A week is a long time in the NFL. No sooner had the excitement of the ultimately disappointing London game faded away than we were all wondering if the teams would beat 'Superstorm Sandy' home and whether New York's Metlife Stadium would still be standing come the weekend. Fortunately the answer to both is in the affirmative, which at least means that the Giants can host the Steelers on Sunday evening.
It is an important game for the Steelers. They are still one win behind the Baltimore in the AFC North but with the Ravens stuttering badly on both sides of the ball this game is a prime chance for them to both pick up a morale-boosting road victory and put pressure back on their divisional rivals. The Giants were far from comfortable against Dallas on Sunday, almost blowing a 23-0 lead, with the Cowboys only just failing to land a game-winning touchdown in the final 10 seconds. A win here at 2.568/5 could be what the Steelers need to take them to the divisional title in the AFC North, for which they are a 2.285/4 shot.
The best value game of the weekend comes in an unlikely place, as Miami travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts. This could have been another battle of rookie quarterbacks, with number eight Draft pick Ryan Tannehill taking on the top selection Andrew Luck, but it looks as if the former will be ruled out with a thigh injury.
Not that this makes the game any less enticing. The Dolphins put former starter Matt Moore into the game when Tannehill left injured on Sunday and he led them to a very convincing 30-3 win over the struggling Jets. The Colts, meanwhile, hardly seem to have missed head coach Chuck Pagano (who is receiving treatment for leukaemia). Both teams are comfortable in second place in their respective divisions, having been largely written off before the season began. In fact, the 'Fins could even finish above New England in the AFC East, something regarded as unthinkable nine weeks ago. They are 1.814/5 to beat the Colts but a much more attractive 7.06/1 to win the division
Two teams making headlines for the opposite reason meet in the Monday night game. In some respects it is hard to see teams brim full of talent such as Philadelphia and New Orleans dragged down to the level of genuine casualty cases such as Jacksonville and Cleveland, but at 3-4 and 2-5 respectively their seasons are almost over before we have reached the halfway point.
Pinpointing the problem in New Orleans is easy. It is less due to the fallout from the bounty hunting scandal (after all, interim head coach Joe Vitt returned from suspension at the weekend and the team promptly lost for the first time in three weeks) and more to the installation of a new defensive scheme too radically different from the old one and without the personnel on board to operate it effectively.
In contrast, the Eagles' problems are hard to fathom. Everything says that they should be fighting for the lead in the NFC East and yet they just can't seem to get going this season. The horrendous loss of form suffered by Michael Vick (and the blind faith that head coach Andy Reid has in him) doesn't help, but of the two you would say that they have the best chance of figuring in the playoffs. At present they are 3.55/2 to do that and those odds are only going to shorten if they win this one.
Back the Miami Dolphins at 7.06/1 to win the AFC East