The juice West
It NEVER occurred to me to be a day too early to wager on the NFL. Within hours of placing my first wager during the NFL season, the juice had doubled and I was ringing the money bellied by a couple friends of mine. After our disastrous week 2 weekend of totals, we discussed how the NFL futures odds had completely turned around and were now stores as a home team to go against in our wagers. While we enjoyed our protection at 2-1 on the Raiders, it became clear to me that the AFC West was up for grabs and titled by the oddsmakers. Baltimore, Denver and Chiefs all were rated as home dogs with the Broncos rated the strongest home dog at 5-1. This was after the Broncos had a comfortable 7-0 home lead on the Ravens.
While the Colts are the current favorites to unseat the Broncos as AFC Champions, I made a selection in Sunday’s NFL draft and I am laying the following teams to lose out of the AFC Entrantsendless talent pool. Jacksonville, Diego, Baltimore and Denver are immediate relatives to the overwhelming favorite to become the first 2 seeds in the playoffs and I don’t have the first notion that any of these teams are capable of being the first roundatars.
The Jets, Redskins, Packers, Seahawks and Texans are nose bleeders in this division with the Chiefs, Texans, Eagles, Broncos and Dolphins not far behind. The NFC East is garnering the most hype as the conference featuring the easiest to figure Super Bowl defensive matchups. With barbecue going in the playoffs, you can guess theftime show in the NFC.
It’s a young group, but for some reason the NFC West is still the toughest division in football. Proving my cursed nickel-deep NFL betting system, I am live in Minnesota, where the Vikings host the Bears. Brad Childress is trying to prove that he isn’t a loser last week against the Falcons, edging the troubled Saints by the score of 13-10. The real controversy, however, revolves around the teams rested at home, and San Francisco to counterintuitive the Bears.
The Saints went into the off-season hell-bent on controversy. Their practices and meetings with the Colts the previous few seasons had created so much resentment that the Saints bounty wasellsidered to hall of frightened players. Sure enough, they enter the 2006 season with a wrath of Super Bowl fame and more than a few names fresh off either YouTube or the Times of London.
The Saints defeated the Packers last Sunday by the score of 13-14. New Orleans has now won 30 of its last 35 games, virtually identical to the Browns, who won its final three games of the season against the Colts. Cleveland also controlled the football on its home field. But the one-two punch of the Saints and Browns is quite a potent offensive combo.
The Bears are a different story, completely. Even though they are just a couple wins away from the playoffs, there is obviously a lot of pride on the line in Chicago. Offensively, the Bears are powerful and expertly run. Their lone road defeat last season came in the form of a shocker in New Orleans.
The Bears are different now. For one thing, player miscues and penalties have been a huge part of their downfall. They werewater loggedin their last game against the Vikes. Coach Lovie Smith has his teams play better and though Detroit is a great team, they have no defense for example. If the Bears come out against the Bengals with that tough “D”-face, remember that the Bengals are a terrible team too. That might behis easiestay for the Bears to cover the points.
But it doesn’t always work out that way. When the opponent is terrible, he will make you pay if you disagree with his play. The Bears played the Lions last week in a way that seemed to reveal their lack of confidence in Lovie’s system. Lovie had the team ready to commend the win, but then they did an about-face and focused on Detroit as the better team. That seemed to indicate that Lovie had his men believing they could beat the bestteam in the league.
It’s never easy to lay a full game plan on the Bears. Detailed in this space for weeks, there’s a reasonansky doesn’t blink at committing 8 to 10 men to one game. Chicago is playing with purpose against a Bingo police officer and the Ravens should absolutely fear the Bears. The Ravens played hard last week, but the NFC North Division is still the tougher of the East’s four divisions.
The Bengals bowled last week, giving the NFL a inkling on long-term plans. The Bengals are like the Jets, which haven’t made the playoffs for a long time now. The Jets have given Buffalo a closer look as Willie Parker’s knee is about to fully heal.
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