jimmythegreek Posts:10724 Followers:377
On 12/11/2011 10:42 AM in NFL

NFL GREEK INSIDER WEEK 14

Baltimore -16.5 over Indianapolis:
A three-game win streak has kept the Baltimore Ravens in the mix for the AFC's best record. Given their next opponent, they'll almost certainly remain in good position after this week. The Ravens will try to extend their run and delight the Baltimore fans by dropping the Indianapolis Colts to 0-13 on Sunday. Baltimore (9-3) has needed its win streak to remain tied with Pittsburgh atop the AFC North. Two other clubs in the conference - Houston and New England - have the same record, but the Ravens have clinched tiebreakers over at least the Steelers and Texans. The Ravens rushed a team-record 55 times in their latest victory, getting 290 yards on the ground in a 24-10 win at Cleveland last Sunday. Ray Rice gained a career-best 204 yards on his 29 carries.

The Colts showed some resilience in quarterback Dan Orlovsky's first start for the team last Sunday at New England. Orlovsky had 240 of his career-best 353 passing yards in the fourth quarter - along with two touchdowns to Pierre Garcon - but he couldn't help his team completely erase a 28-point deficit in a 31-24 defeat. He is likely to have more difficulty playing as well in this game, with Baltimore among the NFL leaders in a number of defensive categories. The Ravens are in the top five with 16.0 points, 287.3 yards, 198.6 passing yards and 88.8 rushing yards allowed per game. New England, by contrast, currently ranks last in the NFL in average yards (412.1) and average passing yards (310.0) given up. Orlovsky will certainly need assistance if the Colts are to avoid falling to 0-13 for the first time since 1986, the franchise's third season in Indianapolis after abruptly leaving Baltimore.

Ravens fans would relish the chance to witness that dubious feat and see their team break an eight-game skid to the Colts, which includes two playoff defeats. Peyton Manning's absence following neck surgery and a number of other injuries have hurt Indianapolis. Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark, however, is likely to play after missing the past three games with an ailing left leg. Middle linebacker Pat Angerer, tied for second in the league with 112 tackles, is expected to return from a right knee injury suffered against New England.

It's not a stretch to say that Indianapolis has desperately missed Manning. His absence has exposed a weak rushing attack, and that has allowed opponents to center their efforts on attacking the rotation of Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and now Orlovsky. Look for Baltimore to do much of the same, especially with LB Terrell Suggs on the outside and DT Haloti Ngata and DE Pernell McPhee up front. The Colts' defense ranks in the bottom half of the league against the run and the pass, which may foretell a liberal dosage of Rice. Indianapolis might just be the tonic to cure Flacco's recent inconsistency.


















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

  • All Time Record: 12146-12496-456
  • Last 7 Days Record: 110-123-4
  • Last 30 Days Record: 455-519-19
jimmythegreek Posts:10724 Followers:377
12/11/2011 10:49 AM

San Francisco -3 over Arizona (bought half):
The San Francisco 49ers consistently have talked about the next step during their turnaround season, taking each victory in stride toward a more significant goal. After wrapping up their first NFC West title in nine years, that mentality remains the same. San Francisco continues its push for a first-round postseason bye Sunday when it visits the Arizona Cardinals, who are clinging to faint playoff hopes after winning four of five. The 49ers (10-2) didn't hold back the celebration after clinching their first division crown and playoff appearance since 2002 with last Sunday's 26-0 victory over St. Louis, but they were back to business the following day.

Frank Gore surpassed the late Joe Perry as the franchise's all-time leading rusher after carrying 21 times for 73 yards against the Rams, and he said San Francisco doesn't plan to sit back despite locking up a playoff berth with four games remaining. The 49ers are two games behind undefeated Green Bay for the conference's top seed and one ahead of New Orleans for the NFC's other first-round bye. San Francisco hasn't earned one since 1997. The playoffs may have seemed out of reach following a 1-6 start, but the Cardinals have kept hope alive by going 4-1 since the start of November to move within two games of a wild-card spot. Beanie Wells rushed 20 times for 67 yards and a touchdown in last Sunday's 19-13 overtime win over Dallas, one week after running for a career-high 228 yards against St. Louis. He had a season-low 33 yards in a 23-7 loss to the 49ers on Nov. 20, but Wells had only eight carries in part because Arizona (5-7) was compelled to throw more after falling behind early.

Arizona, has lost five in a row to San Francisco. Alex Smith threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns in last month's win over Arizona and is coming off another solid performance. He went 17 of 23 for 274 yards with two TDs and no interceptions against St. Louis for a career-best 142.3 passer rating. While Gore is 18 rushing yards away from his fifth 1,000-yard season in six years, Wells is 84 shy of becoming Arizona's first 1,000-yard rusher since Edgerrin James in 2007. San Francisco's speed on the outside front and in the secondary will prove too much for Kevin Kolb. Field position will be key as well as the Niners ability to score in the red zone, so while we don't expect much scoring from either club, short fields due to turnovers and ball control will be essential in sustaining long and consecutive drives. Behind Gore and Smith, that will prove too much and eliminate Arizona's fading postseason hopes.

















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

  • All Time Record: 12146-12496-456
  • Last 7 Days Record: 110-123-4
  • Last 30 Days Record: 455-519-19
jimmythegreek Posts:10724 Followers:377
12/11/2011 10:58 AM

Green Bay -11.5 over Oakland:
Before entertaining the thought of going 16-0, the Green Bay Packers have a short list of other goals to attain. The Packers achieved their first goal last week, clinching the NFC North title, and they'll look to secure their next - a first-round playoff bye - Sunday when they host the Oakland Raiders. Green Bay became the first defending Super Bowl champion to start the following season 12-0 since the 1998 Denver Broncos with last Sunday's 38-35 road win over the New York Giants. It was the Packers' 18th straight victory - tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history behind New England's 21-game run in 2003-04. On the flight home, Green Bay found out that it won the division with Detroit's loss in New Orleans, but the Packers weren't in the mood to celebrate.

The next goal is a first-round bye, which can be attained with a win or a Saints loss in Tennessee, and the following is home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. After those two goals are met, McCarthy said his team will be ready to talk about the perfect season. Aaron Rodgers is enjoying an MVP-caliber season with a remarkable 37 touchdown passes to only five interceptions. He is third in the league with 3,844 passing yards and owns an NFL-best 70.6 completion percentage. With Rodgers leading the way, the Packers are averaging a league-best 35.0 points and are 42 shy of breaking the single-season franchise record of 461 in 2009.

That doesn't bode well for Oakland, which is 27th in scoring defense allowing 25.7 points per game. The Raiders (7-5) had trouble slowing down Miami's offense in last Sunday's 34-14 loss, snapping a three-game winning streak. Oakland, tied with Denver atop the AFC West, doesn't have time to dwell on the loss with a game at Lambeau Field, where the Packers have won 10 in a row. The Packers were faced with quite a challenge last Sunday, and they didn't seem fazed. Tied with the Giants and starting at their own 20-yard line with 58 seconds left, Rodgers engineered a five-play drive to set up Mason Crosby's 31-yard field goal as time expired. Rodgers completed passes of 24, 27 and 18 yards on the drive and extended his NFL record to 12 straight games of a QB rating of 100 or better.

While Green Bay displayed poise down the stretch last week, the Raiders' offense struggled from the start. Oakland punted on eight of its first nine possessions and had 133 yards through three quarters before showing some signs of life in the final period when trailing 34-0. Playing their fifth straight game without Darren McFadden (right foot), the Raiders were limited to a season-low 46 rushing yards. Carson Palmer threw for 153 of his 273 yards in the fourth quarter but could fare a bit better against Green Bay, which is 31st in pass defense allowing 292.8 yards per game.

The magic number will be 30 for the Packers to likely assure themselves of hiking their record to a lucky 13-0. Green Bay has scored at least 30 points eight times, including five of the last six games, in compiling a league-best scoring average of 35 points. The Raiders, conversely, have gone into the 30s only twice and not since a 34-24 win over the New York Jets in Week 3. Oakland wants nothing more than to pound the football with its fourth-ranked rushing offense (140.6 yards per game) and limit the opportunities Rodgers has to go against its defense. Darren McFadden is a huge question mark to return to play this weekend after missing the last five games with a foot injury. Oakland will be tempted to pick their spots when to have Carson Palmer take some deep shots, but must be on top of their game limiting Rodgers when the Pack's offense is on the field. Cheese convincingly at Lambeau this afternoon.



















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

  • All Time Record: 12146-12496-456
  • Last 7 Days Record: 110-123-4
  • Last 30 Days Record: 455-519-19
jimmythegreek Posts:10724 Followers:377
12/11/2011 11:06 AM

Chicago/Denver over 35.5:
While Tim Tebow continues to defy his critics by turning the Denver Broncos into serious playoff contenders, the Chicago Bears' growing concerns at the quarterback position might end up costing them a spot in the postseason. Tebow and the Broncos will try for a sixth consecutive victory Sunday as the visiting Bears seek to avoid a third straight defeat. Denver (7-5) looked far from a playoff-caliber team when it sported a 1-4 record, but has won six of seven since Tebow replaced the since-departed Kyle Orton as starter Oct. 23. After coming back again last Sunday to win 35-32 at Minnesota, the Broncos - winners of five straight - moved into a tie with Oakland atop the AFC West. Denver, which won 38-24 at Oakland on Nov. 6 to split the season series with the Raiders, currently owns the tiebreaker thanks to better divisional and conference records. The mobile Tebow proved last week that he can also win games with his arm, completing 10 of 15 attempts - his first time this season completing more than 50 percent - for a season-high 202 yards and two touchdowns. Those TD passes covered 62 yards to second-year receiver Demaryius Thomas, who had four receptions for a career-high 144 yards.

Tebow has completed just 47.5 percent of his passes in 2011, but he's thrown 10 touchdowns with just one interception and has the Broncos in position to win six straight for the first time since starting 6-0 in 2009. Five of Denver's six wins with Tebow under center have involved second-half comebacks, including last Sunday when it trailed 22-14 late in the third quarter. Denver's success has not solely been because of Tebow. Running back Willis McGahee has rushed for 886 yards after toiling in Baltimore the previous three seasons in a crowded backfield with Ray Rice. He's run for 228 yards on 43 carries over the last two games, including 111 and a TD at Minnesota. McGahee ended September averaging just 2.9 yards per carry, but has averaged 5.7 in eight games since the beginning of October.

Last weekend's defensive performance against the Vikings marked the first time in four games the Broncos allowed more than 13 points. Probably not coincidently, standout rookie linebacker Von Miller missed that game with a thumb injury. Miller, the second overall pick in this year's draft who leads all rookies with 10 1/2 sacks, expects to play this Sunday. Chicago (7-5) has dropped two in a row since Caleb Hanie was forced to replace the injured Jay Cutler at quarterback. After a decent performance in 25-20 loss at Oakland in his first NFL start Nov. 7, Hanie was awful while going 11 of 24 for 133 yards with three interceptions in a 10-3 home defeat to Kansas City last Sunday. Hanie has posted a 48.3 passer rating in two starts while throwing two TDs and six interceptions, and been sacked 11 times. The Bears currently own the fifth seed in the NFC, but play three of their final four games on the road, where they are 2-3.

We think this total is set some 4 to 5 points too low, as Hanie's ability seems to be a bit underestimated just 2 games into the campaign. Denver has proven that they can use other weapons as well as Tebow to score indicative of last week's offensive performance. Chicago must do a better job protecting Hanie. It also means WR Roy Williams will be expected to hang on to passes that hit him in the hands while he's in the end zone and not bobble them into the grasp of a defensive player. It also means that Barber, even when he's split out wide as a receiver, must realize that he needs to be on the line of scrimmage to cover the tackle on that side of the line. Tebow is versatile and will be able to throw the ball more if Denver's running game does not endure the success it has during this winning streak.


Best of luck to all on Sunday
YTD 29-23

















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

  • All Time Record: 12146-12496-456
  • Last 7 Days Record: 110-123-4
  • Last 30 Days Record: 455-519-19