The NFL season is six weeks old, and parity is definitely the word that sticks out this season.
More big favourites went down last Sunday, which has become a regular occurrence this year.
Teams coming off a bye week in the past appeared to have an advantage being rested, both mentally and physically. However, last Sunday, three of those four teams lost.
Two of them – Denver and Atlanta – were double-digit home favourites, and they lost to the Giants and Dolphins, who both are not amongst the NFL’s elite.
Jacksonville also lost at home while the Redskins just hung on after blowing a 17-0 lead.
At this point in the season, the top two teams that would be favoured to be in the Super Bowl are the Chiefs and Eagles, with the likes of the Vikings, Rams, Panthers, Saints and Packers in the NFC post-season. This is a big change just from last season.
In the AFC, the Steelers, Patriots, Bills, Jags and Broncos are among the contenders. With so many teams in the mix at this point, this is a change from past years.
There are currently no undefeated teams, only two teams with one loss and believe it or not 27 teams with two, three or four wins.
Stat of the week
The 49ers’ fifth consecutive loss by three points or less is a National Football League record.
With Aaron Rodgers out for the season with a broken collarbone, back-up Brett Hundley will try and beat the visiting Saints, who have been red hot. The Packers have more than the ARod injury to deal with as they have key injuries on both sides of the ball. Not many teams march into Lambeau and win, but the Saints will.
It’s hard for The Freak to admit, but the Eagles look to be the best team in the NFC, and local fans Dana and Chris are smiling. Philly has a tough home game on Monday night against NFC East rival Washington. Carson Wentz will take advantage of banged up Redskins’ secondary. Philly goes to 6-1.
Pittsburgh looked like the team we expected all year on Sunday in Kansas City. They host rival Cincinnati in a big AFC North game. The Steelers feed off last week’s momentum, and the home crowd, to beat Cincy.
Don’t mortgage the house picks
The Rams and Cards will be chalking up the air miles as they both fly from the West Coast to play a game in London. If The Freak’s math is correct that’s an eight-hour time difference, which can only mean one thing – a sloppy game. The Rams are a better team, take Los Angeles.
In a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl, the Falcons visit the Patriots. Atlanta is struggling losing its last two games at home, and now have to play on the road, on grass, against a recurring nightmare in Tom Brady and the Pats. Should be an exciting shootout, but the end result is the same – Pats win.
There is only one consistent team in the NFL year after year – the Cleveland Browns, who just keep losing! They are home to the Titans, who are coming off a short week, but are a different team with Marcus Mariota back under centre. Cleveland doesn’t have a National Football League-calibre quarterback yet, and will have trouble scoring even against this bad Titans’ defence. Take Tennessee on the road.
Dallas is coming off a bye, which really doesn’t mean much as they head to San Fran.
The 49ers have lost their last five games by a total of 13 points, and with a play here or there could be easily .500.
The Cowboys could be without Ezekiel Elliott unless the courts allow him to play again, but regardless this will be a distraction for them all week.
The 49ers pull off the upset
Last week: 4-for-7.
John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher and coaches youth football. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.