ESPN NFL Against The Spread Power Rankings
It has definitely been a roller coaster ride for NFL betting fans this season. Teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints got off to a strong start only to fall to the bottom of the totem pole late in the season. Conversely, teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys have surprisingly fought through the season to finish with a winning record ATS. Let’s take a look at the final ATS power rankings to see how each team ended their regular season this year.
- Chicago Bears (2018 Straight Up (12-4) 2018 ATS (12-4) 2017 ATS (8-6-2) Last Week’s Rank: 1)
The Chicago Bears is one team that continually makes it in the top three of these rankings throughout the entire season. With that being said, it would be no surprise that the Bears ended the regular season with the best ATS record in the NFL. With a little wiggle room to spare, the Bears had two more ATS wins over any other team this season. During week seventeen, the Bears were one of a handful of teams playing for playoff positioning and had the chance to knock the Minnesota Vikings out of the playoffs.
With the Bears demonstrating their power running game, Jordan Howard led a 109 yard and two score game. This game wasn’t any different for quarterback of the Vikings, Kirk Cousins, as his failure against decent teams continued. Up next, the Bears will hose the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC wild-card round of the playoffs. Chicago is setting at -6-points in that game, which is a risky number considering the uphill climb that the Eagles have made later this season.
The Eagles have made some serious progress this season with huge wins over teams like the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Rams. Coming off the impressive Super Bowl win from last season, the Eagles will still have something to prove in this week’s game.
- Cleveland Browns (2018 Straight Up (7-8-1) 2018 ATS (10-6) 2017 ATS (4-12) Last Week’s Rank: 4)
People were extremely shocked to see the Cleveland Browns in the top three ATS power rankings in week one. However, the shock was warranted considering the consistently terrible seasons the Browns have had in the past. With Baker Mayfield leading the team this year, there is a chance for Cleveland to shine.
Despite their past, the Cleveland Browns have found themselves with the second most ATS wins out of any NFL team this season. The Browns made a great run before losing their final game in Baltimore, but things definitely seem to be looking up for this Cleveland team.
- New Orleans Saints (2018 Straight Up (13-3) 2018 ATS (10-6) 2017 ATS (8-8) Last Week’s Rank: 3)
The New Orleans Saints didn’t seem to care too much about week seventeen stating that they would be resting their essential players. Players like Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Alex Okafor did not play. It didn’t seem to make sense when the numbers came out, especially with Teddy Bridgewater making his first start under new administration, and basically seemed like free money to betting fans.
The Saints have a first-round bye this week and will host the lowest remaining seed in the NFC during the divisional round. With the week off and the additional week off that those key players had, the Saints might be able to recharge and make a run in the playoffs.
- Seattle Seahawks (2018 Straight Up (10-6) 2018 ATS (9-5-2) 2017 ATS (6-9-1) Last Week’s Rank: 2
The Seattle Seahawks had it pretty easy in week seventeen against the Arizona Cardinals to secure the number five seed in the NFC playoffs, although it was a much closer game than expected. The Seahawks didn’t have the win locked in until Sebastian Janikowski kicked the game-winning field goal just as time ran out.
After week seventeen, the Seahawks completed an impressive regular season with the second fewest losses ATS than any other team in the league. The Seahawks will get to face the Dallas Cowboys again in the first-round of the playoffs. While they dominated the Cowboys earlier in the season, the Seahawks will travel to Dallas this time with the Cowboys being -2-point home favorites.
- Dallas Cowboys (2018 Straight Up (10-6) 2018 ATS (9-6-1) 2017 ATS (8-7-1) Last Week’s Rank: 6)
The Dallas Cowboys seem to be playing better than they have all season just in time for the playoffs. With their playoff positioning already locked in, the Cowboys have had an impressive end to the regular season winning seven out of their last eight games. Before week seventeen, the Cowboys told the media that they would in fact be playing their starters, which seemed surprising to most fans.
Those betters that listened came out winners. Dallas took the lead late in the game when Dak Prescott threw Cole Beasley a 32-yard score with a little over a minute left in the game. The Cowboys went for the two-point conversion to take the lead rather than kicking the extra point to go into overtime. Luckily for the Cowboys, the game ended in a 36-35 win and will host another home game against the Seahawks in the first-round of the playoffs.
- Kansas City Chiefs (2018 Straight Up (12-4) 2018 ATS (9-6-1) 2017 ATS (10-6) Last Week’s Rank: 7)
While the Kansas City Chiefs had everyone dumbfounded for the first ten weeks of the season as to why Patrick Mahomes and his offense could not be stopped, their top spot was taken away after dropping Kareem Hunt from the team due to domestic violence allegations. The Chiefs are now sitting in the number six spot.
The Chiefs would lock in the number one seed in the AFC playoffs after successfully beating the Oakland Raiders. Patrick Mahomes broke multiple records while the Chiefs comfortably covered the spread with a 35-3 win. The Chiefs will have the week off awaiting their next opponent.
- New England Patriots (2018 Straight Up (11-5) 2018 ATS (9-7) ATS (11-5) Last Week’s Rank: 8)
The New England Patriots were in the number one spot when the power rankings came out at the beginning of the season. After consistently covering spreads, it wouldn’t be a surprise for the Patriots to have another successful year. Finishing still in the top ten, the Patriots have continually earned their spot in the rankings week after week.
Many people look for anyone else to be named a “better quarterback” than Tom Brady, but there’s not another name to throw in the mix. He may not be as strong as he once was, but the difference in Tom Brady is that he consistently figures out a way to win games. The Patriots are once again expected to excel in the playoffs this year.
- Los Angeles Chargers (2018 Straight Up (12-4) 2018 ATS (9-7) 2017 ATS (8-6-2) Last Week’s Rank: 10)
The Los Angeles Chargers had their shot at being the overall number one seed in the AFC playoffs, but ended up as the five seen. The chargers will be the underdogs in their next contest as they travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens. The Ravens are the easy favorite in this game just coming off a win against the Chargers and having the home field advantage, but the Chargers could sneak by with a win in this rematch.
- Washington Redskins (2018 Straight Up (7-9) 2018 ATS (9-7) 2017 ATS (7-9) Last Week’s Rank: 5)
Prior to losing their starting quarterback, Alex Smith, the Washington Redskins were in a great spot for the playoffs and were also in first place in the NFC East Division. It was a struggle for the Redskins to end the regular season with a winning ATS record of 9-7. After getting killed in week seventeen at home against the Eagles and another miracle season for sixty-five year old Adrian Peterson, fans are considering that the Redskins are dwindling down.
- Detroit Lions (2018 Straight Up (6-10) 2018 ATS (9-7) 2017 ATS (9-7) Last Week’s Rank: Not Ranked)
The Detroit Lions are ranked tenth for the end of the regular season. Expectations for playoff games were let down by the ten loss season. The last game of their season was their highlight point beating the Green Bay Packers 31-0 and putting an end to quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, season with a concussion. Despite the ten losses, the Lions finished with a winning record against the number, placing them in the top ten.