- Dave Tuley, ESPN Insider
LAS VEGAS -- The Houston Texans beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday night in what many were calling a Super Bowl preview, and it was enough to vault Houston back into the top spot of the Vegas NFL Bettors' Poll.
The rankings are a composite of the power rankings of Teddy "Covers" Sevransky of sportsmemo.com, Sal Selvaggio of madduxsports.com and yours truly, Dave Tuley. Our No. 1 ranking has been a precarious perch (falling short of calling it a jinx until more data is collected), as the Texans held it for the first two weeks we ran the poll before Weeks 4 and 5, the Patriots were No. 1 for Weeks 6 and 7, the Texans and Giants shared the top spot before Week 8, and the 49ers replaced them for the past two weeks.
The Baltimore Ravens saw the biggest increase in the ratings at 1.5 points coming off their 55-20 rout of the Oakland Raiders (and likely a correction from them being dropped too far earlier). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rams, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs all saw their rating increase by a full point.
The Pittsburgh Steelers joined the 49ers in dropping a full point despite beating the Chiefs 16-13 in overtime Monday night, as they fell way short of the 13-point spread. The Steelers' downgrade is also partially due to the uncertain status of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. While we could assign different power ratings to the teams with the starting quarterbacks out or questionable as of Tuesday morning (see also the 49ers, Bears, Philadelphia Eagles), we still view football as a team game and will stick with our numbers. We'll leave any further adjustments to the Millman Rankings this week.
Here is the Week 11 Vegas NFL Bettors' Poll:
Value in the lines for Week 11
Each week, we go through the schedule and compare the power ratings of the two teams playing in every game to see if there is any edge to be found with our collective power ratings against the available lines. We lost with the Chargers last week to drop to 10-12 with these suggested plays, though it's hard to handicap a pick-six and a blocked punt -- though maybe that is our fault for not adding in the Norv Turner factor.
(Disclaimer: These are not my personal plays, just suggestions based on the combined ratings from the group as a whole. Many other factors can come into play when handicapping the games, such as travel, scheduling dynamics, rivalries, revenge and so on.)
I'll be back with my ESPN Insider picks for Week 11 on Friday.
We actually have three plays this week as we hope to get back to .500:
Detroit Lions plus-3.5 versus Green Bay Packers
The Packers are 3.5 points better than the Lions on the raw numbers, but you have to give Detroit at least a few points for home-field advantage. Yet this line is available over a field goal.