By News Team
Last Updated: 30th October 2020
The NFC West is the best division in American football, the New England Patriots have problems and the New York Jets remain the only winless team in the NFL.
The NFL season is at its halfway stage and it’s been a rollercoaster for some teams so far. This week we preview some huge divisional rivalries with major playoff implications, alongside our ambassador Jason Bell.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens
The AFC North has an undefeated team and to the surprise of many it isn’t the Baltimore Ravens. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been exceptional so far this year, playing almost flawless football. But this is their biggest battle yet as they travel to Lamar Jackson’s backyard on Sunday.
Surprisingly, the Steelers are 9/5 underdogs against a Ravens side that only just scraped past the lowly Philadelphia Eagles last week, with hosts Baltimore 10/21. With a handicap of just 4, a close game is to be expected, while the stingy Steelers defence could keep Pittsburgh in the game enough to bring it down to a field goal. Take the visitors +4 at 10/11.
Jackson won’t go quietly though, with three scores at a minimum expected from the high-powered Ravens offense. They are just 2/5 to score over 21 points this weekend.
New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
One team sits comfortably atop the AFC East driven by a superstar quarterback and an aggressive defence, while the other is mired in mediocrity and experiencing QB struggles. This year’s AFC East has a paralleled universe feel, with the New England Patriots struggling significantly in the post-Tom Brady era, while Josh Allen’s Buffalo Bills continue to find ways to win.
Buffalo have a comfortable home advantage against the Pats at just 10/21, something that is incredibly rare in the 21st century. New England head to Orchard Park with significant struggles under centre as 9/5 underdogs, but there aren’t many things as fearsome in American football as an under-pressure Bill Belichick.
While the Patriots future Hall of Fame coach will have some tricks up his sleeve, this Bills team looks to have too much firepower for the beleaguered Pats and should cover the -3.5 spread at 10/11 on Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks
There are three five-win teams in the NFC West, and last year’s NFC champions aren’t among them. San Francisco 49ers sit at 4-3 and will be looking to upset the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday to kickstart their season. The Bay Area team head north as 13/10 underdogs, with Seattle 4/6 to bounce back from a recent close loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Injuries have taken their toll on the 49ers more than most this season, while Russell Wilson continues to perform at an MVP level for the Hawks. While it may look close on paper, Seattle’s dynamic wideout duo of Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf should continue to excel and power the Seahawks clear of San Fran in the race for a play-off spot in a crowded NFC.