Another Sunday, another exciting weekend for the NFL and, perhaps more importantly, fans of National Football League betting. A look, now, at some of the biggest storylines that emerged and what it means for sports betting enthusiasts moving forward:
Oh, Those Cardiac Cats Hands up if you figured the Cincinnati Bengals would be 4-1 an atop the AFC North after five weeks. Not too many palms raised, and with good reason. Heading into the season, everybody had Baltimore and Pittsburgh on a crash-course for divisional bragging rights; nobody expected Carson Palmer to turn into the modern-day Joe Montana and become the king of 4th-quarter comebacks.
On Sunday, Carson Palmer threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 22 seconds left to cap an 80-yard drive as Cincinnati stunned Baltimore, 17-14. The win was a huge character builder for Cincy; the postgame celebrations and emotional speeches from Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer were built around one theme: “Believe.” The Bengals clearly believe in themselves; it’s time for the rest of the league to believe in them as well. Cincinnati is for real.
Minnesota, Rolling Along Of all the statistical glory Brett Favre has amassed during his stellar career, he set a new, previously-unattained mark on Sunday by starting a season 5-0.
This also marks the first time in six years that the Vikes are undefeated after five games; thanks to a 38-10 whipping of the woeful Rams, they’re atop the NFC North and looking very much like a Super Bowl contender. On Sunday, it was the star of the defense – Jared Allen – doing the big damage by recovering two fumbles, returning one 52 yards for a backbreaking touchdown.
The Vikings have to be considered alongside the likes of New York, New Orleans and Philadelphia as the class of the NFC. If you’re looking at NFL futures betting and can get the Vikes at a respectable number for the Super Bowl, you might want to get in on it. The defense – led by Allen, who has been outsanding this year – is making just as many big plays as the offense. That’s a scary proposition, considering the Minnesota offense features a guy by the name of Adrian Peterson.
For one week, anyways, the Qwest Field mystique was back The gaudiest scoreline of the weekend came in Seattle as the Seahawks ripped the Jacksonville Jaguars 41-0. It was domination in every facet of the game; Seattle knocked around David Garrard all afternoon, causing a flurry of second-half turnovers (one of which was returned 80 yards by backup defensive lineman Nick Reed). On offense, Matt Hasselbeck came back after missing his last two games with a cracked rib to throw four touchdowns and pick apart the Jacksonville secondary. It was very reminiscent of how Seattle played at home during their Super Bowl run; an energized crowd really pushed the defense to be a hard-hitting, ball-hawking unit. Bettors will want to pay close attention to future Seattle home games to see if the trend continues. Oh, and also keep an eye on what looks like a good sign for the offense – TJ Houshmandzadeh, the big free-agent offseason signing, had five catches for 77 yards and two scores. Looks like he’s finally found his niche in the Seahawk offense.