start of year but gosh, someone’s got to carry the can for this debacle.
28 (-). Cleveland Browns (4-9, 4-9-0 ATS). The Browns suck.
29 (-). Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9, 4-8-1 ATS). Maurice Jones-Drew is Jacksonville’s whole team.
30 (-). Minnesota Vikings (2-11, 6-7-0 ATS). Jared Allen is in with a chance of beating Michael Strahan’s season sack record. Down here, you take what joy you can find.
31 (-). St. Louis Rams (2-11, 2-11-0 ATS). This is the Rams’ seventh straight losing season. They’re 15-62 in that time. Which begs the question: why did anyone thing they’d be any good this year in the first place?
32 (-). Indianapolis Colts (0-13, 4-9-0 ATS). The Colts’ last three games are Tennessee at home, Houston at home and Jacksonville on the road. Call me a sentimental fool, but I think they’ll win one of the three.