Can the Seahawks dig themselves out of the 0-2 hole in the NFL’s NFC West?

Seattle SeahawksOne of the biggest stories at the start of this NFL season is that the Seahawks are occupying the basement of the NFC West. The team that won the 48th Superbowl, and should have won the 49th Superbowl have given themselves an uphill struggle to reach Superbowl 50. Is the mass hysteria justified, or will the Seahawks fly back on course in and reach the playoffs?

The context to the Seahawks’ losses is certainly the most important thing to analyse before declaring them a team in meltdown. The two losses have both been on the road, to the Green Bay Packers and St Louis Rams. The Packers are a formidable force, especially at home with Aaron Rogers in the kind of mood that saw him throw 9 for 9 and 91 yards in the 4th quarter. The Rams have been the Seahawks’ bogey team and the season opening loss marks the second time in two years Seattle have lost at the death in St Louis. Both of these losses were not expected, but they were predictable. The Seahawks have got fellow 0-2 strugglers Detroit and Chicago in their next two home games, and a probable 2-2 position in two weeks time looks likely, and a lot less dreadful.

Turning an 0-2 into a positive record is one thing, but winning enough games to dispatch all of their NFC West rivals is another. One of their rivals, the 49ers, will probably be out of the playoff picture in a month judging by their cataclysmic capitulation at the hands of Pittsburgh Steelers last time out. Yes, they have Colin Kaepernick, but too many question marks surrounding him. Another rival, the Rams, started the annual “it’s going to be their year” bandwagon when beating the Seahawks. But a weak performance against a poor Washington team has threatened to derail them already. The Seahawks have enough to haul themselves back above those two, which only leads the Arizona Cardinals to deal with… The Cardinals fell short when Carson Palmer got injured last season, but now with him back and an impressive 2-0 start they are looking ominous. Larry Fitzgerald has 199 receiving yards in 2 games, and their dynamic offense looks the real deal.

The Seahawks have given a 2-win head start to the Cardinals, and that is too much for a team with an offense so frighteningly productive. The NFC West culminates with a week 17 matchup between; you guessed it, the Seahawks and Cardinals. That could well be the decider, but watch this space – one bird will be flying on top of the NFC West in January, and I think it might just be a Cardinal.

 

 

Scott AvatarSCOTT SIMPKIN is a UK sports journalist 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.

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Las Vegas sportsbooks report heavy losses over Sunday’s NFL opening

Las Vegas sportsbook image from Wikimedia Commons free media repository originally posted to Flickr by G0SUB.

Las Vegas sportsbook . G0SUB @ Flickr.

After several popular favorites covered the spread this weekend, Las Vegas sportsbooks say they’ve never had such a bad NFL opening Sunday. Sportsbooks usually do quite well on the first Sunday of the NFL regular season.  Last year in Week 1, underdogs covered the spread in 10 of 13 games.

The underdog Giants covered against the Cowboys in a 27-26 loss, which helped the books. However after the Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins both covered the day was already a loss.

The St. Louis Rams, who took the Seattle Seahawks 34-31 in overtime, were a popular pick among savvy bettors. Some books had 2.5 times more money on the Rams. Ouch!

Although the season started off a little rocky for most, Nevada sportsbooks won an all-time high of $114 million on football in 2014.  So they don’t need our sympathy!

NFL set for its elite eight!

NFL Divisional Playoffs this weekend!

Tom Brady is looking to lead the Patriots a step closer to Super Bowl glory!

The race to Super Bowl XLIX continues to pick up momentum as we head into the Divisional Playoff round of games this weekend. The top four teams from the regular season are back after their weekend off and are the bookies’ picks to continue their quest towards the biggest single game in US sport on February 1st.

Wild Card weekend saw the Carolina Panthers take down the ailing Arizona Cardinals to be “rewarded” with a trip to face defending Super Bowl champions Seattle. The Seahawks, who started the season looking anything other than potential “repeaters”, are now the team of the moment in the league. They are almost unbeatable in front of their own boisterous crowd at CenturyLink Field and even the most loyal of Carolina fans will admit to them having little chance of causing an upset.

The same cannot be said of the other three weekend matchups. Whilst the Packers, Patriots and Broncos all start their home games as warm favourites, the Cowboys, Ravens and Colts have the qualities to get the job done on the road. Baltimore, especially, looked good when defeating AFC North rivals Pittsburgh in their Wild Card encounter last week and Men In Purple have won two of three postseason encounters at Foxboro since 2000.

Many neutral fans would love to see yet another instalment of the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning rivalry in the AFC Championship Game, but there is still plenty of work to be done by both the Pats and the Broncos before this showdown can become reality.

NFL Divisional Playoffs Odds

Baltimore Ravens 3.45 New England Patriots 1.34

Carolina Panthers 4.90 Seattle Seahawks 1.19

Dallas Cowboys 3.20 Green Bay Packers 1.38

Indianapolis Colts 3.45 Denver Broncos 1.34

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

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

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

 

Battle royal at Soldier Field!

Packers vs. Bears on Sunday!

A fierce NFL rivalry continues when the Packers face the Bears!

It’s time for one of the oldest and fiercest rivalries in the NFL to take centre stage again this weekend when the Green Bay Packers travel to the Chicago Bears for a matchup that could have serious consequences as far as the rest of the season in the NFC North is concerned.

Aaron Rodgers and the Pack, perennial favourites to take the division, are currently bottom of the standings after losing two of their first three games this season. Ok, ok, they can be forgiven for not coming away from Seattle with a win on the opening day of the season, but a shaky come-from-behind win at home to the Jets and another loss on the road at the Detroit Lions are hardly the best preparation for a trip to Soldier Field.

After slipping up at home to the Bills in Week 1, the Bears have put together back-to-back prime-time road victories at the 49ers and the Jets to make a real statement of intent for the upcoming season. Quarterback Jay Cutler, whose ability and character under pressure have been questioned in the past, is looking good and his stats even overshadow those of Rodgers as we head towards their showdown. Many experts are expecting both playmakers to shine in this high-profile duel and so a high-scoring game could well be on the cards.

The Bears lead the all-time stats between the two teams by 93 wins to 89 (6 ties), but it’s the Packers who have taken nine of their last 11 meetings and everyone in green and yellow will be doing their utmost to further improve that record this time around and get the franchsie back on track.

NFL Week 4: Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears Betting Odds

Green Bay Packers 1.8
Chicago Bears 2.05

To win the NFC North Betting Odds:

Green Bay Packers    2.35
Detroit Lions             2.6
Chicago Bears           3.5
Minnesota Vikings   34.0

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

Seattle Seahawks begin chase for back-to-back Super Bowls

Can the Seahawks make it two in a row?

Can the Seahawks make it two in a row?

The Green Bay Packers will start off the new NFL season by facing the one team that no one really wants to; The Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are of course the defending Super Bowl champions after decimating the best offense that the NFL has ever seen in the Denver Broncos, holding Peyton Manning and company scoreless till the dying stages of the game as they ran out 43-8 winners. This puts the Seahawks confidently on the “Best team in the league” pedestal until anyone can prove otherwise. The Packers may not have the same offensive firepower as the Broncos but they’re damn close.

Aaron Rodgers is a name that often features in the argument about the best quarterbacks in the league, and were it not for an untimely injury last season, he was on pace to argue his case to be considered the very best. Eddie Lacy’s development was fast-tracked by the injury to Rodgers and when his number was called, the young running back proved to be more than capable of carrying the weight of the hopes of the Cheesehead Nation, running for 1178 yards on 284 attempts and winning rookie of the season honors. Jordy Nelson and James Jones were their exemplary selves, with Jarrett Boykin and Randall Cobb filling in perfectly as third and fourth options as the team finished a respectable 8-7-1.

 

Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Betting Odds:

Seattle Seahawks -265

Green Bay Packers +225

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

 

The defense always seems to be the weak point for the Packers; for all of their ability to score a dizzying amount of points, they’re also capable of giving up just as much and though they have managed to get better this offseason –including Julius Peppers to the new look defense – the loss of BJ Raji to a torn bicep is a calamity that the Packers can hardly afford. The Packers also have a new host of problems to worry about now on the other side of the football. A worrying trend for the offense has been the inability to keep Rodgers safe and upright, a task that has grown more daunting with injuries to center JC Tretter and Don Barclay, Tretter being out indefinitely and Barclay set to miss the whole season thanks to an ACL injury.
The Seahawks, as impossible as it seems, are actually improving. Those should be words that scare any NFL team since the Hawks were already an excellent team, in fact. Super Bowl winners excellent. Each year since his inception into the league, Russell Wilson has been allowed more and more freedom within the offense and this year, the offense will look to greatly expand and maximize his capabilities with a wide array of perimeter plays and formations that were kept hidden before. Throw in a healthy Percy Harvin, Christine Michael backing up “beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch and you have a recipe for an offense that will look to match the intensity of their lauded defense. The team offense lost Golden Tate and Sidney Rice but Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse have made the implied decline an afterthought. Protecting Wilson will also be much easier with the return of left tackle Russell Okung, right tackle Breno Giacomini and center Max Unger.

Speaking of the defense, they’re just as formidable as before. If preseason is any indication –or the last few years really—Richard Sherman is improving, which should boggle belief but is a real thing that’s happening. The Legion of Boom plays with too much pride to allow any complacency to creep in as they look to repeat as Superbowl champions, a feat that hasn’t been done since the Patriots almost a decade ago.

 

The last time the teams met, the Seahawks won in controversial fashion in what was dubbed the “Fail Mary” game when a hail mary that seemed to be an interception was called as a touchdown since Golden Tate had his hands on the ball. This time around, there are no replacement officials but the Seahawks will not need a similar play to win either. They have shown that they can shut down any and every offense and as great as Aaron Rodgers is, he will find it incredibly difficult to not only stay upright but to find an open receiver.

 

Betting Instinct tip – The Seahawks to win the NFC Championship is +300 with AllYouBet.ag

 

BdykNApCQAEQ_-t ZITO MADU (zitov2) is a writer for SBnation, and has written for Surreal Football, LiveBreatheFutbol,  and numerous other sports sites. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

Rodgers back to bash the Bears

nfl-football-1

Will the return of Rodgers prove to be the decisive factor in what promises to be a thrilling finale to the regular season?

It was just like Christmas and birthday rolled into one for fans of the Green Bay Packers this week when the franchise announced that star quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be fit to lead his team in Sunday’s crucial NFL encounter at the Chicago Bears. The two deadly NFC North rivals go toe to toe at Soldier Field with the winner claiming the division crown and a place in the playoffs, whilst the loser is likely to be on the outside looking in on the postseason.

Green Bay has gone a dismal 2-5-1 in the eight games that Rodgers has been sidelined since breaking his collarbone in the first meeting with the Bears on November 4th, but his return will mean a massive boost to the team that has dominated the division in recent years. The Bears, on the other hand, somehow need to put last week’s amazing 11-54 mauling at Philadelphia behind them and concentrate on the task at hand. Home field advantage is on their side, and a tie would also be enough – but will the return of Rodgers prove to be the decisive factor in what promises to be a thrilling finale to the regular season?

Betting Odds: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears, December 29th

Packers 1.67

Bears 2.30

(Odds provided by Intertops Sportsbook are current as of today, but subject to change)

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chrisives-50CHRIS 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.

Cowboys to Benefit From Home Advantage Against Packers

Cowboys_Stadium_field

Packers @ Cowboys

This is a game of so many uncertainties that even most bookmakers haven’t made their mind up.

The Packers offense is banged up but three key parts are all maybes, if Aaron Rogers were to play and one of Lacy and Cobb I fancy GB every time, but with Flynn most likely under centre and Lacy struggling I give it to Dallas. The Cowboys are in disarray but are desperate, and at home, like a cornered rat.

The thing people seem to be ignoring is that the Packers simply aren’t that good. There may not be another team in football, hell any sport in the world, that is so reliant on one player. Since Rogers got hurt the Packers have lost four and drawn one of their games, with a one point win over the 3-10 Falcons on Sunday finally breaking the ignominious record and landing them at 6-6-1 going in to this week.

The Cowboys simply have to win, in fact they have to win their next three games to make the playoffs. The problem now, following a wild weekend in the NFC wildacrd race, means the four spots are wide open.

Dallas are expected to be favoured by a touchdown, and in what I see as a shootout I wouldn’t back against that.

Betting Instinct Tip – Dallas -6.5 is 1.91 with AllYouBet.ag

Bengals @ Steelers

The 9-4 Bengals put together an impressive performance against the maddeningly inconsistent Colts last week, with the dual threat running attack of Gio Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (a.k.a the Law Firm) dicing up a butter soft Colts. Andy Dalton also looked brilliant. No I mean it. Dalton threw with touch and was accurate throwing down field. Yeah we all think we could do a job throwing to AJ Green on that Colts secondary, but seriously Dalton was impressive, ending with a passer rating of 120.5 and three TD tosses and no interceptions.

Now this is where the gambler in me sees Dalton inevitably having a stinker against the Steelers, and in the past that is the way I would pick it, but this Steelers team don’t fill me with confidence and Cincinnati look like they are hitting stride at the right time. They have lots of weapons and I see them rolling past Pittsburgh. The Steelers are the 25th worst team against the run this season in terms of yardage, if the Bengals dynamic duo can get at it again they should be able to dominate the ball and hit their big time receivers enough to score on the Steelers.

Pittsburgh are 1-3 point underdogs at the time of writing and although that looks tasty against the maddening Bengals, Pittsburgh are all but out of the playoff race. Mike Tomlin’s teams never let off the gas but all a win would do would deflate the Bengals (yay) and help the rival Ravens (boo), a pretty lose lose week for the Steelers really and I would take the Bengals by a score.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Odds

Cincinnati to win – 1.76

Pittsburgh to win – 2.00

(Odds provided by GR88.com are current as of today but subject to change.)

scott avatar SCOTT CAREY is a journalist with a passion for Chelsea football club and the NFL. Follow him on Twitter at @SCarey102