Wednesday, October 14
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Morning, friends. How do we look?
You know the story of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the last undefeated champion in the NFL, right? Of course you do. According to legend, those fine gents pop Champagne bottles every season when the last undefeated team loses. They've denied this story, but I choose to believe it, simply because that's exactly how petty I'd be if I had a nice shiny record like that.
After last night's rare-but-likely-to-happen-again-soon Tuesday night game, we now have just four undefeated teams remaining. They're not necessarily the best teams in the game — Baltimore and Kansas City would like a word — but after five weeks, they sure do have the prettiest records.
So how do they stack up these four thoroughbreds? Let's power-rank 'em, with Super Bowl odds courtesy of our compadres at BetMGM:
1. Seattle (+700): Every good team needs a good scare, and the Seahawks may just have gotten theirs Sunday night. All Russell Wilson did was rally his troops to a last-second victory over Minnesota, and underline his own MVP bid. The Seahawks have no weaknesses Wilson can't cover up right now, and they'll be formidable all the way through to February.
2. Green Bay (+900): Washed up, they said. Best days are behind him, they said. Ready for the glue factory, they said. OK, maybe they didn't say that last thing about Aaron Rodgers, but he definitely heard the murmurs of the first two. The result? A Packers team that looks as lethal as any Rodgers has ever helmed, with a receiving corps that's dominating at half-strength and a future star at running back in Aaron Jones. We'd be just fine with a Seattle-Green Bay NFC championship, you?
3. Pittsburgh (+1100): Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger are nearing that Belichick-Brady plug-and-play status where you can slap a random running back and wide receiver alongside them and they post another playoff season. Adios, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown; hello, James Conner and Chase Claypool. Somehow Pittsburgh hasn't been 4-0 since 1979 ... but if you remember the '72 Dolphins, you definitely remember what the Steelers did the rest of that decade.
4. Tennessee (+3300): Yes, there's quite the dropoff, perceptually speaking, from Wilson/Rodgers/Roethlisberger to ... Ryan Tannehill. But here's the thing: Tannehill and the Titans have been pretty damn good, knocking off the Pats and Ravens and scaring the Chiefs in last year's playoffs. And Derrick Henry is an absolute force of nature (see below), a game-changing leviathan, as undefeated-until-last-night Buffalo can testify. As long as they're not infecting the rest of the league, the Titans have a decent shot of beating them.
As for future head-to-head matchups: the Titans draw the Steelers next weekend and the Packers in Week 16. Other than that, these locomotives won't meet until the playoffs. Any bets who'll still be undefeated then?
Here's ol' Derrick Henry, just flinging Josh Norman into the future on a brutal stiff-arm. We'll catch up to you in, oh, Week 11, Josh.