NFL Trends: AFC West pretenders are crashing and burning

Andy Dalton is doing his best to prove his (many) doubters wrong
Andy Dalton is doing his best to prove his (many) doubters wrong

Coming into the season everyone thought that this was finally the year the Broncos would be knocked off of their perch as AFC West champs. Instead, with five weeks gone, two of Denver's main divisional rivals have losing records and make up two of three teams Neil Monnery believes are trending downwards.

"When your best player on offense tears his ACL in his right knee then your season is in trouble. When you are 1-3 at the point he injures his knee (going on to lose that game to become 1-4) then you can pretty much stick a fork in them. They are done."

Trending Up

Arizona Cardinals

They may have lost in week four in a game all the statistics and my eyes tell me they dominated, but they came back on Sunday and beat the living daylights out of the Detroit Lions, probably ending any belief that Matthew Stafford is the answer in the Motor City. I don't think the Lions are any good but any time a team forces four turnovers away from home in the NFL then you must impressed. Through five games of the season so far they've outscored their opponents by 100 points and there's a great game next up on Sunday in the early window when the Cards go to Pittsburgh. Sadly, once more, Sky have decided not to screen the best game and will be showing the Buffalo Bills instead.

Next up: @ Pittsburgh


Cincinnati Bengals

Ok, I give in. Andy Dalton you've worn me down. Down 24-7 at home to Seattle on Sunday night, I was feeling smug. I knew Cincinnati weren't for real and somehow they came back to win the game. The unbeaten Bengals are now very much in the mix for one of the two byes in the AFC, with New England and Denver the other two protagonists in that battle. Looking at the schedule they'll probably be favoured straight up in all bar two games (@ Arizona, @ Denver) and I'm starting to feel like you can believe in the 2015 edition of the Bengals. I reserve the right to stop believing in them the moment the calendar ticks over to play-off time though.

Next up: @ Buffalo - As this is a Sunday Sky game I'll be back with a full preview on Friday. Therefore I retract my previous statement. I reserve the right to stop believing in them on Friday.


Pittsburgh Steelers

What an ending to Monday Night Football this week. Down by three, with a first and goal inside the one yard line, a timeout in your back pocket but only five ticks left on the clock. Do you kick it for a tie or try a quick play and call the timeout if it doesn't work hoping you get it in before time expires? Well the Steelers went for it, Le'Veon Bell was stood up short of the goal line but on his second effort just pierced the plane before his knee went down. A huge win in San Diego without their number one QB and suddenly the Steelers are 3-2 and looking good. Even better, Big Ben might just be back earlier than we thought. Sunday's game with Arizona will be a thriller but, whatever happens, Pittsburgh look like a team that can at worst get a wildcard.

Next up: home v Arizona


Trending Down

San Diego Chargers

This was meant to be the year the Chargers (or the Chiefs) finally knocked off Denver as champions of the AFC West. Instead San Diego are three games back through five games and are now reassessing their goals for the season. They got Antonio Gates back last night after his four game suspension and that will help a lot. Yet they are now looking at a wildcard at best and not a division crown. Next up they've only got a trip to Green Bay on a short week having played on Monday Night so in all likelihood they'll be 2-4 through six games.

Next up: @ Green Bay


Kansas City Chiefs

When your best player on offense tears his ACL in his right knee then your season is in trouble. When you are 1-3 at the point he injures his knee (going on to lose that game to become 1-4) then you can pretty much stick a fork in them. They are done. The loss of Jamaal Charles though sugar-coats the truth that they've disappointed since that loss against Denver. The Chiefs' season all changed on the fumble late in the fourth quarter that allowed Bradley Roby to scamper into the end zone and complete Denver's stunning comeback. I think they'll be lucky to win six games this season, when their goals were far higher coming into the campaign.

Next up: @ Minnesota


Baltimore Ravens

If you give up 505 yards of total offense at home to the Cleveland Browns then you are automatically trending down. No ifs, no buts. So many people liked the Ravens as dark horses to make a run for a truly memorable season. Instead through five games they've won once (and that was because the Steelers kept missing field goals) and lost four times. Everything to going to pot in Baltimore and this might be one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL that we've seen for quite some time.

Next up: @ San Francisco


Recommended Bet

1pt back Minnesota to beat Kansas City with a 3.5 point handicap at 21/20 on the Sportsbook

Neil Monnery NFL P/L 2015 Season

Staked - 48pts
Returned - 106.54pts
P&L - +58.54pts

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