To think we’re nearly halfway through the 2009 NFL season is wild. It seems like just a few weeks ago, NFL football betting enthusiasts were salivating at the prospect of the Thursday-night opener between Tennessee and Pittsburgh – now, it’s the end of October, the Titans are dead in the water and the Steelers just knocked Minnesota from the ranks of the undefeated.
Yup, it’s been a wild ride.
And it was especially wild in Week 7, as a few major storylines developed in the few games that remained competitive (which we’ll get into shortly). The aforementioned Vikings suffered their first loss of the season while the Giants and Falcons suffered their second. But what other big trends came from yesterday? Let’s take a look:
Blowouts were on the menu.
Coming into Week 7, there wasn’t a sportsbook or oddsmaker alive that would’ve fathom spreads this high: Green Bay went into Cleveland and beat the Browns by 28; Indianapolis crushed the Rams by 36 in St. Louis; The Jets torched the Black Hole by beating the Raiders 38-0; Cincinnati absolutely mauled the Bears at Paul Brown, winning by 35; San Diego went to Kansas City and beat the Chiefs by 30 and, in London, the Patriots beat Tampa Bay by 28. It’s not great for the league when seven of the 12 games on Sunday are decided by three touchdowns or more; perhaps the pundits are right – is parity dead in the NFL?
Drew Brees is good even when he’s bad.
Brees’ numbers against Miami weren’t especially impressive – he threw three interceptions, lost a fumble, completed just 22-of-38 passing (57.9%, well below his season average of 67) and was down 24-10 at halftime.
Yet he still managed to lead the Saints to a 46-point outing.
Yes, 14 of those points came on pick sixes by Darren Sharper and Tracy Porter, but the way in which Brees managed to ignite the New Orleans offense on Sunday was a sight to behold. Brees connected on a 10-yard TD score to Marques Colston, ran in a two-yard score of his own, set up Reggie Bush’s 10-yard TD plunge and a John Carney FG to boot. Now, the book on Brees is clear. It’s a disaster to count him out even if he’s had a bad quarter or half – the guy can turn it around so quickly. Just when NFL betting fans thought a six-point Miami cover was in the bag, Brees rallied the Saints to outscore the Fish 22-0 in the fourth quarter. Just a great performance.
Much was made this week of ex-Chicago RB Cedric Benson playing against his old team as the Bengals hosted the Bears yesterday. And with most of those stories talking about revenge, Benson wrote the storybook ending by rumbling for a career-high 189 yards, averaging 5.1 yards on a whopping 37 carries against one of the stouter run defenses in the NFL. Benson showed all focus, grit and determination in picking apart his former club; he ran for 32 yards on the opening drive, got involved in a rare wildcat sequence, bulldozed and routinely dropped his shoulder for extra yards, topped 100 yards in the first half and – after scoring a TD to make the score 45-3 – merely flipped the ball back to the referee without any celebration.
News and notes…
The Jets thought they’d suffered a big blow when Leon Washington broke his right leg against Oakland, but rookie RB (and ex-Iowa standout) Shonn Greene stepped in and had a huge day: 144 yards on 19 carries with two TDs – the Jets won’t lose any power or speed on the ground in the coming weeks, even with Washington sidelined…Trent Edwards could be done in Buffalo with news that Ryan Fitzpatrick will start next week – throw Edwards on the pile with JP Losman as young QBs the team has failed to develop…Nice effort by the much-maligned Alex Smith to clearly win back the starting QB job in San Fran with a great second half vs. Houston – he’s always had good chemistry in the passing game with TE Vernon Davis…