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jimmythegreek
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NFL GREEK INSIDER WEEK 8

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On 10/27/2013 01:23 AM in NFL
San Francisco -14 over Jacksonville (bought half):
Both of these teams head overseas to Wembley Stadium in London as the San Francisco 49ers (5-2) take on the winless Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7). Jacksonville will be the host team playing their first of 4 games in as many seasons in England. Fortunately for the Jags despite their futility they might be headed into an environment while on paper neutral could quite possibly have more fans than back home in Florida. The 49ers (5-2) has topped 30 points in each of its four consecutive wins and wasn't seriously threatened after jumping out to a 24-0 third-quarter lead at Tennessee in a 31-17 victory last Sunday.

The 49ers are familiar in this spot out of the country beating Denver about 3 years ago 24-16 at this very dame venue. San Francisco also played Arizona 8 years back and lost 31-14 at a game played in Mexico City. Led by Colin Kaepernick (103/182 1420 8 TD 5 INT) the third year star from Nevada poses a dual threat. His wittiness and excellent field presence makes him one of the more dangerous backs in the nation when calling his own number. Kaepernick (42-240 5.7 1 TD) is more fortunate to now have former Baltimore Raven and Super Bowl Champion Anquan Boldin (34-495 2 TD) as his top target. TE Vernon Davis (43-466 6 TD) has also done a great job in the open field using one on one matchups to carve through opposing secondaries. Veteran Frank Gore (127-547 4.3 5 TD) has been used cautiously but is showing in his 10th season and at 31 can still approach the middle while successfully running north and south around a protective offensive line. The Niners will use to their advantage that the Jags are dead last against the run yielding 870 yards on the ground and 8 TD's which is tied with Washington as the most given up.

Since a 20 point loss at home to Indianapolis the 49ers' defense have given up only 13 points per game and will have their sights set on making things difficult for Chad Henne. Henne (103/173 1222 2 TD 5 INT) has been skeptical and methodical when it comes to taking chances down the field. However the truth is with nothing much left to lose it wouldn't hurt since things had not gotten better with Blaine Gabbert at the helm. Fans have gotten beyond restless as has Gus Bradley knowing that Jacksonville is the only team not to score an offensive TD in front of the home folks. Henne has topped 300 yards in his two games since taking over for the injured Gabbert and had a season-high 318 on Sunday in a 24-6 loss to San Diego in week 7. Sure things aren't helping you much when Maurice Jones Drew (103-316 3.1 2 TD) fails to take pressure off of Henne held to just 37 yards last week. Henne has looked promising at times thanks to receiving core duo Cecil Shorts (39-491 1 TD) and Justin Blackmon (25-384 1 TD) benefiting from most of the activity. However it will be a challenge against the 49ers intimidating front seven and secondary which over the last month has excelled in stay at home man to man coverage not giving up the big play.

San Francisco should not overlook one of the two remaining winless teams especially given the fact that they sit just one game behind the NFC West leading Seattle Seahawks. San Francisco has been in the midst of their easiest stretch of the season schedule-wise. After the bye week next week, they will have to match up with Carolina, New Orleans, Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington in the second half. While it will be nice for the Jaguars to get away from the pressure of winning in front of the Jacksonville faithful, a matchup against the red-hot 49ers is no consolation. San Francisco has a huge edge in talent and experience in playing across the pond, giving the potential for a blowout in London.




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10/27/2013 01:55 AM
Denver -11 over Washington:
Things didn't go exactly as planned for previously unbeaten Denver who suffered their first loss of the season in Peyton Manning's former home Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis 39-33. Now Manning (207/289 2565 25 TD 3 INT) will look to spoil Mike Shanahan's return to Denver. The Broncos (6-1) look to get back to their winning ways hosting the Washington Redskins (2-4) in week 8 at Sports Authority Field in the Mile High trenches.

While Manning's numbers didn't tell the story of his misfortunes, he did complete 29/49 passes for 386 yards with 3 TD and 1 INT doing most of his damage in a closely contested second half. Though Denver's offense likely won't face the pressure it did against Indianapolis - Washington has 18 sacks - it will be focused on providing better protection for Manning, who had only been sacked five times in the previous six games. One sack Sunday by Robert Mathis led to a fumble and a safety. If you combine Manning's efficiency and poise in the pocket combined with a plentiful receiving core led by Eric Decker (42-627 3 TD) and Demaryius Thomas (41-610 5 TD), opposing coverages are going to have long and trying afternoons hoping at best to contain the future HOF QB. Wes Welker (44-474 8 TD) and Julius Thomas (36-422 8 TD) are tied for the team lead in scoring receptions. Knowshon Moreno (95-413 4.3 8 TD) provides stability and success in the rejuvenated running game, and that's essential when Manning faces numerous blitz and outside hurries from opposing front sevens.

The Redskins come off a 45-41 victory over Chicago,. The 500 yards were also their most in nearly 13 years. The victory against the Bears marked Washington's second straight game with 200-plus rushing yards, including a season-high 84 on 11 carries (7.6) by Robert Griffin III. Griffin (143/238 1746 8 TD 6 INT) remains dangerous with his scrambling ability (38-233 6.1) albeit not taking nearly as many chances coming off offseason knee surgery. Fortunately Griffin continues to show no ill effects and as Pierre Garcon (40-466 2 TD) his top target. Shorter options include TE Jordan Reed (26-298 2 TD), Leonard Hankerson (18-247 2 TD) and Santana Moss (17-214 1 TD). Alfred Morris (91-472 5.2 3 TD) has been efficient earning productive carries while Roy Helu (31-129 4.2 4 TD) leads the Redskins in ground game scores.

While Champ Bailey's return on defense didn't exactly pay dividends, maybe Wesley Woodyard's comeback will revive Denver back to normalcy. Woodyard went out with a shoulder stinger in the first half against Dallas earlier this month and in the 10 quarters since, the Broncos have surrendered a whopping 86 points which is more than AFC West rival Kansas City (81) has allowed all season. As for the Redskins defense, they rank in the bottom 3rd of the league in every major statistical category including points per game where they are giving up about 30 per contest. Their defense has managed to force 9 turnovers in 6 games. The Redskins like to blitz, and you can expect that approach to continue especially with the state the Broncos offensive line is in.

The Redskins like to run the ball and the Broncos are the best at stopping it. The Redskins can also throw the ball, but the Broncos do it better. In order to keep pace with the unbeaten and surprising Chiefs, Manning and the Broncos want to erase the memories of last week's drama and will get back on track in a big way. Washington is porous on defense, and they give up a ton to Denver on Sunday as Manning will feel right at home picking apart a vulnerable Skins secondary.

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10/27/2013 02:27 AM
Kansas City -6.5 over Cleveland (bought half):
Defense has been the name of the game that has carried unbeaten Kansas City (7-0) to the top of the AFC West. Despite nearly being knocked from those ranks in week 7 to an overmatched Houston Texans squad, the Chiefs look to put forth a more convincing performance at home against the Cleveland Browns (3-4) who were brought back to earth last week at Lambeau Field. Along with starting rookie Case Keenum in place of Matt Schaub, the Texans also lost top running back Arian Foster and linebacker Brian Cushing to injuries as the Chiefs held on for a 17-16 victory.

The Chiefs are fifth in average yards given up (304.6) and third against the pass with 194.7 allowed per game. With a league-best 35 sacks, they're on pace to top the 1984 Chicago Bears' NFL record of 72. Kansas City's defense will try to keep rolling against a Browns team that's allowed its quarterbacks to get sacked 27 times, tied for second-most in the league. On offense, KC averages about 24 points per contest along with 341 yards. Alex Smith (145/250 1570 7 TD 4 INT) continues to endure accuracy problems despite limiting mistakes and maintaining efficiency. Jamaal Charles (135-561 4.2 6 TD) provides a wear it out dominating ground game that the Chiefs pound on with every opportunity when Smith is not at his best. Charles is also Smith's top target with 36 receptions for 337 yards and 2 TD. Dwayne Bowe (25-295 2 TD) did not practice this week due to a groin injury but is listed as probable. Donnie Avery (21-343 1 TD) has battled shoulder issues but does lead KC in receiving yards and could be due for a breakout week given the Browns secondary who had their hands full in a 31-13 loss to Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay in week 7.

With Brandon Weeden (103/195 1154 5 TD 6 INT) ineffective last week completing just 17/42 for 149 yards including a TD and a pick, the Browns turn to Jason Campbell in an effort to get back to their winning ways. Brian Hoyer underwent successful ACL surgery this week and hopes to return to camp next May. Campbell will have Jordan Cameron (45-515 6 TD) as his top target but could face a tough challenge from the quick secondary and front seven of KC. Josh Gordon (27-450 2 TD) has recently been the subject of trade rumors but must remain focused especially given that the Browns running game has been inept and inconsistent all season. Willis McGahee (70-203 2.9 1 TD) has been virtually non-existent unsuccessfully filling in for Trent Richardson (31-105 3.4) who last month was traded to Indianapolis.

Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith, and Dunta Robinson lead the Chiefs unit when it comes to making big plays. Marcus Cooper, has actually been getting playing time over Robinson as of late and is playing very well. Safety Eric Berry is one of the best in the game, and free safety Kendrick Lewis will play through nursing an ankle injury. Cleveland hopes to get defensive end Billy Winn back this week; he has been out with a quad injury since mid-way through Week 3's game against the Vikings. He would help add to the depth on the defensive line, which would take reps away from a perhaps not-as-disciplined player like Armonty Bryant. Winn was part of the rotation when Cleveland's rush defense was having more success too.

Kansas City is very efficient at moving the ball and controlling the clock, but they don't light up the scoreboard. However with the Chiefs' defense only giving up an average of 11.6 points per game their defense can save the day as long as their offense remains efficient. The team that makes the least mistakes here wins, and given the fact that Campbell faces a tough test, we'll give KC the nod to remain undefeated.


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10/27/2013 02:53 AM
Green Bay/Minnesota over 47:
The Pack (4-2) have gotten back on track with 3 straight wins highlighted by their 31-13 crushing of Cleveland at Lambeau. Aaron Rodgers (143/220 1906 13 TD 4 INT) takes his show on the road to the Minneapolis Metrodome where Green Bay faces the Minnesota Vikings (1-5) on Sunday night. Christian Ponder (59/100 691 2 TD 5 INT) is back as the starter for Sunday night's final Metrodome matchup between these NFC North rivals, who are meeting for the first time since the playoffs last season.

Overshadowed however off the field could be the comments given by Greg Jennings who spent the previous seven years with Green Bay before signing a five-year deal with Minnesota in March. Jennings not only performed the same switch of sides in this rivalry as Brett Favre's, he took the extra step of criticizing Rodgers' leadership in an offseason interview with a Minneapolis newspaper. Rodgers may know Jennings better than any of his current team's QBs. This will mark the third straight week Jennings will be working with a new starter under center, with Ponder getting the call after he started the first three games.

That's because Josh Freeman, signed by Minnesota on Oct. 7 after he was cut by Tampa Bay four days earlier, has concussion-like symptoms. Freeman was 20 of 53 for 190 yards and an interception in his Vikings debut, a 23-7 road loss to the New York Giants on Monday. Rodgers had no comment but was probably downplaying the incident given his previous relationship with Jennings as one of his long-time teammates. Rodgers hopes to silence the critics and hook up with top target Jordy Nelson (32-526 5 TD) who is enjoying one of his better seasons. Jarrett Boykin (9-146 1 TD) could again have a key role in the offense, especially if James Jones (20-349 2 TD) is out. Boykin showed promise in Green Bay’s 31-13 win vs. Cleveland in Week 7, catching eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL start. The running game has also endured success with Eddie Lacy (83-352 4.2 2 TD) and James Starks (34-187 5.5 1 TD) in the backfield providing a consistent ground game. They may need both to step up with Randall Cobb and Jemichael Finley out with injuries.

Ponder returns with his teammates and fans most desperate for a win in a season where just about everything has gone south. The tough part about Ponder is after showing so much potential in college, he hasn't had the opportunity to show his ability and mobility in Minnesota thus far. Jerome Simpson (26-404) leads the Vikes in receiving yards but has yet to find the end zone all season. Jennings (24-327 2 TD) will let his football do the talking on the field, and Kyle Rudolph (24-227 2 TD) will hopefully provide a valid third option for Ponder. Adrian Peterson (115-511 4.4 5 TD) has left it all on the field despite still dealing with the fatal shooting of his 2 year old son several weeks back as well as a hamstring injury. When Ponder runs out of options, he is no stranger to taking a lick (15-76 5.1 2 TD) as opposing defenses need to buckle down when the pocket disintegrates.

Ponder at least gives the Vikings a chance to succeed offensively, and especially gives Adrian Peterson a chance to be effective in the running game. The Packers are a tough team to count on away from Green Bay as evident by their defense which has shown more vulnerability. The dome factor combined with Rodgers' dominance will find a way to put up points on the board even without his 2 leading receivers.

Best of luck to all in week 8
YTD 17-11 .607





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