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NFL season at halfway point

['Journal Pioneer NFL columnist John Turner.']
['Journal Pioneer NFL columnist John Turner.']

SUMMERSIDE - The NFL season has reached its halfway point and, just like every year, there are some surprising and disappointing teams.

If the season ended today, the favourites to be in the Super Bowl would be the Patriots and Cowboys, or you could argue the Raiders and Cowboys, which would be a television ratings jackpot.
Sorry all Raiders and Cowboys’ fans, we all know there’s a long way to go before the Super Bowl in early February, and a lot of things can happen over the last half of the year. 
Remember three weeks ago? 
All the prognosticators had the Vikings and Broncos going to the dance. How quickly things have changed! 
One or two injuries to key players, and a controversy, whether it’s on the field or off the field, can divide a team. A couple of bad bounces and, most of all, the loss of confidence (see Vikings) can destroy a team’s momentum. We are in for an exciting finish to the NFL season!

Stat of the week
Remember when Aaron Rodgers was unbeatable at home? In the last 20 games at Lambeau, the Packers’ record is 9-11 (won-lost).

Bonehead play of the week
The Steelers made a late comeback narrowing the Ravens’ lead to 21-14. With no choice but to try the onside kick, Pittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell tried a soccer rabona kick – kick the ball with your plant foot behind his back. He whiffed on the kick, and the ball went nowhere!
 
Sure thing
Thursday, the Browns head to Baltimore for an AFC North Division game. Well, this is the only thing that will make the game interesting as the Ravens’ D will make Cleveland’s offence look like a college team. Ravens win.
Coming off a bye week, the Cards are ready and rested for a divisional home game with the 49ers. San Fran’s defence can’t stop anyone, and running back David Johnson will run wild. Take the red birds.
Some local Patriots’ fans are heading to Sunday night’s game against the Seahawks in Foxboro. Brady and the crew are rested and refocused after a week off. Seattle keeps winning in different ways, but Coach Belichick will contain Russ Wilson in the pocket, and take away Jimmy Graham. Pats win much to the delight of Sean and Jamie.

If the season ended today, the favourites to be in the Super Bowl would be the Patriots and Cowboys, or you could argue the Raiders and Cowboys, which would be a television ratings jackpot.
Sorry all Raiders and Cowboys’ fans, we all know there’s a long way to go before the Super Bowl in early February, and a lot of things can happen over the last half of the year. 
Remember three weeks ago? 
All the prognosticators had the Vikings and Broncos going to the dance. How quickly things have changed! 
One or two injuries to key players, and a controversy, whether it’s on the field or off the field, can divide a team. A couple of bad bounces and, most of all, the loss of confidence (see Vikings) can destroy a team’s momentum. We are in for an exciting finish to the NFL season!

Stat of the week
Remember when Aaron Rodgers was unbeatable at home? In the last 20 games at Lambeau, the Packers’ record is 9-11 (won-lost).

Bonehead play of the week
The Steelers made a late comeback narrowing the Ravens’ lead to 21-14. With no choice but to try the onside kick, Pittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell tried a soccer rabona kick – kick the ball with your plant foot behind his back. He whiffed on the kick, and the ball went nowhere!
 
Sure thing
Thursday, the Browns head to Baltimore for an AFC North Division game. Well, this is the only thing that will make the game interesting as the Ravens’ D will make Cleveland’s offence look like a college team. Ravens win.
Coming off a bye week, the Cards are ready and rested for a divisional home game with the 49ers. San Fran’s defence can’t stop anyone, and running back David Johnson will run wild. Take the red birds.
Some local Patriots’ fans are heading to Sunday night’s game against the Seahawks in Foxboro. Brady and the crew are rested and refocused after a week off. Seattle keeps winning in different ways, but Coach Belichick will contain Russ Wilson in the pocket, and take away Jimmy Graham. Pats win much to the delight of Sean and Jamie.

Don’t mortgage the house picks
Minnesota has no offence, and the team just can’t win solely on defence. Coaches are quitting and there have been bad decisions by the coaching staff and management, such as keeping kicker Blair Walsh. Now, they play on the road in a tough environment in Washington. The Redskins need a win to keep pace with the Giants and Cowboys. Washington wins on a missed Walsh last-second field goal.
The Freak said a couple of weeks ago the Panthers will go on a playoff run, and now they’ve won their last two and face the tough Chiefs. Carolina will exploit the KC secondary, and look for receiver Kelvin Benjamin to have a big game. Carolina is back in the playoff mix with their third straight win.
In the battle of the birds, the high-scoring Falcons fly to Philly to face the Eagles. Atlanta loves to throw the ball, and Philly loves to rush the passer. Rookie Carson Wentz should have an easier time throwing against a poor Atlanta secondary. The Falcons fly back south with a loss.

Upset special
Las Vegas has no respect for the Cowboys, who are a three-point underdog on the road against the Steelers. 
There’s a lot of history between these old Super Bowl rivals. 
Ben Roethlisberger didn’t look comfortable last week with his surgically repaired knee, and that’s going to be a factor.
Dallas will pound the ball on this day with rookie Ezekiel Elliott. 
Dallas moves to 8-1 on the season.
Last week: 5-for-7.
Season: 42-for-63.

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 ssidespartansfootball@yahoo.ca.

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