November 10, 2021
The NFL expanded the regular season to 17 games this year which is great for football fans to get an additional week of game action. We head into week 10 this week with most teams having played 8 games and a few that have 9 games under their belt, so let’s take a look at the key storylines at the halfway point.
From 2001-2019 there was not as much parody coming out of the league as you could make a pretty educated guess that a handful of teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, or Colts were going to come out the AFC and in the NFC the Packers, Giants, Seahawks, and Saints seems to be the only legit contenders year in and year out.
Last year, with Brady going to the Bucs the league dynamics started to change and this year it seems even more wide open at the halfway point with 10 teams that look like they have the talent to make a run at the Super Bowl.
The Cardinals have the best record in the NFC at 8-1 and probably have the best top to the bottom roster but I don’t think any of the top contenders in the NFC are too worried about heading into Arizona for a playoff game. The Packers proved the Cardinals were beatable last Thursday night and the Bucs, Cowboys, and Rams all have the rosters that can take home the NFC crown this year.
In the AFC, there is more of the same with only the Titans in the AFC south looking like the only sure bet that will win their division.
It looks like a quarterback will bring home the MVP award this year which isn’t that big of a surprise considering the way the league is going out of their way to avoid quarterback hits in recent years.
Josh Allen and Tom Brady are both tied for the best odds and I think they will continue to have the best odds down the stretch as both the Bills and the Bucs play in the least competitive divisions and have the best chances to finish the season as their conferences top seed come playoff time.
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The Cardinals have been the big surprise out of the NFC as most experts had the Seahawks of 49ers coming out of the competitive NFC this year. Kyler Murray has taken his play to another level this year and the Cardinals GM Steve Keim has done a great job of surrounding Murray with offensive weapons and solid O-line protection.
The Chargers showed promise in 2020 and were labeled by many as a team to watch in 2020 but I am not sure many thought they would be leading the division over the Chiefs at the midway point. The Chargers are 5-3 and tied with the Raiders for first place while the Chiefs have struggled with inconsistency and sit at 5-4.
The 49ers were a popular pick to come out of the NFC this year but they have suffered bad injury luck as well as inconsistent QB play between Jimmy Garropalo and rookie Trey Lance.
The Dolphins came into the year with high expectations but have had issues at QB with Tua Tagovailoa having injury issues and inconsistent offensive line play that has left the Dolphins out of contention at the halfway point.
The Bucs and Bills have been the favorites to come out of their respective conferences for most of the season due to their strong QB play from Brady and Allen and easiest path to a 1 seed in the playoffs. The Chiefs and Ravens seem like they are undervalued at the halfway point as they have two of the most talented QBs in the league and I think in a winner take all game Mahomes and Jackson are capable of beating anyone.
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