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Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Dwight Howard is a big enough star that he got his coach fired last year, a coach who had won 61% of his games; too bad Howard can’t make 61% of his foul shots. He was 9-21 from line Sunday, as Howard’s old team, the Orlando Magic, beat the Lakers, Howard’s new team, as 13-point underdog.
Since the start of last season, Howard is 359-738 (48.2%) from charity stripe. That’s 359 made, 379 missed. What does he do all summer? He should at least try shooting them underhanded. It couldn't hurt.
12) Last time the Lakers were 8-9 was eight years ago; they finished 45-37, lost in first round of the playoffs. I’m just sayin’……
11) Northern Illinois, as a BCS bowl team, has to buy 17,500 tickets for the Orange Bowl, which doesn’t sound like much, until you realize their average HOME attendance this year was 15,670.
Unless they have a big alumni base in Florida, someone’s going to be buying tickets and giving most of them to school kids in Miami. Its part of the sham of the BCS system; they’re guaranteed money, whether there is interest in the game or not.
10) Didn’t know that Cris Collinsworth’s father played basketball for Adolph Rupp at Kentucky; was on a national championship team, too.
9) Eagles fired their DC earlier this year, now they’ve fired respected DL coach Jim Washburn, who could wind up in St Louis with his old boss Jeff Fisher. Washburn was upset the Eagles cut Jason Babin, and I guess he said so, and was shown the door.
8) Supposedly, the Pope is joining Twitter this week; not a joke, the real Pope over in Rome. Not sure if he’s going to tell jokes, post funny pictures of church stuff or explain why he wears that oddly-shaped hat, but it can’t be bad for us to follow the Pope, can it?
7) If I’m the Cardinals (that’s Arizona, not the ones who hang out with the Pope in Rome), I call the Jets, see what they’ll take for Marc Sanchez; a new start would be good for him, and he’s a lot better than anyone the Redbirds currently have under center.
6) Surprising stat: in their last four games, this is what the Cowboys scored, just in the second half: 28-23-28-28 points. That’s a lot of production!!!
5) If I’m a Tennessee titan fan and rooting for Jake Locker to be my QB of the future, I’m deeply concerned with this stat: in their last three games, Titans are 53-107 (49.5%) passing. Right now, Locker simply isn’t an accurate enough passer to excel at the NFL level.
4) In first half of their last four games, Raiders were outscored 82-20.
3) Rose Bowl used to be such a big deal, but now Wisconsin is in with an 8-5 record. 8-5 teams belong in the Holiday Bowl or the Idaho Potato Bowl. Worst thing is that there are no bowl games played opposite the Rose Bowl, so we’re stuck watching the Badgers lose to Stanford, until the next bowl comes on later that night. Or maybe Spooky thinks Wisconsin keeps the game close. hmmmmm
2) Jets took a knee on the Arizona 1-yard line Sunday with a 7-6 lead, to prevent Arizona from getting the ball back with a chance to tie while trailing 14-6; smart football move, but when gambling on the NFL becomes legal in a couple years, moves like that are going to cause a ruckus.
1) Indianapolis Colts are no fluke; 16 of their last 18 TD drives have been 74+ yards; they have only three return TD’s all year. Last time they started a drive in enemy territory? Week 4. This offense is very good, and they haven’t gotten a great deal of help from defense/special teams. Makes you wonder why the Steelers canned Bruce Arians.
He could be NFL Coach of the Year, as an interim coach.
As the college football season comes to another close and all of you give thanks for Spooky's football posts, I think it's only fitting we hand out some awards before we break down the bowl games next week. These are awards I literally just made up but you'll see the recipients are more than deserving. And remember as a USC fan I have no remorse in my Fight On awards.
The envelopes please...
The Darren McFadden Golden Pussy Award - Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Great, gaping pussy gashes! This guy has to be made out of crusty boogers and dried poop molded together with globs of semen. Part of me feels bad for Lattimore because he seems like a good kid. But another part of me hates him because he played for shit sucking fuck bubble like Spurrier. Marcus would make up a lot of ground in the "feels bad" area if he put his head through a car windshield while screaming "STARTING DEFENSE! PLACE AT THE TABLE!! WOOOOO!!!" But my guess is that he's too busy learning how to walk again.
The Rick Majerus Quadruple Bypass Award - Jerry Kill - Minnesota
No surprise here. The seizure queen dominated this category. I don't know for sure, but I choose to believe that more people think this is funny rather than tragic. Only because it sounds like Jerruh is an insufferable twat wart who treats everyone like street trash. Kill will be the first coach to die on the sideline...assuming he doesn't get fired first. But he probably won't since the college football expectations in Minny are about as high as JimmytheGreek expectations when taking a girl home.
The Brady Quinn Falling NFL Stock Award - Matt Barkley - USC
America's favorite boner lover really boned himself by staying back at USC for "unfinished business". Apparently that business was completely fucking destroying his own future. Think about how much cash this anus lost just by going back for his Senior year. It's truly astonishing. Merely one year ago he would have been the #2 overall pick, most likely to the Washington Pigskins, leaving the Browns to ruin the life of RGTHREELITE. Now Robz Griff is a stud in Washington and Bonerz will get drafted in round 2 or 7 since the Browns only draft a QB every OTHER year. Sorry, Bonerz. Wrong year or else you would have been a LOCK in the first round to Cleveland. NOW HE'S DONE!!
The Blaine Gabbert Drafted Too High Because Of One Season Award - Geno Smith - West Virginia
Hoooo Boy does this have NFL bust written all over it. He's most likely going to be the first QB taken in the draft this year and some GM uninterested in having a job next year will be the moron to pull the first round trigger. Now...I liked Smiff at the beginning of the year. Then I saw what he did against teams that actually had talent. Yikes. What a drop off.
The Jim Schwartz Ass Hat Coach of the Year Award - Lane Kiffen - USC
Never before has there been a more OVERRATED coach than this dick cheese. The more I think about Kiffen, the more I wonder how he got a reputation of being an ELITE coach. He's currently 25-12 at a school that's used to going 11-1 every year so it's not because he wins games. USC recruits itself so you can't say he's a good recruiter. I mean, what 18 year old kid who is awesome at football doesn't want a chance to drown themselves in SoCal pussy and have a chance to play in a BCS bowl game every fucking year? Not to mention playing for a program that gets you NFL ready. So why does everyone continue to shine this guy's pole? It's like Cowfucker has the world brainwashed.
The Best of the Best Award - Alabama's running backs - Uhhhh, Alabama
They go from Ingram to Richardson to Lacy to Yeldon while other schools can't even muster a single thousand yard rusher. Like I said before, I'm not sure which one of these bastards is going to be better, but I DO know that both are going to be destructive motherfuckers at the next level. And another thing...any time you interview a black guy who plays for ROLL DAMN TIDE, please put fucking captions up so I can understand the mush that's coming out. Thank you.
That wraps up our award show today, shit eaters. A special congratulations to all of our winners. Go home and fuck yourselves with these imaginary trophies. Apparently Kirk Herbstreit is none too happy about Northern IlliNOISE getting a BCS bid over Oklahoma. Herbie can be a dildo at times but he also brings up a good point. Hate Herbie all you want...especially those who own MAC thongs but Northern IlliNOISE did lose to a incredibly shitty Iowa team this year. Fact be facts
-- Auburn hired Gus Malzahn away from Arkansas State, meaning ASU is going to have its fourth head coach in four years in 2013. Terrific.
-- Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema surprised lot of people, including his boss at Wisconsin, by bolting Madison for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
-- Think Dave Doeren, who just bolted Northern Illinois for NC State, but is a former Wisconsin assistant, would've liked to have known that the job in Madison was opening up? Am guessing he could've had it. Whoops.
-- NBA team in New Orleans, which used to play in Charlotte, is going to change its name from Hornets to Pelicans, freeing up the Charlotte Bobcats to become the Hornets. Got it?
-- You want to be a handicapper? Explain Washington beating the Heat. If you can, you're a lot smarter than I am.
-- For the $$$ I spend on DirecTV, they need to get the Pac-12 Network. Lot of latenight basketball. Get it done, people.
Wednesday's List of 13: Random thoughts on bowl games.......
13) Biggest bowl spread, by far, is Oklahoma State -17 over Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl; 9-3 Louisiana Tech would’ve fit in there nicely, instead of a team that already fired its coach. Next highest spread is the game in Hawai’i, Fresno State -11.5 over SMU.
12) Unless I’m missing something, the seven Big Dozen bowl teams are all underdogs in their bowl games. The ten SEC teams are all favored in theirs. Draw your own conclusions there.
Side note: Ohio State/Penn State being ineligible for bowl games played into this happening.
11) Pitt Panthers are headed to the Compass Bowl for third year in a row, meaning they sure as hell won’t need a compass to get back to Birmingham, which I’m sure is a fine city that loves football, but couldn’t they ship the Panthers somewhere else?
At least Pitt has had a different coach in all three Compass Bowls, or shouldn’t I mention that?
10) Highest bowl totals: Baylor-UCLA, 78 in usually high scoring Holiday Bowl, and Kansas State-Oregon, 77 in the Fiesta Bowl. Both games should be bigtime fun.
9) Lowest totals: Rutgers-Virginia Tech and TCU-Michigan State were both 41.5, last time I looked. Alabama-Notre Dame is 42.
Crimson Tide outscored its last two bowl opponents 70-7.
8) USC can’t be thrilled having to prepare for Georgia Tech’s option attack, but look on the bright side; Tech is 6-7, their defense is awful.
Plus, it’s the Trojans’ first bowl in three years, so any bowl is good and El Paso is supposed to be a fun place. This is another spot where Louisiana Tech would’ve been an upgrade as an opponent.
7) Mississippi State is 5-0 in bowls since 1999, and they were an underdog in three of those five games.
6) San Diego State/Vanderbilt are both playing home games in bowls. Not sure that’s good, well if you live in San Diego its good. I guess playing in front of your home fans is always good.
5) Kent State lost ’72 Tangerine Bowl 21-18 to Tampa; they haven’t been back to a bowl since, but they’re in the GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, so good for them. Jack Lambert/Nick Saban were on that ’72 Kent team, by the way.
Kent lost its coach Tuesday night, when Purdue hired Darrell Hazell.
4) Iowa State beat Tulsa 38-23 in its season opener September 1. Why are these teams playing again in the Liberty Bowl? Why?
I’ll beat the dead horse; Louisiana Tech is a way more attractive team than the Cyclones, though Iowa State will bring fans to Memphis, and making money is all these bowls care about.
3) West Virginia of the Big 12 against Syracuse of the ACC in the Bronx on December 29. Somebody please buy Dana Holgorsen a hat, he’ll need it. Bad weather bowl for a passing team with a lousy defense. Is going to NYC for a bowl game an attractive trip? Its damn cold there in December.
2) Two bowls match up a pair of 6-6 teams; Compass Bowl and Armed Forces Bowl, but at least Air Force is in the Armed Forces Bowl. Not sure how Rice got to a bowl. I won't even mention the obvious here.....
1) UL-Monroe will be very excited about its first bowl ever, against Ohio in the Independence Bowl. Too bad Louisiana Tech-ULM don't get along- their matchup would’ve been one of the better bowls.
Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) Student-athletes, my ass; South Florida’s AD praised football coach Skip Holtz for raising the team’s Academic Progress Rate (APR); of course, he did this praising at the press conference after Holtz’s firing, after his third year at USF. You go 3-8 in bigtime college football, you get fired, it doesn’t matter if the kids go to class or not. I’m not criticizing, its just the way it is.
12) When did Gary Sheffield become an agent? Why isn’t this bigger news? How hard is it to become one? Inquiring minds want to know.
11) 12 of the 16 teams in the Atlantic 16 will make this year’s postseason basketball tournament; when Temple/Charlotte leave the league next summer, then 12 of 14 teams will make the tournament, which has moved from Atlantic City to Brooklyn.
10) In case you wonder about such things, the average Division I college basketball team turned the ball over on 20.7% of possessions last year; they made 34.4% of their 3-point shots, 69.2% of their foul shots. Just thought you’d want to know.
9) Miami Marlins got Yuinel Escobar from Toronto when they shipped off five of their higher-priced players off to Toronto; well, since Escobar makes $5M a year, he is gone too, off to Tampa Bay for a AA infielder.
Miami’s 2013 payroll right now is $31M, plus another $7M in payments to players gone by (mostly Heath Bell). That’s $31M for 25 players. Alex Rodriguez makes almost that much by himself, and he might not play until the All-Star break.
8) I’m tired of Dick Vitale shilling for Notre Dame; its annoying and he should know better. I know his daughters went there and they married guys who went there, and I just don’t care. He loses credibility every time he opens his mouth, unless he’s raising money for the V Foundation, for which he has done great work.
7) Fort Worth Star-Telegram came up with the following profits that various football teams made last year: Texas, $77.9M, Geoirgia, $52.3M, Florida $51.1M, Alabama $45.5. this, people is why coaches get fired for losing.
6) When football coach Dave Doeren bolted Northern Illinois for NC State, the Wolfpack paid NUI his buyout, whatever it was, but apparently there is a tax on that money, and Doeren paid that himself.
Wonder if Doeren, a former Wisconsin assistant, wishes he turned NC State down, now that the Badgers’ job has unexpectedly come open?
5) Last year, Florida International coach Mario Cristobal was a hot candidate to replace Greg Schiano at Rutgers; today, FIU fired him, supposedly to replace him with Butch Davis, who should have the Panthers on probation within two years.
4) For what its worth, eight of first nine NFL players who were suspended for positive Adderall tests are defensive backs.
3) In 1981, Jerry Reinsdorf’s first year owning the White Sox, they had a payroll of $2.5M. For the whole team. Last year, it was $127M.
2) Rams’ rookie kicker Greg Zuerlien is 3-6 this season on field goals of 56+ yards; rest of the NFL is 4-12.
1) St John’s lost by 16 at San Francisco late Tuesday night; at some point, people in New York are going to realize that while Lavin is a terrific guy who was very good on TV, he’s just not that good a coach.
He had NBA talent when he was at UCLA, and had middling results. I can see Lavin and ESPN analyst (former Tennessee coach) Bruce Pearl switching jobs in a year or two.
Broncos (9-3) @ Raiders (3-9)—Oakland lost last five games (0-5 vs spread), allowing 37.8 ppg; they’re 1-3 as home underdog this year, 9-14-1 since ’08. Denver won last seven games (5-2 vs spread), scoring 30+ points six times, with road wins by 11-8-22-8 points; they’re 2-1 as road favorites this year, 6-4 since 2009. Fox’s defense is creating shorter fields for his offense; eight of last 11 Denver TD’s were on drives of less than 60 yards. Broncos (-6.5) crushed Raiders 37-6 in Week 4, outrushing Oakland 165-56 (TY 503-237)- they were 10-16 on 3rd down, Oakland 1-12. Manning was 30-39/338 passing. Denver won three of last four visits here, but haven’t swept Raiders since ’06. Eight of last 10 series games were decided by 14+ points. AFC West home teams are 3-5 vs spread in division games; home dogs are 1-2. Six of last eight Denver games, five of last seven Bronco games went over the total. Note: Raiders' coach Allen has been away from team this week, due to the death of his father.
Ravens (9-3) @ Redskins (6-6)—Washington is 3-0 since its bye, beating all three division rivals, running ball for 172.7 ypg; short week for them, coming off physical win over Giants in RGIII’s first MNF appearance. Redskins are 3-3 at home but won three of last four. Last three Baltimore games were decided by a FG, with Ravens scoring only three offensive TD’s on 35 drives; they split pair with Big Ben-less Steelers, beat sliding Chargers in OT, hardly impressive. Baltimore allowed 101.8 rushing yards per game in five post-bye games, after allowing 209.3 ypg in last three pre-bye games- they won three of four series games in once/every four years local rivalry, winning 20-17/17-10 in two visits here, last of which was in ’04; average total in four games was 27.8. NFC East home teams are 4-10 vs spread in non-divisional games; AFC North road teams are 8-8. Four of last five Redskin games stayed under total.
Chiefs (2-10) @ Browns (4-8)—Cleveland is 4-3 in last seven games after 0-5 start, winning three of last four at home (wins by 10-1-6 points). Since 2008, they’re 3-8-2 as home favorites (0-0 in ’12). In three post-bye games, Browns allowed 65.7 ypg on ground, so will be up to ex-Brown Quinn to move KC thru air. Going to be tough week for Chiefs (Jovan Belcher’s funeral), as reality sets in about what happened Saturday; they played best game of year the next day, but now go on road where they’re 2-3 as underdogs, losing by 18-28-18-3 points, with win in OT at Superdome in game they trailed 24-6. Like QB Quinn, KC coach Crennel was once canned by Browns; reality is, he’s probably about to be fired by Chiefs, too. AFC West non-divisional underdogs are 6-14 vs spread, 3-8 on road; NFC North favorites are 10-13, 6-10 at home. Under is 5-0-1 in last six Cleveland games, 3-1 in last four Chief games.
Chargers (4-8) @ Steelers (7-5)—Last five Pitt games were all decided by 6 or less points, with last three vs divisional rivals; Steelers won emotional game over rival Ravens last week behind 37-year 3rd-string QB Batch. Hard to endorse laying big number with Steelers until Big Ben comes back, but San Diego has now lost four in row, seven of last eight games, as Turner regime plays out string. Bolts are lost last four road games, by 7-1-10-7 points; they’re 1-3 as underdogs this year, 2-6 in last eight games as road dog. Pitt won eight of last nine series games, winning last three by 1-11-10 points. Chargers lost last six visits here by average score of 28-17; last time they won here was in ’94 playoffs. AFC West non-divisional underdogs are 6-14 vs spread, 3-8 on road; NFC North favorites are 10-13, 6-10 at home. Under is 5-1-1 in last seven Steeler games, but 1-4 in last five Charger road games.
Titans (4-8) @ Colts (8-4)—Indy’s storybook season continued last week, Colts scoring two TD’s in last 2:39 to pull out wild 35-33 win in Detroit, its sixth win in last seven games; they’ve won seven of last eight games vs Titans, nipping them 19-13 in OT (+3.5) in Nashville six weeks ago, scoring first TD of day with 3:24 left to tie game. Colts ran ball for 171 yards, outgained Titans 457-339. Indy is 5-1 at home this year, 2-1 as favorite, with home wins by 3-3-4-3-7 points; this is first time this year they’ve been favored by more than a FG. Tennessee lost last four visits here, with three of four losses by 10+ points; they’re 2-3 as road underdogs this year, with road losses by 28-24-23-5 points (won at Miami/Buffalo). Titans are 2-8 in games where their turnover ratio is worse than +2. AFC South home teams are 2-6 vs spread in divisional games, 1-3 when favored. Under is 4-1-1 in Indy games, 4-1 in titans’ last five games.
Jets (5-7) @ Jaguars (2-10)—Dysfunctional Jets are road favorite despite not knowing which one of their three lousy QB’s will start; they ran ball for 177 yards last week, but struggled to beat a team 7-6; Cardinals were second team in last 50 years to throw 30+ passes and gain less than 75 yards doing it. Jets are 3-2 vs spread when favored this year, 1-0 on road; they’re 2-3 SU on road, winning at Miami/St Louis. Jaguars are 1-5 at home, with all five losses by 17+ points; only games they’ve won, they gave up 17-19 points. Jets scored less than 10 points in three of last five games. This is Jets’ first game on grass since Week 3 (1-1 in ’12). Home side won seven of 10 series games; Jets are 0-3 here, getting outscored by total of 69-3 in last two visits, last of which was in ’06. AFC East favorites are 8-6 vs spread, 3-2 on road. AFC South underdogs are 11-10, 5-4 at home. Three of Jets’ last four road games went over; four of six Jaguar home games stayed under total.
Bears (8-4) @ Vikings (6-6)—Chicago lost three of last four games, Minnesota lost four of last five, so obviously critical game here; Bears (-6.5) drilled Vikings 28-10 at home two weeks ago, their sixth straight series win, converting 11-19 on 3rd down, using turnovers to score TDs on short drives of 34-13 yards in game they led 25-3 at half. Minnesota didn’t score on two of three drives inside red zone, averaged only 3.2 ypa. Four of Bears’ last five series wins were by 14+ points- they won last two visits here, 40-14/17-12. Vikings are 5-1 when they score 21+ points, 1-5 when they don’t; they’re 5-1 at home, with only loss a Thursday game vs Bucs. Minnesota ran ball for 240 yards last week at Lambeau, but turned ball over twice, 7th time in last eight games they had 2+ giveaways. Home teams are 4-4 vs spread in NFC North games, home dogs are 1-1. Chicago’s last four road games went over the total.
Falcons (11-1) @ Panthers (3-9)—If Falcons win #1 seed in NFC, they could get to Super Bowl without playing any more outdoor games after today. Atlanta (-7) snuck past Panthers 30-28 in Week 4, despite scoring only one TD on four red zone drives; they’ve won last five series games, scoring 30+ points in all five- they won 31-10/31-23 in last two visits here. Falcons had three extra days to prepare after finally beating rival Saints last game; they’re 5-1 on road, 2-1-1 as road favorites, winning by 16-24-7-13-1 point, with loss in New Orleans. Carolina lost four of last five games, getting beat at somber Arrowhead last week; they’ve lost last five home games, by 29-4-5-22-6 points. Panthers are 4-3 as underdogs this year, but 1-3 at home. NFC South home underdogs are 3-2 vs spread in divisional games this year. Six of last eight Falcon games stayed under total; three of last four Carolina games went over.
Eagles (3-9) @ Buccaneers (6-6)—Philly (only wins by 1-1-2 points) is playing out string; can’t expect big effort from them here, after playing in primetime last two weeks. Eagles lost eight games in row, allowing 26+ points in last seven, 30+ in last four (gave up 12 TD’s on 29 drives in last three games); they’re 2-4 as a dog this year, 2-2 on road, losing away games by 21-2-15-25-5 points, with only win 17-16 at Cleveland in Week 1. Bucs allowed 26.2 ppg in last five games, losing last two; they’re 3-3 at home this year, 2-1 as home faves, winning home games by 6-28-10 points- they’re 5-0 when allowing less than 21 points. Eagles scored 10.8 ppg in four road games on grass. Teams last met in ’09; Eagles are 2-3 in five visits here, with last one in ’06. NFC East non-divisional underdogs are 7-5 vs spread, 6-3 on road; NFC South favorites are 10-8, 6-7 at home. Five of last seven Iggle games, seven of last nine Tampa games went over the total.
Rams (5-6-1) @ Bills (5-7)—St Louis is 4-0-1 in division games, 1-6 outside NFC West; they’re 1-5 away from home, and a dome team playing in western NY in December, but they’re also finding ways to win (three defensive TD’s in last two games, all by Jenkins) and just played rival 49ers tough twice in four weeks (1-0-1). Bills ran ball 46 times last week, passed it only 17, so up to sturdy Ram defense to contain Spiller and make former Ram Fitzpatrick beat them thru air. Buffalo covered four of five tries as a favorite this season; they’ve won five of last six games in seldom-played series, with average total in last five meetings, 57; don’t forget Fisher’s Titans tore Bills’ fans hearts out with Music City Miracle in ’99 playoffs. NFC West underdogs are 12-6 vs spread, 8-5 on road; AFC East favorites are 8-6, 5-4 at home. Five of last six St Louis games, four of last five Buffalo home games went over total.
Cowboys (6-6) @ Bengals (7-5)—Well-coached Bengals (Gruden/Zimmer top coordinators) won/covered last four games, allowing 10.5 ppg (two TDs on last 45 drives); they’re just 3-3 at home, but won 31-13/34-10 in last two at home-- contention has sparked fan interest. Can’t ignore fact that in last four games, just in second half of those games, Dallas has scored 28-23-28-28 points, so they make great adjustments at halftime and put points on board. Pokes are 3-3 SU on road, 2-1 as road dogs, with losses by 20-2-6 points- their defense has fallen off, allowing 142-183 rushing yards last two games, creating few chances for offense. Six of last seven Dallas TDs came on drives of 75+ yards, though defense did chip in with clinching TD at end of Philly game last week. NFC East underdogs are 7-5 vs spread, 6-3 on road. AFC North favorites are 8-9, 4-5 at home. Six of last nine Dallas games went over total; four of last five Bengal games stayed under.
Dolphins (5-7) @ 49ers (8-3-1)—Miami lost four of last five games after promising start, but only one of losses was by more than 7 points (were -4 in turnovers in 37-3 home loss to Titans); Dolphins are 2-4 on road, 3-2 as road underdogs, losing away games by 20-3-3-5 points. Problem is, they’ve had only one takeaway in last five games (-8), and lost field position by 21-10-10-3 yards in last four games. 49ers got upset in St Louis last week; they’re 3-3 as home favorites this year, winning at Candlestick by 8-42-7-25 points, losing to Giants, tying Rams. After being +28 in turnovers LY, they’re only +5 this year, which is still good- they’ve had field position edge in last six games. Mobile QB Kaepernick has infused run game that gained 123-144-148 yards in his three starts. Miami is 6-5 in seldom-played series, 3-2 here, with last visit in ’04. NFC West favorites are 7-6 vs spread, 5-4 at home; AFC East underdogs are 8-7, 5-6 on road. Under is 6-1-1 in last eight Miami games, 1-3 last four 49er games.
Saints (5-7) @ Giants (7-5)—Sean Payton was once fired as Giants’ OC, felt he took special delight in pounding them as head coach (won last three meetings, scoring 30-48-49 points), he will be missed here. Saints lost last two weeks to slide out of playoff contention, but have four extra days to prep here, with Giants having played on Monday, NO last Thursday. Saints are 2-4 on road, with losses by 8-1-20-10 points, with wins at Tampa/Oakland. Giants lost three of last four games; they’re 2-4 as home favorites this year, 4-2 SU, winning by 7-14-4-28 points, losing to Cowboys/Steelers. Expect big Blue to pound ball vs defense that allowed 120-144-124 yards on ground last three games. Home side won seven of last eight series games, with Saints losing four of last five visits here. NFC South underdogs are 9-5 vs spread, 9-2 on road; NFC East favorites are 4-13, 3-8 at home. Six of Saints’ last nine games went over; last four Giant games stayed under.
Cardinals (4-8) @ Seahawks (7-5)—Lindley was 10-31/72 yards last week, making him second QB in last 50 years to throw 30+ passes and gain less than 75 yards. Arizona’s lack of competent QB play has turned a 4-0 start into a 4-8 debacle; they’re 3-2 as road underdog, losing away games by 14-7-14-4-1 point. In last three weeks, Cardinals lost games where they were +5/+3 in turnovers, which rarely happens. Seahawks won/covered all five home games; they were underdog in three of them- they’ve got home wins by 20-2-1-10-21 points. Wilson’s first NFL start was 20-16 (-1.5) loss in desert in Week 1, when Seattle scored only 13 points in four red zone drives, and averaged 3.8 ypa. Home side won five of last six series games; Redbirds lost seven of last nine visits here, losing 22-10/13-10 in last two. Underdogs are 6-1-1 vs spread in NFC West divisional games, 2-0-1 on road. Six of last eight Arizona games stayed under total; four of last five Seattle games went over.
Lions (4-8) @ Packers (8-4)—Green Bay had 13-yard edge in field position, snuck past Lions 24-20 (-3.5) in Detroit three weeks ago, its third series win in row and 13th in last 14 tries. Lions lost last 18 visits to Lambeau, though last two years they lost by 2-4 points. Last time Detroit won at Lambeau I was unmarried and had hair (1991). Now I’m bald/divorced. Lions scored 31-33 points last two weeks, lost both games; in second half of last four games, they’ve allowed 21-17-20-21 points, just in 2nd half!!! Detroit is 2-4 SU on road, 2-1 as road dog, losing away games by 8-3-6-10 points. Packers trailed last three games at half, kicking three FGs (no TD’s) on last four red zone drives; they allowed 147-240 rushing yards in last two games, and are 3-3 as home favorites, winning at Lambeau by 13-1-9-14-9 points (lost to 49ers). NFC North favorites are 4-4 vs spread, 3-3 at home. Five of last six Detroit games went over total; four of last five Green Bay games stayed under.
Texans (11-1) @ Patriots (9-3)— Easy to overlook that New England is +24 in turnovers this year (+11 in last four games), a remarkable number; 49ers were +28 LY, and they have chance to beat that. Third week in row on road for Houston, historically a red flag for any team, but Texans are 6-0 on road, with pair of 6-point wins and an OT win at Detroit. Top two teams in AFC square off in possible playoff preview; Texans’ offense is geared towards good weather- they snuck past Bears 13-6 in sloppy night game four weeks ago. Have to wonder about Houston defense after Jaguars/Lions scored 37-31 points in games 2-3 weeks ago, Wes Welker blew out his knee last time teams met, a 34-27 Houston win in season finale few years ago; Patriots won two of three series games, winning 40-7 in only meeting here in ‘06. AFC East favorites are 8-6 vs spread, 5-4 at home; AFC South underdogs are 11-10, 6-6 on road. Nine of last ten New England games went over total; three of Texans’ last four road games stayed under.
Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here.........
13) Wow. It looks like kickoffs might get eliminated from football. Not kidding. I wouldn't mind terribly if teams just started new possessions on the 25 or 30, but there is a suggestion out there where the team that scored would basically have a 4th-and-15 from its own 35 and they could punt or go for a first down to keep the ball, which would be the onside kick option on the new rule. Supposedly it would reduce the amount of injuries.
12) Of course, if the NFL was 100% committed to reducing injuries, these Thursday night games wouldn't be played every week. Football wasn't meant to be played on three days' rest.
11) Michael Young vetoed a trade to the Phillies? Who would want to trade Michael Young in the first place?
10) Phillies traded couple of pitchers to the Twins for CF Ben Revere, who stole 40 bases last year. One of the pitchers Philly traded to the Twins is Vance Worley, who is on my sons fantasy team; not fond of an NL pitcher going to the league that has the DH.
Another one of his pitchers, oft-injured Andrew Cashner, sliced a tendon in his thumb in a hunting-related accident. Terrific.
9) If I'm Tennessee AD Dave Hart, I'm calling former Cal coach Jeff Tedford and offering him the job as Vols' football coach, then if he accepts, I'm going to breathe a huge sigh of relief that I just saved my job.
8) Good news: Sean McDonough is recovering from brain surgery and will work two bowl games for ESPN, on December 29/January 2. We've long thought that McDonough is one of ESPN's most underrated voices. Glad to hear he's getting healthy again.
7) Hot baseball rumor of the day: Zach Greinke's wife used to be a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, and would like him to pitch for the Rangers.
6) If you're the Seattle Mariners and marijuana just got legalized in state of Washington, is signing Josh Hamilton a risk worth taking? He is fighting a daily battle against drug addiction. Its a fair question to ask.
5) Olive Garden is an underrated restaurant. Excellent bread sticks.
4) Knicks played Miami twice this year, beat them by 20 points both times; New York made 18-46 behind the arc. They're an exceptional shooting team, but you cannot leave Steve Novak alone. The man guarding him cannot help on defense, its just plain stupid.
3) From what you read about the NHL work stoppage, this season is in serious trouble. When the players hired Donald Fehr to head the NHLPA, you knew things were going to be contentious. Same thing happened with Fehr and baseball. Players have a short window of their lives to try and make money; missing a season makes very little sense for them, but looks like thats where they're headed.
2) Nash-Stoudemire-Johnson-Barbosa-Diaw-Marion are all still playing in the NBA; five years ago, they were playing in Phoenix, finishing up a run where the Suns won 62-54-61-55 games under Mike D'Antoni.
Why did Suns' ownership break this group up? Think they regret it now? Phoenix is 79-87 the last 2+ seasons.
1) I never thought I'd see the day where the Chiefs/Raiders are the two worst teams in the NFL. We might be there right now.