In case you had your TV turned off this weekend and missed the incredible action on the NFL gridiron, here’s a little recap to get you caught up.
The Falcons and Texans entered week six as the two remaining undefeated teams in the league, but only one of them would stay that way. The Texans dropped their first game of the season to the Green Bay Packers 42-24, while the Falcons escaped an upset against Oakland by drilling a 55-yard field goal as time expired to win 23-20. The Falcons improved to 6-0 with the win, which is the best start to a season in team history.
Baltimore breathed a sigh of relief after watching Dallas’ potentially game-winning field goal sail wide left and prevailed 31-29. The Ravens were definitely happy to move to 5-1 on the season, but were dismayed to lose two of its defensive stars for the season. Ray Lewis (torn triceps) and Lardarius Webb (torn ACL) both left the game in the third quarter with injuries and after further evaluation, were ruled out for the rest of 2012. Even in the win, Baltimore gave up the most rushing yards (227) in a single game in franchise history. Just think of how much the defense will struggle now, without its emotional leader in Lewis and one of its top tacklers on the outside in Webb.
Upsets and Surprises
Of course, no NFL weekend would be complete with a couple of shocking upsets and surprising finishes. Week six served up a few dandies, the first of which got the week kicked off on Thursday as the Tennessee Titans knocked off the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are now off to one of their worst starts in recent memory at 2-3. Not only did the Titans pull off the upset 26-23, but they did it in comeback fashion, scoring the game’s final ten points including the game-winning field goal as time expired.
After showing slow but steady improvement in recent weeks, the Browns earned their first win of the season against division foe Cincinnati 34-24 and snapped an 11-game losing skid dating back to last season. The win is obviously good news for Browns fans, but the bad news is that they are still four games out of first place in the AFC North.
The biggest shock, not necessarily upset, of the week came in the Seattle-New England game as the Hawks overcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win 24-23. Russell Wilson enjoyed his best game as an NFL quarterback, throwing for 293 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. The Seahawks, as predicted by many at the beginning of the season, are starting to emerge as that sleeper team in the NFC.
What Bettors Learned This Week
As always, we should take away some things from this week’s action that can be used down the stretch to bet future games. Of course, the Falcons are good. We already knew that, but the fact that they were able to win a close game when they were tested means something. In the NFL, to be a truly great team, you have to show that you can win many different ways and Atlanta did that this week.
We also saw the Packers resurgence. It was just a matter of time until they played like they are capable. By dismantling what many considered to be the best team in the league coming into this week, the Packers are back as a favorite to look to bet for down the line.
Although the Ravens are still a top team, they have to drop substantially in the minds of bettors after losing Lewis and Webb. Ray Lewis is simply an irreplaceable member of that team. They won’t be nearly as good without him.
The Seahawks may be that sleeper, or even possible contender in the NFC, that we thought they were. Russell Wilson seems to keep getting better and progressing as a QB, while the defense and the running game are still top notch. Look for Seattle to continue to surprise people who may not watch them play.