Every week during the NFL season, pundits from across the Internet compile power rankings to assess the quality of each team in the NFL. Power rankings generally provide a vehicle for discussion, as nobody is going to agree on the exact ranking of 32 NFL teams.
SB Nation's Joel Thorman compiled his Week 17 NFL power rankings and the most significant climber heading into Week 17 would be the Seattle Seahawks. Their thorough beating of the 49ers allowed them to climb from No. 7 to No. 3 as they appear to be turning into a force. On the other end of the spectrum, the worst teams remain the worst teams. There is some modest shuffling, but it's not pretty.
To provide a slightly more objective power ranking, I am back with a weekly ranking of how teams are doing against the spread. While this will not tell you which is the the best team in the NFL; it will tell us which teams would have earned you a little extra scratch to date. And maybe you can take something from these rankings in looking ahead for your future wagering.
The rankings are initially broken down by record against the spread. For teams that are tied, the tiebreaker is point differential.
1. Seattle Seahawks: 11-4 (+160)
2. Denver Broncos: 10-5 (+157)
3. St. Louis Rams: 10-5 (-42)
4. Washington Redskins: 9-5-1 (+38)
5. Atlanta Falcons: 9-6 (+125)
6. San Francisco 49ers: 9-6 (+110)
7. Houston Texans: 9-6 (+97)
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9-6 (-10)
9. Cincinnati Bengals: 8-6-1 (+65)
10. Miami Dolphins: 8-6-1 (-1)
11. Indianapolis Colts: 8-6-1 (-42)
12. New England Patriots: 8-7 (+198)
13. Minnesota Vikings: 8-7 (+28)
14. New Orleans Saints: 8-7 (+13)
15. Carolina Panthers: 8-7 (-12)
16. Green Bay Packers: 7-6-2 (+100)
17. Baltimore Ravens: 7-7-1 (+60)
18. Cleveland Browns: 7-7-1 (-52)
19. Chicago Bears: 7-8 (+96)
20. San Diego Chargers: 7-8 (-3)
21. New York Jets: 7-8 (-75)
22. New York Giants: 6-8-1 (+50)
23. Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-8-1 (-171)
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-9 (+8)
25. Dallas Cowboys: 6-9 (-14)
26. Arizona Cardinals: 6-9 (-93)
27. Buffalo Bills: 6-9 (-110)
28. Tennessee Titans: 6-9 (-159)
29. Detroit Lions: 5-8-2 (-63)
30. Kansas City Chiefs: 5-9-1 (-179)
31. Oakland Raiders: 4-11 (-150)
32. Philadelphia Eagles: 3-11-1 (-129)
It is rather fitting that the Seahawks and Broncos top The Vig this week. Although other teams have longer active win streaks than the Seahawks, no team has put together a three-game stretch like they have in quite some time. They are as hot as almost anybody in the NFL, and at just the right time, heading into the playoffs. The Broncos are the one team that is definitively hotter, having won 10 straight heading into Week 17. They are absolutely on fire, and the rankings reflect this.
Bad Beat of the Week: Panthers (-9) 17 - Raiders 6
A "bad beat" is a term used in poker when a strong hand that has a sizable statistical advantage loses to a much weaker hand that hits a lucky draw. The term has expanded to cover tough-luck losses, which is something we see all the time in the NFL. Virtually every week, at least one game has an ending that leaves some folks making a lot of money, and some folks losing a lot of money.
It's been a few weeks without a significant bad beat, and this one wasn't particularly awful. Graham Gano drilled a 51-yard field goal to bump the Panthers over the cover. This was an interesting matchup from a betting perspective. The Raiders are struggling mightily, but the Panthers probably should not be favored by 9 points against anybody this season. I would love to see how much money was bet on both sides of this one.
Week 17 Sure Thing**
Denver Broncos (-16) over Kansas City Chiefs
Most common sense in the NFL would indicate you rarely take a double-digit favorite, given how crazy the league can be. However, this is one instance where I think you go with the exception. The Broncos and Patriots are both playing at 4:25 p.m. ET. The Broncos hold a game edge on the Patriots, and they need to maintain that for the first-round bye, as the Patriots hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. Additionally, if Houston loses at Indianapolis in an earlier game, the Broncos could secure home field throughout the AFC bracket. It is safe to say, the Broncos are going to roll in this one.
**As sure a thing as there is in the wild world of the NFL.
Have your own "sure thing" pick for the week? Got a brutal story of a bad beat? Hit me up on twitter @davidfucillo to share your wisdom or agony with the world.