While the playoff picture is almost complete for this betting on NFL season, the truth is that the Super Bowl looks to be as unpredictable as any for 2011. There was more surprise this season than in perhaps the past few combined with a lot of change at the top of the divisions, with teams considered to be legitimate contenders turning out to be nothing more than underachieving also-rans. But now that the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and company have all been sent packing (Notice all three are from the NFC), the playoff picture is clear and we can turn our eyes to the Super Bowl.
In the AFC, there isn’t as much surprise as once again football’s stronger conference was led by perennial powers such as the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Indianapolis Colts. The Jacksonville Jaguars made it close with the Colts until the end, which overcame a tough stretch in which four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning looked like a shadow of himself. Indianapolis rebounded right on time to pull a game ahead of the Jaguars with three straight wins, and barring a meltdown in their season finale should be dancing with the best this online sports betting postseason. The New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens will once again be the AFC Wild Card teams, with the only real change in the conference coming in the AFC West, where the San Diego Chargers finally had their run halted. The Chargers had dominated the division for the last five years, but had their run ended by an upstart Kansas City Chiefs’ team that benefited from a rather easy schedule.
The picture was a lot murkier in the NFC, where there will be four new football betting division winners. The Philadelphia Eagles would not be denied top spot one year after being bounced from first place on the final day of the season, while the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons impressed at the top of their divisions, although the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints could still come from behind to steal the NFC South on the final day of the season. The NFC West was again the worst division in football, and the chance remains a sub-.500 team could clinch the crown if the Seattle Seahawks can drop the St. Louis Rams on the final day of the season.
While the playoff picture is a lot clearer, the Super Bowl picture is as confusing as ever. The Patriots have to be considered the sports betting bonus favorites from the AFC after beating the Steelers, Colts, Jets, and Ravens during the regular season, although New England isn’t past the demons that haunt them from last year’s surprising loss to Baltimore in the first round. The NFC is even more wide open with the Saints considered the favorite for a group that consists of Michael Vick’s new team and old team in the Eagles and Falcons as the prime candidates to knock them down. The playoff picture is a lot clearer heading in to week 17, but the Super Bowl picture is still a haze.
Sports Betting Overview:
This is the perfect way for two wayward AFC West teams to end the season. The early NFL predictions had pointed to a battle between Denver and San Diego for the AFC West title. But both teams had problems right out of the gate, and now they are both out of the online football betting for the playoffs. The offshore NFL betting results got so bad in Denver that head coach Josh McDaniels was fired before the season was over. After the complete collapse of the San Diego Chargers in week 16 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Chargers head coach Norv Turner is expected to join McDaniels on the unemployment line any moment now.
But a San Diego versus Denver game is always a heated battle that seems to be oblivious to the standings or the failures of the season. San Diego won the first meeting between these two teams in San Diego in week 11. But there are changes brewing in Denver that could make this game extremely interesting.
Rookie quarterback Tim Tebow has finally been given his chance to start, and he has offered a shot of energy that the Broncos needed. Starting quarterback Kyle Orton has had an excellent season throwing for 3,653 yards and 20 touchdowns. But compared to Tebow, Orton does not seem like much of an emotional leader for the Broncos. Since there is no other offensive player that can supply that spark, it was open for Tebow to deliver. Tebow not only brought the Broncos back to life, he also showed that he can throw and run the ball effectively. The decision to draft Tebow may have been the one thing that Josh McDaniels got right in his time with Denver.
As good as Tebow has looked this season, let us not forget that Philip Rivers is an emotional leader that has gained the respect of his team through his toughness and desire to win. Rivers fronts one of the best offenses in the NFL that continually shoots itself in the foot with turnovers and bad penalties. Rivers needs to bring the troops together for one game where they do not make any bad mistakes just to give the team hope for whenever the next season will be.
The defense has let the Broncos down as much as anything else this season. More specifically, the defensive line has let the Denver team down. The Broncos are ranked 31st against the rush and have show no ability to maintain a pass rush at all. If it were not for the excellent secondary in Denver, the Broncos many be in worse shape than they are already in. The lack of a strong defensive line will be a big problem for the Broncos against the Chargers.
The Chargers have the best defense in the league. They have shut-down corners that prevent the long ball from beating them. They have a defensive line that gets pressure on the opposing quarterback and slows the run game down. The San Diego linebackers completely control the middle of the field and add to the pass rush as well. We will really get to see where the Tebow is at when this game is over.
The Bottom Line:
Tim Tebow may play well in this game, but the Chargers need to win this game to help gather themselves for the next season. The Broncos will be in a re-building stage for a while, but they seem to have many of the parts they need to be a good team.
Pick: San Diego Chargers
Online NBA betting players will have a full day on Christmas with five games, but NFL betting players can sneak some action in when Dallas heads to Arizona for a Christmas night special. Neither of these teams are making the playoffs, so they’re playing for pride and, probably, some jobs in 2011.
Cowboys Cardinals Betting – Saturday, 7:30 PM ET
The Cowboys (5-9) lost a 16-point lead late in the game, then needed a field goal with 50 seconds left to beat Washington 33-30 at home. Jon Kitna was 25-of-37 for 305 yards, two scores and no picks, and the Cowboys also ran for 134 yards. Defensively, the Cowboys still have some things to work on, such as their discipline as they gave the Redskins three first downs because of penalties, and they almost made Rex Grossman look like Joe Montana in the fourth quarter. They managed five sacks, but the Dallas secondary is something that has to be addressed in the offseason, whether it’s by Jason Garrett, or whoever will be in charge in Dallas.
The Cardinals (4-10) fell short in a comeback bid in a 19-12 loss at Carolina, and their offense could barely get anything going. John Skelton was 17-of-33 for 196 yards and a pick, and the Cardinals managed a paltry 43 yards on the ground. If there is a positive that the Arizona offense can take from this game, it’s that Larry Fitzgerald had nine catches for 125 yards, his second 100-yard game of the season. Defensively, the Cardinals couldn’t get off the field as they allowed 177 yards on the ground, which allowed Carolina to hold the ball for almost 37 minutes.
Your NFL betting odds favor the Cowboys as a 6.5-point favorite on the road, and they’re 1-4 SU in their last five trips to the desert, but they’re 3-2 ATS. The Cowboys are 3-3 ATS on the road, and they’re 1-6 as a favorite, while the Cardinals are 2-5 ATS at home, and they’re 3-7 as an underdog. You have to take the team that is playing better, and that is Dallas, who look like a different squad under Garrett. The Cardinals may be playing for Ken Whisenhunt’s job, and they’re also trying to persuade Fitzgerald to stay in Arizona, and Fitzgerald can actually have a decent game against the Dallas secondary if Skelton can get him the ball, but he’ll be rushed. Offensively, the Cowboys should be able to take advantage of the Cardinals on the ground and through the air, and Arizona won’t be feeling any Christmas cheer by the end of the night. Look for Dallas to roll to a big betting win.