Just five weeks into the NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) have emerged as the league’s lone remaining unbeaten team.
And while fans of the Chiefs are undoubtedly pleased with the spotless start, bettors are also hopping aboard the bandwagon, courtesy of Kansas City’s perfect record against the spread.
All things considered, the Chiefs look like the class of the NFL to this point, with victories over the Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) and New England Patriots (3-2) bolstering their bona fides.
But head coach Andy Reid faces another perennial powerhouse this Sunday, when the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) arrive at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Steelers didn’t look quite like themselves last week, losing handily at home in a 30-9 rout against the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2). That shocking result, coupled with five interceptions from Ben Roethlisberger, led to some soul-searching in the Steelers locker room.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, rolled through the Houston Texans (2-3) in a 42-34 road romp, and the final score doesn’t do their performance justice. Simply put, Kansas City looked like the best team in football, as they have all year.
Accordingly, online sportsbook Bovada has posted the Chiefs as healthy 5-point home favorites.
Another highly anticipated matchup involves bitter NFC North rivals, as the Minnesota Vikings (3-2) host the Green Bay Packers (4-1).
This one’s a tale of two quarterbacks, or three really, when the Vikings’ woes at the position are considered.
Green Bay can always rely on gunslinger Aaron Rodgers, as they did last week when the stud signal-caller led a last-minute comeback to down the Dallas Cowboys (2-3). But in Minnesota, a Week 1 resurgence by Sam Bradford was quickly washed away by a knee injury, and Bradford could barely walk last Monday night before being pulled for backup Case Keenum.
Even in a second consecutive road game, the bookmakers’ consensus on this one has the Packers as 3-point favorites.
In a game that defines the football narrative of an immovable object meeting an irresistible force, the Atlanta Falcons (3-1) host the Miami Dolphins (2-2).
The Falcons’ offense is soaring like usual, to the tune of 26.0 points per game, but it’s a different story altogether for the Dolphins – who average just 10.3 points per for the NFL’s worst output.
Miami can blame fatigue from a Hurricane Irma induced travel schedule, having played their first home game of the year just last week. But the blame really lies with quarterback Jay Cutler, who has looked limp and listless while guiding the offense to just three touchdown drives all year.
Interestingly, the Dolphins’ defense has held its own, allowing only 16.8 points per game – fourth-best in football.
That impressive defense will look to contain the Falcons’ high-flying pass game, but Bovada isn’t a believer, as the site posted Atlanta as major 11.5-point home favorites.
When pigskin pundits planned their playoff predictions prior to the season, the AFC East belonged – as it almost always does – to the New England Patriots (3-2). Those same preseason primers tabbed the New York Jets (3-2) as possible candidates for the dreaded 0-16 season – but football has a funny way of bucking expectations.
This Sunday the two rivals will meet at MetLife Stadium, and the winner will lay claim to the inside track to a division title.
The Jets have surprised the sports world by playing surprisingly stingy defense, while scoring just enough to squeeze out victories. But their three wins have come against Miami, Jacksonville, and the woeful Cleveland Browns (0-5), whereas New England is in an entirely different class.
Or they were at least, until 2017 saw star quarterback Tom Brady turn 40 in August. That’s usually the end of the road for NFL quarterbacks, even legitimate legends, and Brady’s play thus far hasn’t been up to his usual standards.
When the Patriots lose, however, it’s because their league-worst defense is surrendering yards and points in bunches. Chunk plays aren’t exactly what the Jets offense specializes in, hence the Patriots’ status as major 10-point road favorites.