We’re now officially halfway through the NFL season and time has been flying by. Teams are at the point where every win matters and will be digging in to keep their playoff dreams alive. Obvious others are already done for the year, but there’s always next season.
The New England Patriots will be taking on the Baltimore Ravens in an extension of their ongoing rivalry. Probably the most famous regular-season contest between the two was in 2007 when the Ravens came close to keeping the Pats from having a 16-0 regular-season record.
The Ravens were at home for a Monday Night game when they took an early lead, increasing it in the second quarter. The Pats fought back to tie before the halftime break, but the Ravens came out fighting in the third quarter to take the lead once again.
It all came down to a Tom Brady touchdown pass for the lead after a potentially game-ending play was wiped out by an ill-considered timeout called by the Ravens. When a last-ditch, Hail Mary attempt failed, the Ravens took the loss and were eliminated themselves from a spot in the playoffs.
Going into this Sunday’s game, the Patriots are 8-1 in all matchups between the two. The Pats are also one of only teams to still have an undefeated record this season. This game promises to be an exciting one and the Ravens are expected to give the Pats another challenge to their perfect season, just like in 2007. However, -200 to the Patriots shows that New England has the money and the Ravens will most likely fall just short.
The Carolina Panthers will host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday and this is going to be an interesting contest. In the short span of two games in Carolina, the Titans are undefeated, but they’re also 6-0 against other NFC teams since Mike Vrabel took the helm. The coach is one of just two head coaches in the history of the league who has won at least three Super Bowl as a player – the other is Forrest Gregg, who passed away earlier this year.
On the Panthers’ side of the ball, there’s Kyle Allen and Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey is only the fourth player ever to reach at least 700 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards in the first seven games of any season. Allen has been filling in for Cam Newton under center and has done a fabulous job, racking up 5 wins and one loss. The loss came at the hands of the undefeated San Francisco 49ers, so that has to be taken into account.
Allen will be back at it this Sunday and this is a crucial game. The Panthers are 4-3, going up against the 4-4 Titans, and they need this win to survive to the playoffs. With Allen wanting to bounce back from the 49ers loss and the Panthers needing the win, they’ve been picked as the favorite with a moneyline of -195.
The Kansas City Chiefs will have to deal with the Minnesota Vikings this weekend and the Chiefs are hoping they can hang on long enough to make it to the playoffs. The team broke its Playoff Curse, after 25 years, in 2016 and followed that with another appearance last year. They fell to the Indianapolis Colts and are hoping for another shot this year. This Sunday could be a make-or-break situation for the team.
The Vikings are third in offense and fifth in defense. They’re 6-2, while the Chiefs are 5-3, and there’s little doubt that this will be a close game. If Patrick Mahomes comes back from his injury a couple of weeks ago, the Chiefs will win. If not, it’s going to be touch and go, and the Vikings are currently slight favorites to win.