We have reached the halfway mark and need to analyze some things that we missed earlier or never saw coming. Most figured entering the NFL season that Seattle would be on top. At 5-3, they are struggling somewhat not only on the field but in the clubhouse. This writer/handicapper has warned everyone since week 2 that this was not last years Championship team. The 49er’s are not even in the Top 10 and who saw that coming. A very popular team by the betting public was Cincinnati and they won just 1 game in October. Let’s group the following together and take a look after week 8: Dallas (predicted to have break out season by WAR), Philadelphia, Arizona, Detroit have a combined record of 23-7. This is what makes handicapping the NFL by the public so difficult. Who would have seen that coming? The following teams are still on last years mode and their reputation of their past. Seattle, San Francisco, Green Bay, Cincinnati and New England have combined for a 23-13-1 mark. Remember group 1 was 23-7. Not bad but in terms of handicapping but these 5 teams play as favorites most of their games while the 23-7 group’s value is there in terms of easy winners. Wayne Root is ranked #6 handicapper in USA in NFL which surprised very few. If you saw the first 8 weeks coming as I did, then my hat is off to you and a huge congratulations is in order. Job well done. If you are looking for consistency, consider this: That’s after last year (2013) where Wayne Root finished #7 in USA in NFL handicapping. The second half of the season will be just as remarkable and profitable.
1) DENVER—The Broncos handed it to San Diego last Thursday as they scored 35 points in a game that was all Manning. Now with the added 3 days of rest for his 39 year old body, it’s off to play New England where Tom Brady hung a 51 spot on the Bears. This is advertised as the game of the season as both QB’s are peaking at the same time. A year ago, Denver blew a 24-0 lead and lost in OT during the regular season. They paid them back in the AFC Championship game.
2) NEW ENGLAND—Tom Brady connected on four TD passes last week against the troubled Bears. He finished the day by throwing 20 straight completed passes. Maybe Kansas City woke a sleeping Bear as the Pats were 4-0 in October. We’ll see how November falls as they play Denver; a team they lost to in the AFC Championship game last year.
3) ARIZONA—The Carson Palmer game plan is working to perfection. He throws short accurate passes and then the wide receivers run like hell. Last week it was incredible as the Cardinals had 193 yards after the catch. Their second most since 2006. Add their defense into the mix and they’ll be hard to catch in the NFC West. Speaking of catching, they may get to catch Dallas at the right time this week with Romo hurting.
4) DALLAS—We have to say in a rivalry game like the Cowboys and Skins play, anything can happen so with that in mind and Romo going down( even though Brandon Weaton played well), the punishment must fit the crime and their drop off is not so severe. But as we move forward, how much pounding can Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray take? Jerry Jones needs to quit being a quack doctor and realize there is a major difference between playing with pain and playing injured. He’s being an ass! They host the Cardinals this week so no easy task beating this team if injured.
5) DETROIT—The Lions went to London and almost got thrown off a bridge. Trailing 21-0, who would have given them a chance other than luck and destiny and the Atlanta Falcons? They even got 2 field goal tries with :02 sec left in the game after missing FG #1 on a delay of game penalty and then sent #2 thru the uprights. The get a bye week and should come out fighting with Calvin “Megathron” Johnson back so these wins without him were huge.
6) PHILADELPHIA—The Eagles missed an opportunity last week as they came up on the short end against the Arizona Cardinals. In their 2 losses, if was left on the 1 yard line in San Francisco and a last minute score for the Cardinals and then their own penalty to wipe out a TD pass. They travel to Houston where defense prevails and will put Nick Foles to the ultimate test. They are a small favorite.
7) GREEN BAY—The Packers marched into New Orleans and the Saints boxed them up and sent them marching out with plenty of yardage but not enough points scored to win. It was all Eddy Lacy as he had a career-high 182 yards rushing and 123 receiving yards. They need to find other “outs” on their offense as Aaron Rodgers can get the ball to anybody so why is Lacy doing all the work? They can work on that this week during their bye.
8) SAN DIEGO—This is a dangerous under-the-radar team. They get little respect but on the other hand, little criticism. Their defense is awesome in a secondary that compliments their pass rush. Only Carson Palmer has throw for more than 300 yards so far this season against them which includes the likes of Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning. And if you’re not into their defense, they have Philip Rivers with a career year at QB. They will need everything clicking as they make that cross country trip to play Miami.
9) INDIANAPOLIS—Did the Colts have an off night and were exposed or did Ben Roethlisberger have the best game of his career? Ben was 40-of-49 for 522 yards with 6 TD’s. That was history in the making as he is the first QB to throw for 500 yards in a game twice. The Colts just could not hang with that. They entered with the best third down defense in the NFL. They left scratching their helmets and now head to New York on Monday to play the Giants.
10) SEATTLE—It was all Russell Wilson on the last drive while playing Carolina. He was 4-of-4 for 53 yards and a TD. The Seahawks just don’t play well at the Carolina venue. This was the leadership needed to quiet the off the field troubles that found Percy Harvin leaving and the locker room in disagreement. But winning a game like that has a way of replacing problems with enthusiasm. Now it’s back home to play Oakland to put those troubles away forever as a bad memory. There are new and exciting days ahead….well maybe….they still have a disgruntled running back that won’t be getting a new contract from the Seahawks in the name of Marshawn Lynch. He’s 28 and running backs are a dime a dozen and he’s not having a season to remember.
TEAMS #11 THRU #15 ARE THE MOST AWESOME GROUP I CAN REMEMBER
11) SAN FRANCISCO—Kaepernick is the weak link. Defense is good. WR’s are great. Gore is perfect.
12) CINCINNATI—Easy schedule ahead. They should win 4 of their next 5 games.
13) BALTIMORE—This team is balanced and the defense is stronger than most thought.
14) PITTSBURGH—Never count out a veteran QB with a winners attitude. It spreads to all teammates.
15) BUFFALO BILLS–This team never quit in the past and will not quit with their new Owner now.