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Super Bowl Favorites After Week 11 2

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Niko de Jonge
Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals are the favorites to reach the Super Bowl, but with six games left anything can happen.

Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals have the best record in football, but are still not the favorites to reach the Super Bowl.

We are now heading into Week 12 in the NFL and the teams have started to really define themselves as contenders or pretenders for this year’s Super Bowl.  With almost every team having played 10 games thus far the playoff picture has really started to present itself as teams get ready for the stretch run.

Below I’ll look at some of the favorites and include their current odds from reputable sportsbook Bovada.lv.  According to this Bovada sportsbook review, they’re a great sportsbook for American bettors.

Arizona Cardinals 10/1

One surprise is the team that currently leads the NFL with a 9-1 record.  The Arizona Cardinals have had a remarkable year so far, posting this record in arguably the toughest division in the National Football League.  With the Cards performing so well, the Seahawks and 49ers, who have been at the top of the league for the past few seasons are in a real tough spot when it comes to qualifying for the playoffs. Not all is good with the Cards though.  They lost their franchise quarterback Carson Palmer for the remainder of the season.  They won their first game without Palmer under center last week over a strong Lions team, so all might not be lost.  According to Bovada Sportsbook, even though they have the best record in the NFL, the Cards are still only the 4th favorites to win the Super Bowl with odds of 10/1.

Let’s look at the 3 teams being given a better shot than the Cards.

New England Patriots 4/1

The Pats are looking like a Championship contender once again.  They’re 8-2 on the season and are currently riding a 6 game winning streak.  The Pats are currently tied with the Green Bay Packers as having the best point differential in the league at +105 and Tom Brady and company look like they haven’t lost a step having scored the second most points in the league to this point.

Add in the fact that the Pats simply blew out the Colts and the Broncos, two top end teams in their last two games and you can see why this team is a 4/1 favorite to win the Super Bowl this season. Read the rest of this entry →

Red Grange: The Galloping Ghost 4

Posted on October 05, 2014 by Dean Hybl
Red Grange

Red Grange

The October Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the NFL’s first superstar and marquee attraction.

The NFL was less than five years old and struggling to gain a foothold in popularity when Red Grange put the league on the map during a 67-day, 19-game, barnstorming tour that is credited with legitimizing professional football and the NFL. Read the rest of this entry →

Will Officials Really Increase Defensive Holding Calls During the Regular Season? 2

Posted on August 17, 2014 by Dean Hybl
New emphasis should reduce the ability of Richard Sherman to hold defenders downfield.

New emphasis should reduce the ability of Richard Sherman to hold receivers downfield.

After watching Richard Sherman and other “top” defensive backs manhandle receivers during the 2013 season while rarely being penalized, the NFL has made a point of emphasis for 2014 to crack down on defenders using their hands to keep receivers from getting into their routes.

So far in the preseason officials have been throwing flags like confetti during a parade, but it is not yet clear whether NFL Week 1 odds should be adjusted to account for the change.

There is no question that in recent years some of the top defensive players in the league have been able to skirt the rules originally created in the late 1970s to keep defensive backs like Hall of Famer Mel Blount from completely dominating the game.

The 1978 rules to limit the ability of defenders to put hands on receivers were the first of a multitude of rules that have been created over the last 36 years that have helped increase offense within the game.

The impact in 1978 was immediate.

In 1977, only one quarterback, Joe Ferguson of the Buffalo Bills at 200.2 yards per game, averaged 200 yards passing per game and only Bob Griese (22) and Ken Stabler (20) had 20 or more touchdown passes.

The 1978 season did also see the addition of two more games, but regardless, the increase in passing offense was quite obvious. Fran Tarkenton led the league averaging 216 passing yards per game and six quarterbacks averaged 200 or more yards per game. In addition, Terry Bradshaw tossed 28 touchdown passes and four others eclipsed 20 touchdown passes.

Of course, that was just the start of the offensive explosion in the NFL. In 1979 Dan Fouts passed for 4,082 yards (255 per game) and 10 eclipsed 200 yards passing per contest.

In 1981 Fouts became the first quarterback in NFL history to average 300 yards per game and half of the teams in the NFL (14 of 28) had a starting quarterback who averaged more than 200 yards per game. Fouts and Steve Bartkowski of the Atlanta Falcons passed for at least 30 touchdowns and 11 quarterbacks had 20 or more touchdown passes.

Those numbers seem a bit pedestrian compared to the current game when 26 of 32 teams had a starting quarterback passing for more than 200 yards per game in 2013, but were important in the evolution of the game.

Surprisingly, even with such prolific offense, some defenses have still been able to have an impact. That was certainly the case in 2013 when the Seattle Seahawks allowed opponents only 14.4 points per contest.

They were especially dominant in the playoffs when they held both the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers nearly 10 points below their season averages to reach the Super Bowl. Read the rest of this entry →

NFL 2014: Pack Your Bags, 49ers are Super Bowl Bound 2

Posted on August 11, 2014 by Peter Getty
It may be early, but one fan already believes he knows which NFC team will be playing in the Super Bowl.

It may be early, but one fan already believes he knows which NFC team will be playing in the Super Bowl.

NFL kickoff 2014 is nearly a month away, too far into the future to hear any predictions about who’s likely to reach the Super Bowl. Especially from a fan touting his own team.

But if my early prediction about the World Cup is any indicator, I deserve an exception.

The San Francisco 49ers are about to embark on a tremendous season.

The offseason has been tumultuous, to say the least. This may ultimately serve to provide the intrinsic motivation the team needs to push them forward for a great start to the season. They’ll need it, to be sure. Coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke have been embroiled in a power struggle that hasn’t yet been resolved. The season will need to be a rousing success in order to keep everyone happy.

On top of that, some players are unhappy about contracts, and defense is worrisome due to the ongoing threat of suspension of Aldon Smith due to off-field antics (if you can call a fake bomb threat to LAX ‘antics’). Chris Culliver and Adam Kilgore were arrested in the offseason, and even Colin Kaepernick had a run-in with the law (though was rightly exonerated of any wrongdoing).

So…what’s going right with the 49ers? Read the rest of this entry →

The Top 5 Biggest Draft Busts in NFL History 3

Posted on May 27, 2014 by Scott Huntington

With the 2014 NFL draft now in the books, it makes sense to look at some of the worst mistakes made by teams at the draft. Of course, scouts, general managers and head coaches work hard in the months leading up to the draft, trying to acquire the best possible player at their draft position. Every season, however, there are players drafted in the first round who do not work out for whatever reason, and these picks set their franchises back for years to come.

The following are some of the worst selections in recent memory.

Tim Couch

Ravens v Browns

The 1999 NFL draft was supposed to have a very special quarterback class, and Tim Couch was the first one selected. The Cleveland Browns, who were returning to the NFL after their original franchise moved to Baltimore, took Couch first overall, ahead of players like Donovan McNabb, Edgerrin James, and Champ Bailey.

The result was disastrous, as Couch would only start 59 games over his five-year career. While Couch did have potential, the Browns put the fate of the franchise on his shoulders, and he failed to live up to the hype. Read the rest of this entry →

Perfection in the NFL: The Teams That Came Closest and the One That Did 9

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Scott Huntington

It’s the dream of every player, coach, owner and fan to witness their team go undefeated and lift the Lombardi Trophy after a perfect season. However, one of the greatest characteristics of the National Football League—its parity—is the reason the fleeting dream is so rarely realized. The only evidence necessary to see the truth in the difficulty of achieving a perfect season is the fact only one team has done it. We’re talking no losses and no ties — including playoffs. The 1972 Miami Dolphins remain able to crack open the champagne bottles every year to celebrate their distinct achievement, although several teams before and after that Dolphins team have so nearly joined them in the most elite group in football’s history.

The Only Perfect Season

ap_barack_obama_1972_miami_dolphins_ll_130820_16x9_608

Under the great Don Shula, the ’72 Dolphins achieved immortality by obtaining a perfect 14-0 in the regular season before defeating the Browns, Steelers and Redskins in the playoffs to finish 17-0-0. Although they boasted the NFL’s top-ranked offense by scoring an average of 27.5 points per game, the Dolphins’ defense carried the team through the playoffs. Miami never scored more than 21 points in a postseason game, but their opponents were held to 17 points or fewer thanks to the top-ranked defense in the league, which averaged 12.2 points allowed per game. The prowess of the Dolphins’ 4-3 defense was obvious in the Superbowl, where it held the NFC Champion Redskins to just seven points.

Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Red Grange: The Galloping Ghost
      October 5, 2014 | 1:26 pm
      Red Grange

      Red Grange

      The October Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the NFL’s first superstar and marquee attraction.

      The NFL was less than five years old and struggling to gain a foothold in popularity when Red Grange put the league on the map during a 67-day, 19-game, barnstorming tour that is credited with legitimizing professional football and the NFL.

      Read more »

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