Falcons look for 8-0 as America's Team comes to town
After last weekend's NFL extravaganza at Wembley Stadium, the gridiron is back on US shores, and as ever, the Home of Betting offer markets pre match and in-play on a wide range of NFL markets.
First up, the Carolina Panthers travel to Washington in the battle of mobile quarterbacks, as Cam Newton looks to best rookie RGIII. Later, a clash of the titans, as Pittsburgh travel to the Super Bowl champion New York Giants in what promises to be an intense battle of great quarterbacks and powerful defenses. Sunday Night Football brings the night to a head, and features the sole unbeaten outfit, Atlanta; host ‘America's Team,' Dallas.
It was hoped that by this period in history, racism would be an issue from a by-gone age, yet whilst rife across soccer throughout the world, lazy comparisons made between black quarterbacks by notable analysts border, if not fully invade, racism.
And so we come to the Panthers and the Redskins. Already in the article, a comparison has been made between Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III. To say they are both mobile isn't as much a comparison as a fact, and whilst both have exhibited some scintillating talents in their rookie seasons, that is where the similarities end. For a start, it seems as though RGIII is handling the moniker of a franchise QB infinitely better than Newton, who has appeared sullen and downtrodden after the Panthers' numerous losses throughout 2012.
Of course, the result of this early clash doesn't solely depend on the performance of the QB pair, with Washington showing that, whilst they are unlikely to challenge for a post-season spot, they are no push-overs. A defense containing Ryan Kerrigan has floated between the sublime and the ridiculous, averaging 28.4 points per game (5th worst in the NFL) and 7 plays of 40+ yards (T-Worst in the NFL). However, with 10 picks (3rd in the league), any offense that comes up against the Jim Haslett run defense knows that they need to limit the number of deep shots they take.
Carolina have only registered 128 on offense this season (4th worst in the league), yet always have the ability to spring a surprise with the explosive abilities of Newton combined with RB tandem DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, as well as veteran WR Steve Smith.
This week, Big Ben claimed that the 2004 Draft Class of QBs was the best of all time, and whether or not he is correct, it is difficult to argue the talent possessed by Messers Manning (you can't spell Elite without ELI), Rivers, Schaub and Roethlisberger.
And, at the Ne Meadowlands this Sunday, Ben takes on Eli in the battle of double Super Bowl winning QBs, and a tasty affair is in store. Pittsburgh have shown some weaknesses this year that have, at other times, been invisible. Their offensive line has been shredded consistently, whilst the D hasn't had the same fear factor as seasons past. However, Tomlin's team has reached a record above /500 by this point, a mark that may be all they need to reach the playoffs in this, a terribly weak AFC.
For New York, a first week loss to Dallas was quickly overcome, and are currently sitting on a four game win streak. Pittsburgh's record has been weak on the road (1-3), and the Giants have snapped up any advantages thrown their way this season. Eli has twice blown up throughout this 2012 season, and after 8 games, is due to throw for over 4,800 yards. Having said that, Manning has only scored multiple TDs in three of eight games this season, and will be looking to improve upon that against the Steelers.
Tip of the Game - 7/4: Martellus Bennet to score an anytime touchdown
Worth a fiver - 13/2: Double Result of Steelers/Giants
Well, the 1972 Miami Dolphins are one team away from popping their champagne bottles for a 40th consecutive year, but the Mike Smith led Atlanta Falcons stand in their way, and may do for a couple of weeks to come.
Sitting pretty at 7-0, Atlanta have demonstrated just how electrifying the trio of Matt ‘The Matural' Ryan, Julio Jones, and Roddy White can be. Hosting Dallas in the Georgia Dome will provide Ryan a different challenge to those he has faced so far this season, and after the Cowboys upgraded their defense last off-season, Atlanta will know not to expect a walk-over, even with their QB's impressive .878 home record.
For the team from Texas, Jason Garrett will know that a tough NFC East will make it tough for them to reach only their fifth post-season since the turn of the millennium. If the Cowboys fail to play a January game this season, it may well be that Garrett's seat gets too hot to handle, especially with the ever-lively Jerry Jones in charge, yet it is unlikely they will look back to a road trip in Atlanta as a turning point...unless of course they win. A W here for Dallas would be a statement of intent that echoes across the league.