cnotes Posts:24493 Followers:32
10/26/2011 03:56 PM

Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers Week 8 NFL Betting

Cam Newton has been the key to Carolina covering five of seven games.
Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton has exceeded all expectations so far. He’ll face off against one of his first-round compatriots when Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings come to town.

The Vikings are mostly 3-point ‘dogs at Don Best, although some sportsbooks still have them at 3 ½. The NFL betting total is between 47 ½ and 48 points, with kickoff from Bank of America Stadium at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on FOX.

The Panthers (2-5 straight up) have been one of the NFL’s best teams against the spread (5-2), but it only paid off with one win before last week, 33-20 at home over Washington as 1 ½-point favorites. Carolina racked up 175 yards on the ground with the dual-threat Newton rushing for 59 and throwing 256 more.

The 53 combined points scored went ‘over’ the 44 ½-point total. The ‘over’ is 3-1 for Carolina at home and 5-2 on the season.

The Panthers are now 4-0 ATS at home (2-2 SU). The other home win was over Jacksonville (16-10) and the losses to arguably the NFC’s two best teams, Green Bay (30-23) and New Orleans (30-27).

First-year coach Ron Rivera has done a tremendous job. The offense is fifth in total yards (416.6 YPG) after ranking 32nd last year (258.4 YPG). Newton is a big reason with an accurate deep ball and the NFL’s leading receiver in Steve Smith (818 yards), who has 17 receptions of 20 yards or more.

Despite that dynamic duo, this week’s game plan should be a balanced attack. Newton’s 23 passes against Washington were a season low after averaging 38.2 in the first six. He completed over 78 percent of his throws, but had no interceptions. He’s pick-free in Carolina’s two wins, but has nine in the five losses.

Minnesota has some issues at cornerback with starter Chris Cook suspended and Antoine Winfield (neck) missing the last three games and questionable Sunday.

Carolina also has a very effective running duo of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, who combine to average almost five yards per carry. More running equals greater time of possession and Minnesota’s fourth-ranked run defense has been less stingy away (99.7 YPG) compared to at home (77 YPG).

The Vikings (1-6 SU, 3-3-1 ATS) are coming off a 33-27 home loss to Green Bay, but it was a good day for the franchise overall with the starting debut of Ponder and a cover of the 10-point spread.

Ponder didn’t have a great day statistically (13-of-32 for 219 yards, two TDs and two picks), but he was comfortable in the huddle and even the youngest of Vikings fans knew the team was going nowhere with the washed-up Donovan McNabb.

Ponder’s receiving options could be thin this week with Percy Harvin (ribs) questionable and Bernard Berrian given his walking papers. Michael Jenkins came through with 111 receiving yards last week, but he’s far from consistent. The unheralded Devin Aromashodu could be the other starting wideout.

There are also offensive line issues with guard Anthony Herrera (knee) likely out. Center John Sullivan (concussion) is questionable.

The good news is that running back Adrian Peterson looked rejuvenated last week with 175 yards on 24 carries. The Panthers will load up at the line of scrimmage and dare the rookie signal caller to beat them in his first road start.

Carolina has had trouble stopping the run (133.4 YPG, ranked 29th) with linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis out for the year. Peterson should be close to 100 yards on Sunday.

Minnesota is 0-3 SU and 1-2 ATS away this season. The last one was an embarrassing 39-10 loss at Chicago in an October 16 Sunday night game. Expect a much better effort here with the team energized by the quarterback switch.

The ‘under’ is 2-1 in Minnesota’s road games (scoring 14.7 PPG) and is 6-1 in its last seven road tilts overall.

Carolina ranks tied for 20th in the Don Best Linemakers Poll (89.8 rating), while Minnesota is close behind at 24th (88.1).

This is the first meeting between the teams since December 2009. Carolina won 26-7 and the home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four. The ‘under’ is 3-0 in the last three and 5-1 in the last six.

Weather should be fine, mostly sunny and in the 50s.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24493 Followers:32
10/26/2011 03:58 PM

Houston Texans Battle Jaguars In Division Clash

Houston is a big 9½-point favorite for Sunday’s home tilt vs. the Jaguars.
Two teams out of the AFC South will match up this week after dominating performances on opposite sides of the ball in Week 7. The (4-3) Houston Texans will host the (2-5) Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m. (ET).

Right now on the Don Best odds screen the Texans are home chalk at -9½ with a total that has gone down from 42 to 41.

In a 41-7 drubbing of the Tennessee Titans, quarterback Matt Schaub of Houston threw only five incompletions while running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate each ran for over 100 yards. Foster also went for over 100 receiving yards with three total touchdowns in a commanding offensive performance.

Meanwhile, the Jags absolutely shut down the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. The Ravens did not get a first down on their first nine possessions and finally picked one up with under six minutes left in the third quarter. Do not believe all of the chatter about an inept Baltimore offense, this Jacksonville defense has been good all year and was absolutely great in prime-time, winning 12-7. What pushed them over the top in this contest was forcing turnovers.

This is potentially a bigger game than it may appear. With Indy winless, most have thought of this AFC South division as a two-team race between Houston and Tennessee. If the Texans win, they begin to separate and will become 3-0 in the division. However, if the Jaguars somehow string two impressive wins in a row, things become much more interesting.

Houston seems to always disappoint in big spots, but that is usually against teams with better records and this will likely not be regarded as a huge game. They will be going “Battle Red” in their red uniforms this week as they always do at home against the Jaguars.

It almost seems like a bad spot for both teams. For the Texans, the have covered just one spread in their last seven following a straight up win. As far as their opponent, did the Jags turn a corner with a win over one of the best teams in the NFL or was this just a blip on the radar? Head coach Jack Del Rio has won six straight times in games leading up to a bye.

Jacksonville has a short week to go up against the division leader on the road. The Jaguars also are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 playing on Sunday following a Monday night game, although they did not have a great recent history on Monday night, either, and they won that game.

Houston also has a pretty good defense which ranks eighth in the league and Jacksonville's offensive woes have been well documented. Still, rookie QB Blaine Gabbert has seen better defenses. In fact, he saw superior defenses three weeks in a row with Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and the best in the league in Baltimore. A slight advantage might go to Jacksonville’s ‘D’ over Houston’s.

It should be a great running back matchup with Foster on one side and the second leading rusher in the NFL, Maurice Jones-Drew, on the other. MoJo did seem to pick up a little case of ‘fumblitis’ last week, though, so that is something to keep an eye on.

The Texans might get some good news on the injury front this week. Wide receiver Andre Johnson, who has missed three games with a hamstring injury, is officially listed as probable for this week's contest.

Finally, give a ton of credit to Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee. He is 14-for-14 this year on field goals. Nine of those are from 40-plus, tops in the league, and five are from 50-plus. Three of those 50-yarders were against the Ravens as Scobee scored all 12 points. With this offense as bad as it is, just imagine if Scobee was not there.

This is a lot of points to give in a division game, especially with two top-10 defensive units. At the same time, Houston has smashed its other two division foes by the scores of 34-7 and 41-7.

Weather reports call for a nice 70 degrees and clear skies should they choose to open the roof at Reliant Stadium.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24493 Followers:32
10/26/2011 04:01 PM

Week 8 Preview: Redskins at Bills

WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-3)

vs. BUFFALO BILLS (4-2)


Rogers Centre - Toronto, Canada
Kickoff: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Buffalo -6, Total: 46.5

The banged-up Redskins travel north of the border when they meet the Bills in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.

The Redskins are in a transitional phase of the season, as QB John Beck is set to make his second start— they’re breaking in new starters on an injury-plagued offensive line and they’ll be without top receiver Santana Moss (hand), top rusher Tim Hightower (knee, IR) and TE Chris Cooley (finger). And the defense did not look good in giving up 407 yards to the Panthers in Week 7. The Bills have ridden an opportunistic offense to a fast start, but their revamped run defense could be in for a major challenge against the run-first Redskins. Buffalo has allowed at least 100 yards in each of its six games and is giving up 5.1 yards per carry this season. Middle-clogging NT Kyle Williams (foot) will also be missing from the Bills defensive line, giving further ammunition for WASHINGTON to cover the spread.

This FoxSheets trend also sides with the Redskins:

WASHINGTON is 57-35 ATS (62.0%, +18.5 Units) as an underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 points since 1992. The average score was WASHINGTON 17.7, OPPONENT 21.2.

Beck played pretty well in his first start, all things considered. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 279 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT and he ran for another score. With Moss injured, Beck targeted WR Jabar Gaffney and TE Fred Davis eight times each and threw six passes to second-year WR Terrence Austin. With Hightower done for the season, the rushing workload falls on the shoulders of Ryan Torain and rookie Roy Helu. Torain ran for 135 yards at St. Louis to begin the month, but has only 12 carries for 17 yards in two games since. Helu gained 74 yards on 10 carries in Week 2 versus Arizona, but has a mere 17 carries for 57 yards (3.4 YPC) in his other five games.

The Redskins also have some injury concerns about two of their top defensive players. Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (knee) and LB London Fletcher (hamstring) are both questionable to suit up on Sunday. This will not help a run defense that has surrendered 367 yards (4.9 YPC) in the past two weeks. Washington has defended the pass pretty well, ranking 11th in the league (218 YPG) and not allowing more than 250 passing yards in any of its six games this season.

The Bills have been involved in five consecutive games decided by a touchdown or less, winning three of those contests. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has a pedestrian 3 TD and 3 INT in his past three games, but has been extremely accurate in the past two weeks, completing 74% of his passes. RB Fred Jackson continues to be one of the most efficient offensive players in the entire league. He has 601 rushing yards and 6 TD, while adding 279 receiving yards. He’s averaging 5.7 yards per carry and has gained 364 total yards in his past two games alone.

Buffalo’s defense continues to give up boatloads of yards, ranking third-to-last in the NFL in both rushing defense (136 YPG) and in defending the pass (285 YPG). The Bills have stayed close in all these games by making big plays on defense. They have forced 16 turnovers, which ties Green Bay for the most in the league. The Redskins and Bills have played just five times since 1993, with Buffalo prevailing in all five meetings (both SU and ATS).

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24493 Followers:32
10/26/2011 04:03 PM

Week 8 Preview: Lions at Broncos


DETROIT LIONS (5-2)

at DENVER BRONCOS (2-4)


Kickoff: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Detroit -3, Total: 43.5

Tim Tebow mania returns home when Denver hosts reeling Detroit on Sunday.

Both teams will be missing their top running backs as Detroit’s Jahvid Best is still suffering from concussion-like symptoms and Denver’s Willis McGahee could miss 3-to-4 weeks with a fractured bone in his hand. Despite back-to-back losses at home, the Lions have a nice opportunity to keep their recent run of road wins going. Dating back to last December, they’ve won five road games in a row SU while going 4-0-1 ATS, and they have a clear advantage over a rebuilding Denver team. While the Lions defense is susceptible to straight-ahead, power running, they have the athleticism to contain improvising QB Tim Tebow and erratic RB Knowshon Moreno, who is averaging 3.2 yards per carry. And even with Matthew Stafford not 100 percent coming off an ankle injury, offensively the Lions have the weapons to move the ball easily against a Denver defense that’s been torched by good offenses. The pick here is DETROIT to win and cover.

This FoxSheets trend also sides with the Lions:

Play On - Road teams (DETROIT) - off an upset loss as a home favorite, in the first half of the season. (39-18 over the last 5 seasons.) (68.4%, +19.2 units. Rating = 1*).

Stafford is expected to start on Sunday, but backup QB Shaun Hill is capable of having a strong game if he’s called upon. The 23-year-old Stafford has thrown 16 touchdowns this season and just 4 INT. WR Calvin Johnson has 10 of those TD (tops in NFL) and ranks fourth in the league with 679 receiving yards. He’ll likely be covered by perennial Pro Bowl CB Champ Bailey, but Johnson has the five-inch height advantage in this matchup. Although Best will be missed, the two-pronged rushing attack of Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams worked out very well last week as the pair combined for 94 yards on 18 carries (5.2 YPC).

Detroit’s defense is one of eight teams in the league allowing less than 20 points per game, as Dallas is the only opponent that has scored 30 against them. The Lions rank 10th in the league in total defense (334 YPG) despite having the NFL’s fifth-worst rushing defense, surrendering 129 YPG. Detroit has 15 takeaways, forcing 2+ TO in five of its seven games this season. Two injuries of minor concern with the Lions defense are backups DE Willie Young (calf) and S Vincent Fuller (elbow), who are both questionable to play on Sunday.

Tebow led his team to an impressive comeback in Miami with 2 TD passes in the last 2:44 of regulation to force overtime, where Matt Prater won the game with a 52-yard field goal. Tebow finished the day 13-of-27 for 161 yards. Without his top RB McGahee, look for Denver to call more running plays for the second-year QB, who has 102 yards on 15 carries (6.8 YPC) this year. RB Knowshon Moreno has been bothered by a hamstring injury and only has 17 carries on the season. He’s also an able pass catcher, with 37 receptions last year. With the team’s top receiver, Brandon Lloyd, traded to St. Louis last week, it appears WR Demaryius Thomas will have a larger role in the offense. Thomas was targeted 10 times by Tebow against Miami, but only caught three of those passes for 27 yards. TE Daniel Fells made two huge catches late in the fourth quarter against the Dolphins, which will likely earn him more than the four targets he received last week. Rookie WR Eric Decker started his first NFL season strong, but has had two lackluster performances in the past two games, totaling just four catches for 17 yards.

Denver’s defense came up big last week, albeit against a weak Miami offense, holding its opponent to 267 total yards. Overall, the Broncos rank 18th against the run (119 YPG) and 19th in passing defense (248 YPG).

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24493 Followers:32
10/27/2011 10:11 PM

Winless Miami Dolphins Visit New York Giants

The Miami Dolphins are one of the three teams in the NFL that have yet to win a game in the 2011 campaign. They hope to change all of that when they head to MetLife Stadium to tango with the New York Giants in NFL betting action in Week 8.

Kickoff from the Garden State is set for 1:00 p.m. (ET), and there will be regional television coverage on CBS.

This has clearly been a season of disaster for the Dolphins (0-6 SU, 0-5-1 ATS). They rank No. 29 in our Don Best Linemakers Poll, and are clearly in the running for the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, aka "The Andrew Luck Sweepstakes."

Simply put, Miami can't get out of its own way. The Dolphins don't have a single player that has found the end zone more than one time on the season, and are only averaging 15.0 PPG. Since a 38-24 loss in Week 1 against the New England Patriots, the team has only scored four offensive touchdowns in five games.

Last week against the Denver Broncos was the ultimate fall from grace. Miami was up 15-0 with less than three minutes left in the game, and blew it, becoming the first team to cough up a lead of greater than 14 with less than three minutes left in over 30 years.

It's not like there's many signs of improvement either. It is clear that the team isn't getting what it figured out of Reggie Bush when acquring hims in an offseason trade. Bush only has a total of 329 yards rushing and receiving, and one touchdown.

The quarterback situation for the Dolphins isn't getting any stronger either. Chad Henne was placed on IR three weeks ago, and the man that they brought in to replace him, Sage Rosenfels landed on the reserved list this week. That really just leaves Matt Moore, who is completing just 59.1 percent of his passes for 568 yards with one TD against three INTs.

JP Losman was signed this week to be the team's backup quarterback.

The Giants (4-2 SU, 3-2-1 ATS) are tied for 12th place in our Don Best Linemakers Poll, and they are hoping to stretch out their lead in the NFC West this week. New York enters Week 8 a game up on the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, with both of those teams road underdogs this weekend.

The Giants defense was in shambles at the start of the season. Both Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck have missed time, and rookie Prince Amukamara's broken ankle prohibited him from starting his first year in the NFL as well.

That's all changed now, as Amukamara expects to make his debut against Miami, and both Tuck and Umenyiora should be in the fold as well. Also look for Brandon Jacobs to rejoin the backfield after the team's bye week. Jacobs missed the team's two most recent games with a swollen knee.

It's not all peaches and cream for the Giants, though. They have already lost one comparable game to this one, dropping 36-25 to the Seattle Seahawks at home on October 9.

It was a bad day for a New York defense which has had its question marks this year. Injuries or not, there is no excuse to allow 24.5 PPG and 373.5 YPG, numbers that have the Giants ranked in the bottom third of the league.

These teams don't play each other all that often, matchup up only five times since 1990. The road team has won four in a row, and the hosts are just 1-3 ATS in those four games.

Neither team has particularly sparkling NFL trends on their side. Miami is 1-9-1 ATS in its last 11 games overall, while the Giants are just 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight home games.

The hosts have opened up as 10-point favorites on Sunday, with a total coming in at 43½, up from 42 at the outset of the week.

It's going to be a cold weekend in the Northeast. Temperatures are barely expected to reach 50 degrees, though there is virtually no chance of rain after a wet Saturday.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24493 Followers:32
10/27/2011 10:13 PM

'Tebow-Mania' As Denver Broncos Host Detroit Lions

The quarterback position is getting all the pre-game attention as the Denver Broncos welcome the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon.

Denver is now a 3-point ‘dog at Don Best after opening at 3 ½. The injury situation regarding Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is one reason why. More on that below.

The total has had a corresponding drop from a 44 ½-point open to 42. FOX will have the 4:05 p.m. (ET) broadcast from Sports Authority Field at Mile High and its hoping that ‘Tim Tebow-mania’ gives a ratings boost.

The Lions would normally be thrilled with a 5-2 straight-up record this time of year, but they’ve gone backwards the last two weeks with home defeats to San Francisco (25-19) and Atlanta (23-16). Those were also the first two losses against the spread (starting 4-0-1 ATS), ranging from 4 ½-5 ½-point favorites.

The offense has been the main culprit after averaging 31.8 PPG in the first five. The ‘under’ is 3-0 in Detroit’s last three games (all at home) after the ‘over’ started 4-0.

Stafford struggled in the two losses (238 YPG, 52.4 completion percentage) after a very hot and accurate start (287.2 YPG, 63.6 percent). He hurt his ankle last week versus Atlanta and is questionable even after practicing some on Wednesday.

If Stafford can’t go, then 31-year-old veteran Shaun Hill will get the nod. He started 10 games last year with Stafford hurt, with Detroit winning just three. However, two of those wins were the final two games and he had a respectable 81.3 quarterback rating overall.

It would help both quarterbacks to have a running game, but the Lions are just 27th in the league (92.7 YPG). Leading rusher Jahvid Best (390 yards) is doubtful with a concussion after also missing last week. Best will be missed as a receiving threat (287 yards) as well.

The Lions have been great on the road at 3-0 SU and 2-0-1 ATS. That includes miracle comeback wins at Minnesota (26-23 OT) and Dallas (34-30). However they haven’t played away since October 2 and a lot of the team magic has disappeared for now.

The Broncos may only be 2-4 SU (2-4 ATS), but some fans are only concerned about their record with Tebow starting. That’s a perfect 1-0 SU and ATS after a miraculous 18-15 comeback win at Miami last week as 1-point favorites.

Tebow was awful (4-of-14, 40 yards) for the first 54 minutes, but led Denver on two late touchdown drives that forced overtime. The ultra-religious quarterback perhaps got some divine intervention with an onside kick sandwiched between the two scores. He finished with 161 passing yards, two TDs and a 91.7 quarterback rating.

The question for Sunday is whether Tebow can start his magic a little earlier. There’s no doubt the former Heisman winner has the ‘it factor’ which allows him to excel in critical moments and get teammates to go all out for him. However, he’s a work-in-progress mechanically as a passer and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

The Broncos also don’t have a lot of receiving weapons, especially after trading Brandon Lloyd to St. Louis. Running back Willis McGahee has averaged over 100 yards rushing the last three weeks, but he’s out with a hand injury. Look for former starter Knowshon Moreno to get most of the carries, but McGahee is a big loss.

Defensively, Denver ranks 18th in the league in run defense (118.5 YPG) and 19th against the run (247.5 YPG). Detroit quarterbacks will likely not have to worry about pass rusher Elvis Dumervil, doubtful with an ankle injury.

The Broncos are just 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS at home this year. The win was against Cincinnati (24-22) and the losses to AFC West rivals Oakland (23-20) and San Diego (29-24). This game should have a different atmosphere with the first home start this season for the uber-popular Tebow. He went 1-1 as a starter at home last year in the final two games.

The Don Best Linemakers Poll has its own take on this contest with Detroit tied for 12th (93.9 rating) and Denver 26th (87.8).

These teams have met just twice since 2003, splitting the wins and Detroit going 2-0 ATS. However, there is little in similarity for either team right now.

Weather looks fine for this time of year in the Rocky Mountains, partly cloudy and likely starting in the low 50s.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24493 Followers:32
10/27/2011 10:15 PM

New Orleans Saints Travel To Take On St. Louis Rams

To paraphrase the late, great comic Henny Youngman, "Take the Rams...please!"

So it goes for the tale of woe in St. Louis, circa 2011, as the Rams march inexorably toward another disastrous campaign reminiscent of their 2-14 and 1-15 slogs through the 2008 and 2009 seasons, respectively. At 0-6 straight up and yet to cover a pointspread this season, the Rams are about as "go-against" as you can get right now.

Various Las Vegas sports book managers are also likely paraphrasing Youngman in hopes of generating some wagering betting interest on the lowly Rams.

Making matters worse is that this week’s opponent, New Orleans (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS), hardly needs a jet to fly into Lambert International Airport after last Sunday night’s 62-7 blowout win, a franchise record for win margin, over another subpar outfit, Indianapolis.

The Don Best odds screen has the Saints priced as 13½-point favorites at most Las Vegas betting outlets, with the total mostly listed at 48. Sunday’s kickoff time at the Edward Jones Dome is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET), with FOX providing the coverage. Marty Brennaman’s son Thom, plus Troy Aikman and the lovely Pam Oliver, will provide the commentary adjacent to the Gateway Arch.

Discussing this matchup in competitive terms almost seems a waste of time, considering the Rams’ recent plight. Raw numbers only relate part of the story, but they’re enough to paint the ugly picture at the moment in St. Looie. Five of the Rams’ six defeats have come by double-digit margins, with St. Louis no closer than 21 points in its last two losses vs. the Packers and Cowboys. The Rams are not only bad, but they’re boring, hardly outscoring the hometown NHL Blues over their last four games when tallying only 6.8 ppg.

Of course, St. Louis has some excuses, the biggest one being QB Sam Bradford’s high ankle sprain that threatens to keep him out of action for a second straight week. If sidelined, journeyman A.J. Feeley will once again get the starting call.

For the Rams, however, bad news began back in opening week, indeed on star RB Steven Jackson’s second carry of the season when he went down with a strained quad. The misfortune was illuminated further because Jackson had burst for a long TD run vs. the Eagles on his first carry of the season. Although Jackson returned to the lineup a few games later, he still doesn’t seem at 100%, and has yet to crack the 100-yard barrier this season.

And even before his recent ankle injury, Bradford had seemed to lose his confidence, tossing only three TD passes and completing just 53 percent of his passes in five games. The loss of favorite receiving target Danny Amendola also negatively impacted the snakebit Rams and Bradford, who was hobbling in a walking boot at midweek and listed as doubtful for Sunday.

The Rams are hoping that recently-acquired WR Brandon Lloyd (from Denver) can spark the aerial attack. Lloyd did have a team-best six catches last week at Dallas but failed to cause any specific problems for the Cowboys, and is absent the field-stretching dimension that the Ram attack sorely needs.

Offense, however, isn’t St. Louis’ only problem lately. The defense was run off the field in the first half two weeks ago at Green Bay when surrendering 24 points, and when allowed Dallas rookie RB DeMarco Murray to set a Cowboys team record with 253 YR in last week’s 34-7 Dallas romp.

The bigger developing storyline in St. Louis, one that we’ll be following into November and December, is where the Rams might land in next April’s NFL Draft. Most keen observers suggest that the race for the top pick is likely to come down to the Rams, Colts and Dolphins. Of that trio, St. Louis would appear the only one unlikely to draft Stanford QB Andrew Luck, widely expected to declare for the draft and become the first player selected.

The dynamics surrounding the possibility St. Louis could get the top pick are far more interesting than any involving the Dolphins or Colts, who likely select Luck if they have the chance. But with Bradford already in tow, the Rams probably aren’t going to be interested in Luck, and will listen to any and all offers if indeed they receive the top choice.

This scenario opens up all sorts of possibilities with various teams likely to tempt the Rams with a high draft picks and/or established players, and puts franchises such as the 49ers (coached by Luck’s former college mentor Jim Harbaugh), Redskins, Chiefs, Broncos, Cowboys and perhaps several others into the mix. Stay tuned for further developments.

The only real intrigue for the Rams surrounding this week’s game vs. the Saints is if New Orleans will be interested and sharp enough to extend the margin beyond the hefty impost. Rams backers can take encouragement that the Saints, then undefeated, seemed to sleepwalk their way to a 28-23 win over the 14½-point underdog Rams at a similar stage in the 2009 season. New Orleans took care of business quite handily last December 12 at the Superdome when easing to a 31-13 win over a then-surging Rams team.

Look for New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to dial up lots of blitzes against Feeley and a Rams pass protection that has resulted in a whopping 23 sacks of St. Louis QBs thus far.

Meanwhile, the Rams’ soft rush defense, allowing a hefty 5.5 ypc and torched last week by the aforementioned Murray, could be in for a long afternoon vs. the Saints’ troika of Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, and Darren Sproles.

If New Orleans can established the run, we shudder to think what damage QB Drew Brees might be able to cause with an effective infantry diversion at his disposal. Brees was about as sharp as possible last week vs. the Colts, leading scoring drives on all eight of the Saints’ possessions (six TDs and two field goals) when he was on the field.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24493 Followers:32
10/27/2011 10:16 PM

Dallas Cowboys In Key Battle At Philadelphia Eagles

Two NFC East rivals in dire need of a win take the field Sunday night when the Philadelphia Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys.

Sunday Night Football will start at 8:20 p.m. (ET) and will be televised nationally on NBC. The Eagles are currently a 3 ½-point favorite at home on the Don Best odds screen.

With the New York Giants currently leading the NFC East with a 4-2 record and facing the winless Miami Dolphins this week, both Philadelphia and Dallas need to win this game if they want to keep pace in the division race. Philadelphia comes in at No. 9 on the Don Best Linemakers Poll, while Dallas is right behind them at No. 10.

Dallas (3-3) is one of the most difficult teams in the league to figure out this season. One could easily argue that the Cowboys could be 6-0; they blew large late leads to the New York Jets and Detroit Lions, and also had a chance to beat New England with a late lead as well.

But the ability to play all 60 minutes is part of the game, and with Tony Romo’s excellent play for most of the game apparently comes his late-game collapses.

An injury to Felix Jones may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Filling in for the injured Jones last week, DeMarco Murray rushed for a Cowboys franchise-record 253 yards on just 25 carries against St. Louis. Obviously Murray won’t be setting new records every week, but if he can help the Cowboys establish a run game they can trust late in the game, it could go a long way in protecting leads and taking the pressure off of Tony Romo.

Philadelphia (2-4) came into the year as a favorite to win the Super Bowl, but at this point it would take an incredible run just to make the playoffs. The team clearly has the talent on paper, but was one bye week enough to correct the issues on defense and the offensive line that have ailed them? They get a tough test against Dallas this week to find out.

Since 1999, Coach Andy Reid is a perfect 12-0 SU coming off of a bye week.

LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick have led the Eagles the best rushing attack in the NFL, averaging 170 yards per game. But while Philadelphia can run the ball effectively, they haven’t been able to stop the rush, currently ranked 23rd with 123.8 rushing yards against per game. If Philadelphia can’t do a better job stopping the run, it doesn’t matter how talented their secondary is.

Dallas is 4-1 SU and ATS in the last five meetings with Philadelphia, including a three-game sweep in 2009 capped off by a win over the Eagles in the playoffs. Philadelphia was 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS in the five meetings before that.

The total for Sunday night’s game is one of the highest on the Don Best odds screen this week at 50 ½. The ‘over’ and ‘under’ are split at 5-5 in the last 10 games between Philadelphia and Dallas, but the total has gone ‘over’ in seven of the last 10 games these two have played in Philadelphia.

Rain and snow are in the Philly forecast for Saturday, but the wintry mix is expected to leave behind clear skies on Sunday. Kickoff should find the thermometer in the mid-40s.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24493 Followers:32
10/27/2011 10:23 PM

Pittsburgh Steelers Tackle New England Patriots

New England and Pittsburgh have become rather familiar with one another over the years thanks to several memorable encounters.

And perhaps we’ll get another when the teams square off on Sunday in the Steel City.

Oddsmakers are certainly anticipating another competitive battle, with the Patriots (5-1 straight up, 4-2 against the spread) listed as 3-point favorites over the Steelers (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS). Totals prices at Las Vegas books, as indicated by the Don Best odds screen, range between a hefty 52 and 53 points.

Kickoff time at Heinz Field on Sunday is 4:15 p.m. (ET), with CBS providing TV coverage for much of the nation in the second half of its doubleheader. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts will describe the action.

This decade-long battle for supremacy of the AFC really began between these teams way back in 2001, when the Patriots faced the Steelers for the AFC title at Heinz Field. New England, with backup QB Drew Bledsoe, who surrendered the starting role to a young Tom Brady earlier that season, was a 10-point underdog that cold afternoon in Pittsburgh. But Bledsoe delivered a solid effort for the underdog Patriots, who won 24-17 en route to their first Super Bowl title the following week (remember, there was no break between the conference title games and Super Bowl that season in the wake of the postponement of games following 9/11).

This rivalry between two of the powerhouse sides of the past decade really took on a new edge almost seven years ago to the day, back on October 31, 2004. On that Halloween afternoon, the defending Super Bowl champ Patriots rumbled into Heinz Field as 3-point favorites with a 6-0 mark, prompting comparisons to the 17-0 Dolphins of 1972. But things went pear-shaped that day for Bill Belichick’s men, overwhelmed in a 34-20 defeat that also served as a coming out party of sorts for Ben Roethlisberger, then a rookie QB for Pittsburgh.

Belichick would get his revenge later that season in the AFC title game when the Patriots, in a game rated a pick ’em by oddsmakers, scored a 41-27 win on the same Heinz Field turf, prior to New England’s last Super Bowl win, a 24-21 success two weeks later over the Eagles at Jacksonville in Super Bowl XXXIX.

And the recurring pattern for New England-Pittsburgh meetings since was mostly illustrated in that 2004 AFC title win.

In other words, it’s mostly been advantage Patriots.

The key factor in New England’s recent successes over the Steelers has been the availability of Brady, who not only led that win in the AFC title game but a subsequent 23-20 success in 2005 at Heinz, a 34-13 romp in 2007 at Gillette Stadium, and a 39-26 win over the Steelers at Heinz Field last year.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s only series success since the 2004 regular season came when Brady was injured and out of the lineup in 2008, the only year New England has missed the playoffs since 2002. With backup Matt Cassel at the controls, New England was thrashed 33-10 by Mike Tomlin’s Steelers.

Brady, however, dazzled in last year’s 39-26 win at Heinz Field, completing 30-of-43 passes for 350 yards with three touchdowns and no picks.

Brady is now 6-1 overall against the Steelers and has beaten them three straight at Heinz Field. Brady has averaged 373 passing yards in his last three starts vs. the Men of Steel as well.

New England also seems to be catching an updraft this season, winning three straight since a bitter 34-31 loss at Buffalo back in Week 3. Stop unit concerns, rare for a Belichick-coached team, surfaced during the first month when the Pats uncharacteristically ranked at the bottom of NFL total defense stats for a few weeks.

In recent games, however, Belichick has been able to reignite his pass rush, which has been crucial with the Patriot secondary still in a period of personnel adjustment. With several new faces manning the back seven, it’s crucial for New England to exert some pass rush pressure. Otherwise, there is an opportunity for Big Ben to do some significant damage on Sunday.

After battling a foot injury earlier in the year, Roethlisberger seems to finding some traction, passing for 361 yards and three scores last week at Arizona. Along the way, he connected on a 95-yard TD pass to WR Mike Wallace, the longest pass play in franchise history.

This matchup suggests another high-scoring affair, especially since Brady’s quick release has always proven an effective combatant to the Steeler pass rush and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s various zone blitzes. Brady’s receiving corps has always matched up well vs. the Steelers secondary, too. Meanwhile, if the Patriots can’t generate a consistent pass rush, Big Ben’s receivers will have the New England DBs under constant duress.

The total is posted rather high for a few reasons, not the least of which is New England’s 20-5 ‘over’ mark since late in 2009 season. With Brady and the efficient Patriot offense usually scoring points, it serves to accelerate the pace and tempo of New England games. Seven of the last eight in this series have gone ‘over’ as well, although in none of those games was the total higher than the 47 posted in 2007 (last year it was posted at 45).

Also, it’s a rare chance to take Pittsburgh plus the points. Coming into this season, the Steelers were 9-4 as the "short" since coach Mike Tomlin arrived in 2007, although Pittsburgh dropped its first two tries as an underdog (at Baltimore and Houston) earlier this season.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24493 Followers:32
10/27/2011 10:24 PM

San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs Monday Night Football

The Kansas City Chiefs may have turned in the most surprising performance of Week 7 and hope to carry that over to Monday Night Football when they host the San Diego Chargers in a key AFC West matchup.

Will Kansas City fans get a trick or a treat though when their team takes the field at Arrowhead Stadium on Halloween night?

The Chiefs (3-3) looked nothing like the defending division champions through the first three weeks of the season, but they have bounced back by winning three in a row and will try to beat the Chargers (4-2) for just the second time in nine meetings. Which Kansas City team shows up will be the key to who wins this game following the Chiefs' impressive 28-0 road win against the Oakland Raiders.

Game time is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (ET) with television coverage provided by ESPN. San Diego opened as a 3 ½-point favorite according to the Don Best odds screen and has remained there while the total is steady at 44.

The Chargers fell from No. 5 to No. 7 this week in the Don Best Linemakers Poll after losing on the road to the New York Jets, 27-21. The setback snapped a three-game winning streak that started with a 20-17 home win over the 23rd-ranked Chiefs in Week 3.

San Diego failed to cover the 14 ½-point spread against Kansas City in the first meeting this season, as the team could not find a way to get up by more than 10 at any point. The Chargers have covered just two of their six games this year with the ‘over’ cashing in the last two.

The Chiefs played their first full game without running back Jamaal Charles at San Diego and have since found a capable replacement in Jackie Battle, who carried the ball just one time for two yards in that Sept. 25 game. He has averaged nearly 98 yards on 35 combined rushing attempts over the last past two.

Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel has also played much better in the last three games, all resulting in wins. Cassel had failed to throw for more than 176 yards during the team’s 0-3 start with three touchdowns and five interceptions. In the three wins, he has averaged 226 passing yard with five touchdowns and two picks.

San Diego has beaten Kansas City in the last two meetings since losing last year’s season opener at Arrowhead Stadium, 21-14. The Chargers were also favored by four points in that game and wound up seeing their streak of four straight AFC West titles come to an end despite pounding the Chiefs 31-0 in the rematch.

The Chargers have some health concerns on offense, specifically the left side of their line and the backfield. Tackle Marcus McNeill is doubtful with a neck injury and guard Kris Dielman is questionable with a concussion.

Ryan Mathews (thumb) is probable but his backfield mate Mike Tolbert is questionable with a hamstring injury.

The Chiefs are not reporting any new injuries.

The weather forecast for Kansas City on Monday calls for a high temperature of 66 cooling down to 42 at night.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: