Posts by debaser1992

Tottenham’s Harry Kane should win Premier League Player of the Year

 

Last Saturday, I was in the Park Lane end at White Hart Lane, watching Spurs play Leicester. It finished 4-3 and any match with that scoreline, to get all @footballcliches, obligatorily has to be labelled a ‘seven goal thriller’ by commentators and match report writers.

This match wasn’t really a thriller though, more a series of ever increasing defensive cock ups. Leicester gave away a daft penalty and one, possibly two own goals. Spurs conceded thrice, to respectively a forward who hadn’t scored in five months, a lumpy centre half who’d never scored a Premier League goal and David Nugent who at kick off had the lethal goalscoring rate of eleven goals in eighty one Premier League games.

 

Phil Tufnell, fielding on the boundary once in Australia, was asked by a wag in the crowd to ‘lend me your brain, I’m building an idiot’. Any idiot builders would have loved to have got their hands on Kyle Walker’s brain, such was his performance. Somehow, it was rewarded with an England call-up. Does that make Roy Hodgson an idiot builder?

It was a weird game generally – odd goals, abnormal levels of cold for this time of year and most surprising of all, a good performance from Paulinho coming off the bench. A vast change from the man who for most of his time at Spurs looked no more likely to pen a bestselling novel than put in a  performance that would get more than 6.9 on Football Manager.

The game was memorable for a hat-trick by Harry Kane. At the ground, the reception to his hat-trick was warm but it wasn’t overwhelming. The ‘he’s one of our own chants’ struggled to get going, the volume was muted. It was akin more to nods of approval at a decent support act than crazed moshing at the chorus of a band’s best song.

 

Premier League Top Scorer Betting Odds:

Harry Kane 13/10

Diego Costa 8/5

Sergio Aguero 5/2

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

There were a few reasons for this. Firstly, for Spurs at least, the game didn’t mean a whole lot. The top four’s a distant hope, they’re out of the cup competitions and all a strong end to the season does is make it more likely Spurs end up in football purgatory (the Europa League) again next season. Also, Kane’s triumvirate of goals were not especially thrilling. A tap-in from a corner, a heavily deflected shot and a penalty. Dennis Bergkamp v Leicester or Tony Yeboah v Wimbledon it wasn’t.

Plus, the game lacked quality, there were long stoppages in play for knocks to Hugo Lloris and Eric Dier and it was bloody cold. By the seventy five minute mark any observer who walked into White Hart Lane would have seen fans with their coats zipped up to the neck, hands in pockets, shaking in their seats, trying to retain their last vestiges of warmth.

Perhaps more than anything though, Harry Kane scoring a hat-trick wasn’t remotely surprising. Such are his achievements at the moment that the ridiculous becomes plausible on a weekly basis.

 

The stats are ridiculous. Kane didn’t start a Premier League game till November 9th against Stoke. His first league goal of the season only came the week before, a deflected free kick winner at Villa Park.

Since then, he’s scored nineteen league goals. Nineteen! That includes five goals in his last three, eleven goals in his last eight. In four months, he’s gone from not scoring a league goal to being the league’s top scorer. For the season, he has twenty nine goals in forty three games.

While that rate of goalscoring is not uncommon, I doubt anyone in the Premier League era has had such a good season with so few expectations. He started off the season as Tottenham’s third choice striker, in a team that only plays with one forward. His role was as backup for league games, perhaps making occasional appearances off the bench. Cup games were to be his bread and butter. Some decent performances under Tim Sherwood at the fag end of last season had cemented his role as a squad player.

 

Two games this season were pivotal to his development, as he morphed from just another squad player to this superhero figure he’s become lately.

The first  was the Europa League group fixture versus Asteras of Greece. It had all the makings of a dull encounter – Europa League group games tend to be about as exciting as an episode of Fred Dibnah’s World of Steam.

Not this one though. Erik Lamela scored one of the most outrageously brilliant goals of all time and Kane scored a hat-trick, his first for Spurs.

His hat-trick though wasn’t the most memorable thing he did that night. In the match’s dying embers, Hugo Lloris got sent off for taking out an Asteras forward who was through on goal. All substitutions had been used up. So we got to witness one of football’s underrated pleasures, an outfield player going in goal.

And who volunteered to put on the purple goalkeeping jersey and don the gloves? Super Harry Kane of course! It didn’t even matter he let in the resultant free kick. Scoring a hat-trick and going in goal, voluntarily, in the same game endeared him to the Spurs support, who perhaps witnessed in this Chingford-born, lumpy forward with an unorthodox gait and hangdog facial expressions, a kindred spirit. Who hasn’t fancied going in goal for the lols occasionally?

 

With consistently good cup performances and increasing calls for his place in the starting XI from the stands, aided by Emmanuel Adebayor’s Emmanuel Adebayor-ness and Roberto Soldado’s continued hopelessness, he got into the first team. He did well – four goals in his first nine starts, with his workrate making him an excellent fit with the high pressing style Mauricio Pochettino has imposed at Spurs.

But it was the game against Chelsea on New Year’s Day where he morphed again, this time from decent Premier League forward to fully fledged superhero. With Spurs 1-0 down, struggling against the usual robotic display from Mourinho’s players he scored a ridiculously good equaliser. He got the ball on the touchline, worked his way past three or four defenders into the middle of the pitch, then unleashed a scuttling shot that beat Thibaut Courtois at the near post from twenty five yards out.

Chelsea seemed stunned. They played like it too, coming apart at the seams under increasing Spurs pressure. What looked like another humdrum victory for the league leaders became a 5-3 rout for Spurs, in spite of Eden Hazard playing like a sober, Belgian Maradona. Kane didn’t stop running, doing things to Gary Cahill’s confidence that could take years to rebuild. His second goal that night too was outrageously good. A wonderfully dextrous touch and turn, then a lovely side footed finish. A touch of genius.

 

After that, he’s been this superhero figure that football watchers are still grappling to come to terms with. He scored twice against Arsenal, the second goal being one of the best headers I’ve ever seen. Leaning backwards, from a good twelve yards out, to power a looping a header over Ospina in the Arsenal like he did almost defied physics. And a homegrown product scoring to win the game over the local rivals too, just amazing. He did something that day that kids dream of doing. In real life.

What he’s achieved is remarkable. What adds to this is how he looks and often acts like the antithesis of the modern day superstar footballer. He has this gangly gait, more befitting a spotty teenager than a Premier League player. His default facial expression is that of a gormless farmhand. He talks like his tongue’s too big. West Ham fans got in trouble for a chant about him recently.

But that makes him all the more loveable. He’s not some super-athlete with muscles the size of watermelons, jet heels and a lingerie model girlfriend. He looks like you and me. He even plays like faintly you and me, with his boundless energy and chasing of lost causes. Judging from his social media output, he has a very nice life where he plays football, scores goals, goes for celebratory drinks afterwards then goes home to his childhood sweetheart girlfriend and their dogs. He even wears naff Christmas jumpers.

He’s an ordinary guy who just happens to be extraordinarily good at football. A film about him wouldn’t be a glossy, stage managed product but a gritty, documentary style drama. More This Sporting Life than GoalIndeed, with his incredible achievements against all the odds, he’s like a footballing Forrest Gump.

 

Where does he go from here? He’ll make his England debut for a start and those that still give two hoots about the England team can only hope that he doesn’t get sucked into the vortex of mediocrity that seemingly envelopes all the young talent that wears the three lions on it’s chest.

Also, he’s a shoo-in for Young Player of the Year with his goalscoring output and all round performances. No one comes to him for that award.

But what about Player of the Year? The natural reaction is to laugh off such talk. Harry Kane does not exactly fit the mould of a serial award winner. He’s not marketable, doesn’t get linked with ridiculous transfer rumours to PSG or Real Madrid on websites’ gossip columns. He doesn’t sound like a star either, with the speech impediment he has.

 

But who deserves to beat him then? Alexis Sanchez was perhaps the early favourite but has tailed off since Christmas. Aguero missed time with an injury. Diego Costa has looked tired recently, plus his all-round villainy will surely, rightly or wrongly, count against him.

It surely comes down to Kane or Eden Hazard. Hazard’s been, very very good. He’s allied his talent and skill with increased work rate and more end product. The Mourinho effect in Hazard especially, of all of Chelsea’s players, has been noticeable.

Hazard has done that in a star studded outfit, though. He has Cesc Fabregas feeding him the ball with Diego Costa ahead of him. Kane gets his help from Andros Townsend and Ryan Mason. And aside from a brief Christian Eriksen purple patch, he’s had to carry the Spurs goalscoring burden almost single-handedly.

He gets less help than Hazard and does just as much, if not more in terms of end product. Notwithstanding that a reserve forward coming from football’s metaphorical tundra regions to shock the footballing public would be an amazing story. Kane already had consecutive Player of the Month awards before his hat-trick against Leicester.

 

As Harry himself would say, “Never fucking give up.”

 

Betting Instinct tip Harry Kane is 10/3 to open the scoring for England against Lithuania tonight with Coral.co.uk. He is second-favourite for Premier League Player of the Year with most sportsbooks.

 

avatar-jackhowes-50JACK HOWES (debaser92) is an avid sports fan who writes about football and Asperger’s Syndrome. The only things he loves more than Mars Bars are his family and Tottenham Hotspur FC.

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Tottenham Need A Miracle At The Bridge

André Schürrle will look to build on last week's hat-trick against Fulham

André Schürrle will look to build on last week’s hat-trick against Fulham

Saturday evening will see Chelsea play Tottenham Hotspur in what at least has the look of a tasty Premier League encounter. Chelsea will be seeking to increase their lead at the top of the table on a weekend where none of the other top five sides are playing. And frankly, it’s hard to see anything other than this occurring.

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur Betting Odds

Chelsea win – 1.55

Tottenham win – 6.00

Draw – 3.75

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

This is because Spurs, in spite of decent results, are playing dreadfully at the moment. Under Tim Sherwood, they have no structure, no plan and no cohesion. They are essentially eleven strangers sent out to a football field, left to fend for themselves with little guidance or tactical know-how.

A lack of structure in a team is bad, but there are other things of deep concern for Spurs followers too. The lack of movement in the team is deeply worrying. On and off the ball, there is a painful lack of movement, making the passing slow, aimless and cumbersome. They are for the most part an easy side to defend against, as they are so slow on the ball that the opposition defence has plenty of time to get in position. They are left to rely on individual brilliance to create and score goals. Luckily, in Emmanuel Adebayor they have a striker in top form. Without him, Spurs would be nowhere.

Along with a lack of movement, there is an alarming lack of balance in this Spurs side, especially in midfield. Reading Jonathan Wilson’s biography of Brian Clough, Wilson points out how Clough always sought to have a balanced side, often having lopsided formations to attain this balance. Tim Sherwood could do with understanding this. At the weekend, he put Mousa Dembélé and Paulinho next to each other in midfield. This was always going to fail – both are players who like to start in a deep position and make roaming runs forward. Neither are equipped to stay back and protect the defence. In the end, they ended up like Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard did for England, neither sure of when to attack and when to defend.

What Spurs need to do is drop one of these players for a defensive player – Sandro or Etienne Capoue – so that the midfield has a balance and has each player comfortable in their role. Nabil Bentaleb has been used as a holding midfielder when he’s simply not comfortable in that role, preferring to play further forward where he can more easily showcase his range of passing and dictate the game. A Sandro-Bentaleb-Paulinho midfield would have a nice mix of defence and attack and might just get the best out of Paulinho, who has been anonymous in recent weeks. Doing this while accommodating Dembélé by playing him on the wing, another of Sherwood’s ‘masterplans’ recently, is another bad idea. Only one of he and Paulinho should play.

Away from the midfield, Spurs are actually fairly strong. Adebayor is a goals and assists machine up front, while Hugo Lloris’s superb form means they’re not conceding many goals. The bulk of the team may be underperforming, but having their two best players in both goalmouths is allowing them to rack up a battery of unconvincing, scrappy wins which is just about keeping them in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

While they have accrued a number of these scrappy wins recently, you can’t see them doing this against Chelsea. For a start, their record at Stamford Bridge is dreadful, not having won their in any competition since 1990. Even when Chelsea were rubbish, Tottenham didn’t win there.

Right now, Chelsea are most definitely not rubbish. They are playing more and more like a José Mourinho side – being stingy in defence, lethal on the break and with just enough gamesmanship to rile footballing purists. In defence and midfield especially, they are showing themselves to be a top side. It’s only their lack of an in form striker that is preventing them running away from this season’s Premier League. If they had one, regularly scoring and creating (Romelu Lukaku perhaps?) you wouldn’t see anyone stopping them. As it is, Man City will still go ahead of them if they win their games in hand while Liverpool are scoring enough hatfuls of goals to still be a threat.

On Saturday night, it’s hard to see them not winning. Forgetting the players on display – this is Jose Mourinho against Tim Sherwood. In managerial stakes this is the equivalent of Drederick Tatum taking on Homer Simpson. And that’s before you look at the better players Chelsea have at their disposal and the fact they have home advantage. Eden Hazard is amazing, the defence is strong while in Willian and now André  Schürrle they have players who can atone for the lack of a good front man.

Chelsea should win. And barring a miracle, they will win.

Betting Instinct Tip – Chelsea to win to nil is 2.60 with GR88.com

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avatar-jackhowes-50JACK HOWES (debaser92) is an avid sports fan who writes about football and Asperger’s Syndrome. The only things he loves more than Mars Bars are his family and Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Winter Olympics: Ice Hockey Final Four Too Close to Call

Sweden's Henrik Lundqvist is chasing his third shut-out of the 2014 Olympics

Sweden’s Henrik Lundqvist is chasing his third shut-out of the 2014 Olympics

The Winter Olympics, as always, are great fun for those (i.e everybody) who don’t watch these sports for four years and then suddenly realise how much fun snowboarding on a half-pipe looks, how ludicrous the Luge and Skeleton are and of course, the all-round wonderful viewing experience that is watching curling.

In a week, you can go from being a curling neophyte to an expert on who has the hammer, the poor accuracy on draw shots, should they take the one or blank the end. All this to the extent that you start making up your own mind on what shot the skip should play, as you with a week’s viewing experience know more than the poor skip, who has spent a lifetime in ice rinks honing their curling craft.

Now, this article is about Ice Hockey, one of the more recognisable sports among those featured in the Winter Olympics. However it is surprisingly difficult to find regular NHL coverage in the UK and watching Brits play American sports (Basketball, Ice hockey, American Football etc) is a depressing, soul crushing experience on a par with the time in my first ever job I spent a whole day putting shredding decades-old financial documents. That’s how grim and sad watching the London Towers play basketball back in the day was.

But, I’ve played enough Ice Hockey on various games consoles to know the basic rules and read just enough articles about the sport on Grantland to have a vague idea of which teams and which players are good and bad. Even if you think I don’t know what I’m talking about, I feel I know enough to not know about the sport intelligently.

Winter Olympics Men’s Ice Hockey (Outright Winner) Betting Odds:

Canada – 2.50

Sweden – 3.50

United States – 3.50

Finland – 6.50

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

While it’s a shame that watching the sport on television is not as fun as playing NHL 07 on a Playstation 2 (for one thing, actually seeing where the puck is when watching on telly is surprisingly and irritatingly difficult) it is still a good watch (when you get used to tracking the puck’s movements) and comes with the bonus of Cold War rivalry, at least until Russia were eliminated in the quarter-finals, after America and Russia played out a thrilling 2-2 tie last Sunday that came down to Ice Hockey’s equivalent of the penalty shootout, with America, as in real life, winning the war in the end.

And of course, there is the chance of a brawl breaking out at any time. Almost everybody likes watching a fight, it’s much better than participating in one. With players wearing pads and helmets, there’s little chance of a brawl resulting in serious injury so the squeamish folk amongst the viewing audience can also enjoy a good scrap.

On the ice, the semi-finals have boiled down to an all Scandinavian match-up between Sweden and Finland, and a meeting between the two North American giants, Canada and the United States (I call them ‘giants’ because they both look big on a map). At the game’s top level, the goaltender is often the guy who can make or break a team’s fortunes, and Sweden have a very good one in Henrik Lundqvist. He’s the only goalie who has played in every minute of every match so far, and he’s kept two shut outs while he’s at it.

Sweden have won every match they’ve played in at these Olympics, winning their three group games before swatting aside Slovenia in the quarter-final in the manner of a sunbathing tourist swatting away a fly (they won 5-0 so they must have swatted them). They will play Finland, who’ve had a tougher path to the semi-finals, losing in overtime in the group stages to Canada and having to play Russia on home ice in the quarter-final. They beat Russia though, so presumably to do that with the fans pulling for the other team shows they have some mental strength.

Betting Instinct Tip – Despite Sweden’s two shutouts, Finland are the competition’s second highest scorers behind the US. More than 4.5 goals in regular time is 1.96 with GR88.com

Canada is passionate about Ice Hockey, presumably in the way New Zealand can’t get enough of Rugby. But, considering their size and population, they’re not very good at sports. They’ve only produced four footballers I can think of (Jason De Vos, Tomasz Radzinski, Paul Peschisolido and Paul Stalteri) and I know from pub trivia that they’re the only summer Olympics host country not to win a gold medal.

They’re much better at winter sports obviously, topping the gold medal table in 2010, but America are good at every sport. Like Australia, they just have this winning knack, even when it’s a sport they couldn’t care less about.

Nonetheless, because they win at most sports I’ll predict they’ll win this one against Canada. And then probably the final. The fact that I want Canada to beat them makes it even more likely.

Betting Instinct Tip – The United States to beat Canada with more than 5.5 goals scored is available at 4.88 with Intertops.eu

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avatar-jackhowes-50JACK HOWES (debaser92) is an avid sports fan who writes about football and Asperger’s Syndrome. The only things he loves more than Mars Bars are his family and Tottenham Hotspur FC.

England’s tour of Australia has been a disaster

Ian Bell is one of a number of England players to have struggled on the current tour

Ian Bell is one of a number of England players to have struggled on the current tour

In every way imaginable, England’s Ashes Tour of Australia has been a complete disaster. They have shown an inability to bat, bowl or field with any sort of competence. The bowling has been insipid, too dependant on tall fast bowlers who have been ineffective and had runs plundered off them by Australia’s increasingly eager batsmen. The fielding has been poor with England’s old bête noire, the dropped catch, becoming a part of their play again for the first time in many years. The batting though has been the worst of the bunch, with the England batsman simply unable to cope with the Aussie bowlers’ unflinching pace and hostility.

Australia admittedly have been better than expected, with Mitchell Johnson’s resurrection from the cricketing dead the highlight. In the same way Pulp Fiction turned John Travolta from a figure of mockery to one of the hippest, coolest, most popular actors of the time, this Ashes series has turned Mitch from a laughing stock into one of the best fast bowlers in the world, if not the best. He has received excellent backup too from the always nagging Peter Siddle, the canny spin from one of the world’s oldest looking twenty six year olds and the bustling accuracy of Ryan Harris, at last injury free and having the best spell of his career aged thirty four.

That said, Australia’s marked improvement from the luckless, error prone side that lost to England last summer is no excuse for England losing the recent series 5-0 in the limp, pathetic, disgraceful fashion that they did. The consistency with which they got out due to poor shots and woeful decision making was staggering. To see the way England went from being pretty good to so utterly abject almost defied belief. The scoreline of 3-0 in the summer may have flattered them, but they still won convincingly. They were not a bad team, merely an underperforming one.

The speed of their decline has stunned everybody. While there were signs in the summer they were on the wane, they were still regarded as one of the best team teams in the world and by most pundits as favourites to retain The Ashes this winter.

Wrong! The spine of England’s team for the last few years has just disappeared. Alastair Cook has made few runs and the runs he has made have been made in such slow, soporific fashion that they’ve inspired no confidence in his teammates. Jonathan Trott had to leave the tour early, and we can only wish him the very best of luck in his recovery from a stress related illness. Joe Root struggled and showed his inexperience, Ian Bell struggled, the normally oh-so-reliable Matt Prior barely made a run while Graeme Swann was so ineffectual he retired halfway through the series saying he no longer deserved a place in the team.

After such a bad test series, a miracle was needed for England for bounce back in the subsequent one day series. The first one-dayer last weekend saw no miracle forthcoming, as despite finally making a decent total (270 in 50 overs) it was another Aussie romp as they coasted past the total with twenty six balls to spare.

Under coach Darren Lehmann and captain Michael Clarke, these Australians are just ruthless and are revelling in the now weekly trashing of the Poms. England will do well to win a game in the rest of the one-day series – never mind the series itself. Accrington Stanley winning the FA Cup in my lifetime is more likely than that.

Betting Instinct Tip – Australia to win the second one-day international against England is 1.33 with GR88.com

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avatar-jackhowes-50JACK HOWES (debaser92) is an avid sports fan who writes about football and Asperger’s Syndrome. The only things he loves more than Mars Bars are his family and Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Fired-up Patriots Could Edge Out Denver in NFL Game of the Week

Tom Brady

Can Tom Brady lead the Patriots to victory?

Broncos @ Patriots

The marquee matchup of week 12 of the NFL season is the 7-3 New England Patriots (2.04 with GEObet.com) taking on the 9-1 Denver Broncos (1.73). Or more pertinently, it’s the 14th instalment of Tom Brady v Peyton Manning.

They are two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, happen to have played against each other for almost all of their careers and in the same way people will debate Messi v Ronaldo, The Beatles v The Stones, De Niro v Pacino, Hypno Disc v Chaos 2 (Not sure our American readers will get that one – ed.), who is better out of Brady and Manning will be argued for decades to come. Brady has the more Super Bowls, the super model girlfriend and an appearance on Entourage, while Manning has the better stats, the sibling rivalry (brother Eli has won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants) and the scowl of a Supervillain.

This year Manning is winning their particular duel, the Broncos scaling new heights when it comes to their offense, with him on pace to break records for touchdowns, passing yards and quarterback rating. To break those records, aged 37 and just two years after neck surgery which stopped him playing for the whole of 2011 and nearly ended his career would even by his lofty standards be the zenith of his career to date.

But as awesome as the Broncos are on offense, their defense is fallible. They rank 21st out of 32 in points against and are 28th against the pass. The secondary in particular is weak and prone to collapse when pressured. While they may have the most potent offense in league history, there are obvious weaknesses. And if there’s a team good at targeting a weakness, it’s the Patriots.

The Patriots are not the team they were a few years back, but in Brady and Coach Bill Belichick have the smartest, brawniest, most cunning player-coach combination in perhaps all of sports. If you wanted a coach to concoct a plan so cunning you could brush your teeth with it, Belichick’s your man.

The Broncos with their awesome offense will be favoured to win. But the Patriots are as tough and cunning an opponent as you can get, and will be fired up after a controversial loss to Carolina last week. Don’t be surprised if they win this one.

Betting Instinct tip: Patriots to win by 1-6 is 5.00 with AllYouBet.ag

49ers @ Redskins

These are troubled times for the nation’s capital NFL team. For a start, a story that has been rumbling in the background this season has been the realisation amongst certain people (it’s only taken a couple of centuries) that naming a team ‘Redskins’ might just be a teensy bit offensive towards Native Americans. The team was named the Redskins in 1933 by owner George Preston Marshall – the “Leading racist in the NFL.” Quite something to win this award decades before the Civil Rights Movement. Nonetheless, current owner Daniel Snyder is refusing to change the team name, despise protests by demonstrators and calls ranging from writers to ex-players for the name to change.

On the field, Washington (3.05 with Bulldog777.com)  is having a miserable season, 2-8 with one of the league’s worst defenses. They are also squabbling in the media, with a botched play in last week’s 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles the catalyst for this game of claim and counter-claim. Star quarterback Robert Griffin III said after the game the Eagles defense ‘kind of knew what was coming’, a supposed barb at the almost certainly soon to be fired head coach Mike Shanahan. Shanahan a day later refuted this. Then veteran wide receiver Santana Moss stuck his oar in, saying Griffin III should take more accountabilitybut that he has ‘no issues’ with the young QB. Issues, schmissues – Washington are currently a band where none of the members are happy talking to one another.

All the dirty washing Washington are hanging out in public for all to see is taking attention away from the 49ers (1.36) who themselves are in the middle of a slump in form. Amongst the Super Bowl favourites before the season, they are currently only 6-4, coming off two consecutive losses and have an offense looking more and more anaemic by the week. The defense frankly looks more likely to score points a lot of the time than the offense.

But that defense of theirs is still amongst the NFL’s finest units, and should comfortably be enough against Washington. Even without Aldon Smith they possess a boatload of talent on that side of the ball and last week, with little help from the offense, kept New Orleans down to only 23 points and almost won them a game they had no business winning.

Expect a 49ers victory.

Betting Instinct Tip: 49ers -6 is 1.91 with Intertops Sportsbook

Rest of the league

8-2 New Orleans should thump a 2-8 Atlanta team torn apart by injuries…the New York Jets record so far is WLWLWLWL so by that token should see them win against 4-6 Baltimore…4-6 Cleveland have lost four of their last five while the also 4-6 Pittsburgh have won four of their last six and will surely make that five wins in seven…6-4 Detroit are inconsistent but even they surely can’t lose at home to 2-8 Tampa Bay…6-4 Green Bay may have a quarterback’s no one heard of in Scott Tolzein but have you heard of 2-8 Minnesota being good enough to win at Lambeau Field? Me neither…2-8 Houston were so bad last week they booed their own coach in his first game back after suffering a mini-stroke in the middle of a game, so it’s good they take on human punching bags 1-9Jacksonville…9-1 Kansas City have a monstrous defense which should ease them to victory at home to 4-6 San Diego…6-4 Chicago should have too much for 4-6 St Louis…6-4 Indianapolis with their laughable power running game are up against one of the NFL’s best defences as they take on 6-4 Arizona in a genuine pick ‘em matchup…McGloinmania may heat the NFL if undrafted rookie Matt McGloin leads 4-6 Oakland to victory against collapsing 4-6 Tennessee…5-5Dallas’ quest to be the most entertaining ever .500 team in NFL history sees them take on division rivals, the 4-6 New York Giants.

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avatar-jackhowes-50JACK HOWES (debaser92) is an avid sports fan who writes about football and Asperger’s Syndrome. The only things he loves more than Mars Bars are his family and Tottenham Hotspur FC.