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On August 20, 1920, representatives from four independent professional football teams in Ohio—the Canton Bulldogs, the Cleveland Tigers, the Dayton Triangles and the Akron Pros— had a meeting and established guidelines for a league they called the American Professional Football Conference.
After the meeting, other professional teams were contacted and invited to a meeting in Canton, Ohio on Sept. 17. Nine other teams ended up joining the fledgling league. The name would be changed to National Football League in 1921.
Many football innovations can be traced to the 1932 season. At the time, standings were determined by winning percentage (with ties not factored in) and so the Portsmouth Spartans (6–1–4) and the Chicago Bears (6–1–6) ended up in a tie. It was decided that the two teams should participate in a playoff game to determine the champion. Extremely cold weather necessitated that the game be played indoors, at Chicago Stadium, rather than at Wrigley Field. This would be the first game that was played indoors, on Dec. 18.
The 1932 season was also the first time official statistics were kept. Because the field in Chicago Stadium was only 80-yards long and the walls were close to the sidelines, teams were allowed to move the ball toward the center of the field if a ball carrier went out of bounds or was tackled within 10 yards of the sideline. This was the first use of “hash marks” in pro football. The Bears won the game 9–0, after Bronco Nagurski threw a two-yard pass to Red Grange. The Spartans protested that the pass violated the existing rule, which stated that a pass had to be thrown from more than five yards behind the line of scrimmage, but the touchdown was not overturned.
Before the next season, hash marks were officially adopted, the forward pass was legalized if thrown from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage and the teams were officially divided into two divisions, with the winners scheduled to meet in a championship game.
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Now there are 32 teams in the NFL. The teams are divided into either the AFC or NFC, and each of those conferences is broken up into four divisions. Each team plays a 16-game schedule and has one bye week when they don’t have to play. Games can be scheduled on Thursdays, Sundays or Mondays.
A total of 10 teams make the playoffs: the winner of each of the eight divisions, plus two Wild Card teams. The Wild Card weekend winners advance to the divisional playoffs. After that come the AFC Championship game and the NFC Championship game, and finally the Super Bowl.
The Lombardi Trophy, which is presented to the Super Bowl's winning team, is named for Vince Lombardi, the Hall of Famer who coached the Green Bay Packers from 1959 to 1967. Lombardi led the Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls, in 1967 and 1968. After his sudden death from cancer in 1970, the trophy was named for him.
We had three fantastic games Saturday during NFL Wild Card Weekend and the games only get better Sunday. With three games now on each day, it sets up endless opportunities for bettors. So without further ado, let’s take a look at our top NFL Wild Card parlay prediction for Sunday’s slate.
NFL Wild Card Sunday parlay picks and predictions
Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated 9:25 a.m. ET.
Leg 1: Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans (+140)
The Titans enter this game as 3-point home underdogs. That doesn’t make a ton of sense considering Tennessee has already beaten Baltimore this season. While it’s true the Titans have one of the league’s worst pass defenses, the Ravens aren’t the type of team that can expose them in that area.
This is a game in which both teams are going to want to run the ball early and often, but the game will ultimately be decided by which quarterback plays better. Given their recent playoff history, Titans QB Ryan Tannehill inspires more confidence, especially with his arsenal of weapons at receiver.
The Titans aren’t a bad bet on the spread (+3, -105), but the value is here on the money line. Tennesee has a great chance to win this game at home and advance to the second round of the playoffs.
Also see:Ravens at Titans odds, picks and prediction
Leg 2: Chicago Bears +11 (-110) at New Orleans Saints
It’s hard to trust Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky much in a playoff game, but the recent history of Saints QB Drew BreesBest presidential betting site. isn’t much better. New Orleans has one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, but their quarterback play over the last month has been less than ideal.
The Bears likely won’t win this game, but as double-digit underdogs on the road with no fans? That seems like a little bit too much. We know Chicago has a great defense and should make things difficult for Brees and Saints head coach Sean Payton.
If the Bears’ offense can score into the low-20s, they should have no problem covering this spread. There is also some backdoor cover potential here for the Bears as they could easily score late and get this within 10 in the final minutes.
Also see:Bears at Saints odds, picks and prediction
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Leg 3: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers -6.5 (-105)
Despite the Browns being without their head coach and several key players such as OL Joel Bitonio, CB Denzel Ward and DE Olivier Vernon, the Steelers are just 6.5 point favorites in this game. In the first meeting of the season, Pittsburgh dominated from the opening whistle. That game was never a contest and Cleveland was much healthier than they are entering this Wild Card matchup.
Pittsburgh’s defense should dominate in this game and it’s hard to envision Cleveland scoring more than 17 points. For that reason, the Steelers should cover with ease as they will face a defense that can’t stop opposing quarterbacks at all.
Also see:Browns at Steelers odds, picks and prediction
WILD CARD PARLAY Bet $100 to earn a profit of $694.55
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