Football Betting Preview: 2015 Preseason Edition of NFL Coach Power Rankings
Besides football betting fans’ favorite, New England’s coach Bill Belichick, who has been in a class of his own for quite a while, it’s hard to pick and choose the best NFL coaches in the league. But based on how the coaches have fared over the recent years, we will do our best to be as considerate and accommodative as possible. That being said, let the discussions begin!
NFL Coach Power Rankings & NFL Football Betting Analysis
1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
You looking for a guy who does everything to be a winner (including cheating, see Deflategate scandal and Spygate scandal for reference), Belichick is your guy. Oh, and if numbers don’t lie, then Belichick career record of 211-109-0 (.659 winning percentage), the best mark of the active coaches in the NFL, and his four Super Bowl titles (the best of active NFL coaches) tell a lot of truth about his potential. Not to forget his 12 playoff appearances as a coach, the two Super Bowl rings Belichick won as a defensive coordinator with the Giants, and the fact that he is the reigning Super Bowl winner.
2. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
With back-to-back NFC Championship titles in the last two years, two Super Bowl appearances and 1 Super Bowl title, Carroll earns himself an easy No. 2 position in this list. In addition, Carroll improved from the 33-31 record (.515 winning percentage) with the Jets and Patriots) to .625 winning percentage in his 5 seasons with the Seattle, making him one of the most improved NFL coaches.
3. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
Apart from his impressive 94-49-1 record in his nine seasons with the Packers and a Super Bowl title in 2010, McCarthy has been a consistent performer, leading Green Bay to 6 double-digit win seasons. Plus, his .656 career winning percentage comes second to only Belichick among active NFL coaches.
4. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
Though underrated by many, Harbaugh has been one of the best coaches in the league, bragging of a 72-40 mark in his 7 seasons with the Ravens, with his winning percentage of .643, being the third-best of all active NFL coaches. Additionally, Harbaugh is impressively 10-5 all-time in the playoffs, including a Super Bowl title in 2012.
5. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
Boasting of one Super Bowl title, one AFC Championship title, four divisional titles and five seasons of double-digit wins, Tomlin is definitely a top-five coach in the league. Plus, his winning percentage of .641 with the Steelers is the fourth-best of all active coaches.
6. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
Coming off a 6-10 season, his worst record as the Giants’ coach, Coughlin definitely has a long way to go prove that he is a top coach. But putting aside his forgettable 2014 season, Coughlin has two Lombardi Trophy titles, five divisional titles (three with the Giants and two with the Jags), an impressive 12-7 record in the playoffs, and seven 10-win seasons, putting him up there among the best tacticians in the sport.
7. Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals
Say hello to the reigning coach of the year, his second Coach of the Year award in three years with two different teams (the Colts and Cards). Most impressively about him, Arians has led his team to 10-6 and 11-5 marks in his last two seasons, in spite of dealing with several injuries. If Carson Palmer can stay healthy this year, be sure that Arians will not only collect another double-digit season, but he could even lead the Cards to a win of the NFC West title and a berth in the 2015-16 NFL playoffs.
8. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Like Coughlin, the past two seasons have been rather disappointing for Payton, but that doesn’t change the fact his 80-48 record in nine seasons with the Saints (including five playoff appearances and a Super Bowl title in the 2009 season) ranks him among the best NFL coaches and offensive maestros in the game, particularly based on what Drew Brees has been doing.
9. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
With 10 playoff appearances in his 16 seasons, one Super Bowl appearance and a 20-12 record in his past two seasons with the Chiefs, Reid remains one of the best tacticians of the game. With the offseason changes they’ve made to their secondary, and mouthwatering talent added to their good offense from last year, the Chiefs should be able to challenge strongly (if not win) this year’s AFC West title.
10. Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts
Coming off a 12-game layoff in his first season (due to health concerns), Pagano has bounced back strongly with a solid 33-15 record in charge of the Colts. Not to mention, Indianapolis has made it to three back-to-back playoffs in the last three years, which included an appearance in the 2014-15 AFC Championship game. With the ever-surging QB Andrew Luck reportedly in the best shape of his career, and a much improved defense to keep things tight at the back, it would be a surprise if Pagano’s team surprised the NFL odds to go all the way to this season’s Super Bowl game.
11. John Fox, Chicago Bears
In all fairness, Fox should have probably ranked higher than No. 13, bearing in mind that he’s led both the Panthers and Bears (his past two teams) to the Super Bowl, even if he lost both times. Furthermore, in his 13 seasons as a head coach, Fox is decently a 119-89. Unfortunately, with all that experience, and talented pieces like QB Jay Cutler in Chicago, he’s not been able to do much with the Bears. For the sake of the we-are-starting-to-get-impatient Chicago fans, all the predictions about an improved and strong season for Chicago in 2015 will come to fruition, or else we’ll be dropping him further down this list next year.
12. Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles
Despite a (fill in whatever you deem appropriate) quarterback situation in Philadelphia, Kelly has led the Eagles to a decent 20-12 regular-season record in his last two years. Still, he is yet to get a playoff win and it doesn’t look like the QB situation in Philly is solved (unless you consider Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley as solutions), making him sit out in our top-10 rankings
13. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
For a man who hadn’t head-coached any team prior to joining the Bengals 12 years ago, a 100- 90-2 record is certainly not that bad. Unfortunately, Lewis has led his team to the playoffs a good number of times (including the last four years in a row) but the Bengals are yet to record a postseason win in his 12 years in charge of the team. Don’t bet on Lewis playoff drought to change. Matter of fact, with their trying 2015 schedule and a tough in-division challenge from the likes of Pittsburgh and Baltimore, I wouldn’t be keen to bet on Cincy to reach the playoffs.
14. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Why would a coach who has not had a losing season with the Cowboys rank this averagely? Well, despite his decent 41-31 record in 72 games with Dallas, the Cowboys had finished 8-8 for three seasons in a row before last year’s 12-4 record. Also, last year’s playoff win was the first one in his career. If he can lead the Cowboys to another winning regular-season record and possibly a playoff berth and postseason win, he’ll definitely break into our top-10 next year.
15. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Winning two back-to-back divisional titles (for the first time in the division’s history) should be commendable, but when that division is the weak NFC South and the coach is below the .500 mark at 32-31-1 in his 64 games at the helm, then the best mark we can give is a middling No. 15 position. Is that too high or low for Rivera in his time with the Panthers?
16. Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions
Despite leading the Lions to an 11-5 record and a near-division title in his first season in Detroit, Caldwell and Lions looked more like a lucky team rather than a good one, squeaking past most of their opponents rather than beating them, as other 11-5 teams should do. Still, it would be unfair to take away the credit from Caldwell, a man who led the Colts to a 26-22 record and a Super Bowl appearance in 2009. Only time will tell if Caldwell will give another double-digit win this year, but if I were you, I’d be very weary of a man who wouldn’t do everything in his power to persuade the best player in the team (Ndamukong Suh) from leaving.
17. Jeff Fisher, St. Louis Rams
After going 162-147-1 in his 17 seasons with the Titans, including six playoff appearances and one Super Bowl game, Fisher is yet to find his groove with the Rams, as he is just 20-27-1 in three seasons, negating his hard-earned good reputation with Tennessee.
18. Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers
An offensive maestro whose tactics are often likened to those of Payton (Saints), McCoy is definitely one of the coaches to watch this year and in the upcoming seasons. In his two years with the Chargers, he has compiled an 18-14 record, going 9-7 in both seasons, with one playoff appearance and a 1-1 postseason mark.
19. Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans
O’Brien had an above-average first season with the Texans, coping well with the loss of two starting QBs and the injury of Jadeveon Clowney (2014’s No. 1 overall pick) to finish with a solid 9-7 mark. Bearing in mind his splendid record at Penn State, and the return of Clowney alongside J.J. Watt, the Texans figure to make another strong run in 2015.
20. Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When you are mentioning the names of bad coaches, make no mistake of including Smith’s name. In his 9 years the Bears, Smith tallied a respectable 81-63 mark, including three playoff appearances and an appearance in Super Bowl XLI. Unfortunately for him, his first season with the Bucs in 2014 ended in a disappointing 2-14 record. The Bucs can, however, be hopeful, considering they now have a promising QB in first-overall 2015 NFL draft pick Jameis Winston.
21. Gary Kubiak, Denver Broncos
Kubiak is back, but we will have to wait until the end of the year to judge him. But on the account of his 61-64 record as the head coach for the Texans between 2006 and 2013 (including two divisional titles), and the good offensive changes he made in Baltimore as their offensive coordinator, this ranking will do just fine. Plus, we can’t rank someone based on what he is prospected to do (in 2015), but rather on what he has done in the past.
22. Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
After leading the Vikings to a not-so-bad 7-9 record last year with a rookie QB, there is hope that Zimmer will be able to do more in 2015, now that Teddy Bridgewater (entering his second year at the center) will be able to perform better, especially because the explosive Adrian Peterson is back in the ranks as the team’s leading running back. If all goes as expected, Zimmer will be ranking higher after 2015, and possibly challenging for the division title in the near future.
23. Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins
Owning the hottest coaching seat in the NFL ahead of the new season must be giving Philbin many nightmares. With identical 8-8 records in his past two seasons and a career record of 23-25, Philbin isn’t doing that badly. But with the immense talent in his team and the money pumped in by the owners, he should be doing better. 2015 will be his make-or-break year. Anything less than a playoff appearance and his head will be on the chopping board at the end of the 2015-16 NFL season.
24. Rex Ryan, Buffalo Bills
After leading the Jets to two AFC Championship games in his first two seasons, Ryan endured a horrid time in New York, culminating in the 4-12 mark in 2014 that saw him get fired. With an overall record of 46-50 with the Jets (26-38 in his last four seasons), Ryan has a lot of work to do to get his career numbers up. Fortunately, the Bills were 9-7 in 2014, so there is hope for some positive progression.
25. Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee Titans
Did you know that Whisenhunt had a Super Bowl appearance as a head coach for the Cardinals in 2008 and came within seconds of claiming the trophy? Well, you wouldn’t be judged harshly for not knowing, considering all the negative attention he’s been getting, following his 2-14 record in his first year in charge of the Titans in 2014. In fact, when joining Tennessee, his career numbers were 45-51, including 6 years at Arizona. Well, with his record now dropped to 47-65, Marcus Mariota and co. will need to up their game to help Whisenhunt find a better ranking in the upcoming years.
26. Jack Del Rio, Oakland Raiders
After serving for nine years with the Jags and collecting a 68-71 record, Del Rio is back for his second head-coaching stint, taking on a disappointing Raiders team from 2014 and hoping he can help them make a quick turnaround. It’s not going to be easy, as the majority of talent in Oakland constitute young players. Still, given a few years, the Raiders could be a force to reckon with, considering Rio led the Jags to two playoff appearances and was decently 40-24 in his remarkable run between 2004 and 2007.
27. Mike Pettine, Cleveland Browns
For all the criticisms he faced, mainly because of the poor showing by 2014 first round pick Johnny Manziel, Pettine still managed to total a 7-9 season last year, which isn’t that bad. Nonetheless, as a coach, you get paid to make the right decisions, and based on the Johnny Football situation that was wrongly miscalculated, Pettine lands here among the not-good coaches section.
28. Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars
Like Del Rio, Bradley has a young roster and still needs a couple of reliable pieces, especially on the offensive side of things. In main, the lack of quality talent has led to his underwhelming two seasons in charge of the Jags. 2015 could see more victories than in 2014 for the Jags, but with just 7 wins in his two season, it’s hard not to rank Bradley anywhere higher than this.
29. Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
Just like Pettine, Gruden lands here because of his inability to make Robert Griffin III the stellar NFL QB he was expected to be. Oh, and even with the criticism, Gruden and the management have chosen to stick with RGIII. Not that Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy are any better, but with a the NFL free agency and the NFL draft offering several options, the head coach and the Redskins should have found a reliable fall-back plan.
30. Todd Bowles, New York Jets
Bowles is a first year head coach, so we have nothing on him. I really hated the move to pick Geno Smith over Larry Fitzgerald for the QB starting job, but he was a defensive coordinator for the Cardinals last year, so I wouldn’t hold that decision over his head because he probably knows nothing much about how to run a good offense.
31. Jim Tomsula, San Francisco 49ers
Another first-year head coach, meaning we are blank on how he’d perform as a head coach. However, I hear that the management loves him and the players have mad respect for his leadership, so it would be “disrespectful” to his many supporters if we placed him dead last in this list.
32. Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
Actually, I love Danny Quinn a lot and I can put my money on him to lead the Falcons to at least an 8-8 record in his first year as Atlanta’s head coach. Sadly, someone has to make the cut for the last place here and I couldn’t find a slot to fix him up there, so I will let him take the No. 32 spot (and send my biggest apologies to all the Falcons out there).