LAS VEGAS -- The Denver Broncos are alone atop the NFL Vegas Rankings for the first time this season, but they have others to thank for their ascension.
First of all, they should thank the Dallas Cowboys for upsetting the Seattle Seahawks, who have been tied with the Broncos for the top power rating in our poll that is compiled using the power ratings of our panel of ESPN Insider handicappers: Sal Selvaggio of madduxsports.com, Erin Rynning of sportsmemo.com and yours truly, Dave Tuley. Seattle was a 9.5-point home favorite on Sunday, and not only failed to cover but lost outright, 30-23.
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The Broncos should also thank New York Jets QB Geno Smith for throwing the ball to Denver cornerback Aqib Talib, who ran back the INT to help Denver cover as 10-point road underdogs in their 31-17 win. A loss or even noncover probably would have dropped the Broncos' power rating and kept them from taking over the top spot.
As it is, the Broncos -- despite losing 26-20 in overtime at Seattle back in Week 3 -- are now considered half a point better than the Seahawks if they were to meet on a neutral field. They are still the two best teams in the league from a power-rating standpoint, but the gap is slowly closing.
The NFL Vegas Rankings are used to compare two teams to the current point spread (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 4 to 4.5 points).
Below is a look at the power ratings for all 32 NFL teams, along with Week 7 games where there appears to be value in the current lines. Again, these are not my personal plays or that of any of the other handicappers, but rather the group as a whole. I'll post my thoughts on the weekend's card in the Tuley's Take column Friday.
NFL Vegas Rankings
1. Denver Broncos (Power rating: 26.5)
It wasn't pretty (and they needed a late pick-six), but the Broncos covered for the second straight week. The close call against the Jets keeps their power rating the same.
Previous rating: 26.5