Each week Neil Monnery will give us his three up and three down list, looking at which teams are trending upwards and who are looking like less secure bets. This week the cream is rising and one heavily fancied Super Bowl team is starting to really scare.
"Tom Brady is looking great, Rob Gronkowski is looking great, Julian Edelman is looking great. While the Pats' D still has question marks, they can outscore anybody."
You don't get a good feel for teams after just one game so there was no trends column last week, but now we've seen everyone twice we have enough confidence to make a judgement. Here are three going up, and three sliding down after two weeks of NFL action.
New England Patriots
In week one our preview writer backed against the Patriots, in week two our tip sheet writer said, 'There's no way Tom Brady and co will be able to deflate the hot air balloon that is Rex Ryan when the Pats roll into Buffalo this week.' These guys need to listen to my mantra that goes, 'you don't get rich by backing against Bill Belichick, Tom Brady & the New England Patriots.' Two games gone and it's two wins for the Pats. Tom Brady is looking great, Rob Gronkowski is looking great, Julian Edelman is looking great. While the D still has question marks, they can outscore anybody.
Next up: home v Jacksonville
I made them my side bet of the year at 2.265/4 to win more than 8.5 games and all they've done in the opening two weeks is beat down the Saints and hang 48 points on Chicago. If Carson Palmer stays upright then this team is going to go far.
Next up: home v San Francisco
Two wins from two. Two exceptional performances from a defense that is even better than advertised. Question marks remain about Peyton Manning but he showed glimpses that the old Peyton Manning is still in there somewhere. His drive to take Denver down the field to tie the game was vintage Peyton. If the new head coach wants to get the best out of his quarterback then he needs to give him the keys to the offense, let him take the snap out of the shotgun and direct it all. When you aren't as smart as your quarterback then let him run the show. But, you know what, the D is good enough to carry Denver but if Peyton is still 70% of the player he was then they can really go far. They are now also the second favourite in the AFC Conference Betting market.
Next up: @ Detroit
All those who liked Philly coming in should start accepting 50p in the pound on them. They aren't very good. The o-line is pathetic. Sam Bradford simply cannot run the Chip Kelly offense. And if DeMarco Murray is on course for 88 yards rushing for the season through two games then something is going seriously wrong.
Next up: @ NY Jets
Andrew Luck is scary bad through two weeks. Like really scary bad. I watched his performance on Monday Night Football and he looked like Brett Favre just flinging it deep and hoping one of his receivers would come down with it. Losing at Buffalo is forgiveable but stinking up the joint at home against the Jets is not. They have Super Bowl aspirations but they worry me greatly. They have three games within their division coming up next, which should give them a chance to fix things but would I trust them even at home to Tennessee? No. No I wouldn't.
Next up: home v Tennessee
They are 2-0, have beaten two divisional foes and possess a scary defense. Sean Lee is just an outstanding linebacker and 23 tackles, one interception and a recovery of an onside kick shows just how good he is. Yet they are trending down because Tony Romo is out for eight weeks and Dez Bryant's injury looks set to keep him out until late in the season as well. Can they still win the NFC East without them? Yes they can but would I be confident? Far less so.
Next up: home v Atlanta
Back Arizona -6.5 points to beat San Francisco in Week 3 at 1.9310/11