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NFL – Superbowl XLIV

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  • #12530
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17716

    It’s that time of year again and my main aim is to avoid backing both losing semi-finalists again! Pre-season has been incredibly competitive and, whilst squads and setups are yet to be finalised, three teams stand out – Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.

    The Ravens are, as some may know, my team and one of the aforementioned losing semi-finalists from Superbowl XLIII. They’re not a side who tend to score heavily, focusing instead on maintaining a supremely talented defensive line, but they remain unbeaten in three pre-season games and are still being overlooked for Championship glory. Recent victories over Carolina and New York (Jets) were preceded by the demolition of Washington and whilst not earth-shattering results in and of themselves, they certainly show the Ravens to be in rude health going in to their opening game against Kansas.

    New Orleans were not a team I anticipated even making the play-offs this season, but in three warm-up games they have posted a points difference of 72 (100 for, 28 against) and look to be in great shape in all areas. Drew Brees and Mark Brunell have been throwing for fun, and Lynell Hamilton (rushing) and Robert Meachem (receiving) have been recording impressive yardages. Their success to date could yet be shown to be nothing more than a fluke, but they were so convincing against Oakland – few teams are dominated in such a way – that they could very well steamroller their way to post-season.

    Green Bay are an altogether riskier proposition given their often slack defending – despite scoring 75 points in their last two games, they have conceded 58 – but they rank well in both points (average) and rushing and were fortunate enough to sign DT B.J. Raji in round one of the draft. Mike McCarthy has plenty to do to mould the Packers in to a consistent outfit, but QB Aaron Rodgers has been in sensational form – he’s thrown for 458 yards in pre-season, averaging 17 yards per completion – and they could be this year’s surprise package.

    Superbowl LXIV: Baltimore Ravens – 1.5 points @ 25/1 (Betfred)
    Superbowl LXIV: New Orleans Saints – 1 point @ 25/1 (Betfred)
    Superbowl LXIV: Green Bay Packers – 0.5 points @ 28/1 (Bet365)

    NFC South: New Orleans Saints – 2 points @ 2/1 (Ladbrokes)

    #246995
    Peter Poston’s Ghost
    Participant
    • Total Posts 548

    Very open this year with no one team standing out to me.

    Certainly wouldn’t be rushing to back the Patriots at around 5/1 even with Brady back.

    Wouldn’t pay too much mind to pre-season games. Have known teams go 4-0 in PS then struggle in Reg. Season (Detroit last year) and vice versa.

    My fun e/w suggestion would be Houston at 40/1.

    Also would oppose San Diego in AFC West. The other 3 are 8/1 8/1 and 14/1.
    One or two of the Chargers stars have quite a few miles on the clock and others strike me as having fragile temperaments.

    Any word on UK TV coverage? Could’t find anything in Sky Sports mag or on their website :(

    #247006
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17716

    The schedule at NFLUK.com seems to be woefully out of date, but I would imagine that coverage will pretty much follow the same pattern as last season – a triple header on Sky Sports on Sunday, with Five picking up one game on the same day and another on Mondays (though usually later in the year).

    #247029
    Grasshopper
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2316

    As posted eslewhere, I’ve backed the Falcons.

    Ryan has been great in pre-season (running-up a 113 QB rating), and looks to have continued where he left off in his rookie season – playing with the confidence of a ten-year veteran. Turner is tremendous in the backfield, and the addition of Gonzales at TE, means that opponents won’t easily be able to double-team Roddy White, without leaving themselves exposed to the shorter ball.

    This offense – particularly the power running of Turner – looks capable of eating-up large chunks of the clock, which should allow a solid, if somewhat unspectacular, defense to make plenty of plays.

    I really fancy the Falcons quite strongly, and they are the only play I’m interested in at this stage.

    My beloved Dolphins may cause further surprises this season, though the Play-offs is the best I can hope for. I’ve never been a fan of Pennington. He just doesn’t strike me as a franchise QB – despite some positive-looking career stats.

    #247375
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17716

    It’s generally true that pre-season form isn’t necessarily indicative of a team’s chances of making the play-offs but, even allowing for the presence of a number of second team players, Baltimore’s defeat of Atlanta on Thursday was most impressive (especially as the Falcons’ first choice offense was dealt with comfortably by the Ravens’ second choice defense, albeit for one series).

    I’ve invested a further point on Baltimore @ 25/1, leaving me with the following:

    Superbowl XLIV:

    Baltimore Ravens – 1.5 points @ 25/1 (Betfred)

    Superbowl XLIV:

    Baltimore Ravens – 1.0 points @ 25/1 (Boylesports)

    Superbowl XLIV:

    New Orleans Saints – 1.0 points @ 25/1 (Betfred)

    Superbowl XLIV:

    Green Bay Packers – 0.5 points @ 28/1 (Bet365)

    NFC South:

    New Orleans Saints – 2 points @ 2/1 (Ladbrokes)

    #247384
    Grasshopper
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2316

    Equitrack, Ryan only threw one pass (13yd completion), and Turner only had two runs from scrimmage (for 12 yards) the entire game. It looks every inch a pre-season roster-finaliser, and I wouldn’t read anything into it – especially containment of a disinterested offense in a single series.

    #250949
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17716

    Baltimore and New Orleans are now a best-priced 10/1 for Superbowl LXIV, with the latter in to 2/5 to finish top of NFC South.

    I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the form of Brett Favre for Minnesota, his 32-yard touchdown pass proving to be the highlight of week three. There seemed to be a lot of confidence in the Vikings going in to the regular season and whilst I don’t think they’re quite up to scratch, their star QB certainly doesn’t look to have lost his touch.

    The visit of Green Bay this week will be interesting.

    #251077
    davidbrady
    Member
    • Total Posts 3901

    Some great matchups this weekend with Ravens @ Patriots, Jets @ Saints (why not on Sky :cry: ) & Packers @ Vikings.

    Some good bets there Equitrack, especially with the Ravens who should have the AFC North sewn up barring they lose twice to Steelers – I have the following

    Patriots @ 9/1 (looked good 3 weeks ago but no so good-looking now)
    Giants @ 18.0 (happy enough with this)
    Steelers @ 13.5 (the loss of Troy Polamalu was huge and I won’t be collecting on this)
    Eagles @ 17.0 (happy enough with this – McNabb should be back after this weekend’s bye week and they looked good in week 1)

    #251853
    davidbrady
    Member
    • Total Posts 3901

    Huge win for the Patriots there against Ravens. Cracking game too with the Ravens probably throwing it away inside the Pat’s 10 yard-line with Clayton’s dropped catch

    What is the story with the Raven’s defense this year!

    #254203
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17716

    Another disappointing result for the Ravens at Minnesota, but I don’t think you’re ever likely to see a more entertaining game. Brett Favre has been at his imperious best throughout the first six weeks of the season, though was perhaps slightly fortunate to find himself on the winning team tonight.

    Steven Hauschka won’t be a popular man in Baltimore tomorrow!

    Green Bay posted a comfortable 26-0 victory over the Lions, though that was probably to be expected, and New England routed an ever-worsening Titans 59-0. Tom Brady was, it pains me to say, astonishingly good and with him back in shape the Patriots could run up a handy sequence.

    Performance of the night has to go to Drew Brees and New Orleans, though, who thumped the Giants 48-27 after dominating a high-scoring first half. It’s fair to say that Eli Manning wasn’t at his best for New York, but they went in to the game with the best passing defence in the country and were duly ripped apart.

    Baltimore look to be struggling now having dropped three games on the spin, but the Saints are real players this year.

    #254290
    davidbrady
    Member
    • Total Posts 3901

    Great win for the Saints and, apart from the visit of the Patriots in Week 12, it’s hard to see where they will lose matches this regular season. 5 TDs from 6 possessions by the Saints last night would have been the offensive stat of the night if Tom Brady hadn’t thrown 5 TDs in 1 quarter against the hapless Titans.

    The Vikings are the other good-looking team in the NFC and, as Mike Holmgren said last night, it could be down to whoever gets homefield advantage if these 2 meet. I can see the Vikings losing more than the Saints though (@ Steelers & @ Green Bay next 2 matches) so it’s advantage New Orleans on that score.

    Giants were very disappointing last night. They should still top the AFC East but there was nothing last night to suggest they could turn the tables on the Saints in the post-season.

    Patriots posted a great score last night but I was disappointed with their result in Week 5 against the Broncos when they led for much of the game only to lose in OT.

    Dunno what’s happened the Ravens but the bye-week couldn’t have come at a better time for them having lost 3 on the bounce now.

    #258298
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17716

    Baltimore have been massively disappointing since opening the season with three consecutive victories and defeat to Cincinnati on Sunday leaves them facing an uphill battle to qualify for the playoffs. They’re going to need to do something quite spectacular to get themselves back in contention and at this point in time it’s difficult to see where the inspiration is going to come from.

    Two-and-a-half points wasted there it would seem.

    Thankfully the outlook for The Saints is much brighter. Despite having backed them to win both the Superbowl and NFC South, they continue to impress. Drew Brees has been the cornerstone of a rampant offense and whilst their defensive capabilities aren’t always up to scratch they should have little trouble in securing their post-season place.

    The league, at least, is in the bag – 2/1 looks more ridiculous by the week – but the Vikings, Colts and Patriots could yet curtail their championship aspirations.

    #269202
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17716

    A game I’m sure Tom Brady will be keen to forget, but a sensational performance from Baltimore nonetheless. Ray Lewis’s 83-yard touchdown on the opening play set the tone for the Ravens and they were playing out the clock from half-time. Peyton Manning might not be so hospitable next week, but victory over the Colts is not such a ridiculous notion following tonight’s demolition. That said the lacklustre Joe Flacco will have to improve over the next seven days, despite Baltimore’s preference for a rushing offense.

    The Jets’ defence again impressed at Cincinnati, with Ochocinco a relative none-entity thanks to the attentions of Darrelle Revis. They may struggle at San Diego in the next round, but Dallas continued their regular season form with a thumping win over Philadelphia and might just be this season’s surprise package.

    Still, at this point in time, I have the Saints, Ravens and Packers running for me (though the latter have just gone a score down at Arizona).

    #269205
    halfwaytoheaven
    Member
    • Total Posts 1387

    A game I’m sure Tom Brady will be keen to forget, but a sensational performance from Baltimore nonetheless. Ray Lewis’s 83-yard touchdown on the opening play set the tone for the Ravens and they were playing out the clock from half-time. Peyton Manning might not be so hospitable next week, but victory over the Colts is not such a ridiculous notion following tonight’s demolition. That said the lacklustre Joe Flacco will have to improve over the next seven days, despite Baltimore’s preference for a rushing offense.

    The Jets’ defence again impressed at Cincinnati, with Ochocinco a relative none-entity thanks to the attentions of Darrelle Revis. They may struggle at San Diego in the next round, but Dallas continued their regular season form with a thumping win over Philadelphia and might just be this season’s surprise package.

    Still, at this point in time, I have the Saints, Ravens and Packers running for me (though the latter have just gone a score down at Arizona).

    Only just noticed this thread – fantastic insight in your first post, MG. To still have all your selections live at this point is fantastic!

    I’m a Cowboys fan so am still getting over the high of beating the Eagles last night. Romo did me proud last night as did Williams.

    I still think the Colts have this for the taking though. I’d love to see a Cowboys v Colts Super Bowl

    #269209
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17716

    Thanks, halfwaytoheaven, though the Packers have just gone in to the break 14 points down in Arizona – 3 may become 2 rather sooner than I had hoped!

    #269211
    halfwaytoheaven
    Member
    • Total Posts 1387

    Thanks, HTH, though Green Bay have just fallen 17 points behind going in to the break – 3 may become 2 rather sooner than I had hoped!

    Plenty of time to go, MG ;)

    The Colts came back from further behind against the Pats earlier this season. Anything’s possible!

    Are the Packers playing bad?

    #269217
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17716

    Green Bay aren’t being completely overwhelmed, but they’re behind in total yards, turnovers and sacks and seem to be relying on two rushers and two receivers; the Cardinals are spreading the ball far better.

    The Packers are strong enough offensively to overturn a 14 point deficit, but with the defence seemingly on an off night – they’re probably the most inconsistent line in the NFL – it’s going to be difficult for them.

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