On Sunday, December 10th, the Dallas Cowboys will host the New York Giants in a game at AT&T Stadium for the NFC East Division Championship. The game is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m., and will be broadcast live on ESPN. As the final game of the year, the stakes are high for both sides. If the Cowboys want to go down in history as one of the greatest teams of all time, they need to beat the Giants and go on to win the Super Bowl. If the Giants want to end the losing streak and become playoff contenders again, they need to beat the Cowboys and send them home early.
In the middle of the 3rd quarter, the winning touchdown was just the beginning. After the game, fans were treated to a blizzard of money to the value of $1,575,015.63. Let’s analyze the big winners and losers from the biggest game of the year.
WHO WON THE GAME?
The Cowboys finished the 2018 regular season with a 12-4 record, winning the NFC East Division and earning a trip to face the Giants in the Divisional Round. Prior to the season, many expected the Giants to make a serious run at the divisional title and end Dallas’ 28-year stranglehold on the title. However, the team underachieved massively this year, never really recovering from the injury to Saquon Barkley, and were eventually eliminated from playoff contention after a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Barkley was always going to be the key to the Giants’ season, and his absence was keenly felt. Although he only played in nine games this year, Barkley contributed 39 touchdowns and averaged 11.5 yards per carry. Without him, the Giants never really got going, and it was clear from the opening game that they would not be competing for the divisional crown. With his talents and the team’s lack of success, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the team misses out on the postseason. The Cowboys are heading to their first Super Bowl since 2009, and much of the credit goes to their star running back.
LONG SHOTS WINNERS
There were a number of long shots who came up trumps this year. Below, we identify five of the biggest winners and losers from the 2018 NFL regular season.
GIANTS GAMBLE, GET BIG WINNER
After winning just three games last year, the Giants went on an unbelievable run of form at the right time. In the last five games of the season, they won four out of five, including a 27-23 win over the Eagles in the final game. Although the team underachieved massively and did not make the playoffs, everyone will agree that 2019 was a positive season for the Giants. Going into the offseason, they have a lot of new faces but still have a core of experienced players who can lead the way. This is good news for the Giants, as it appears they are heading in the right direction. Prior to the 2019 season, let’s take a look at betting odds for the GIANTS to win the Super Bowl:
SB CHAMPIONS TROPHY WINNER
The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots were a popular pick to retain the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Going into the season, the Pats had an 11-to-5 odds of winning the SB, while the Philadelphia Eagles had 7/4 odds of winning the Super Bowl. As the defending champions, the expectations for New England were very high. After all, Tom Brady leads an experienced team with a wealth of talent. At the start of the season, things looked promising as the Patriots started the year 4-0, with wins over the Bills and Seahawks. However, they were unable to keep up the good work and went on a five-game losing streak. In the last game of the season, the Patriots rallied to beat the New York Jets 27-23, earning them the #3 spot in this year’s rankings. This was enough to secure them a spot in the Super Bowl. Prior to the game, let’s take a look at betting odds for the PATRIOTS to win the Super Bowl:
PATRIOTS FAVORITE TO CONTINUE TROPHY RUN
The New England Patriots are headed back to the Super Bowl for a third consecutive year. After losing the trophy to the New York Giants in 2018, the team bounced back in a big way, winning the AFC East Division with an 11-5 record. Prior to the season, the odds of the NY PATRIOTS repeating as champions were very low, with the club receiving 11/10 odds to retain the Vince Lombardi Trophy. With Tom Brady at the helm, the expectations are high, and the team delivered on these expectations, going undefeated in their first 11 games before losing to the Steelers in the AFC Championship. Despite missing out on the postseason, the season was a huge success, and the team will be looking to continue their outstanding run in 2019.
For the first time in a long time, the Seattle Seahawks were the clear favorites to win the Super Bowl. Although they lost their original star quarterback, Russell Wilson, to injury, the team still managed to pull off an 11-5 record and won the NFC West Division. As the defending Super Bowl champions, the Seahawks were tipped to continue their dominance but failed to do so, losing two out of three in the playoffs. Nevertheless, the season was still a great success, and the team will be looking to bounce back in the postseason in 2019.
BARKLEY CLINCHES THE SNOTER FEVER TITLE
Last but not least, we have the remarkable story of Saquon Barkley. Many expected the 2018 rookie class to be a step up from the 2017 edition, and with good reason. In his rookie year, Barkley had 69 catches for 863 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 2019, he increased these numbers to 79 catches for 1,021 yards and 15 touchdowns. For a change of pace, we will take a look at the 2019 version of Barkley:
1. HERO INEXPERIENCED
Although the stats don’t quite do it justice, Saquon Barkley is truly a player-manager in the making. In his first year in the league, the Pennsylvanian averaged 12.6 yards per carry and added 630 yards on the ground and 22 receptions for 251 yards and three TDs in his initial nine games before suffering a season-ending injury. In the second half of the year, he played in just four games, gaining 205 yards on the ground and adding another 71 yards through the air while scoring three touchdowns. Going into the offseason, he’ll be looking to improve on his rookie numbers and help the Giants make a return to the postseason.
2. DASHING QUARTERBACK
Although he didn’t play in the NFL this year, Kyler Murray showed enough flashes of brilliance to make him an intriguing prospect for the future. The Oklahoma product was taken with the number 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and, prior to the season, was given 14/1 odds of becoming the next great NFL quarterback. The early returns are in, and it looks as if the team that drafted him has made the right decision. In his first professional game, Murray went 8 for 8 for 112 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-20 win over the Texans. Since then, he’s continued to impress, tallying three additional wins and four total outings without a single loss. He even had a hand in the outcome of two of these games. In Week 11, he led the league in both passing yards (477) and total yards (632). Going into the offseason, it will be fascinating to see which teams stand in his way of achieving stardom.
3. SUPER BOWL LUXURY
Last year, the Patriots had an opportunity to win the Super Bowl but lost out to the eventual champions, the New York Giants. This year, the tables turned, with the Patriots winning a fifth consecutive Super Bowl, besting their rival New York Jets, who they defeated in the AFC Championship game with Tom Brady at quarterback.
Prior to the season, oddsmakers gave the Patriots a 12-to-5 shot at winning the Super Bowl. After a promising 5-0 start to the season, the Patriots went on a swoon, losing their next nine games, including a 58-54 heartbreaker to the eventual NFC Champions, the Los Angeles Rams. Although it was a bad end to the season for the perennial power, it was a good run for the rest of the league. As champions, the Patriots are going to be looking to make some noise in the postseason and prove that last year was no fluke.