What would you rather do on a Sunday morning than wake up early and read weekly picks and power rankings involving 32 teams that basically are of equal strength and ability to beat, lose to or tie anyone on any given Sunday, Monday, Saturday, Thursday (and some day, when the revenue ceiling needs to be extended to a gazillion bazillion dollars, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday as well)?
CRAIG'S NFL POWER RANKINGS
BEST OF THE BUNCH
1. Broncos (5-0)
Why: For those of you taking the Jaguars and the 26 ½ points today, yes, I suppose there is a slim chance that the Broncos will win 26 ¼-0.
2. Saints (5-0); 3. Colts (4-1); 4. Seahawks (4-1); 5. Chiefs (5-0); 6. 49ers (3-2); 7. Bengals (3-2); 8. Patriots (4-1); 9. Packers (2-2); 10. Ravens (3-2); 11. Dolphins (3-2); 12. Browns (3-2); 13. Titans (3-2); 14. Jets (3-2); 15. Cardinals (3-2); 16. Lions (3-2); 17. Bears (4-2); 18. Raiders (2-3); 19. Rams (2-3); 20. Texans (2-3); 21. Chargers (2-3); 22. Eagles (2-3); 23. Cowboys (2-3); 24. Bills (2-3).
25. Vikings 1-3 (Last week: 23): Whether the moves at quarterback work out or not, the Vikings are doing what’s necessary. The only thing worse than not having what you think is your quarterback of the future is waiting too long on a guy you think maybe, might and/or possibly could have the potential to be your quarterback of the future. With the rookie salary cap in place, it’s easier to keep swinging until you hit the QB you’re looking for.
THE REST OF THE REST
26. Falcons (1-4); 27. Redskins (1-3); 28. Panthers (1-3); 29. Steelers (0-4); 30. Giants (0-6); 31. Buccaneers (0-4).
WORST OF THE BUNCH
32: Jaguars (0-5): Despite strong pushes from Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay and Eli Manning in New Jersey, the Jaguars are clinging to the bottom spot. Today’s meeting with the Broncos should help secure the grip going forward.
Panthers plus-2 at Vikings: Vikings 27, Panthers 21. Yes, it’s always dangerous to pick against a running quarterback when he’s playing the Vikings. Especially one like Cam Newton, who also can make any throw he needs to. But I’m going with the Vikings pass rush at the Metrodome (also wondering how long it will take in the new stadium for people to say how much more of an advantage the Metrodome crowd noise was). Newton was sacked seven times and turned the ball over four times in a loss to the Cardinals last week. I also think Matt Cassel keeps the offense running smoothly – or less bumpy is probably a better way to put it – at home against a tough Carolina defense.
Last week: Steelers minus-3 vs. Vikings in London. The pick: Steelers 24, Vikings 17. The final: Vikings 34, Steelers 27. Record: 1-3, 0-4 vs. the spread.
Saints plus-1 ½ at Patriots: Saints 34, Patriots 31 OT.
Why?: I’m officially giving up on picking against the Chiefs. They’re eight-point favorites at home against Oakland, but … not … gonna … do … it. As far as I’m concerned this week, Andy Reid’s gang will beat Oakland, sweep Peyton Manning and become the first team in NFL history to go 19-0. Instead, I’m going to pick the Saints over the Patriots, which, when you think about it, probably isn’t that much of an upset. But Vegas says it would be and this guy needs a win.
Last week: Chiefs minus-2 ½ at Titans. The pick: Titans 23, Chiefs 20. The final: Chiefs 26, Titans 17. Record: 0-5.
Raiders plus-8 at Chiefs: Chiefs by 7.
Eagles minus-2 ½ at Buccaneers: Eagles by 3.
Packers minus-3 at Ravens: Packers by 7.
Lions minus-2 ½ at Browns: Browns by 3.
Rams plus- 7 ½ at Texans: Texans by 3.
Steelers pick at Jets: Jets by 7.
Bengals minus-6 ½ at Bills: Bengals by 3.
Titans plus-13 at Seahawks: Seahawks by 7.
Jaguars plus-26 ½ at Broncos: Broncos by 21.
Cardinals plus-10 ½ at 49ers: 49ers by 14.
Redskins plus-5 at Cowboys: Cowboys by 7.
Colts minus-1 ½ at Chargers: Chargers by 3.
Record: Last week: 7-6; 5-8 vs. the spread. Overall: 34-38; 23-47-2 vs. the spread.