Week 9 is always a real turning point in the NFL betting season, as the playoff races start to take on real form. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from the past action.
Winners? How about the Carolina Panthers? While nobody was expecting the Panthers to be undefeated after 9 weeks of action, the team lead by Cam Newton was able to keep their regular season record spotless, and hold the Green Bay Packers down the stretch. The team looked great at both ends. The offense found the way to score, but the defense was decisive, forcing the Packers to commit mistakes, including a key interception by Aaron Rodgers in crunch time, because he was so busy avoiding a sack that he didn’t see Randall Cobb wide open in the end zone and instead threw a soft lob that was picked off.
Another winner would be the Minnesota Vikings, and more specifically, Adrian Peterson. The Vikings’ star running back faced off against the St. Louis Rams in Week 9, and with Minnesota’s defense containing phenom rookie Todd Gurley, Peterson put on a clinic, as he romped for 125 yards and rambled into the end zone for a score. He also set the table for the field goal that would give the Vikings the result in overtime. It looked like Gurley was taking notes, as he picked up 89 yards and grabbed a touchdown too.
How about Richie Incognito? He was out of football thanks to the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal, but this week he was suited up with the Buffalo Bills and got to play against the Dolphins for the second time this season. Both times the Bills have manhandled the Dolphins, and this week Incognito and the rest of the line made gaping holes to allow LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams each to run for over 100 yards.
Losers? Let’s start with the Dallas Cowboys. It’s not always nice to pick on a team that has lost its starting quarterback, but let’s face it. The Steelers were able to stay afloat while Ben Roethlisberger was on the bench. So were the Indianapolis Colts. With Tony Romo off the field, the Cowboys have lost six straight – and you can’t blame it on the backup quarterbacks, Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel. Weeden led the team to 28 points against the Atlanta Falcons, and Cassel led the team to 27 points this week against Philadelphia, but the Dallas defense was soft, allowing the Eagles to run roughshod all over them, and allowing a catch and run for 41 yards on the first Eagle possession of overtime. Who’s to say that the Cowboys will win when Romo returns? The defense can’t stop anyone, period.
Another losing team? The Green Bay Packers. After starting 6-0, they are now 6-2, thanks to back to back losses at Denver and now at Carolina (both of whom were undefeated at the time). The team is losing its composure too; after the Panthers completed a 74-yard scoring drive in the third quarter, Green Bay defensive lineman BJ Raji pushed cornerback Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in a display of frustration that topped an already emotional game.
Another loser would be the St. Louis Rams and tehir defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams. During the fourth quarter, the Rams knocked Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater out of the game with a concussion. Bridgewater had already started his slide when the Rams delivered a dirty blow that earned a flag – and will likely earn a fine or suspension too. After the game, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer showed his anger at Williams.
Finally, the Monday Night game between Bears and Chargers taught us a lesson: It’s not over until it’s really over. After leading the score for most of the game, San Diego finally seemed to have ended a 4 game skid and notch a win against a disastrous Chicago team, but all of the sudden, Zach Miller completed a catch with his right hand and tumbled into the end zone for a TD. Miller’s TD reception and a 2-point conversion run by rookie Jeremy Langford put the Bears ahead for the first time in this game and sealed their third win of the season.
”We have got to figure out how to win in the fourth quarter. We have talked about it. We’ve won games in the fourth quarter, we’ve lost in the fourth quarter. That’s what the NFL is about. You have to play your best in the fourth quarter, and that’s what coach (John) Fox has talked about. It’s good that it happened today, but we have to continue it.” said Chicago’s QB Jay Cutler.