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therock
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NFL odds: Week 10 opening line report

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On 11/07/2011 09:48 PM in NFL
“It’s on to the Evil Empire.”

Thus Jets linebacker Calvin Pace ushered in an appetizing Week 10, perhaps the best slate of games all season.

Division leads are on the line in Patriots-Jets, Saints-Falcons, Steelers-Bengals and Raiders-Chargers. There’s a cross-country matchup of teams with a combined 13-3 record (Giants-Niners). No teams are off.

The wait for Week 10 is only three days long, with San Diego hosting Oakland on Thursday. Sunday brings 10 early games.

“That gets a day jumpstarted the right way,” said Todd Fuhrman, Caesars Palace senior race and sports analyst.

The buildup for Pats-Jets started immediately after New York won its third straight, dominating the Bills 27-11.

“It’s still a two-team race,” Pace told the New York Post. “It’s still just the Jets and Patriots. [The Bills are] doing well, but sometimes the spotlight is big. I think the Jets and the Patriots can handle that spotlight. We control our own destiny.”

With the Pats on a two-game slide and looking ordinary offensively, books opened the Sunday night showdown at Jets -1. A month ago New England laid 7.5 against the visiting Jets.

“You hate to use the word overrated but in this case it fits: New England is not a great team and it’s starting to show,” said Jimmy Vaccaro, director of operations at Lucky’s sportsbook. “The armor is starting to get chinked. The Jets are playing better. They’re in a better mental state.

“But if it closed at Jets -1 or Patriots -1, it wouldn’t surprise me.”

Wynn sportsbook manager John Avello said the last three weeks have shown the Pats’ vulnerability.

“New England’s offense has slowed down and the Jets look like they’re back on track,” Avello said. “One team is heading north and one team seems to be going south.”

The Patriots haven’t scored more than 20 points since beating the Jets 30-21 on Oct. 9. They lack explosiveness at wide receiver and running back.

If Tom Brady is less than perfect, it’s hard for New England to overcome its shoddy defense.

“I wasn’t high on them at the beginning of the year,” said Todd Fuhrman, Caesars Palace senior race and sports analyst. “I don’t see this as an aberration.”

Another near tossup game will be played in the Georgia Dome, where Atlanta (5-3) hosts New Orleans (6-3) for NFC West supremacy. Bettors believe the Saints are better, but the Falcons rarely lose at home.

New Orleans opened as a 1-point favorite.

“Matt Ryan’s track record at the Georgia Dome speaks for itself,” Fuhrman said, referring to Ryan losing just three regular-season home games since entering the league in 2008. “And when you talk about divisional rivals, it’s important for these teams to hold serve. The home team has the added sense of urgency.”

The Steelers, coming off a heartbreaking home loss to Baltimore, visit 6-2 Cincy as 3-point favorites. The Bengals probably need to win to keep pace with 6-2 Baltimore, which visits 2-6 Seattle.

Bettors expect Bengals QB Andy Dalton to finally play like a rookie. He hasn’t yet.

“A rookie QB making zero mistakes so far?” Avello said. “Their schedule has been soft. Now he goes against one of the top-rated defenses. This is the week you can prove you’re a contender, or not.”

BIGGEST SPREADS OF THE WEEK

Arizona at Philadelphia (-16, 47), Minnesota at Green Bay (-13.5, 51)

The Cardinals played well in their last trip east, nearly upsetting Baltimore as 12-point underdogs. Still, they’re just 3-7 ATS as road dogs since last year.

Coming off a bye, the Vikings are 2-0 ATS since rookie QB Christian Ponder took over. They lost 33-27 at home to the Pack three weeks ago as 10-point dogs.

SMALLEST SPREADS OF THE WEEK

New Orleans at Atlanta (1, 50.5), New England at New York (-1, 47.5), St. Louis at Cleveland (-1.5, 37.5)

You almost have to bet on Rams-Browns to watch it, unless you’re a fan or either team or an interested fantasy owner. Cleveland is 0-4-2 as a home favorite since last year.

BIGGEST TOTALS OF THE WEEK

Minnesota at Green Bay (-13.5, 51), New Orleans at Atlanta (1, 50.5)

Packers’ games have averaged 56.8 points this season. Aaron Rodgers is on pace to throw for 5,238 yards and 48 touchdowns.

Since 2009, the over is just 3-12 in New Orleans’ division games.

SMALLEST TOTALS OF THE WEEK

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (3, 37.5), St. Louis at Cleveland (-1.5, 37.5), Washington at Miami (-3.5, 37.5)

Matt Moore is playing the best of any QB in this trio of games. That tells you something.

Six of Washington’s last seven games have gone under.

Jacksonville has played seven unders in eight games, with the total going under by an average of 7.3 points.
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