jimmythegreek Posts:10690 Followers:377
On 01/07/2012 03:00 PM in NFL

NFL WILDCARD ROUND GREEK INSIDER

The postseason begins today with 2 AFC games beginning at 4:30 PM EST on NBC.
2011 Regular season record: 37-31 .544

Cincinnati at Houston:
Making just his second career start after Matt Schaub (foot) and Matt Leinart (collarbone) suffered season-ending injuries in consecutive weeks, Texans rookie quarterback T.J. Yates led fourth-quarter scoring drives of 83 and 80 yards, respectively, in a 20-19 come-from-behind victory at Cincinnati on Dec. 11. His game-winning 6-yard scoring pass to Kevin Walters with six seconds left extended Houston's franchise-record winning streak to seven. It also allowed the Texans (10-6) to celebrate their division title in the locker room after they watched Tennessee lose to New Orleans.

It would be hard to call the Texans lucky with the number of injuries they've overcome this season. Arian Foster was third in the NFL with 1,841 yards from scrimmage, but he missed two games at the beginning of the season with a hamstring injury. Houston has not had All-Pro linebacker Mario Williams (pectoral) in the lineup since October following his season-ending injury, while All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson has played just seven games due to injuries to both hamstrings. Johnson returned in Sunday's 23-22 loss to the Titans following a three-game absence, but Yates played just one series after suffering a bruised left shoulder when he was sacked on his first snap.

Yates, though, is expected to start after backup Jake Delhomme played for the first time since being signed Nov. 29. Kubiak also had a chance to rest many of his regulars last Sunday - including Foster and tight end Owen Daniels - with the No. 3 seed already clinched, but losing three straight was not how the Texans wanted to head into their first playoff game.

The Bengals (9-7) have the same approach as they enter the postseason for the third time since 2005, but are looking to advance for the first time since a 41-14 wild-card victory over the Houston Oilers on Jan. 6, 1991. Cincinnati defeated St. Louis and Arizona following last month's loss to Houston, but it needed losses by the New York Jets and Denver last Sunday to clinch the final wild-card spot. Cincinnati will have to have its run defense improve after yielding a season-high 221 yards last Sunday. Foster (1,224) and rookie Ben Tate (942) lead the Texans' second-ranked running attack (153.0 per game). While Andy Dalton is the more experienced of the two QB's, he and Green will have to make plays in order to exploit the Texans' second ranked defense.

Yates should benefit from having Johnson on the field. In their one full game together, Johnson caught four passes for 97 yards in a 17-10 victory over Atlanta. Johnson had two catches for 21 yards in Sunday's loss to Tennessee. Expect Johnson to have at least five catches against the Bengals. With Foster and Ben Tate getting almost all of the carries, the Texans will do everything they can to control the clock and keep the Bengals' offense off the field. Houston led the league with an average time of possession of 32:41.

Houston -3 (bought half)
over 38


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jimmythegreek Posts:10690 Followers:377
01/07/2012 03:08 PM

Detroit at New Orleans:
With their Super Bowl title, string of postseason appearances and record-setting offense, it might be easy to forget that the New Orleans Saints were once one of the NFL's lowliest franchises. When they begin their quest for another championship Saturday night at the Superdome, the Saints will face a Detroit Lions team that's seeking to take another step in its turnaround.

From its inaugural season in 1967 until the end of the 2005 campaign, New Orleans posted the third-lowest winning percentage in the NFL (.403) behind Tampa Bay (.392) and the Houston Texans (.281), who had been in existence for only four years. That changed with the arrivals of coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees in 2006. The Saints have gone 62-34 since, and that 64.6 winning percentage is tied for the sixth-best over that span.

This season, New Orleans matched its 2009 Super Bowl-winning club's franchise record of 13 wins and did so while Brees helped break a bevy of NFL offensive records. New Orleans (13-3) gained 7,474 yards, 399 more than the 2002 St. Louis Rams, and Brees blew away Dan Marino's 27-yard-old single-season record with 5,476 passing yards. He also completed a record 468 passes - 46 for touchdowns - and finished with more than 300 yards in each of his last seven games, topping a mark he already held.

One of those games was a 31-17 win over Detroit at the Superdome on Dec. 4 in which he threw for 342 yards and three TDs. Two of those scoring passes came in the second quarter as New Orleans built a 24-7 lead by halftime. At the time, Detroit was in the middle of a 2-5 stretch following its first 5-0 start in 55 years. The Lions rebounded with three straight wins to clinch their first playoff berth since 1999 and put their recent woes further behind. Among those was the only 0-16 finish in league history in 2008. Before their four consecutive wins to conclude last season's 6-10 campaign, the Lions had dropped 47 of 52, including an NFL-record 26 straight on the road.

Detroit (10-6) enters this game with one playoff victory since blowing out Cleveland for the 1957 NFL title. Earning another playoff win likely won't prove easy with New Orleans having gone 8-0 at home for the first time and ending the season on an eight-game win streak. The Saints, seeking their fifth straight playoff win at the Superdome, will try to atone for a 41-36 loss in last season's playoffs to a Seattle team that was the first to reach the postseason with a losing record.

The Lions, 5-3 on the road, bring in their own 5,000-yard passer, former No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford. After dealing with injuries in each of his first two seasons, Stafford finished with 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns, breaking Scott Mitchell's single-season team records from 1995. Top receiver Calvin Johnson finished five yards shy of matching Herman Moore's franchise record of 1,686 from that same season but set a team mark with 16 touchdowns among his 96 catches. In his three career matchups, Brees has 1,051 yards, 11 TDs and one interception. Stafford has four interceptions and only one TD in his two games against New Orleans, but he threw for 408 yards during last month's loss.



New Orleans -10 (bought half)
over 59.5












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jimmythegreek Posts:10690 Followers:377
01/08/2012 12:15 AM

4-0 for Saturday! To quote Enrique Iglesias..."I Like How It Feels!"

Back up Sunday fellow handicappers!

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bobalou Posts:4956 Followers:143
01/08/2012 12:19 AM

CONGRATS JTG! I went 4 - 0 as well! Let's keep it rolling they to the Superbowl my friend :)



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jimmythegreek Posts:10690 Followers:377
01/08/2012 11:44 AM

Atlanta at NY Giants:
The New York Giants are starting to see similarities between this season and their 2007 run to the Super Bowl. The Atlanta Falcons are hoping there will be a difference this time from the last two postseasons with Matt Ryan and Mike Smith. These teams have never met in the playoffs, and that will change Sunday in the first postseason game at MetLife Stadium. New York got off to a 6-2 start before a four-game losing streak brought back memories of collapses in recent seasons. The Giants, though, went 3-1 over their final four games and won the NFC East by beating Dallas 31-14 at home last Sunday night.

Now the team believes it is playing its best football heading into the postseason, like the Giants did in 2007 when they knocked off three division champions before shocking 18-0 New England in Super Bowl XLII. Atlanta, meanwhile, is back in the playoffs after a 10-6 season. The Falcons were the No. 1 seed a year ago before getting routed by Green Bay in the divisional round and also fell at Arizona in 2008 in Ryan and Smith's first season with the club. Ryan enters off his best season, throwing 29 touchdown passes to tie the Giants' Eli Manning for the league's sixth-highest total. That figure, along with Ryan's 4,177 yards and 92.2 passer rating are career bests, with receivers Roddy White and rookie Julio Jones combining for 2,252 yards and 16 TDs.

Manning, meanwhile, finished 67 yards shy of 5,000 to reach his second Pro Bowl. He set an NFL record with 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes and his fourth-quarter passer rating of 110.0 was the NFL's second-best mark. Manning has been aided in his heroics by the stunning emergence of Victor Cruz, who finished third in the league with 1,536 receiving yards. Cruz has made big plays the previous two games - a 99-yard TD reception against the Jets on Dec. 24 and last Sunday's 74-yard score against the Cowboys.

While the Giants are last in the league with 89.2 rushing yards per game, the Falcons have demonstrated more balance with an average of 114.6 thanks to Michael Turner. Turner is third in the NFL with 1,340 yards on the ground. Atlanta will want to utilize Turner to help neutralize the pressure Ryan will face from a Giants pass rush that produced 48 sacks to match Baltimore for third in the NFL, led by Pro Bowler Jason Pierre-Paul's 16.5. The defensive line has been bolstered by Osi Umenyiora's return last week after he missed a month with a high ankle sprain and knee problems, and Justin Tuck has shown improvement after battling injuries throughout the year.



Atlanta +3.5 (bought half)
over 47.5












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bettingurl Posts:25 Followers:0
01/08/2012 11:47 AM

Nice so far

jimmythegreek Posts:10690 Followers:377
01/08/2012 11:50 AM

Pittsburgh at Denver:
The defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers head into the playoffs with Ben Roethlisberger nursing a sprained left ankle and Rashard Mendenhall out with a torn ACL. They still might be in better shape than the Denver Broncos, who are also dealing with injuries to key offensive personnel and have been struggling mightily behind Tim Tebow. Making matters worse for the AFC West champs, they also have to contend with the league's best defense.

Pittsburgh (12-4) lost Mendenhall, the team's top rusher, late in the first quarter of last Sunday's 13-9 win over Cleveland. The injury to his right knee leaves third-year running back Isaac Redman and rookie John Clay as the only healthy ball carriers on the roster. Redman ran for 92 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries against the Browns, but also lost two fumbles. Pittsburgh would benefit greatly if Redman can make some plays to take the pressure off Roethlisberger. In the two games he's played since initially hurting his ankle, Roethlisberger has thrown for 551 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions for a 62.2 quarterback rating. In his first 13 contests, he had 21 TDs to 11 picks, averaging 1.66 more yards per attempt, for a 95.6 passer rating.

While Roethlisberger hasn't been at his best lately, he's been considerably better than Tebow. After being the talk of the NFL while engineering amazing comebacks during Denver's six-game winning streak, Tebow has seemingly lost his magic as his team hasn't won since. He has four interceptions and two fumbles in the last two games, and is coming off a brutal performance in last Sunday's 7-3 loss to Kansas City, misfiring on 16 of 22 passes and throwing for 60 yards with a pick for a 20.6 QB rating. The Broncos (8-8) still managed to win the division thanks to Oakland's loss. Now he's got the difficult task of facing a Pittsburgh team that is first in total defense (271.8 yards per game), passing defense (171.9) and points allowed (14.2).

The Steelers, who have allowed a league-low three touchdowns in six games since Week 12, will be welcoming back linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who spent the second half of the season dealing with a strained left hamstring. Going up against Pittsburgh's stout defense, John Fox and the Broncos' offensive staff are likely to be even more cautious to prevent Tebow from making more mistakes. Denver's offense revolved around a ground game that led the league in rushing and set the franchise single-season mark with 2,632 yards. Willis McGahee ran for 1,199 of those and Tebow finished with 660 on the ground, but continuing that pace could be tough because of a couple injuries. Right guard Chris Kuper, the leader of a young line, broke his left leg against the Chiefs and is done for the season, while fullback Spencer Larsen might miss the game with a sprained MCL in his left knee. On the other side of the ball, safety Brian Dawkins has been ruled out due to a neck injury.

Although the odds seem to be stacked against Tebow, Roethlisberger and the Steelers know what the unorthodox quarterback is capable of. Roethlisberger should know. The two-time Super Bowl champion is 10-3 all-time in the playoffs - the third-best record of any QB with at least 10 postseason starts since 1950 - and has won seven consecutive games in January.



Pittsburgh -9
under 34


















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bobalou Posts:4956 Followers:143
01/08/2012 12:52 PM

GL Today JTG!



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