We’ve past the halfway point of the 2014 NFL season of skilled handicapping & betting odds analysis. Last week was very insightful. Here are the important lessons we learned in Week 9.
The Broncos Are Still The Same Old Broncos
Over the last month, all we heard about the Denver Broncos was how much better they were. Turns out, not much has changed. A 43-21 loss in New England was more than just humbling. The Broncos much-improved ground game was nowhere to be found (43 yards on 17 carries), as those who placed their NFL picks on Denver know too well. Their upgraded secondary was undressed (333 passing yards, 22 passing 1st downs, four passing touchdowns).
The Broncos failed in another big game and that’s a concern. They go as Peyton Manning and the passing game goes and if that is ever derailed, this team can’t win big games.
Cardinals Are The Panthers Of This Season
Although everyone keeps waiting for the Arizona Cardinals to tail off, they just keep on trucking along. Their defense was supposed to be a disaster. Remember, they lost Daryl Washington (suspension), Karlos Dansby (free agency) and Darnell Dockett (injury), yet they’re only giving up 19.5 points per game. Everyone wants to say they’ve had it easy but they have wins over the San Diego Chargers, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Quarterback Carson Palmer is now 12-2 in his last 14 games as a starter. More importantly, this team has a one-game lead atop the NFC for the top spot and a two game lead over Dallas/Philadelphia (assuming Detroit falls back).
Nobody will want to go to Arizona in the playoffs. Trust. The Cardinals are an inexperienced team still but they are very good and very underrated.
Cowboys, Chargers Flaws Starting To Show
The Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers came flying out of the gates. The Cowboys were 6-1 and the Chargers were 5-1. Now, all of the sudden, both have hit the wall. The Chargers have lost three straight with Sunday’s loss looking the worst. They enter the bye after a humbling 37-0 loss. Philip Rivers, once the frontrunner for MVP, has been terrible. He’s completed 59 of his last 95 passes over the last three games (62%), averaged just 198.3 passing yards per game and has had five touchdowns and six interceptions, and had a fumble in that span. Rivers had just two picks in his first six games.
As for the Cowboys, obviously the loss of Tony Romo hurts but this team has coughed up four turnovers in the last two weeks and has failed to protect home-field advantage. Yes, they have a backup quarterback running the show but the Washington Redskins went into Dallas and won with a third-stringer. On Sunday, the Cowboys lost to a Cardinals team that’s already won multiple times this year with backup Drew Stanton.
Both teams need to turn it around quickly or they’ll both miss the playoffs. That’s how quickly things change in the NFL odds.
Dolphins Have Turned A Corner
The Dolphins started the season out 1-2 but have turned it around in a big way. They have won four of five and probably should have defeated Green Bay in Week 6. The wins continue to get more and more impressive. It started with a stomping of the Oakland Raiders. Fine, not that impressive. Then they went to Chicago and smoked the Bears 27-14. Then, in a back-to-back on the road they went to Jacksonville and easily handled the Jaguars. This Sunday, they came home and rolled the San Diego Chargers 37-0.
The difference is Ryan Tannehill as he’s been phenomenal of late. He’s completing 68.9% of his passes with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions in the last five weeks. If he keeps this up, the Dolphins should have a winning record and possibly a playoff berth.