Order continued to be restored last week in the NFL, with favorites winning just about every single game. While no division is particularly close to being clinched, six of the eight already have overwhelming favorites. This can be argued, but only two divisions (the AFC North and the NFC North) are seriously up for grabs…and even those will come down to just two teams in each.
Week 10 presents more opportunities for favorites to pull away from the pack. Only a single game (Texas at Chicago on Sunday night) pits two teams with a winning record against each other. A whopping eight games feature opponents that are at least two games apart in the standings.
Some, however, are can’t-miss showdowns. The Texans and Bears are both 7-1 and eyeing home-field advantage in their respective leagues. The Cowboys and Eagles are both 3-5, so the loser’s season will be all but over by Sunday.
How will it all shake out in Week 10? Let’s crunch some numbers to find out (all odds provided by Sportsbook.ag).
0 – Number of seconds this season that the woeful Kansas City chiefs have led a football game. They actually have one win, which came on an overtime field goal at New Orleans in Week 3. The streak of futility may continue on Monday night, because Pittsburgh has won three in a row and four its last five contests. The biggest spread of Week 10 has the Steelers as -12.5 home favorites.
2 – Times that a team has faced the Manning brothers in consecutive weeks. In 2004, Baltimore beat Eli’s Giants then lost to Peyton and the Colts. In 2006, the Titans made it a clean, two-game sweep of both Mannings. The Bengals faced Peyton’s Broncos in Week 9 and lost at home. They will host a slumping Eli (no touchdowns and two picks in his last two outings) when New York comes in on Sunday. Cincinnati is a +4 underdog.
4 – Fumbles forced by Charles Tillman in Chicago’s slaughter of Tennessee last weekend. The Bears have forced a league-high 28 turnovers in eight games. Tillman, however, says he could miss Sunday night’s showdown with Houston at Soldier Field due to the imminent birth of his daughter. Both the Bears and Texans are 7-1 and have lost only to Green Bay. Chicago is a -1 home favorite.
10 – Favorites out of 13 that covered their spreads in Week 9, which is almost never a good thing for Las Vegas. It certainly wasn’t this time, with sportsbooks getting hammered by parlays and conservatively estimating that they lost a combined $8M. William Hill North America, which makes odds for 150 of Nevada’s sportsbooks, paid out $10,400 to someone who bet $100 on a seven-team parlay, $12,750 to someone who bet $15 on 10 teams, and $15,000 to someone who bet $5 down on 12 teams.
15 – Teams since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978 that have started a season 8-0, including this year’s Falcons. Nine of the first 14 teams eventually made it to the Super Bowl. The Falcons, whose eight previous opponents have a combined winning percentage of .369, will visit NFC South foe New Orleans on Sunday. They are -2.5 road favorites.
27 – Sacks allowed by the Eagles, which is only the fourth most in the league this season. But saying that Philly’s offensive line isn’t the worst in the entire NFL just because the numbers don’t necessarily say so is like saying Green Bay lost to Seattle even though the post-Fail Mary score reads Seahawks 14, Packers 12. Adding insult to injury, or vice versa, the Eagles lost a fourth starting o-lineman when Todd Herremans was put on injured reserve on Wednesday. Philadelphia is a +1.5 home underdog against Dallas this week.
251 – Franchise-record number of rushing yards for which Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin ran in last Sunday’s 42-32 win at Oakland. The Muscle Hamster, who faces San Diego this week, has six touchdowns in his last three games (four vs. the Raiders) and 386 yards in his last two. The Chargers, however, are fourth in the league against the run at 84.0 yards per contest, so something will have to give in this one. The Bucs are -3 home favorites.
17-1 – New England’s record against Buffalo in the last 18 meetings between the two AFC East rivals. The Patriots have scored at least 34 points in five consecutive games against the Bills, including 52 in a blowout win on the road in Week 4. Buffalo’s defense has improved of late, but it still hasn’t held any opponent to fewer than 19 points this entire season. New England is a -11 home favorite, making for the second-most lopsided spread of Week 10 (tied with San Francisco -11 at home vs. St. Louis).
0 – Touchdowns allowed by the 49ers in their last four victories.
5 – Consecutive games in which Peyton Manning has thrown at least three touchdowns, the first time he has accomplished such a streak since 2004.
22 – Magic number of rushing attempts per game for the Ravens. Since the start of last season, they are 18-0 with 22 or more rushing attempts and 0-6 with fewer than 22 attempts.
4-0 – The Seahawks’ home record this season, the first time they have reached that mark since going undefeated at home during their 2005 Super Bowl campaign.