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Week 3 Rewind

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After three weeks of action only three teams remain unbeaten - Houston, Atlanta and Arizona; while a pair are winless - New Orleans and Cleveland. The Saints haven't won a game yet? This is the NFL, a league that spreads the talent around to all 32 teams, and any given season literally any team can shock the world and play well, or vice versa like the Saints this season, any team can struggle.

Sadly, instead of the attention going to how well Houston, Atlanta and Arizona have played so far, the focus of most conversations related to the NFL this season is aimed at the poor job the replacement officials are doing. It's hard to argue any differently to be frank.

That is all I will say about it - now, we will jump right into the numbers, and actually discuss football and how teams are performing.

Performance Ratings (max grade is 160, 80 on offense and 80 on defense, calculated using 16 different stats with 5 points per stat being the best score = 16x5 = 80).

Performance Ratings
Category Offense Defense Total Team
Wins Team Rating Rank Rating Rank Rating Rank
3 HOU 52.7 4 54.3 1 107.0 1
2 PHI 41.0 16 53.8 2 94.8 2
1 NE 52.8 2 37.3 16 90.2 3
3 ATL 52.3 5 37.7 15 90.0 4
2 NYG 49.0 7 40.7 12 89.7 5
2 SF 46.2 11 42.0 11 88.2 6
1 MIA 40.3 17 47.2 7 87.5 7
2 BUF 50.7 6 36.7 18 87.3 8
2 BAL 52.8 2 34.3 22 87.2 9
2 DAL 38.3 19 48.2 4 86.5 10
2 MIN 45.7 12 40.5 13 86.2 11
2 CHI 32.5 29 53.0 3 85.5 12
2 SD 42.0 15 43.5 10 85.5 12
1 GB 37.0 23 48.2 4 85.2 14
1 KC 47.0 8 36.5 19 83.5 15
2 SEA 36.2 25 47.0 8 83.2 16
1 DET 46.8 9 35.8 21 82.7 17
1 PIT 46.3 10 36.3 20 82.7 17
1 DEN 43.3 14 38.7 14 82.0 19
1 WAS 53.7 1 27.2 29 80.8 20
3 ARI 32.3 30 47.8 6 80.2 21
1 TB 28.5 32 45.0 9 73.5 22
1 STL 35.7 27 37.0 17 72.7 23
2 CIN 44.5 13 27.0 30 71.5 24
1 IND 37.5 21 33.3 23 70.8 25
2 NYJ 38.2 20 32.7 25 70.8 25
1 CAR 39.7 18 28.7 26 68.3 27
1 JAC 36.7 24 28.5 28 65.2 28
1 OAK 36.2 25 28.7 26 64.8 29
0 CLE 29.0 31 33.2 24 62.2 30
0 NO 37.3 22 22.5 31 59.8 31
1 TEN 32.8 28 16.8 32 49.7 32

Starting next week I will also include each team's blended Strength of Schedule (SOS) ratings as they finally become relevant enough to discuss. As far as the performance ratings go, they too will start to be more static in the next 2-3 weeks where we will typically not see the type of huge jumps week to week that are still occurring - for example, the Giants went from #18 last week to #5 this week, or the Panthers falling from #17 last week to #27 this week.

Looking at where the ratings stack up following Week 3 the Top 3 remained the same - yes, even the Eagles remain in the #2 spot as they are truly playing well, except Turnover Margin (TOM) is absolutely killing them (PHI is (6) which ranks them #30 in the NFL) - right there shows just how important turnovers are for any team. The Eagles are currently being buoyed by a strong defense that checks in @ #2 in the NFL (#7 vs. rush, #6 vs. pass, #1 vs. miscellaneous), but in order to make some noise in the coming weeks and stay alive in the NFC East their offense will need to improve statistically, and in holding on to the football.

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Miami and Buffalo are two more surprise top ten teams, checking in at #7 & #8 respectively. Those two are doing it differently with MIA holding a #17/#7 split between offense and defense rating, while BUF is almost the mirror image at #6/#18. Keep an eye on these two in the next few weeks: MIA has a pair of road games @ Arizona and Cincinnati, while BUF has a tough trio coming up hosting New England, then a pair of road games @ San Francisco and Arizona. We will know a lot more about both of these teams come Week 7.

Minnesota is the top ranked NFC North team, using a nice balance between offense and defense to post a 2-1 record following last week's impressive win over SF. Christian Ponder is having a fabulous season thus far leading the 6th ranked passing offense including ranking #2 in completion %, #2 in INT, and #4 in QBR.

Green Bay continues to struggle offensively posting the 23rd ranked offense through 3 games, as their rushing offense sits at #24, while passing wise they are just #22. We should see their rating jump in the next two weeks, especially offensively, after they host New Orleans and visit Indianapolis.

Denver has fallen from #6 last week to #19 this week driven by a poor defensive performance vs. HOU at home Sunday. One thing to keep an eye on with Denver is the fact they have faced a very tough schedule thus far, as included in their three games are two of the three undefeated teams (ATL, HOU). I expect Denver to improve in the coming weeks as their team gels behind new QB Peyton Manning, and the schedule eases some - currently I have Denver as facing the 2nd toughest schedule to date, but with the 29th toughest slate remaining.

Undefeated Arizona only moved up 2 spots to #21 as their offense remains ranked poorly at #30. As mentioned last week this is a team to keep an eye on as fade material in the coming weeks as they are not playing as well as their record, and the media indicates.

Tennessee remains the worst team in the NFL, and didn't pick up much ground despite their exciting OT win over Detroit.

With the Falcons and Giants climbing up the ratings to #4 & #5 respectively, the NFC now has 4 of the top 6 teams in football. What's more, 7 of the bottom 9 reside in the AFC, with the only NFC representatives being #31 NO and #27 CAR - a pair of NFC South teams.

As far as strength of division goes, the NFC North has the highest ranked "worst" team with DET checking in at T17; the NFC East has 2 of the top 5, 3 of the top 10, and their last team WAS is a respectable #20. The NFC shows clear domination through the early part of the season, which ties into their big edge in head to head meetings with the AFC. Of note with the AFC, the East also has strength at the top with 3 of their 4 teams ranking in the top 8.

Next up, here are my projected standings after Wk3. As a reminder, this process involves playing out the entire season based on my power ratings for each team.

AFC East Wins Loss
NYJ 9.14 6.86
NE 8.72 7.28
BUF 8.07 7.93
MIA 7.22 8.78
NFC East Wins Loss
PHI 9.67 6.33
DAL 8.87 7.13
NYG 8.39 7.61
WAS 6.76 9.24
AFC North Wins Loss
BAL 9.58 6.42
PIT 8.49 7.52
CIN 8.08 7.92
CLE 4.35 11.65
NFC North Wins Loss
GB 8.88 7.12
CHI 8.30 7.70
MIN 7.86 8.14
DET 7.84 8.16
AFC South Wins Loss
HOU 13.08 2.92
JAC 5.66 10.34
IND 5.54 10.46
TEN 5.43 10.57
NFC South Wins Loss
ATL 10.85 5.15
CAR 7.24 8.76
TB 6.22 9.78
NO 6.00 10.00
AFC West Wins Loss
SD 9.23 6.77
DEN 9.05 6.95
KC 6.68 9.32
OAK 6.40 9.61
NFC West Wins Loss
SF 10.74 5.26
ARI 9.13 6.87
SEA 8.39 7.61
STL 6.14 9.86

AFC Playoffs
#1 HOU
#2 BAL
#3 SD vs. #6 NE
#4 NYJ vs. #5 DEN

NFC Playoffs
#1 ATL
#2 SF
#3 PHI vs. #6 DAL
#4 GB vs. #5 ARI

Following Week 3 games I have adjusted the power ratings for 8 teams, 4 up and 4 down as I always keep the proper balance within my ratings. After updating for last week's action, and the power rating changes just mentioned, there are eight teams that moved up or down 1 projected win:

UP:
Atlanta 1.3
Minnesota 1.3
New York Giants 1.1
Arizona 1.1

DOWN:
Carolina (1.2)
Washington (1.2)
San Diego (1.2)
Pittsburgh (1.0)

Last analysis for this week (I will post each week just like the standings above) is my power rankings. My rankings are comprised of a pair of numbers: one measures team performance in my performance ratings (discussed in the opener of this entry); two measures team performance vs. the spread. These two ratings are weighted and combined for my official power rankings.

Power Rankings - Week 3
Rank Team
1 Houston
2 San Francisco
3 Atlanta
4 New England
4 Baltimore
6 Green Bay
7 Denver
8 Philadelphia
9 Pittsburgh
10 San Diego
10 New York Jets
12 Dallas
13 New York Giants
14 New Orleans
15 Arizona
16 Chicago
16 Seattle
18 Carolina
18 Detroit
20 Buffalo
21 Washington
22 Miami
22 Minnesota
24 Cincinnati
25 St. Louis
25 Oakland
27 Kansas City
28 Tampa Bay
29 Jacksonville
30 Tenneessee
30 Indianapolis
32 Cleveland

  
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