Betting takeaways from ESPN’s Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Time to back the Packers?

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Bill Belichick has the Death Star humming again. The once-mighty Rams, Cowboys and Titans look quite ordinary. Here come the Niners and Bengals. The AFC West is … something.

We’re now essentially two-thirds of the way through the NFL regular season, and the push for the playoffs begins with the increasingly cold, but important, December games.

Let’s take a look at this week’s Power Rankings and see what stands out.


Green Bay Packers (1)

Green Bay is on top, where it belongs. The Pack are 10-2 ATS this season (best mark in the NFL). Aaron Rodgers continues to play like the best QB in the universe despite his toe injury. The defense — without CB Jaire Alexander and EDGE Za’Darius Smith — is playing surprisingly stingy football. At +750, now might be as good a time as any to jump on Green Bay as the Super Bowl champ. The Packers are on a bye Week 13, but come back Week 14 hosting the Bears on Sunday night. Whatever the number is, I would lay it as long as No. 12 is playing in the game.

Baltimore Ravens (4)

I’m kind of surprised to see the Ravens all the way up to No. 4 in the Power Rankings. I love Lamar Jackson, John Harbaugh and the boys as much as anyone — in fact, I bet them to win the Super Bowl last year, and I picked them to represent the AFC again this year (before the slew of preseason injuries). But this seems a little high given the razor’s edge this team has been walking on all season long. Yes, having Lamar (even when he’s throwing four INTs) is the ultimate equalizer, but the AFC’s current No. 1 seed at 8-3 very easily could have lost games to Kansas City, Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago (without Lamar), Indianapolis and Cleveland. Point is, the Ravens play in a lot of close games and have had some very good luck in those contests. Is that sustainable? This week they travel to Pittsburgh laying 3.5 points, and the Steelers side intrigues me big-time. The public will be fading the Steelers hard after their embarrassing loss to Cincinnati, and I think they’re a live ‘dog at home in a desperate divisional matchup.

Los Angeles Rams (11)

The Rams are sinking right now. Once a 7-1 team with a convincing victory over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, Sean McVay’s squad has dropped three in a row in uninspiring fashion. Right now this is a team in transformation and it has been uncomfortable. Newcomers Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. were always going to take some time to jell with their new teammates, but losing offensive linchpin Robert Woods for the season is the most damaging and impactful roster change to hit this team in the McVay era. Can the Rams rediscover their early-season form? I think so. But it’s going to require one hell of a coaching job by McVay, and frankly it doesn’t seem like this campaign is shaping up to be his finest coaching effort yet. They get a bounce-back spot in Week 13 at home against the Jaguars laying 13.5. I think this game can go a long way toward telling us what this Rams team will be come playoff time, as unbelievable as that sounds. Win and cover in convincing fashion, and there is some hope. Fail to cover or — gasp! — lose outright and the all-in Rams will officially be bankrupt for this season.

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