NFL expert Nick Goff gives his views on week three of the action
One of the many big differences between the way football in the UK and American Football works is that in the NFL the regular season lasts 16 games. The English Premier League has 38 games, while the Championship and lower leagues have 46. Naturally that makes every game a bit more important in the NFL. More of your season, percentage wise, rests on each game.
So although we’re only about to begin Week 3, several teams are already sliding towards last chance saloon. Seven of the 32 teams go into Week 3 with two losses. Of the last 121 teams to start the season with three consecutive losses, only three of them ended up making the playoffs. Put another way, if those 0-2 teams lose again this week, the stats say they about as much chance of making the post-season as Steven Gerrard has of ever winning the Premier League. Months of hard work preparing for the season all but over in 180 minutes on the field and those Head Coaches will feel about as safe in their jobs as Alan Pardew does over here at the moment.
For some of those teams, being 0-2 isn’t exactly a surprise. Forinstance, no one ever really expects Oakland to get their first win while there are still leaves on trees. For others, being 0-2 has come as a major shock. New Orleans are one such team – tipped by many as potential Superbowl winners throughout the summer. They’ve lost two close games, both of which they were agonisingly close to winning, and could easily be sitting at 2-0 now if a few things had gone slightly differently. But they didn’t, and they’re staring down the barrel of 0-3, and all those bad stats, if they can’t get the job done at home to Minnesota this week. They really ought to win the game, but with the handicap line at a very high looking -10, they can do so without having my money anywhere near them.
The only game where two 0-2 teams meet is in Jacksonville, as the Colts visit the Jaguars. There is a bet I like very much in this game, and that is Under 45.5 total match points. The Jaguars were shocking last week in Washington and have only managed 27 points in two games, so expecting them to suddenly turn into a point-scoring machine would be about as foolish as expecting an appearance from Alex Salmond at your St.George’s Day Party next year. There are reasons to expect their defense to play better this week though, with the return from injury of key player Jon Cyprien.
Being divisional rivals, these twoteams know each other inside out and meet twice every season. In the past three seasons none of their six meetings have seen more than 40 points scored, and with bad weather forecast in the area on Sunday everything points towards under 45.5 here to me. Cue a 70 point thriller.
Away from the teams in the 0-2 category, the pick of the week is undoubtedly the rematch of last year’s Superbowl, Denver v Seattle live on Sky at 9pm Sunday night. Seattle won the last battle more easily than anyone could have predicted, and with their famous “12th Man” home crowd behind them it’ll be a very tough ask for Denver to take their revenge.
Staying with the total points angle, in this game I’d be happy to back Over 48.5 points. Peyton Manning, with a point to prove against Seattle, could well put up around 24 points here, but I can’t really see them winning the game, so overs looks right shout to me, and has the added bonus of making the game a bit more fun to watch.
Right, that is quite enough of this nonsense. I’m not paid by the word, you know. Enjoy this weekend’s NFL action.