Chances Diminishing for Cinderella Super Bowl
Wayne Root: Chances Diminishing for Cinderella Super Bowl
With two weeks to go in the 2015 NFL regular season, it's getting harder to visualize any short of Cinderella shockers making a Super Bowl run. There's a short list of clear favorites who have established distance from the pack. The "next rung" of hopefuls have various issues that will likely prevent them from stringing together January victories.
Let's take a brief look...
SUPER BOWL FAVORITES
If the playoffs started TODAY, those are the five teams with the best shot of running the table. New England is still in their dynasty, will be enjoying a #1 seed once again, and got some help when Cincinnati's Andy Dalton broke his thumb. Carolina and Arizona are on track for the top two seeds in the NFC. Seattle is playing great lately...but a return engagement of New England/Seattle would be anything but a Cinderella story! Pittsburgh? Ben Roethlisberger returning to the big game wouldn't be a shocking development.
You'll note I left a few prominent teams off that list...
DENVER: this defense is great, but is starting to wear down from carrying the team on its back all year. Brock Osweiler is helpless in crunch time. Peyton Manning's body just isn't cooperating any more. Denver's capable of beating anybody on a given day...but it's hard to see them running the table in January. They're in danger of falling down to a Wildcard spot too...which makes a Super Bowl run even less likely.
CINCINNATI: Chris McCarron? Hard to envision. If Andy Dalton makes a heroic return, he'll be trying to throw with a bad thumb in bad weather. He has a poor playoff record when healthy!
GREEN BAY: The Packers offense is still awful. That's been hidden a bit recently because they're getting cheap points against non-playoff teams. They needed a miracle to beat Detroit, then cashed in cheapies vs. Dallas and Oakland. They just haven't played a top team in awhile...so it's easy to forget that they're not a top team any more.
KANSAS CITY: Some are really falling in love with the Chiefs because they've been so hot lately. But, we're talking about Andy Reid and Alex Smith trying to win playoff games! Those guys are at their best against weaker regular season opponents, and at their worst against the elites under playoff pressure. Plus, look at these yardage stats from the past few weeks...
Baltimore 366, Kansas City 277
Kansas City 329, San Diego 280
Oakland 361, Kansas City 232
Buffalo 415, Kansas City 413
Over the last month, the Chiefs have a 1-3 record "in yardage" against four teams who won't come close to sniffing the playoffs. The mistakes those teams have been making aren't going to be made by better teams next month! For now, KC is a pretender.
I'm not even going to mention the eventual winners of the bad divisions. Somebody's going to win the AFC South...and somebody's going to win the NFC East. Those two survivors will get to host a playoff game at least. But, they'll be facing a high quality Wildcard whoever it turns out to be...and then they'd have to face true championship contenders on the road. Think Washington's going to win at Carolina or Arizona? Possibly one after the other in consecutive weeks? Yeah, Brandon Weeden's going to lead Houston to the promised land. Give me a break.
Of course, if you think back to the Preseason...then either Carolina or Arizona would have to be considered a Cinderella story. Arizona wasn't in the Top 10 in Super Bowl Futures prices even though many sharps thought they had a good chance to win the West if Seattle came out flat (which is proving true). Carolina wasn't even in the upper half of the league. But, those teams represented "early season" surprises and aren't considered Cinderella's any more. Carolina may finish the regular season 16-0! They were a Cinderella story in September. Now they're a Goliath some David will try to take down.
What's THE KING OF UPSETS going to do if the playoffs aren't shaping up as fertile ground for upsets? Well, one step at a time! Any team is capable of being taken out early if they run into a bad matchup. Plus, New England becomes vulnerable if Rob Gronkowski takes another hard hit, or if Tom Brady runs into some bad injury luck. Carolina and Arizona may have peaked too early. It's certainly possible that a "power" can be upset in a 60-minute sprint, even if it's unlikely that a team like Washington or Kansas City doesn't seem capable of winning a 240-minute marathon. Don't assume the NFL Playoffs are going to lack upsets!
And, don't make that same assumption about the last two weeks of the regular season either. This is actually a great time to fade favorites who may start taking their eye off the ball. In fact, last week's barrage of chalk may set up the public for a big spanking the next two Sundays! We've seen this often over the years. The betting market jacks up a line 2-3 points (or more) because the favorite "must win" for playoff qualifying or positioning, but then the pressure gets to them and they can't even win outright.
I will certainly be putting that league history to use very soon. You can purchase all of my top NFL and college football bowl plays (plus basketball!) right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my services best suits your individual needs, please talk to one of my representatives in the office at 1-877-ROOT-WINS.
Back with you in a few days to talk about what might be a last gasp effort from the New York Jets to reach the playoffs as they host the New England Patriots this Sunday. Big betting opportunities are happening DAILY during this busy time on the sports calendar. That means it's time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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