Posted by Barrie on Sunday, 8 November 2009

NFL contenders for the #1 Rank



Remaining Schedule

Odds to win Superbowl

Indianapolis Colts




New Orleans Saints




Minnesota Vikings




Denver Broncos




Cincinnati Bengals




Dallas Cowboys




New England Patriots




Philadelphia Eagles




Pittsburgh Steelers




It's no surprise that the New Orleans Saints are the favourites for this year's Superbowl with their unbeaten record and dominating results in the process. But for trailing 24-3 in Miami, they've put up some impressive scores. Their comeback over the Dolphins was also impressive, winning by 12 points. They've already beat the Eagles 48-22, the Giants 48-27 and the Falcons 35-27. The Saints host New England and Dallas in their remaining 9 games, with trips to Atlanta and Carolina as their toughest road trips on paper. They are genuine challenges for the #1 rank and ultimately the Superbowl if Drew Brees stays healthy. Defensively they are playing well too this season, but seem capable of outscoring their opponents if needbe.

The Indianapolis Colts have won 3 narrow games this season and blown out the other 4 games as they remain unbeaten and second favourites for the Superbowl. With Tennessee's demise this season, the Colts haven't arguably played a top team so far this season, but they have New England coming to town in week 10 before a trip to Baltimore; their toughest road trip with quite a favourable schedule and a possible 16-0 season heading into the playoffs.

The Minnesota Vikings deservedly rank as the 2nd best team in the NFC. A match with the Saints in the NFC Championship sounds mouth-watering right now with two highly-powered offences. When teams try stacking the box to stop Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre rips them a part. And if they don't pay Peterson respect, he runs them over. They're a tough team to stop and only the Steelers have beat them up to now.

The bookmakers are showing a little disrespect to division leaders Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals with their odds, but both teams have enjoyed late, unlikely victories to get them where they are. Perhaps they won't enjoy as much success against the elite teams, and the Bengals will be tested against a Ravens team looking for revenge this weekend, while the Broncos host the Steelers on Monday Night Football. Victories for both sides and they'll win a little more respect, but neither has enough to cause a serious Superbowl run in my opinion.

The Dallas Cowboys are quietly going about their business and can go top of the NFC East with a surprise victory in Philadelphia tonight. I can't see it happening and 4 of their 5 wins so far have come against teams with a combined 6 victories (Tampa Bay, Carolina, Kansas City, Seattle), and their victory over the Chiefs was far from convincing, although they did beat the Falcons in a match I thought they could be upset. Their 4 remaining road games are in Philadelphia, Green Bay, New York and New Orleans which gives them a chance to show their true colours.

After a slow start and defeats to the Jets and Broncos, the New England Patriots are deservedly amongst the favourites now. Perhaps under priced, but that's based on their reputation and history and there's no doubt they have one of the best coach-quarterback combinations in the league. Their defence looked good against two of the poorer teams in the league in Tennessee and Tampa Bay before the bye. They'll be tested by the Miami wildcat formation this weekend before a big test for them in week 10 in Indianapolis. If they go 2-0 against the Dolphins, expect them to win the division this year and they can always be considered Superbowl contenders when they make the playoffs.

The Philadelphia Eagles won't be the number 1 ranked team in the NFL or even the NFC at the end of the season, and are far from sealing a playoff spot right now. Their victory over an out-of-form New York last week is their biggest of the season so far, but have some tough tests from now in, starting this evening at home to the Dallas Cowboys. They still have to go to San Diego, Chicago, Atlanta, New York and Dallas, with the latter 2 matches likely to be a battle to take the division. While they have been regular visitors to the NFC Championship in recent years, I can't see them making it past both the Saints and Vikings this year to make the Superbowl.

After a slow start and 2 defeats in their first 3 games, the Pittsburgh Steelers have come good with 10 point victories over both San Diego and Minnesota that has put them into contention. They could do with division rivals the Ravens beating the Bengals this evening and then if they win in Denver on Monday night they can go back on top of their close division. They've got a couple of tough fixtures remaining but nothing that could prevent them making the playoffs at the end of the season.

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At 10 November 2009 at 10:40 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another big comeback from the Saints. Whose gonna stop them now? The Colts havent impressed me despite being unbeaten. They were lucky against the Texans and they wouldnt get as lucky against the Saints if they meet in the SB


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