Let’s evaluate the NFL odds and see which teams are poised for greatness as the homestretch of the season is upon us and we evaluate which teams are a shoo-in to make the postseason parade.
There is not a whole lot to say about this division other than that the Patriots lost their first game of the year to the Broncos and their threat to the ’72 Dolphins’ perfect season was extinguished in Mile High. The NFL odds makers are still bullish on the badly beaten boys from Beantown but with the injuries mounting to their significant contributors on both sides of the ball, the Evil Genius is looking to the postseason to return some of the walking wounded.
If you listened to me in the preseason wax prosaic on which team would win this division, I pointed to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Cats have not disappointed and essentially have the divisional crown all wrapped up and ready for the big red bow. After Week 12, the Steelers are just a speck in the rear view mirror and with only five games left in the regular season, it is Cincinnati’s for the taking. Pittsburgh is focusing no longer on taking the AFC North but eyeballing their wildcard competitors jockeying for position like the Jets, Bills, Texans, Colts, Chiefs and Raiders.
The Colts were supposed to walk away with this one but they started poorly, their Luck ran out and now they have a 40-year-old quarterback under center. Fortunately, Matt Hasselbeck is not just any middle aged guy trying to stay relevant but an actual game manager, though by no means any longer a game changer, who can guide this team to glory until Andrew Luck is ready to return fully able and healthy. The Houston Texans are stride-for-stride with the Colts and it will be interesting to see who ultimately rules the South.
If you have watched the Broncos this season, you understand just how fortunate they are to be 9-2. They never appear dominant and have gotten more than their share of lucky breaks and fortuitous calls. Peyton Manning has been abysmal at times this season and has been a shadow of his former self. He is now mercifully sidelined and gives way to Brock Osweiler who has acquitted himself well since taking over. The Broncos will win the West with the Chiefs and Raiders struggling for a wild card berth.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It was only a few months ago we were declaring this a two-horse race between Philadelphia and Dallas but lo and behold it is the Giants and Redskins tied for the top spot. Regardless which team wins, it will be a long road to hoe in the postseason for this divisional champ. My bet is that the Giants win three of their next five and take home the crown while Dallas may be looking for a quarterback in this year’s draft and Chip Kelly may be looking for a job.
It has been a tumultuous NFL season and witnessing the Packers lose at Lambeau to the Lions as 11-point favorites and then get beaten last week again on their home turf by the Bears has us dazed and confused. Aaron Rodgers does not have his twin turbos on the wings any longer and this offense gets more pedestrian every week. Nature abhors a vacuum and the Minnesota Vikings are more than happy to fill it. The Vikes are 8-3 and one game ahead of the Packers as the season enters the homestretch. There is still time for Green Bay to reclaim what is theirs but time is a tickin’.
If I told you in August that the Carolina Panthers would be undefeated after Week 12 and Cam Newton is Superman would you have believed me? Well believe me now because the Panthers look immense and are serious contenders to go all the way this season. Meanwhile get that kid Newton a phone booth…if you can find one. They have the division virtually sewn up but will they go for the perfect season or will head coach Ron Rivera rest his weary warriors as the season winds down even if that means losing one or two games before the postseason begins? Stay tuned because that answer could tell the tale of their Super Bowl aspirations.
Carson Palmer has been reborn in the desert and the Cardinals’ fans are ecstatic that he is the man pulling the trigger on this offense. The Redbirds own a +126 point differential which trails only Carolina and New England, which is evidence of their dominance on both sides of the ball this season. This team is the real deal and are on a collision course with the Panthers for NFC supremacy. Though Arizona has a pair of losses on their record, they have won six of their last seven and have no peers in the West this season and that includes the Seattle Seahawks. Speaking of the Super Bowl runner-ups, it will take a yeoman’s effort for them to even cop a wild card spot.
|Team||Conference Championship Appearance||Conference Championship||Super Bowl Win|
2016 Draft – The Contenders for the Top Spot
|Team||Top Pick||Top 3 Pick|
Super Bowl Matchup Percentages – Each one of these potential Super Bowl matchups has a special meaning behind it. For instance, if the Panthers were to face the Patriots, it would be a redux of Super Bowl XXXVIII. If the Cardinals were to meet the Bengals, it would be Carson Palmer’s former and current team. See if you can determine the significance of the matchups below and perhaps get a preview of what you will be betting on in your NFL picks come February!
|Carolina vs. New England||15.3%|
|Carolina vs. Cincinnati||14.2%|
|Arizona vs. Cincinnati||7.8%|
|Seattle vs. New England||3.3%|
|Green Bay vs. New England||2.4%|
|Seattle vs. Denver||2.1%|
|Minnesota vs. Cincinnati||1.8%|
|Green Bay vs. Denver||1.4%|
|Green Bay vs. Kansas City||0.7%|
|Arizona vs. Pittsburgh||0.7%|
|Minnesota vs. Kansas City||0.7%|
|Washington vs. Denver||0.3%|
|Seattle vs. Pittsburgh||0.3%|
|NY Giants vs. New England||0.2%|
|Green Bay vs. Pittsburgh||0.2%|
|Philadelphia vs. New England||0.2%|
|Seattle vs. NY Jets||0.1%|
|Minnesota vs. Pittsburgh||0.1%|
|NY Giants vs. Denver||0.1%|
|Chicago vs. New England||0.1%|
|Chicago vs. Denver||0.1%|