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 final NFL power rankings for 2012 and it is fitting that the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are at the top of the rankings. They are as hot as anybody heading into the playoffs. On the other end of things, the Chiefs and Jaguars wrapped up the top two picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, so it is only fitting they are at the bottom of the rankings.
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. Denver Broncos: 11-5 (+192)
2. Seattle Seahawks: 11-5 (+167)
3. St. Louis Rams: 11-5 (-49)
4. Washington Redskins: 10-5-1 (+48)
5. San Francisco 49ers: 10-6 (+124)
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 10-6 (-5)
7. Cincinnati Bengals: 9-6-1 (+71)
8. Indianapolis Colts: 9-6-1 (-30)
9. New England Patriots: 9-7 (+226)
10. Atlanta Falcons: 9-7 (+120)
11. Houston Texans: 9-7 (+85)
12. Minnesota Vikings: 9-7 (+31)
13. Carolina Panthers: 9-7 (-6)
14. Miami Dolphins: 8-7-1 (-29)
15. New Orleans Saints: 8-8 (+7)
16. San Diego Chargers: 8-8 (0)
17. Green Bay Packers: 7-7-2 (+97)
18. New York Giants: 7-8-1 (+85)
19. Baltimore Ravens: 7-8-1 (+54)
20. Cleveland Browns: 7-8-1 (-66)
21. Chicago Bears: 7-9 (+98)
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: 7-9 (+22)
23. Buffalo Bills: 7-9 (-91)
24. New York Jets: 7-9 (-94)
25. Tennessee Titans: 7-9 (-141)
26. Detroit Lions: 6-8-2 (-65)
27. Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-9-1 (-189)
28. Dallas Cowboys: 6-10 (-24)
29. Arizona Cardinals: 6-10 (-107)
30. Kansas City Chiefs: 5-10-1 (-214)
31. Oakland Raiders: 4-12 (-153)
32. Philadelphia Eagles: 3-12-1 (-164)
The gambling power rankings have a lot of differences compared to Joel's NFL power rankings, but one similarity is having the Seahawks and Broncos at the top of the rankings. Both teams blew through opponents late in the year, finishing strong. The Broncos head into the playoffs as the Super Bowl favorite, while the Seahawks have the best odds among wild card teams, and better odds than three division champs.
As we head into the weekend, we have some initial lines for the wild card round:
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans (-4 1/2)
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers (-9)
Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens (-6 1/2)
Seattle Seahawks (-3) @ Washington Redskins
The Seahawks are incredibly hot, but it is still interesting to see them as a road favorite against the Redskins. Washington actually has a longer win streak heading into the playoffs, having won seven straight to storm their way to the NFC East title. Robert Griffin III is playing as well as anybody, but oddsmakers likely view his knee injury as a potential problem.
The Vikings-Packers game is tough one to bet on from a spread standpoint. On the one hand, the Packers are always tough at Lambeau in January. On the other hand, do you have it in you to bet against Adrian Peterson? I think the Vikings are in for a huge letdown coming off a must-win emotional game against the Packers this past week. But, I keep coming back to Adrian Peterson. Can I really bet against All Day?
Have your own take on the playoffs? Got a brutal story of a bad beat from this season? Hit me up on twitter @davidfucillo to share your wisdom or agony with the world.