NFL Week 17: Panthers and Chargers can sneak into Playoffs

Does Philip Rivers have what it takes to carry the Chargers into postseason?

Does Philip Rivers have what it takes to carry the Chargers into postseason?

Week 17 of the NFL season is a minefield for those betting on the NFL. Sure, picking the Broncos over the Raiders in Denver looks like free money. But nothing rivals the feeling of panic when you tune into the game and see Brock Osweiler towering over everyone in Denver’s opening huddle and Peyton Manning sat with his feet up on the sidelines. You check Osweiler’s stats for the season and realise he’s only thrown 8 passes this year, 2 of which were completed. Now you’re seriously worried (although after blowing their Monday night game against the Bengals, Denver still have the first round bye to play for).

In the final week of the season it’s just impossible to trust good teams who have already wrapped up their division and want to use this week to rest players, especially if they are playing a bad team coming off a win who want to finish the season strong (read: Oakland and Washington).

 

The key game in the playoff picture this week is the the de facto NFC South Championship game between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. It has taken 17 weeks but finally one team must begrudgingly accept the title of NFC South champion and they will enter the playoffs as a 7 win team. If you are a supporter of chaos then it’s your duty to root for the winner of this game throughout the playoffs, because who doesn’t want to see a team who finished the season with a losing record become the Super Bowl Champion?

 

Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons Betting Odds:

Panthers +3.5 -105

Falcone -3.5 -115

All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

With Atlanta coming off a 30-14 road win in New Orleans and Carolina only managing to scrape past the shambolic Cleveland Browns at home you would expect this game to be Atlanta’s for the taking, and the with the line favouring Atlanta by -3.5 the bookies seem to expect the same.

But even though the Panthers aren’t blowing teams out, they are looking very reminiscent of the team that won the NFC South last year; grinding out victories by playing suffocating defense and scoring as few points as possible but enough to somehow win the game.

 

In last year’s game against Atlanta in the final week of the season, the Panthers squeaked out a 21-20 victory in the must win game, and a similar spectacle is on the cards this week. The Panthers defense is well suited to handle the Falcons’ high power offense, as for all the wealth of talent that the Falcons have at the skill positions, their offensive line is still one of the most repulsive units in the league. And for a Panthers front seven, which has finally recovered from the mid-season loss of Pro Bowler Greg Hardy, this spells good news. Rookie Kony Ealy has come on strong late into the season, notching a sack in each of his last 2 games and will be eager to be match-up up opposite rookie left tackle Jake Matthews.

Even if Matt Ryan and Julio Jones manage to get into a rhythm, the Panthers are going to keep this close and I can’t see the Falcons covering the 3.5 point spread, especially given the rejuvenated way that the chronically injured Jonathan Stewart has been playing in the past few weeks for Carolina.

The Falcons are currently undefeated at home against the NFC South, and the Panthers are undefeated on the road against the NFC South, so one of these team’s records and playoff hopes will be blemished come Sunday, and all signs point to the game being won by Graham Gano or Matt Bryant on the final kick of the game. Given the way that Ron Rivera’s teams traditionally close out seasons and Mike Smith’s utter incompetence as a head coach in important games, I would give Carolina the edge this weekend.

 

Another game with clear playoff implications and an underdog who seems primed for a victory is the AFC West match-up between the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. For some reason the line in this game is Chargers +2.5. Whoever set that line must not have seen how Philip Rivers was playing last Sunday in the overtime thriller against the 49ers. He was a man possessed. After throwing 2 interceptions and gifting the 49ers a comfortable 21-0 lead at the start of the 2nd quarter, Rivers become intent on dragging his team into the playoffs by any means necessary as he tossed 4 TDs against the 5th ranked passing defense in the league.

Philip Rivers has somehow become one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the game, and he knows that if he wants to be mentioned in the discussion for who the best QB of the 2004 NFL Draft was, then he needs make like Eli and Ben and win a ring (or two). Rivers may have gone through a horrible spell towards the middle of this season when the Chargers lost 3 games in a row, but he has been on fire in his last two road games, throwing for over 700 yards and 7 TDs in games against the 49ers and Ravens.

 

The Chiefs are a team who have won 1 of their past 5 games (and that lone win was against the Raiders who they also lost to in that 5 game spell). Their offensive line is falling apart; no longer opening up huge running lanes for Jamaal Charles and failing to protect Alex Smith from the pass rush. And their plan to consistently win games without having any legitimate wide receivers has been fully exposed. They may have some impressive victories against Seattle and New England on their résumé, but this is also the same team that lost to Tennessee and Oakland, who have a combined total of 5 wins. The Chiefs have been a sloppy football team in this final stretch of the season, and with the Chargers coming off an emotional overtime victory and with all to play for, it’s hard to bet against a fired up Rivers in this game.

Betting Instinct tip – Chargers +2.5 is +100 with Intertops.eu

 

mattm MATT MCGRATH writes about American football, be it college or NCAA (because betting on unpaid student athletes is fun and definitely ethically correct). Follow him on Twitter.

 

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Seahawks – 49ers rivalry renewed in Thanksgiving Day special

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Image credit: PhilipRobertson

One of the burgeoning rivalries in the NFL hits our screens once again on Thanksgiving Thursday as the San Francisco 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

It’s not difficult to see how the rivalry has really caught fire in recent years. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and his Seahawks adversary Pete Carroll had a tempestuous relationship whilst coaching in college with Stanford and USC respectively, and that has continued after both landed roles in the NFC West.

 

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers Betting Odds:

49ers win -125

Seahawks win +105

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

 

It’s been one way traffic of late in these games though, with the Seahawks winning three of the last four meeting between the two sides – though all of those victories have been at home, in front of the vaunted CenturyLink Field crowd.

Finally winning against their biggest rivals on the road would really prove that Seattle are back, having stumbled their way to a 7-4 record just months after being crowned Super Bowl champions.

The keys to the game are simple; Seattle will hand the ball to star running back Marshawn Lynch time and time again, and rely on quarterback Russell Wilson to avoid turning the ball over in order to win.

It’s not a dynamic offense, with the Seahawks having only scored 30+ points in three of their 11 games this season, and it sometimes holds them back, leaving them to rely on their defense.

 

On the other side of the ball, we’ll finally get to see cornerback Richard Sherman go up against 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree again after their public spat in the NFC Championship Game back in January, whilst the return of linebacker Bobby Wagner helped the Seahawks to end Arizona’s winning streak on Sunday.

Wagner’s presence will make it harder for San Francisco to have joy in the running game, though in Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde, they have a promising one-two punch at running back, whilst quarterback Colin Kaepernick is also a threat with his legs.

Defensively, the 49ers were superb against Washington on Sunday, with the return of pass rusher Aldon Smith serving as a huge boost – and he’ll be smelling blood once again as he takes on a porous Seahawks offensive line.

The emergence of rookie linebacker Chris Borland has been a welcome boost for the 49ers with Patrick Willis on injured reserve, with the former Wisconsin standout proving his reputation as a tackling machine.

 

Both teams are lagging behind Arizona in the race to win the NFC West, giving this clash something of an early play-off feel – so expect to see a feisty encounter with huge hits, plenty of running yards and a low scoring encounter as two of the NFC’s heavyweights lock horns once again.

 

Betting Instinct tip – we should expect a tight game, and under 19.5 first half points is -105 with Intertops.eu

Intertops Sportsbook is offering stake-backs up to $100 on the ‘first touchdown scorer’ market in this game, if either Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson scores a rushing TD. For this, and for more Thanksgiving NFL props, visit www.intertops.eu

Olly avatarOLLY DAWES is a Sports Management graduate and sports journalist for Here Is The City, whilst he also writes about NFL for Colts Authority.

Detroit Lions can bounce back by mauling Bears this Thanksgiving

Like cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie, a Lions home game is a Thanksgiving staple

Like cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie, a Lions home game is a Thanksgiving staple

It is the longest-running annual series in the NFL, and this Thanksgiving the encounter between the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears could be a make or break game for Jim Caldwell’s Lions side.

 

Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions Betting Odds:

Chicago Bears +250

Detroit Lions -300

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

 

After back-to-back reverses against tough opposition in conference leaders Arizona and New England, Detroit has a chance to get its playoff charge back on track against a Bears side that hasn’t won away from Soldier Field since October 12th.

An opening-day demolition of the New York Giants led to cautious optimism around Ford Field, and the Lions have already matched last season’s seven wins with five rounds to spare. However their participation in the playoffs hangs by a thread, meaning they will look to make the most of home-field advantage in their remaining outings. They may be helped by the return of Reggie Bush, who hopes to feature after sitting out the last two weeks with an ankle problem.

 

The Bears narrowly missed out on top spot in NFC North in 2013, but this year trail their divisional rivals going into round 12. Their last road game ended in a heavy defeat against NFC North leaders Green Bay, and they may struggle to contain in-form Golden Tate this week.

This is the first Thanksgiving match-up between the Bears and the Lions since 1999, but a repeat of the 28-10 Chicago win that day seems unlikely. The last six regular-season meetings between the sides have been split three apiece, and this week marks a great chance for the home team to record three wins in a row against the Bears for the first time since 2004.

 

Betting Instinct tip – Chicago’s slow starts see no sign of letting up, and if you fancy a repeat it could be worth backing Detroit -7 at +100 with Intertops.eu

 

Intertops Sportsbook is running a number of special promotions this Thanksgiving, including a special no-juice line on the Lions-Bears game. Head to www.intertops.eu for more information

tv TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of    sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot. You can follow him  on Twitter or Google+.

Mark Sanchez to be the deciding factor in Cowboys v Eagles Thanksgiving match-up

Does Sanchez have a big performance in him this Thanksgiving?

Does Sanchez have a big performance in him this Thanksgiving?

The NFL fixture list has served up an absolute Thanksgiving cracker! The Philadelphia Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys in one of the most fascinating games this season. Both teams are on 8-3, both teams have a bitter hatred of each other, and only one team can win the NFC East. You’d be a fool to predict the outcome of this one…. So here’s my attempt to help the fool!

 

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys Betting Odds:

Eagles +3: -105

Cowboys -3: -115

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

 

The Eagles are a curious case this season. Pundits (and even yours truly after week 3) have been waiting to write them off from the start. The wolf has been knocking on the door for sometime howling, “You don’t have a quarterback!” But some scintillating performances from Nick Foles over 9 weeks have kept them quiet. Even when Foles broke his collarbone, New York Jets cast-off Mark Sanchez silenced his doubters with a series of positive displays, and consequently there is a lot to be positive about in the Eagles camp. Their offense keeps churning out game-winning performances, and their go-to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is looking on top of his game.

However, one of the most proficient offensive outfits in the NFL is not backed up by a good defense. They have allowed the third most passing yards in the entire NFL, and the way they were opened up in week 10 by Aaron Rogers and the Green Bay Packers provides concern that this defense simply can’t handle a top NFL quarterback. The only saving grace is the Eagles’ defensive line isn’t so leaky, and this may be enough to nullify the main Cowboys rushing threat, DeMarco Murray. Tony Romo is not in the same league as Aaron Rogers either, so the Eagles defense may have enough to keep the Cowboys down to a beatable offensive total. The main question mark is which Mark Sanchez will turn up? If Sanchez performs to his full capability, the Eagles have a really good chance of winning this game and taking control of the NFC East.

Anybody associated with the Cowboys probably still has nightmares about that Kyle Orton intercepted pass that handed the Eagles the 2013 NFC East title on a silver platter last time these teams met. It was the moment that crushed hopes of the Cowboys ending their 3-season playoff qualification drought, and the moment America resumed their laughter at the demise of their most famous franchise. Presently though, that interception feels like years ago, and the next Cowboys team to run-out on the field to face the Eagles will be very different one. It is a team with a balanced and productive offense, a potential MVP running back, a solid performing defense, and an impressive ability to produce big plays at big moments.

The offensive production from wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten has provided the cornerstone of their solid passing game, whilst pundits continue to run out of superlatives for the rushing production of DeMarco Murray. This is the first Cowboys team with no obvious weakness in recent memory, but as Arizona proved in week 9, they are certainly beatable. Their defense has a habit of allowing a fair few passing yards, and Philadelphia pose arguably the most potent aerial threat they have faced all season. Also, whilst Tony Romo has looked calm and collected this season, there are still question marks over his big-game presence. If the Cowboys want to take command of the NFC East and banish last year’s memories, they will have to produce their finest form on Thanksgiving.

This is a huge game, and like any big game, there is likely to be a season-defining moment that clinches it for one of these teams in the fourth quarter. Last season, a back-up quarterback threw an interception returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and this season, one team has a back-up quarterback who has a penchant for throwing such interceptions! You can just see it, Mark Sanchez throwing the game away on the final Eagles drive just like he did so many times in his Jets days. The home advantage and dynamic offensive threat will be enough for the Cowboys to expose the Eagles’ defensive frailties, and the Thanksgiving turkey will taste especially good in Dallas.

Intertops Sportsbook is offering a generous stake-back deal on the Cowboys-Eagles game this Thanksgiving. If a team leads at half-time but fails to win the match, a stake-back of up to $100 will be available for losing bets on the ‘1st half spread’ market.

 Scott AvatarSCOTT SIMPKIN is a young sports journalist from the UK with a growing interest in sports in the US, particularly American football and Baseball. He has previously contributed to publications including Palatinate Online and FourFourTwo

Can Philly fathom Rodgers?

Eagles vs. Packers should be a classic on Sunday

Aaron Rodgers is looking for another huge performance against the Eagles on Sunday!

It’s all eyes on Lambeau Field in Green Bay this Sunday when the Eagles travel to the Packers in what promises to be one of the top games of the NFL regular season’s Week 11 action.

Philadelphia looked good storming past the Carolina Panthers last Monday, whilst the Pack annihilated their bitter rivals from Chicago in a laughably one-sided affair. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has been in MVP form for most of the fall so far, threw for an amazing six first-half touchdowns – becoming only the second player in NFL history to achieve the feat.

Whilst we can’t reasonably expect more of the same this time around, Rodgers could be in for another big game as the Eagles’ defense is hardly anything to write home about. Ranked 12th in the league in points allowed per game and only 21st in yards allowed per game, head coach Chip Kelly and his staff are going to have to find something special to keep Rodgers on the leash.

On the other side of the ball, however, the Eagles are a different story altogether. At 404.3 yards per game so far they are right up their amongst the best and the good news is that regular quarterback Nick Foles’ injury doesn’t seem to have affected them. Stand-in Mark Sanchez, making his first NFL start in almost two years, did everything right against the Panthers with 332 yards and two TDs in the 45-21 win. He may have been found not good enough by the New York Jets, who are now one of the worst team in the NFL, but confidence still seems to be high and Sanchez will be relishing the challenge of resurrecting what looked like a floundering career.

The Packers have lost just three of their last 35 regular season games at Lambeau Field with Rodgers at the helm and they should prevail this time around, but their Cheesehead fans shouldn’t expect them to have an easy ride in what could yet prove to be a dress-rehearsal for the NFC Championship Game in January!

NFL Week 11: Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers Betting Odds:

Philadelphia Eagles 3.1
Green Bay Packers 1.4

To win the NFC Championship Odds:

Green Bay Packers 4.0
Seattle Seahawks 4.0
Philadelphia Eagles 7.0
Arizona Cardinals 7.5

All odds provided by allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

NFL: The Cowboys bring more than just a big name to London

DeMarco Murray has been this season's stand-out performer for the Cowboys

DeMarco Murray has been this season’s stand-out performer for the Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are coming to London, and this year, they are far more than just a big name. The Cowboys have been the brunt of many jokes over the past few seasons, as the richest team in football suffered disappointment after disappointment from the hands of a seemingly inept Tony Romo, a quarterback who many believe is simply not good enough to be the poster-boy of arguably the NFL’s most famous franchise. This season, the story could not be more different. Eyebrows have been raised everywhere as the Cowboys have stormed to a 6-3 record. Doubters were well and truly silenced in week 6 as the Cowboys put the defending Super Bowl champs to the sword, and it seems like they have the players to have a decent shot at the Super Bowl themselves this season, as long as owner Jerry Jones and his infamous ego avoid throwing a spanner in the well-functioning Cowboys’ works…

 

NFC East Betting Odds: To Win Outright:

Philadelphia Eagles -189

Dallas Cowboys +160

New York Giants +2000

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

 

The key to their dramatic turnaround in fortunes is an offense that poses a far more dynamic threat. Running back DeMarco Murray has rushed for more than 100 yards in seven consecutive games, an NFL record that will put him well in the hunt for the MVP award come the end of the season. Whilst Murray has undoubtedly been the highlight, this is also a team with the incredibly talented Dez Bryant at wide receiver, and rock-solid tight end Jason Witten. It has taken seven weeks for any team to figure out how to stop this offensive machine, and this has coincided an injury to Tony Romo, who may well have a greater effect on the team than his many doubters might like to think. With his return imminent for the Wembley showdown, this game may provide the perfect platform for the Cowboys to showcase their talent and lay a marker down to their NFC East rivals at 7-3.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have raised few eyebrows too, but this has been due to their incredibly poor start rather than Superbowl potential. Every season has a team or two that is already looking to the new season at the halfway mark, and the Jaguars are now in that category. They now sit at 1-8 and have been fairly shambolic throughout this season. Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles and leading receiver Allen Robinson were only drafted last year, so their poor season can probably be attributed to the fact that this team has no proven NFL performers.

 

It could be argued that they have been slightly unlucky not to win a game though, and it’s fair to say they haven’t had the easiest schedule either. The Jaguars also have the added incentive of a will to establish a support in England. They have signed a deal to play one game in England every year until 2016, and will be keen to make an impression in what could be considered their second home. Their season may already be a write-off, but a lot is at stake in this fixture, so don’t totally rule them out.

With the tower of statistical and tactical evidence pointing to a Cowboys rout, it would be foolish to back anything but a Dallas victory here. Simply put, one team is producing the goods, and one team is not. However, with the added incentive for Jacksonville to perform well, and the fact the Cowboys are on a losing streak of two coming into the game, it may not be the rout many will be predicting….

 

Scott AvatarSCOTT SIMPKIN is a young sports journalist from the UK with a growing interest in sports in the US, particularly American football and Baseball. He has previously contributed to publications including Palatinate Online and FourFourTwo

Can Brees banish the road blues at last?

The Saints face a crucial game against the Panthers.

Drew Brees and the Saints need to get winning on the road!

One thing is pretty much certain in the NFL – if you can’t win on the road, then you have little chance of making the Super Bowl!

After starting the season as one of the favorites to challenge in the NFC title race, the New Orleans Saints now have to change their priorities in order to keep their season alive. Drew Brees and Co. are almost unbeatable at their own Superdome, but currently just cannon-fodder on the road. Eight straight regular season away defeats since last November are a sorry tale indeed and everyone at the franchise knows that this needs to be changed quickly.

Just four days after showing what potential they have by thrashing highly-fancied Green Bay in Week 8, the Saints travel to NFC South rival Carolina on Thursday desperate to make a statement away from their own fans at last. Luckily the division is the worst in the NFL at the moment with no team able to boast a positive record so far.

After starting the season with two wins, the Panthers have managed just one victory in their last six games, but are still top of the division standings. Last week saw them put up strong resistance against defending Super Bowl champion Seattle before eventually going down 13-9.

Thursday’s game could have a crucial bearing on the NFC South title race because however bad the teams are throughout the season, the division champion lives to fight another day in the playoffs! The Saints will be highly motivated to beat their rivals, overtake them in the standings and prove that they can win on the road after all!

NFL Week 9: New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers Betting Odds:

New Orleans Saints 1.71
Carolina Panthers 2.20

To win the NFC South Odds:

New Orleans Saints          1.5
Carolina Panthers            2.85
Atlanta Falcons                13.0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers  67.0

All odds provided by allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

 

Browns back in business!

Browns could be an NFL force this year!

Will playoff football be back at FirstEnergy Stadium this season?

Being a major league sports fan in Cleveland hasn’t been a bundle of laughs in recent years with the Indians failing to make much of an impression in MLB, the Cavs being NBA also-rans and the Browns being pretty much a laughing stock in the NFL.

But wait a minute, things are certainly looking up as far as the latter two are concerned! LeBron James’ return to the Cavaliers was THE big sports story of the summer in the USA, and with the additional acquisition of Kevin Love Cleveland Cleveland is now the bookies preseason pick to take the NBA title this year.

And what about the Browns? After years of playing fourth fiddle in the AFC North, things are suddenly looking up in a big way at FirstEnergy Stadium. Sunday’s impressive 31-10 thumping of the Steelers has taken coach Mike Pettine’s team to 3-2 for the season – not much to get excited about you might think, but with games against the Jaguars (0-6), the Raiders (0-5) and the Buccaneers (1-5) coming up next, things could soon look very different indeed!

The Browns last made the postseason in 2007 and have failed to post more than five regular season wins in the six seasons since. Pettine has chosen a conservative approach in offense with quarterback Brian Hoyer, a Cleveland native by the way, executing his role without any major mistakes so far – and don’t forget there is still college football wonder-boy Johnny Manziel to fall back on should Hoyer get injured! An average of 26.8 points per game is not bad by anyone’s standards and that number should continue to rise if the Browns can keep their momentum going before entertaining the Bengals in what should be a true test of their potential on November 6th!

NFL Week 7: Cleveland Browns @ Jacksonville Jaguars Betting Odds:

Cleveland Browns 1.42
Jacksonville Jaguars 3.0

To win the AFC North Odds:

Cincinnati Bengals    2.2
Baltimore Ravens     2.75
Cleveland Browns    6.5
Pittsburgh Steelers  7.0

All odds provided by allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

Cardinals dreaming of Super Bowl at home!

Cardinals dreaming of the Super Bowl!

The Cardinals could be playing in the Super Bowl in front of their home fans.

After picking up three wins in their first three games this season, the Arizona Cardinals have without a doubt been one of the major surprises in the young NFL season and with February’s Super Bowl showdown taking place in their own University of Phoenix Stadium motivation is extra high to keep the run going.

Week 3 saw coach Bruce Arian’s team underline their intent by beating one of the nation’s top teams, NFC West rival San Francisco – and that with their second-string quarterback at the helm. Arizona’s original starter Carson Palmer has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, but stand-in Drew Stanton has looked the part, playing conservative yet mistake-free football to pick up two wins.

The Cardinals enjoyed a week off in Week 4 and return this Sunday to face a true test of their Super Bowl credentials – a trip to last season’s AFC champion Denver. The Broncos with superstar Peyton Manning leading the way suffered an OT defeat in their Super Bowl rematch with the Seattle Seahawks last time out, but started the season with wins over both the Colts and the Chiefs and are a test for anyone in their own Mile High Stadium.

Arizona started the 2012 season at 4-0 before going on to amazingly lose their next nine(!) games, but this year’s vintage looks as though it has the quality to avoid another such disastrous collapse. Everyone at the franchise is insisting on taking the season one game at a time, but there can be little doubt that the thought of a Super Bowl appearance at home is lingering in their minds!

NFL Week 5: Arizona Cardinals @ Denver Broncos Betting Odds

Arizona Cardinals 3.9
Denver Broncos 1.28

To win the Super Bowl Betting Odds:

Seattle Seahawks    4.5
Denver Broncos      5.5
Cincinnati Bengals  11.0
Arizona Cardinals   21.0

All odds provided by allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

Which NFL unbeaten record will be the last to fall?

With Andy Dalton performing solidly, do the Bengals have the best shot at going 16-0?

With Andy Dalton performing solidly, do the Bengals have the best shot at going 16-0?

Since the 2007 New England Patriots proved it possible, the 16-0 season has been the goal of 32 teams over six separate regular seasons. In the seventh attempt, the list of possible ‘perfect seasons’ has already been whittled down to three: Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals. Have any of them got what it takes?

 

Philadelphia Eagles  

There are two ways to look at the great start this team has made to the season. The optimist would suggest that their three amazing comebacks, and in particular their incredible second half scoring figures make this team resilient and hard to beat. As the Jaguars found out in week 1, you can have a comfortable 17-0 half time lead and still be on the wrong end of a 34-17 thrashing. Quarterback Nick Foles has thrown more passing yards than anyone else in the NFL so far, and their close schedule isn’t exactly terrifying. Wins against the 49ers, Rams and Giants will take them up to their bye week 7 with a 6-0 record. The cynic would argue that their 26th ranked defence will leak too many points for the offense to continue making up for, and the promising start will soon start to unravel. Judging by the evidence that they only just scraped past the Redskins, who are frankly the only team they have played with a respectable defensive record, they could find a trip to the West Coast to face the 6th ranked 49ers defence as a step too far. It’s hard to not listen to the cynic on this one. The Eagles will struggle to keep their record past this weekend.

Betting Instinct tip the 49ers to end the Eagles’ dreams of a perfect season is -250 with AllYouBet.ag (all odds are subject to change)

 

Arizona Cardinals 

If anyone foresaw the Cardinals being 3-0 at this stage in the season, they were ignoring every reliable indicator of NFL success that informs any logical prediction ever made. This is a team who have negotiated a tough start against a number of realistic Super Bowl prospects without their star QB Carson Palmer, all whilst being heavily reliant on rookie WR John Brown. If their unbeaten season goes past 8-0, this will be a fairytale to warm the hearts of any sports fan. With respect to the amazing achievements of this team so far, a 16-0 season is frankly a pipe dream. The bye week coming up is likely to be the only thing keeping their fantasy of a perfect season alive. The prospect of facing the formidable Denver Broncos in week 5, who themselves are very unlucky not to make the 3-0 club after an overtime loss to their arch-nemesis, Seattle Seahawks, will probably be a bridge too far for the Cardinals. They can view this start as a platform to launch a realistic playoff charge, but no more than that I’m afraid.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

Now here is an actual prospect for a perfect season. The Bengals, unlike their two counterparts on a 3-0, have recorded three very convincing wins so far. The standout result in terms of revealing how good this team actually is remains the a 24-10 victory against the Atlanta Falcons, and limiting one of the most impressive offenses in the NFL to 10 points really does reveal the potential of this team. Their own offensive record doesn’t set the world alight, but QB Andy Dalton has been rock solid, and the team’s rushing productivity means that the weight is not all on his shoulders. Pundits have been so impressed by their potential that whispers of comparison to the Super Bowl winning 2013 Seahawks have already been heard. Their presence in the arguably much friendlier AFC means their schedule doesn’t look too daunting either. When the Bengals face the New England Patriots in week 5, all will be revealed, but a win at Gillette Stadium could set the Bengals up for a run which may only be truly tested with visits to Denver and Pittsburgh in the final 2 games of the regular season. If there is one team that can go 16-0, it is the Bengals. Watch this space!

Betting Instinct tip – The Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl is +1200 with Intertops.eu

 

 Scott AvatarSCOTT SIMPKIN is a young sports journalist with a particular interest in English football, particularly the  relatively unexplored world of Conference football. He also has a growing interest in sports in the US, particularly  American football and Baseball, and has previously contributed to Palatinate Online and FourFourTwo.