User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Handicapping the AFC

New Sportsbook.com customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

   

Editor's Note: Don't miss out on weekly NFL Winners from The SportsBoss on VegasInsider.com.

Power Rankings - Week 15

Seattle has maintained the top spot over the last three weeks despite seeing their rating fall 0.7 points. We have really seen a big drop in ratings towards the top as there are only four teams that have posted an average grade above 88.8 on the season!

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 Blended Turnover
Wins Team Rating Rank Rating Rank Rating Rank SOS Margin
12 SEA 47.5 4 48.9 1 96.4 1 31 16
10 CAR 46.8 7 46.1 3 93.0 2 30 11
11 DEN 54.0 1 38.6 17 92.6 3 25 (3)
10 NO 47.5 4 42.9 8 90.4 4 24 0
9 CIN 42.8 14 46.0 4 88.8 5 20 (1)
7 DET 45.8 9 42.6 11 88.4 6 16 (13)
11 KC 44.6 10 43.0 7 87.7 7 32 21
10 SF 40.9 18 46.3 2 87.2 8 8 8
9 ARI 41.0 17 43.5 6 84.5 9 14 4
8 CHI 51.6 2 32.3 28 83.9 10 26 6
7 SD 51.3 3 32.4 27 83.6 11 18 (2)
8 PHI 47.1 6 34.8 25 81.9 12 29 9
6 PIT 40.2 20 40.7 13 80.9 13 23 (4)
3 WAS 43.7 11 36.9 21 80.6 14 11 (9)
7 GB 46.6 8 33.8 26 80.5 15 28 (3)
10 NE 43.3 12 36.9 20 80.2 16 22 4
2 HOU 37.3 23 42.8 9 80.1 17 18 (15)
5 BUF 36.0 26 42.6 12 78.6 18 27 1
5 TEN 40.2 19 37.6 18 77.8 19 6 (3)
9 IND 41.5 15 35.6 23 77.1 20 10 7
8 BAL 31.8 29 45.2 5 77.0 21 15 (2)
8 MIA 37.1 24 39.7 15 76.8 22 13 2
4 CLE 35.4 27 40.1 14 75.5 23 9 (6)
6 STL 39.3 22 35.4 24 74.7 24 3 9
6 NYJ 30.8 31 42.8 9 73.5 25 19 (19)
4 OAK 36.9 25 36.3 22 73.2 26 21 (8)
7 DAL 42.9 13 29.4 32 72.3 27 12 11
4 MIN 41.5 15 30.1 30 71.5 28 4 (7)
5 NYG 31.6 30 39.4 16 71.1 29 2 (17)
4 TB 33.0 28 37.1 19 70.1 30 1 11
4 ATL 39.5 21 29.8 31 69.3 31 5 (4)
4 JAC 27.9 32 30.7 29 58.6 32 8 (4)


This week let’s examine some interesting stats/metrics about each currently projected AFC playoff team (next week we will examine the NFC):

#1 Denver: The Broncos defense has really fallen on hard times posting a mark better than their opponent’s offense just twice since their Week 9 bye (top defensive grade is just 43 over their last 6 games), with an average grade of just 33.5 – that mark would be around 27th in the NFL based on full year grades. Some of that has been driven by injuries (S Rahim Moore, CB Champ Bailey, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, LB Wesley Woodyard, DT Derek Wolfe, DT Kevin Vickerson), but a lot of it has been simply put poor performance against some of the better teams on their schedule.

#2 New England: The loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski really hurts this team, especially considering all the additional injuries this team has faced on the outside, and defensively. New England rates just 16th in the NFL according to my performance ratings including a defense checking in at #20. Like the Broncos the Patriots defense is not playing well, checking in with an average grade of 29.3 over their last 6 games – that mark would be worst in the NFL (yes, even worse than Dallas) if based on full year grades! Considering a potential matchup in Denver for the AFC Championship, it seems New England will really have its hands full to reach Met Life Stadium.

Advertisement
#3 Cincinnati:
Like the Broncos & Patriots above them the Bengals lost on Sunday, and have holes themselves especially if they earned the #3 seed instead of the #2. The Bengals are outscoring their opponents by 16.0ppg at home, but are being outscored by 2.0ppg in road contests. If they were to stick in the 3 spot they would likely host Baltimore, Miami or San Diego in their opening Wild Card contest, but would then go to New England with a win – and face a Patriots team who would be seeking revenge from a beat down in Cincy earlier this season. It really seems like the Bengals will once again struggle to get past the Divisional Round unless they can secure the #2 seed as this is the rare AFC team that has graded well defensively most of the season.

#4 Indianapolis: Like themselves last year and New England this year, the Colts are not grading out well in the performance ratings as they check in at just #20. Before last week’s win over Houston they were outplayed in my performance ratings in six straight games following their bye week, and like some of the squads above them defense has been the major issue as they scored just a 25.6 average defensive grade over those six contests! Wow. Considering the Colts will be without WR Reggie Wayne, it’s hard to see how the Colts would be able to string together multiple wins in the playoffs.

#5 Kansas City: Outside of a pair of losses to Denver the Chiefs have arguably been the best team in the AFC this season – but how much of their success is supported by a +21 TOM? It’s hard to assume a TOM would remain that robust in the playoffs versus the best teams in the conference, while also facing those teams in their stadiums. That being said, the Chiefs are the 2nd best road team in the NFL this season both on a standalone rating and SOS adjusted basis, outscoring their opponents by an NFL best 15.0ppg. Kansas City could be the most dangerous team in the AFC, especially when it comes to the chances any of these teams has at beating Denver in the Mile High City.

#6 Baltimore/Miami/San Diego: We will touch on these squads as this process plays out, but we can see from above SD is rated highest according to my performance ratings, even when adjusting for SOS. With Baltimore hosting New England, and Miami travelling to Buffalo coming off their huge win over New England last week, San Diego may get revenge on Oakland and be in the driver’s seat come Week 17.

Next let’s examine conference and divisional breakdowns to see where the strengths and weaknesses are across the NFL landscape:

Division Rankings
Division Rating Overall Rank
NFC West 42 1
AFC West 47 2
NFC North 59 3
AFC North 62 5
NFC South 67 5
AFC East 81 6
NFC East 82 7
AFC East 88 8


Not much of a change over the last two weeks; only the AFC East and NFC East have flip-flopped spots.

Playoff Projections

AFC Playoffs
1) Denver
2) New England
3) Cincinnati
4) Indianapolis
5) Kansas City
6) Miami

NFC Playoffs
1) Seattle
2) Carolina
3) Philadelphia
4) Chicago
5) San Francisco
6) New Orleans

In this week’s projected playoff field I have given the #2 seed in the NFC to Carolina over New Orleans considering those two teams play this week in Carolina. The only real open spots are the #6 seed in the AFC & the NFC East divisional winner. We may see Week 17 decide both of those playoff spots with Baltimore at Cincinnati, Kansas City at San Diego, New York Jets at Miami deciding the AFC spot and Philadelphia at Dallas deciding the NFC East winner. More to come on these spots in the next two weeks.

Last analysis for this week are 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.

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


  
HEADLINES
Marshall: NFL Draft Analysis
ESPN to air NFL playoff game in 2014
QB Newton 'surprised' WR Smith released
Jags' Allen retires after in-game stroke
Broncos' Ware, Miller on comeback trail
Giants S Hill facing 3rd suspension
Bengals' Dalton compares self to top QBs
Redskins' Snyder says name is non-issue
Falcons' Smith demands stronger lines
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2013 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Nelson + 1340
Chip Chirimbes + 1286
The Gold Sheet + 1262
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 200
Pat Hawkins + 120
Chip Chirimbes + 100
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Joe Nelson 60 %
The SportsBoss 59 %
The Gold Sheet 59 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Nelson + 805
The Gold Sheet + 713
Scott Pritchard + 615
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 400
Joe Williams + 324
Tony Stoffo + 203
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
ASA + 670
The SportsBoss + 385
Brian Edwards + 337
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!