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jimmythegreek
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NFL GREEK INSIDER WEEK 6

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On 10/16/2011 09:19 AM in NFL
Green Bay -14 over St. Louis (bought half):
Aaron Rodgers has picked apart opposing defenses with ease in leading the Green Bay Packers to their best start in nearly 50 years. Things don't seem likely to go any differently against a winless St. Louis Rams team that is without both starting cornerbacks. Rodgers looks to lead the undefeated Packers to an eighth straight win at Lambeau Field on Sunday against the struggling Rams, who own the league's worst road record over the past four seasons. Green Bay's perfect record was in a little jeopardy Sunday night in Atlanta, as the Packers fell behind 14-0 in the second quarter. But Rodgers kept his composure and threw two second-half touchdowns to rally Green Bay to a 25-14 win.

Green Bay fans might also be expecting another Super Bowl. The Packers improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1965 and seventh time in franchise history. Each of the previous six, Green Bay went on to win an NFL title. The Packers have won 11 straight dating to last season, including their march to the Super Bowl title. They've also won seven in a row and 13 of 14 at Lambeau Field, while the Rams are an NFL-worst 4-21 on the road since 2008. It all starts with Rodgers, who leads the NFL with a 122.9 quarterback rating and a 71.7 completion percentage and is tied for the league lead with 14 touchdowns along with only two interceptions. His Packers are the highest-scoring team in the NFL, averaging 34.6 points.

That seems like a tall order for the Rams (0-4), who have been outscored 113-46 this season. St. Louis had an extra week to prepare for this challenge, but in the process it lost starting cornerback Bradley Fletcher to a season-ending knee injury. Fletcher got hurt in practice last Wednesday when he stepped on Mike Sims-Walker's foot during a drill. He's the seventh cornerback injured since training camp for the Rams, who had to place starter Ron Bartell on injured reserve after he sustained two fractures in his neck in the opener. The Packers are also a bit banged-up, with left tackle Chad Clifton and right tackle Bryan Bulaga battling injuries, but that hasn't seemed to make much difference to Green Bay's offense. Clifton (hamstring) is expected to miss a couple of weeks, while Bulaga (left knee) has missed the last two games but likely will return Sunday.

Sam Bradford was sacked a career-high seven times by the Redskins, throwing for 164 yards - the third time this season he's failed to reach 200. He didn't get much help from Steven Jackson, who finished with 45 rushing yards on 17 carries. Jackson has rushed for 260 yards in his last two games against the Packers, but will be facing a Green Bay defense that ranks third against the run, allowing an average of 75.8 yards.

Even with St. Louis having the benefit of the bye week to get a few of its myriad injured guys healthy and ample time to devise a strategy to try to counter the Packers' arsenal of playmakers, a lopsided outcome seems about right. Mike McCarthy hasn't been taking mercy on inferior opponents with his play calling, so figure Rodgers to get warmed up in a hurry throwing the football against a depleted secondary. The Rams are brutal against the run, allowing a league-worst average of nearly 180 yards per game, and perhaps the tandem of Ryan Grant and James Starks will get an overdue chance to run at will even before the score is out of hand. Matt Flynn hasn't had any meaningful playing time since he made his one and only NFL start in place of a concussed Aaron Rodgers and nearly led the Packers to what would have been a stunning road win against the New England Patriots last December with a three-touchdown performance. We could, no let me rephrase that. We will see Flynn at the helm by the fourth quarter.



















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10/16/2011 09:25 AM
Pittsburgh -12.5 over Jacksonville:
Early struggles may have led some to believe the Pittsburgh Steelers were in trouble. Coming off a dominating victory, the defending AFC champions have a chance to continue proving the doubters wrong when they host the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Injuries and inconsistency led to a mediocre start for Pittsburgh (3-2), including losses to Baltimore and Houston and a last-second victory over winless Indianapolis. Heading into last week's matchup with Tennessee, many wondered if the Steelers could overcome injuries to defensive standout James Harrison and running back Rashard Mendenhall, as well as starters in the secondary and offensive line. Ben Roethlisberger also entered the game with a slightly sprained left foot. None of those issues seemed to matter, though, as Pittsburgh rolled to a 38-17 victory with Roethlisberger's five touchdown passes tying a career high.

Mendenhall is ready to go after sitting out last weekend with a hamstring injury. Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman handled the load against the Titans, with Dwyer rushing for 107 yards on 11 carries in his second NFL game and Redman carrying the ball 15 times for 49 yards. Jonathan Scott, who lost his left tackle job when the team signed Max Starks last week, will replace Gilbert. Pittsburgh's defense held Tennessee to 306 total yards despite missing cornerback Bryant McFadden, who is battling hamstring problems but is ready to return. The Steelers held Chris Johnson to 51 yards rushing, and they'll look for a similar effort Sunday when lining up against Maurice Jones-Drew.

Jacksonville (1-4) hasn't used Jones-Drew in the passing game as much this season, though the veteran has rushed for at least 84 yards in each of the team's five games. He's averaging 5.0 yards per carry and ranks fourth in the NFL with 476 rushing yards. Veteran punter Matt Turk was released Monday after a series of awful punts, including a 22-yarder which put the Bengals in position to score the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter. That came after rookie Blaine Gabbert threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Jason Hill for a 20-16 lead with 8:24 remaining. However, Gabbert also later fumbled a snap when Jacksonville was driving in an attempt to tie the game. Gabbert has completed only 49.5 percent of his passes, and his 71.2 passer rating ranks 30th in the league.

The Jaguars' defense won't have linebacker Clint Session (elbow) and likely won't have cornerback Derek Cox (groin), but they're expected to get end Aaron Kampman back. The two-time Pro Bowler has missed the team's last 13 games with a knee injury, but he should start and play 15-20 snaps in his season debut.

The Steelers would like to start again by running the ball and throwing some short passes but then hope to open things up for the deep game. That worked perfectly for them last week and kept the defense away from Roethlisberger. They have one goal on defense: Stop Jones-Drew. If they can do that, they would have little trouble getting after Gabbert and many will witness the blowout most are expecting this afternoon at the big kecthup bottle.





















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10/16/2011 09:32 AM
New Orleans -6.5 over Tampa Bay:
The New Orleans Saints are brimming with confidence, having pushed their winning streak to four behind another fourth-quarter comeback. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to re-establish their swagger after a humiliating defeat. Facing the Saints makes that a difficult task, and doing so without a key player on each side of the ball would make it even harder. The surging Saints look to open an early two-game lead atop the NFC South when they visit the Buccaneers on Sunday. With Tampa Bay losing 48-3 to San Francisco last Sunday and New Orleans rallying to defeat Carolina 30-27, the Buccaneers fell a game behind the Saints in the division. New Orleans (4-1) faced a late deficit until Drew Brees threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Thomas with 50 seconds left, capping an 80-yard drive and lifting the Saints to their second comeback win in three games. They rallied from nine down in the fourth to beat Houston in Week 3.

The Buccaneers' confidence took a huge hit with last weekend's embarrassing performance. They gained a season-low 272 yards and committed three turnovers while equaling the largest margin of defeat in franchise history. Tampa Bay (3-2) seemed to lose its cool when the score got out of hand last week, receiving a pair of late unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. The Bucs might have to move forward, however, without running back LeGarrette Blount and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who both left the loss with injuries. Blount has a sore left knee and is listed as questionable for this afternoon. He's rushed for 279 yards and three TDs in Tampa Bay's three wins, compared to 49 yards and no scores in two defeats. If Blount can't go, Earnest Graham, Kregg Lumpkin and Allen Bradford likely would share carries. Tampa Bay also might lean a bit more on Freeman, but he hasn't displayed the same composure in the pocket as a year ago.

Freeman threw two more interceptions last week, bringing his season total to six - the same number he had all of last season. His 4.17 touchdown-to-interception ratio last season was second in the NFL, and his 0.50 mark this year is the worst. Freeman might have better luck protecting the ball against the Saints, who have an NFC-low four takeaways. He passed for 474 yards with three touchdowns and no picks in two games against them last season. These teams have split their last three season series, and the road team has won the last four meetings. New Orleans has won its last two visits to Tampa by a combined 69-13 score, with Brees throwing for three TDs in each.

Preventing another big day from the Saints offense won't be made easier if McCoy can't play.

McCoy, whose left ankle injury was described by Morris as "week to week," was part of a defensive front that arrived in San Francisco ranked 11th against the run, allowing an average of 101.0 yards. With McCoy going out, the 49ers shredded the Bucs for 213 yards on the ground. Although New Orleans obviously relies more on passing than running, backs Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Thomas have done a good job of complementing Brees. The Saints are 14th in the league in rushing at 115.4 yards per game after ranking 28th a year ago at 94.9. Overall, they rank second in total offense (469.2 ypg) and fifth in scoring (31.4 ppg).

Brees is second in the NFL with 1,769 passing yards, topping 350 in each of the last three games. No player has thrown for at least 350 in four consecutive games in NFL history. Brees has thrown for fewer than 300 yards in five straight against Tampa Bay, averaging 240.0 with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. The Buccaneers' defense is 20th against the pass this year, yielding 254.6 yards per game.

As they did when they ground out a win at Jacksonville in Week 4, the Saints may try to get their running game involved this week. In a lopsided loss at San Francisco on Sunday, the Bucs were pounded for 213 yards and a 5.9 average. The Saints' trio of Ingram, Thomas and Sproles has been very effective in combining for 555 of the team's 577 rushing yards this season, but Sean Payton may try to pad their numbers as he attempts to get them equal touches. Brees has had some big games against the Bucs, so the passing game won't be ignored. Defensively, the Saints simply have to make sure that Freeman doesn't get rolling after they did a decent job last week on another big, physical quarterback in Cam Newton. Should be a double digit win.


























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10/16/2011 09:39 AM
Buffalo/NYG over 50:
Buffalo looks to knock off an NFC East opponent for the second straight Sunday when they visit a New York Giants team being plagued by a struggling run defense. Buffalo (4-1) is tied with New England and San Diego for the AFC's best record. The Bills, third in the league with 32.8 points per game, already have beaten the Patriots and knocked off Philadelphia 31-24 last Sunday at home. While Buffalo is impressive in numerous areas, its 138.2 rushing yards per game for the league's fourth-highest total could be the biggest factor against New York (3-2).

The Giants defense, with Perry Fewell in his second season as coordinator, has allowed an average of 159.3 rushing yards over the last three weeks. Now Fewell's group will have to face Fred Jackson, the NFL's third-leading rusher with 96.0 yards per game. Justin Tuck has played two games this season because of neck and groin injuries, and he's been ruled out again Sunday. The Giants have produced a league-high 18 sacks even with his limited availability. The Bills have allowed a league-low four sacks, with Ryan Fitzpatrick producing 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. The Buffalo defense picked off four of Michael Vick's passes last week to bring its NFL-leading total to 12, one more than it had all of last year. Eli Manning is fourth in the league with a 102.3 passer rating, but he was picked off three times in last Sunday's surprising 36-25 home loss to Seattle. Manning has five interceptions after throwing a league-high 25 a year ago. The Giants' offense has been hampered by a rushing attack that is the league's fifth-worst in yards per game (83.8) and second-worst in yards per carry (3.2).

The Giants' offensive line would be boosted if center David Baas returns from a neck injury. He's questionable, while right guard Chris Snee will miss his first game since his 2004 rookie season because of a concussion. The Bills' key pass rushers, however, are also banged-up. Starting outside linebackers Shawne Merriman (Achilles) and Chris Kelsay (calf) are out and defensive tackle Kyle Williams (foot) is a game-time decision.

No matter what drama is engulfing the New York Giants, they always possess talent and coaching good enough to beat most teams in the NFL, especially at MetLife Stadium. The Bills' defense, giving up an average of 421.8 yards per game, has lived off the takeaway (NFL-leading 16) and this will be no time to back off their aggressive tactics. Expect a shootout with the winner clearly surpassing 30 in this one.

Best of luck to all on Sunday
YTD 10-10













For the latest sports news, capper picks and tracker results, turn to JTG, the leader in BTB information

» All Time Record: 10520-10708-389
» Last 7 Days Record: 103-96-1
» Last 30 Days Record: 446-430-13
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Pfile Nickname bobalou
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10/16/2011 11:18 AM
Awesome JTG.... Thank you for sharing.... I love the picks as well. I think GREEN BAY, PITTS and my SAINTS should kick but today and I love the over call on Buff/Giants as well. After last week I'm afraid to to take the Giants outright especially as well as Buff has been playing..

GL with your plays today :)
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