Through early part of NFL season
The NFL season is almost a third of the way through, and one thing many fans have noticed is the dominance of AFC teams over the NFC.
The AFC has an 18-9 (won-lost) against NFC teams going into this week.
Seattle, which is one of the early Super Bowl favourites, lost last week to Indy, and the Colts might not even be the best team in the AFC.
Denver is looking very strong offensively, and when pass-rusher extraordinaire Von Miller returns from suspension and shutdown corner Champ Bailey returns from injury, the Broncos’ D might be able to play better to go along with their dynamic offence.
There is always bad weather in Denver in December and January, and there is no way Peyton Manning and Co. can keep up these offensive explosions every week. When the weather turns snowy and cold, the defence will need to step up if Denver wants to end up in New York in February.
Another strong contender in the NFC is the undefeated New Orleans Saints, who will face the Patriots in Foxboro on Sunday.
Over the years, regardless of whatever team the Pats have on their own turf, they usually take care of business at home. We will see if the Saints are for real or not this week.
The only other teams that appear to have any chance of being in the Super Bowl from the NFC are the Packers, 49ers and perhaps Bears.
However, in the AFC, there are a number of other teams who are at 3-2, like the Bengals, Ravens, along with the undefeated Chiefs, that all have the talent to make noise come playoff time.
Speaking of New York and the Super Bowl, wouldn’t it be ironic if the Colts and Saints make it to the Big Apple? It would be two dome teams battling it out in the cold outdoors.
If the Pats or Broncos can make it to the Super Bowl, this kind of weather won’t bother them, and they would have a distinct advantage. Seattle and the 49ers, along with any of the dome teams, could have some trouble in this type of climate, and could make for a sloppy Super Bowl.
The Freak predicted at the start of the season it would be a Seahawks-Bengals’ Super Bowl, and that still has a good chance of coming true. But, from the early indications this season, without a doubt the stronger conference is the AFC, regardless if the games are inside or out!
The sure thing
The biggest spread in perhaps NFL history has Denver a 27-point favourite at home over Jacksonville. This is one of the few games in NFL history where you can, with absolute certainty, say the Broncos will win straight up.
A bunch of the boys from Summerside are making their annual trip this weekend, and are in Kansas City for the Chiefs-Raiders’ game. The Freak warned them to expect to stand for the whole game as the place is crazy (watched a game there that the Chiefs won 49-3 over the 49ers when Tony Gonzalez was a rookie). They bought these tickets in June when both teams were coming off very poor seasons, and they have tripled in value since. Big Chiefs’ fan Jason Cameron said this is a “guaranteed win” for Kansas City. The Freak hopes so for their sake, or there will be a lot of sad people walking out of Arrowhead Stadium. Have a good trip guys!
San Fran seems to be finding its stride, and is home to the Cardinals. Arizona is improved as they have a professional quarterback in Carson Palmer, but the Cardinals still lack the weapons to showcase his skills. This game will be closer than you think as Zona has a solid D, but in the end the Niners win.
It seems Seattle has been on the road forever. Now the Seahawks are finally back in their nest against the Titans, and the place will be rocking. The Seahawks were lucky they split on the road against Houston and Indy, and need to regroup. Being at home is what they need. Seattle beats the Titans.
Don’t mortgage the house picks
San Fran seems to be finding its stride and is at home to the Cardinals. Arizona is improved as they have a professional quarterback in Carson Palmer, but still lack the weapons to showcase his skills. This game will be closer than you think, but the Niners win.
The Bucs are winless like the poor old Giants, but at least they have been playing well defensively this season. Philly can score some points with its hurry-up style offence with or without Mike Vick. The problem in this game is you have a rookie quarterback starting his second career game who will be lucky to score 20 points. The Eagles will fly out of Florida with a win.
Cincy might be the most difficult team to figure out this year as they have played well against the good teams, and seem to play down to the competition against bad teams. Buffalo has surprised many people with their record, considering they have a rookie quarterback. However, the Cincy defence will be the best that EJ Manuel has faced. He and the Bills will pay the price as the Bengals win back-to-back games.
The Steelers are underdogs on the road against the Jets, who have become the best team in New York.
Who would have thought that?
Geno Smith has shown flashes of being a good NFL quarterback, like last Monday in Atlanta, but the Steelers’ defence is much more physical and shows a lot of exotic looks that can really confuse a rookie quarterback.
Pittsburgh will get finally get its first win of the season, winning on the road.
Last week: 3-for-7.
John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.