LAS VEGAS -- Just like Peyton Manning has separated himself from his quarterback brethren in the record book and just like his receivers separate themselves from defenders, so have the Denver Broncos separated themselves from the field in this week's NFL Vegas Rankings.
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Denver blew out San Francisco 42-17 before a national TV audience Sunday night as Manning broke Brett Favre's career passing touchdown mark. The game wasn't as close as the score indicated, as the Broncos dominated on both sides of the ball.
The victory, their third straight win and cover, impressed our panel of ESPN Insider handicappers -- Sal Selvaggio of madduxsports.com, Erin Rynning of sportsmemo.com and yours truly, Dave Tuley -- so much that their combined power rating was increased by 1.5 points. Coupled with Seattle losing 28-26 at St. Louis, that left the Broncos rated a full field goal better than the Seahawks (despite losing to them in Week 3 in Seattle) and Green Bay Packers.
The NFL Vegas Rankings are used to compare two teams to the current point spread as if they were meeting on a neutral field, and then factoring in home-field advantage. The industry standard is 2.5 points for home field, but teams such as Green Bay, New England and San Francisco are typically given a full field goal, while Denver and New Orleans are closer to 3.5. Seattle is given the biggest home-field advantage in the league (about four to 4.5 points), though that might be downgraded after the Week 6 home loss to Dallas.
Below is a look at the power ratings for all 32 NFL teams, along with Week 8 games where there appears to be value in the current lines. As always, these are not my personal plays or that of any of the other handicappers, but rather the collective group as a whole. I'll post my thoughts in the Tuley's Take column Friday.
NFL Vegas Rankings
1. Denver Broncos (Power rating: 28)
What more can be said? The Broncos covered for the third straight week as they dominated the 49ers on both sides of the ball, so our panel improved their rating a point and a half.
Previous rating: 26.5