We are only six wins into the NFL regular seasons, but the powerhouses of the AFC and NFC have already emerged from the pack after the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills both delivered dominant wins on Sunday.
While the Bills were exorcising the ghosts of past playoff defeats at Arrowhead, the Eagles kept up their 100 per cent record by seeing off the Dallas Cowboys in front of a hyped-up Lincoln Financial Field.
The Bills are now +275 to win the Super Bowl, with the Eagles not far behind at +550, and even with 12 more weeks of the regular season to go, it's tough at this juncture to imagine any other sides contesting the Lombardi trophy on 12th February in Arizona.
Buffalo hasn’t been to a Super Bowl since 1994 with their ambitions to go back to the big game derailed by the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead in each of the last two seasons.
The Bills returned to the scene of one of the great playoff contests in January in the Week Six headliner intent on revenge and were able to secure what might turn out to be a vital 24-20 victory.
Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen outplayed his Kansas City rival Patrick Mahomes, overcoming a good defensive performance by the hosts to throw for 329 yards and three touchdowns, while Mahomes had two costly interceptions as the Chiefs fell short.
Mahomes’ life was made tough by a Bills defence ranked number one in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, with off-season acquisition Von Miller proving himself worth every penny of the $120million contract Buffalo gave him as he recorded two sacks.
The win solidifies Buffalo’s position as the top seed in the AFC and they are now 31/20 to win the conference having secured the tiebreaker over the Chiefs.
In the NFC, the Eagles are +180 to have the road to Super Bowl LVII go through Philadelphia by finishing as the number one after improving to 6-0 with a 26-17 win over the Cowboys.
Philly’s vaunted offensive line managed to shut down Dallas’ exceptional defence as Jalen Hurts threw for 155 yards and two touchdowns. On the flip side, the Eagles defence recorded three interceptions as Philadelphia made it six straight wins to start a season for the first time since 2004.
They are now -115 to have over 13.5 regular season wins and it's difficult to see where the defeats are going to come as the Eagles head into their bye week. After the break Philadelphia play 11 more games, but only five of those are against teams currently with winning records.
The number one seed is in their hands but there’s room for improvement. Averaging 5.8 points per second half is not going to get the job done in the crunch games.
Two of Philadelphia’s five games against a team with a winning record will be against their NFC East nemesis the New York Giants, who are standing tall at 5-1 after coming from behind to beat the Baltimore Ravens.
Big Blue has trailed in every game this season but has come back to win five of them thanks to a combination of a strong running game, opportunistic defence and excellent play calling from new head coach Brian Daboll.
The transformation from a franchise stuck in a five-year cycle of losing to a team that has a 72 per cent chance to make the playoffs has been rapid and opens up the possibility of both the Giants and fellow New Yorkers, the Jets, going to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
The 4-2 Jets are +230 to make the playoffs and have plenty of work to do, but three straight wins has them dreaming big.
The influx of young talent to Gang Green via recent drafts is starting to pay off with rookie running-back Breece Hall and cornerback Sauce Gardner elevating the Jets on both sides of the ball.
A 27-10 win over the Packers in Green Bay was a real statement by the Jets in Week Six and there looks to be plenty more to come from this hungry, young side who are keen to end the franchise’s 12-year wait for a postseason berth.
For the first quarter of Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, it looked like Denver Broncos had finally got the version of Russell Wilson they expected when they handed him a $245million contract this offseason.
Wilson started out hot, throwing for 116 yards and a touchdown. Alas, it wasn't to last as Wilson and the Broncos' offence crashed back down to earth in the second half; Wilson throwing for just 15 yards as he completed three of his 11 pass attempts.
The lack of second-half offence allowed the Chargers back into the game and LA would win it in overtime to condemn the Broncos to a 2-4 start.
To make matters worse, Wilson suffered a potentially significant hamstring injury which could see him miss multiple weeks.
Given the Broncos defence is a top-three ranked unit, Denver only needs a passable offence to get back in the play-off race. That could be someway off though with Wilson projected to throw just 14 touchdowns this year, according to CBS, if he stays on his current trajectory.Safer Gambling Week (17-23 October) – Let’s talk about safer gambling. Click here for more information on independent resources. Gamble Responsibly.