jimmythegreek Posts:11430 Followers:384
On 11/18/2012 02:18 AM in NFL

NFL SOLEMN GREEK INSIDER WEEK 11

It has no doubt been a rough NFL season to date, probably my least effective in 5 years. Just when it looked like colleges were going to match the unsuccessful NFL campaign, I have been fortunate to hit my last 8 best bets after an ice cold 1-4 start. Still that's not much excuse for my 15-24-1 NFL best bet stumbling in the pros. Things can hopefully only get better though, and with 7 full regular season weekends remaining, let's hope we can bounce back starting later today.

Houston -15 over Jacksonville:
The Texans aim for a fifth consecutive victory over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, who try to avoid matching their longest losing streak in franchise history Sunday. Houston (8-1) made quite a statement last Sunday night, pulling out a gritty 13-6 win at Chicago to remain two games ahead of second-place Indianapolis in the division. While the Texans were limited to a season-low 215 yards, their stifling defensive unit came up huge again with a season best-tying four turnovers. Giving up averages of 281.6 yards and 15.9 points to rank second and third in the league, the Texans made things especially difficult on the Jaguars (1-8) during a 27-7 road win Sept. 16, holding them to a franchise-low 117 yards.

Tied with Kansas City for the league's worst record, the Jaguars are averaging 12.5 points during a six-game losing streak. Jacksonville, which suffered seven consecutive defeats during its inaugural 1995 season, saw its woes continue last Thursday with a 27-10 loss to the Colts. Maurice Jones-Drew's continued absence surely hasn't helped the Jaguars, who won't have their All-Pro running back for the fourth consecutive game. Starting in place of Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings has compiled 131 yards on 40 carries over the last three weeks. Blaine Gabbert completed 18 of 31 passes for 209 yards with an interception last Thursday before aggravating an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. While Chad Henne was much more efficient in his place, Gabbert, whose 76.9 passer rating ranks sixth-lowest in the NFL, will continue to start.

In addition to getting a better performance from Gabbert, the Jaguars will likely need to step up their efforts against the run Sunday. Jacksonville is allowing an average of 137.4 rushing yards and has surrendered 14 TDs on the ground, the second-most in the league. The Jaguars' struggles could lead to another big day for Arian Foster, who ran for 102 yards and scored his NFL-best 12th TD from scrimmage against the Bears. Foster, who's rushed for 523 yards and six scores in five starts against the Jaguars, may not need to shoulder all of the load Sunday with Ben Tate possibly returning following a two-game absence due to a hamstring injury.

All signs in this one point to a blowout, which is good news for the Texans considering they may be able to rest their starters as this one progresses. With a first round bye at stake, Houston will send Jacksonville to double-digit losses for the third time in five seasons behind a stout defensive effort and a revived pass attack. Foster is at full strength and perhaps on his way to a rushing title which at season's end will only make the AFC's best even more dangerous to contend for the Super Bowl.

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jimmythegreek Posts:11430 Followers:384
11/18/2012 02:28 AM

New England -9 over Indianapolis:
This year, with rookie Andrew Luck leading the offense, the surprising Colts (6-3) have made a rapid return to playoff contention with a four-game winning streak heading into Sunday. It may no longer be Peyton Manning at the helm, who has a new place eyeing the postseason in the higher altitude of Denver. However, Luck has done just about everything Indianapolis asked in his first season, completing 208 of 362 attempts and ranking eighth in the NFL with 2,631 yards while throwing 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Luck, who had an NFL rookie record 433 yards against Miami earlier this month, went 18 for 26 for 227 yards with an interception and a fumble versus Jacksonville on Nov. 8. However, he found another way to get it done with two rushing scores in a 27-10 victory. Reggie Wayne has enjoyed a rebirth with Luck under center, ranking first in the NFL with 7.7 receptions per game and second in the league with 103.4 yards per contest.

Brady didn't have his best performance on Sunday, completing 23 of 38 for 237 yards and two touchdowns. But the two-time MVP completed at least 60 percent of his passes for the 10th straight game. Tight end Rob Gronkowski continues to one of Brady's favorite targets, with 17 catches for 255 yards and five touchdowns in the last three games. The Patriots have also found success on the ground, rushing for 400 yards during their winning streak. Stevan Ridley has come on strong with 225 yards and two TDs on 37 carries in his last two games. Although the Colts have held opponents to 14.0 points over the last four games, those opponents - Cleveland, Tennessee, Miami and Jacksonville - have some of the league's weakest offenses.

This should be a high scoring game but expect the Patriots to come out on top. Despite a good Colt passing attack facing a weak Patriot secondary, the Patriots are +16 in turnover differential this season, while the Colts at -9 rank near the bottom of the league. The Patriots should win the turnover battle as well as have no problem moving the ball on offense and march to a win.


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jimmythegreek Posts:11430 Followers:384
11/18/2012 02:37 AM

Tampa Bay -1 over Carolina:
The Bucs (5-4) actually stumbled to a 1-3 start, but Freeman has since powered their recent surge, throwing for 13 touchdowns and posting a 115.9 rating in the last five games. He hasn't been picked off in his last 151 attempts. Freeman went 14 of 20 for 210 yards and a pair of TDs in a 34-24 win over San Diego last week. Tampa Bay has averaged 37.5 points in its last four victories and has scored at least 28 points in a team-record five consecutive games. The Bucs also got a blocked punt return for a score from Adam Heyward and an 83-yard interception return for a TD from Leonard Johnson versus the Chargers. During the current win streak, the Bucs are averaging a whopping 37.3 points per game on offense, while also getting solid play from their special teams and defense. Schiano was pleased of his team’s performance after reeling off a big win at home last Sunday against Phillip Rivers and the Chargers.

The Panthers, though, come in having lost six of seven and a 36-14 defeat to Denver on Sunday led to another change, as the team fired special teams coordinator Brian Murphy the next day. Carolina let go general manager Marty Hurney on Oct. 22. Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns for the second time this season last week but was intercepted twice, giving him five in the last four contests. The Panthers (2-7) were held to 14 or fewer points for the fifth time in 2012.

Doug Martin is 138 yards away from becoming the 11th player in Bucs history to rush for 1,000 yards, and the fourth to do so as a rookie. Martin had 95 yards on 24 carries in the first matchup with Carolina. The Bucs were able to hold off the Panthers 16-10 in week one, and know it won’t be so easy the second time around. In that first meeting the Buccaneers were able to slow down Cam Newton and the rushing attack, allowing just 10 total yards on the ground, something that the Panthers will need to fix if they have any chance of hanging with Tampa Bay this Sunday.

The Buccaneers have a leg up in the running game and special teams play; something the Panthers have struggled to with this season. If Tampa Bay fails to find a run game early, then look for quarterback Josh Freeman and wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams to make big plays through the air. That won’t be easy for Freeman, who will be pressured heavily by a Panthers defense that ranks 9th in the league in total team sacks.

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jimmythegreek Posts:11430 Followers:384
11/18/2012 02:48 AM

Baltimore/Pittsburgh over 40:
If the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to take control of the AFC North on Sunday night at Heinz Field, they must do something they haven't accomplished since Ben Roethlisberger joined the NFL. And that's beat the Baltimore Ravens without him. The Steelers' four-game win streak has brought them within a game of the North-leading Ravens. It will be Byron Leftwich trying to move them into a first-place tie because Roethlisberger has been ruled out. Pittsburgh is 0-4 against the Ravens without him since the star quarterback's 2004 rookie season.

However, the Steelers are 4-0 at home this year after a 16-13 overtime win over Kansas City on Monday, when Roethlisberger suffered a sprained shoulder after taking a hit in the third quarter. He underwent extensive testing Tuesday, and the following day it was revealed Roethlisberger also has a dislocated rib that is a bigger concern going forward because it could cut into his aorta. That leaves Pittsburgh relying on a quarterback who hasn't made a start since 2009 with Tampa Bay and hasn't won one since Oct. 6, 2006, while with Jacksonville. Leftwich has since gone 0-6 as a starter. Leftwich will likely have Rashard Mendenhall in the backfield with him to help with the running game. Mendenhall, who rushed for 1,273 yards two years ago, has missed the last four games because of an Achilles injury, but had no setbacks after a full week of practice. He will likely split time with Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, who each had 100-yard rushing games while Mendenhall was out.

The Ravens (7-2), meanwhile, are coming off their easiest win of the season. Baltimore set a club record for points in a 55-20 home win over Oakland last week. It was a welcome departure for a Baltimore team which had been making a living with close wins. Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns for Baltimore, which scored on six of its first seven possessions and recorded two special teams TDs.

Baltimore's uncharacteristically poor defense could make it a little easier for Leftwich to settle in. The Ravens rank 27th in the league in yards allowed (390.2), including 26th against the pass (258.2), though their 10 interceptions rank sixth. They could get some help this week with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (shoulder) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin) expected to return after sitting out against the Raiders. The Steelers are hopeful their rushing attack can bounce back after Dwyer and Redman were held to a combined 77 yards on 27 carries last week. The ground game had at least 140 yards and 4.5 per carry in each of the previous three games.

Against Pittsburgh's top rated pass defense, Baltimore could look to get Ray Rice a little more involved. Rice has 657 rushing yards and 7 TDs on the year but has carried the ball 47 times for 175 yards in the Ravens' last three games. Last week, the Ravens showed a variety of looks, inserted rookie Courtney Upsahw at DE so that Paul Kruger and Suggs play their normal position OLB’s. The mix has worked so far. If Suggs and company can siege Leftwich, they stand a better chance at slowing down the Steelers passing attack. Roethlisberger has been sacked 18 times this season and with Leftwich starting the Ravens will have more opportunities. The Steelers must try and rebound and rally around backup quarterback Byron Lefwich in hopes of escaping this week with a win heading into the rest of the season. Literally at this point, the Steelers have to take the season one game, no one play at a time, executing at the top of their games in hopes of getting out alive.

Best of luck to all in week 11

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