[B][I]NFL notebook: Panthers DE Johnson suspended for PED use
December 1, 2017[/I][/B]
Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, the NFL announced Friday.
Johnson will begin his suspension immediately and miss Sunday’s key NFL South battle against the New Orleans Saints, who are tied with the Panthers at 8-3.
Johnson will be eligible to return to the Panthers’ active roster on Dec. 25 and available to play in the final regular-season game against the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 31. He started all 11 games this season, making 16 tackles and no sacks.
“I accept full responsibility,” Johnson said in a statement released by the team. “I have been recovering from back surgery, dealing with the daily grind of football and mistakenly thought this could help. It was an error in judgment on my part. We have a special group here I wanted to be a part of and felt an obligation to do my part by getting back as soon as possible.”
The 31-year-old Johnson re-signed with the Panthers prior to this season on a two-year deal worth $9.5 million. He has 67.5 career sacks, second on the team’s all-time list.
[B]–Green Bay Packers[/B] running back Ty Montgomery was placed on injured reserve and will soon undergo season-ending wrist surgery.
Montgomery has been bothered by wrist soreness throughout the campaign. He is expected to be recovered from surgery before the team’s offseason conditioning program beings.
Montgomery rushed for 273 yards and three touchdowns on 71 carries this season. He also caught 23 passes for 173 yards and one score.
Cornerback Kevin King (shoulder) was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Listed as questionable are linebackers Clay Matthews (groin) and Ahmad Brooks (back), defensive tackle Kenny Clark (ankle), running back Aaron Jones (knee) and guard Lucas Patrick (hand).
–The Arizona Cardinals[/B] signed defensive tackle Corey Peters to a three-year contract extension through the 2020 season, the team announced.
Peters, 29, was in the final year of a three-year deal signed in 2015.
The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Peters has been with the Cardinals the past three seasons after joining the team as a free agent in 2015. After missing his first year in Arizona with a torn Achilles, the nose tackle has 38 total tackles and one sack in 24 games played over the past two seasons.
[B]–The Denver Broncos[/B] promoted cornerback Marcus Rios to the active roster from the practice squad.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Rios is a rookie from UCLA who has competed on Denver’s practice squad during the entire 2017 season. He entered the NFL with Denver as a college free agent on May 11.
[B][I]SuperContest Picks – Week 13
December 2, 2017[/I][/B]
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest is the biggest, most prestigious, challenging pro football handicapping contest in the country. The fees are $1,500 per entry.
Contestants must pick 5 pro football games against the spread each week for the entire 17-week season. The individual that has the best record after the season will be deemed the winner.
The LVH Casino at Westgate Las Vegas Resort is a hotel, casino, and convention center, which is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. LVH SuperBook vice-president Jay Kornegay is in charge of the SuperContest.
This year’s contest has 2,748, which is an all-time record.
Each week throughout the season, we’ll post the Top 5 Consensus Picks in the SuperContest on Saturday afternoon and list all of the selections for each matchup.
[B][I]Vegas Money Moves – Week 13
December 2, 2017[/I][/B]
The betting public loves siding with great NFL offenses and Sunday’s Week 13 action is no different with New England, New Orleans and Philadelphia lined up one after another. That’s the No. 1 offense with the Patriots (411 yard per game) followed by No. 2 with the Saints (409 YPG) followed by the Eagles third-ranked offense(381 YPG).
The name of the game is scoring the most and then covering the sports book numbers, so why not side with the most efficient offenses to cash? Since the advent of betting football, this has always been the case with the masses, it’s just kind of cute to see them all lined up so perfectly in order.
“The Patriots are our biggest risk of the day,” MGM Resorts sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback said Saturday afternoon from his Mirage office. “We’re absolutely loaded on them with everything — straight bets, parlays teasers — everything is on sided. Our ticket count has the Patriots being bet at an 8-to-1 ratio.”
William Hill sports books also have 81 percent of their tickets written on the game siding with the Patriots who they opened 8.5-point road favorites at Buffalo and the number quickly moved to -9 on Tuesday. The Bills had three memorable bad losses in a row before last weeks 16-10 win at Kansas City. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor was benched two weeks ago prior to the Chargers game and they proceeded to lose 54-27. The week before it was the Saints beating Buffalo 47-10 on the road. Those type of losses is what the public hopes to see and they’ve got a nice candidate to do it with New England.
All the Patriots have done to gain favor is win seven straight (6-1 against the spread), win and cover 12 of its last 14 road games and win and cover their last three at Buffalo. That’s a nice resume, and the cherry on top is the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook dropping the Patriots down to 2/1 odds to win the Super Bowl.
“The next biggest risk is the Saints,” said Stoneback, who has New Orleans listed as a 4.5-point home favorite over the Panthers. “It’s not quite the same as Patriots, but a Patriots-Saints cover combination won’t be good for us.”
The Saints (8-3) have covered the past five meetings with the Panthers (8-3), including a 34-13 road win at Carolina in Week 3, which started an eight-game wining streak that was snapped last week at the Rams, who are also 8-3. This game could be the NFC South crown and possibly a bye in the playoffs. It should be noted that the Panthers won and covered their last four and Cam Newton has put 38, 41 and 41 on the Superdome scoreboard in his last three trips while winning two of them.
And then of course, there’s the super Eagles (10-1) who have won nine straight and covered their last eight victories. The sports books have yet to catch up with them despite attaching a 25 percent luxury tax for the public. This week’s game is at Seattle and a big bettor who has been riding the Eagles at inflated prices weekly is on them again.
“The same guy that’s been betting big with us the past weeks taking the Rams, Eagles and a couple other teams took the Eagles -5, but that’s about the only real risk we have on the game right now,” Stoneback said. “We’re actually seeing some support for Seattle in parlay action. It’s not that big of a decision right now despite the large Eagles bet.”
This is certainly a new era for Pete Carroll’s Seahawks when we see a team go into Seattle and be almost a touchdown favorite. The Legion of Boom is banged up, the offensive line is terrible and QB Russell Wilson is the leading rusher, but Seattle is still certainly the best team Philly has played during their nine-game win streak.
Another big game in the NFC has the Vikings (9-2) getting +3, -120 at Atlanta (7-4).
“I was surprised that the public came in on Atlanta,” Stoneback said. “We have one big Falcons straight bet, but the ticket counts still favor the Vikings at 3-to-1 while the parlay wagers are siding with the Falcons at a 2-to-1 ratio. If we took the one large wager out of the mix we’d be kind of even on the game.”
Minnesota has won its last seven to take control of the NFC North and the Vikings have also covered their last six games. They rank in the top-5 in both offense and defense. The Falcons finally look like the NFC’s Super Bowl representative from last season as they ride a three game win and cover streak into this matchup while averaging just over 31 points per game. Something to consider here is that Atlanta has gone ‘over’ the total in 13 of its last 16 home games. If they really are back to being the 2016 Falcons, 47 points might be too small.
Other musings from week of action:
People refuse to believe that Denver (3-8) is awful despite a seven-game losing streak. The Wynn has them as high as -2 at Miami (4-7). When is the last time you saw an 0-5 team on the road be favored in its sixth road game. It’s back to Trevor Siemian at QB for Denver.
The Westgate opened the 4-7 Buccaneers -2.5on Wednesday for their road game at Green Bay (5-6). On Thursday it was announced that regular starting QB Jameis Winston would be back in the Bucs lineup and the line went the other way, like all the way to Packers -2.5. Bucs back-up Ryan Fitzpatrick led them to two wins before losing at Atlanta last week. Winston had lost five straight when he got hurt. WestgateSuperBook manager Ed Salmons shares the reasoning behind the move.
“The last few weeks before Winston sat out, he still had a banged up shoulder and people were simply betting against the injury and cashing,” Salmons explained. “When this number first came up it was with the intention that Winston’s shoulder is back to being 100 percent, and bettors are betting against it this week.”
Eli Manning was benched and Geno Smith is here to save the season for the Giants (2-9). The Raiders (5-6) opened -7 -120 and are now -8. Oakland will be without both starting wide receivers, Amari Cooper and Micheal Crabtree, with third-stringer Cordarelle Patterson questionable with a banged up hip. This is almost an unbettable game, but as the results start posting in the 10:00 am PT games, whether winning or losing, someone in the bar or sports book will spout off some info enticing a wager.
The Rams have been -7 and -6.5 during the week, but there’s been a new found respect for the talent on the Cardinals (5-6) which has battled well behind third-string QB Blaine Gabbert. Maybe Gabbert found a home with a suitable system for his talents. So far he’s got a better QB rating than both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.
The Chargers (5-6) get the duty of playing the Browns (0-11) this week and the fine people of Carson, CA get to witness the worst team, and uniforms in the NFL (was spelling the name Browns on the pants really needed?). They’ve failed to cover their last four games, and nine of 11 this season, while the Chargers have the look of being the best team in the AFC West. The Chargers have gone 6-1 ATS in their last seven games.
And of course the public has hopped off the Chiefs bandwagon a long time ago. Kansas City (6-5) has gone 1-5 straight-up and ATS in their last six after starting 5-0. It’s an amazing spectacle to watch unravel. The Chiefs opened 4.5-point road favorites against the Jets (4-7) and it’s been bet down to as low as -3 flat at the South Point. The Jets are 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games.
[B][I]Total Talk – Week 13
December 2, 2017[/I][/B]
The ‘over’ produced a 9-7 mark last weekend but it wasn’t easy as bettors had to put in a full 60-minute session on a handful of those games. We saw 26 of 32 teams put up at least one score in the fourth quarter and 19 clubs posted 10 or more points in the second-half. Through 12 weeks, the ‘over’ holds a 91-84-1 record.
Listed below are the largest line moves as of Saturday afternoon based off the Week 13 openers posted last Sunday at BookMaker.eu.
Detroit at Baltimore: 41 to 43 ½
San Francisco at Chicago: 39 ½ to 41
Tampa Bay at Green Bay: 43 to 45
Cleveland at L.A. Chargers: 42 ½ to 44
N.Y. Giants at Oakland: 44 to 41 ½
Philadelphia at Seattle: 48 to 46 ½
Not a lot of major movement again this week, but a few of the totals receiving interest appear to be quarterback related. Jimmy Garropolo will make his debut for San Francisco while Geno Smith gets the start over Eli Manning for the New York Giants. Also, Jameis Winston returns to action for Tampa Bay this week and all three of the signal callers will be on the road.
Scoot Cooley of BookMaker.eu offered his thoughts on the moves. He explained, “I’d say two of the three quarterback changes are prompting good action from the sharp bettors. They know what to expect from Smith, but Garropolo is a wildcard.”
One move that could have bettors scratching their heads is the drop in the Philadelphia-Seattle matchup. The Eagles are averaging a league-best 31.9 points per game, plus the primetime game on Sunday usually receives plenty of ‘over’ tickets.
Cooley wasn’t surprised by the drop. “The Eagles can win a lot of different ways and if the Seahawks want to slow it down Philly doesn’t mind playing along. That said, both of these teams are very capable of scoring. But I think this stays under.”
[B]Keep an Eye On[/B]
The Road Total System is in play this week as Tampa Bay visits Green Bay on Sunday.
What’s the angle?
Play the ‘over’ in any game when the visitor is playing their third consecutive road game
So far this season, we’ve seen back and forth results (2-2) in the four situations but the ‘over’ is 43-22 (66%) over the last 12 seasons. Make a note that this three-game stretch wasn’t expected for the Buccaneers but it took place because their Week 1 game at Miami was postponed due to Hurricane Irma. For what it’s worth, Tampa Bay has watched the ‘over’ go 5-1 on the road.
— The ‘over’ has gone 27-20-1 in non-conference games this season and we have two on tap this week with the Lions visiting the Ravens and Oakland hosting the N.Y. Giants. Make a note that Detroit has been the best ‘over’ bet (8-3) in the NFL this season.
— Something has to give in the Chiefs and Jets total. Kansas City are on a 3-0 ‘under’ run and the offense (12 PPG) is lacking any punch. Meanwhile, New York has watched the ‘over’ cash in four of its last five and its defense (25.4 PPG) continues to be an issue.
— The Browns have lost 26 of their last 27 games, the lone win came against the Chargers. On Sunday, Cleveland faces them at Los Angeles. The Browns have allowed 31.5 PPG on the road this season, which has helped the ‘over’ go 4-1.
The ‘under’ has gone 32-18 (64%)[/B] in divisional matchups this season, which includes a 4-4 record from last week and the ‘over’ result between Dallas and Washington this past Thursday. Playing the opposite total wager in the rematches didn’t turn out that well in Week 12 as three of the five games saw the same result in the second go ‘round. We have six divisional games remaining and five of them will be rematches.
New England at Buffalo: [/B]The ‘under’ has gone 2-1 in the last three meetings but QB Tom Brady didn’t play in one of those results due to a suspension. When Brady does play versus the Bills, he owns them and he’s absolutely crushed them on the road. The last five visits to Buffalo, the Patriots have scored 41, 40, 37, 23 and 58 points. The Bills held the Chiefs to 10 points last week but allowed 101 in their two previous games. I don’t see Buffalo slowing down the juggernaut this week but the New England defense continues to stifle opponents. In the last seven games, the unit is allowing 13.1 PPG and that’s led to a 5-2 ‘under’ mark.
[B]Houston at Tennessee:[/B] The ‘over’ is on a 3-1 run in this series and that includes a 57-14 blowout win by the Texans in Week 4. The difference in the rematch is that Houston won’t have QB Deshaun Watson and he accounted for five touchdowns in the first encounter. Tennessee has been a solid ‘over’ bet (4-1) at home and the lone ‘under’ occurred in Week 1 when it was starting at a total in the fifties. The Titans offense hasn’t been [B]super but they’ve been doing enough to surpass those low totals in the forties.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville:[/B] The ‘under’ has cashed in four of the last six encounters. The Jaguars posted a 27-0 win at the Colts on Oct. 22 and that total (41) was in the same neighborhood as this week’s number (40 ½). Indy enters this game on a 3-0 ‘under’ run and it’s been very solid defensively (14, 20, 20) during this span. Jacksonville is off a loss and it has gone 3-0 after a defeat this season while only allowing a combined 16 points in the victories.
[B]Carolina at New Orleans:[/B] The Saints dominated the Panthers 34-13 in Week 3 on the road and the ‘over’ (46) slid in late. The total this week is sitting at 48 ½ and I expect this number to be near 50 by kickoff. Including the result in September, the ‘over’ has cashed in five of the last six between the pair. My only hesitation for leaning high is Carolina’s unpredictable offense plus this is a key game in the NFC playoff race and that could have both coaches playing tight. However, both defensive units are short-handed and the last two games played at the Superdome ended in identical 41-38 outcomes.
L.A. Rams at Arizona: [/B]The ‘under’ is on a 3-1 run in this series and the first meeting this season took place in London as the Rams posted a 33-0 win over the Cardinals on Oct. 22. After a 6-2 start to the ‘over’, the Rams have watched the ‘under’ cash in three straight. Meanwhile, Arizona started the season with a 7-2 ‘under’ mark but backup QB Blaine Gabbert has helped the Cardinals go ‘over’ the last two weeks. The Rams remain the top scoring offense (32.3 PPG) away from home and Gabbert has provided Arizona with some confidence. Still, it’s hard for me to ignore the fact that the Cards haven’t won back-to-back games this season (0-4) and the offense has scored 17, 7, 0 and 16 points in those losses.
[B]Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: (See Below)
Under the Lights[/B]
The ‘under’ went 2-1 in the primetime games last week and I thought that run was going to continue this past Thursday but Washington and Dallas went ‘over’ despite the first and third quarters going scoreless. Including that result, the ‘over’ has gone 24-14 (63%) in primetime games this season.
Over-Under Results: SNF (7-6), MNF (9-4), TNF (8-4)[/B]
Philadelphia at Seattle:[/B] As noted above, the total has dropped on this matchup and I disagree with the early move unless you’re expecting a serious letdown for Philadelphia. The Eagles have been the class of the NFC this season and they’re facing a Seattle team that’s living off its past reputation. The defense has been decimated by injuries and the home numbers (23.2 PPG) they’ve allowed is glaring. Philadelphia has played three times under the lights this season and it’s averaged 33 PPG. Knowing the Eagles defense has dropped off a bit on the road (20 PPG) and the Seahawks are averaging 28.8 PPG at home, it’s hard to imagine both teams not getting at least four to five scores in this game. Barring a parade of field goals, my lean would go to the high side.
[B]Pittsburgh at Cincinnati:[/B] These teams played to a rare ‘over’ ticket in Week 7 when Pittsburgh captured a 29-14 home win. Prior to that result, the ‘under’ was on a 5-1 run. For the rematch, the total has been pushed up from 41 to 43. This will be the third straight primetime game for Pittsburgh, and the ‘over’ hit in both games as it scored 41 and 30 points. Cincinnati will present a much stiffer test defensively, especially at home (17.6 PPG). Even though the Steelers defense is banged-up, the Bengals are averaging 15.3 PPG this season against teams not named Cleveland.
I almost pulled off the rare back-to-back sweep but the Packers and Steelers couldn’t be stopped and that eliminated the teaser wager. Still a profitable a week (+200) yet still slightly down on the season ($420). As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!
Best Over: New England-Buffalo 48
Best Under: Houston-Tennessee 43
Best Team Total: Over Seattle Seahawks 21
Three-Team Total Teaser (8.5-Point, +100)
Under 48 ½ Denver-Miami
Under 55 ½ Minnesota-Atlanta
Over 35 ½ Cleveland-Los Angeles
[B][I]SNF – Eagles at Seahawks
December 1, 2017[/I][/B]
It’s apparent a lot has changed in the landscape of NFL’s elite as we’re already rolling into Week 13. No game offers a better example of the perception change than the Eagles (10-1 straight-up, 9-2 against the spread) being 6-point favorites at Seattle (7-4 SU, 4-6-1 ATS) Sunday night. The Eagles have the best record in the league and cover the spread at the best pace in Las Vegas sports books. If you we’re wandering into a CG Technology sports book in May, you would have seen the Seahawks -7 for this game when they posted numbers on the first 16 weeks of games.
That’s a 13-point swing which is rare for supposed good teams that didn’t have their QB go down. Obviously, Seattle losing half of the Legion of Boom has had an effect, but they were weak in so many other areas in essence because they paid so much cash for the secondary to remain in tact. There was no money left under the salary cap to get a good running back or a a few stud offensive-lineman. All they have is Russell Wilson (3,029 yds, 23 TD, 8 interceptions) running in circles making dramatic plays weekly. He gets real shabby blocking, but without Wilson they wouldn’t be contending for a division title or playoff spot. He’s also their leading rusher (401 yds) and three TDs.
[B]EAGLES PLAY DESERVES HIGHER SPREADS[/B]
At the same time, Seattle is searching for their identity and Philadelphia is stamping their mark on 2017 with weekly dominating performances. Overall, their average score is 32-17 and they’ve won nine straight, covering the spread in the last eight. Bettors keep betting the Eagles, the books keep losing with them, and then the books raise the rating and add a Luxury tax to slow the public betting patterns. But the bettors still bet it, despite being 25 percent inflated. And they keep winning. So why stop now? The Eagles are a cash cow.
[B]WHO HAVE THE EAGLES BEAT? [/B]
Philly’s win streak has to end sometime, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t a night game at rainy Seattle seem like an appropriate location for the upset? A nine-game win streak is amazing, but do a glance at the Eagles opponents and notice the only team with a winning record that they beat was the Panthers. That was before the Panthers put it together during their four-game win streak.
In fact, in almost all nine games, the Eagles opponent was going through its worst issues of the season. Philly kind of swooped in a gave them so more misery to think about. Like the 37-9 win at Dallas with Ezekiel Elliott suspended. Or the 51-23 beat down on Denver, or the 31-3 win over the Bears last week, a team that will not let Mitch Tribusky throw the ball. The Eagles check list of wins and their record now: Giants (2-9), at Chargers (5-6), Cardinals (5-6), at Panthers (8-3), Redskins (5-6), 49ers (1-10), Broncos (3-8), at Cowboys (5-6), Bears (3-8).
Lots of dregs in that group of nine, right? The AFC Division they’re playing against is the AFC West, which we know to be weak right now, and the NFC East is weaker than its ever been. The Eagles toughest game will come at Los Angeles next week against the Rams. Then they get turmoil teams with the Giants, Raiders and Cowboys. The playoffs and the upgrade of opponents could be a quick does of reality showing who the Eagles really are. As of now, it’s been Philly on streak of beating bad teams and Seattle is close to being in that category. Good luck picking the winner, or more importantly, who covers the spread. There’s lots to think about here.
POINT SPREAD MOVEMENT [/B]
CG Books opened Seahawks -7 in May, but came back Sunday night and posted Eagles -4 and the number went to -4.5 fast and on Monday it was -5. Tuesday saw it jump to the dead number of -5.5 and easily move to -6 on Wednesday. On Friday, they dropped back down to -5.5 after some respected money took Seattle at its highest offering. The total has dropped from 48 to 47, but no movement since Monday. The cheapest number on the favorite money-line is at Wynn with -230/+195. The best number on the underdog is +210 at Westgate, South Point and MGM books.
[B]ROBERTS’ RATING [/B]
This is one I’m way off from what actuality is, but I can do some explaining. I have the Eagles 3.5 points better than Seattle and I give the Seahawks a full +3 for home field. I add on an extra half-point for popularity and my number is Philly -1. Yes, it’s way off, but this inflated Eagles price is all about the masses betting Philly no matter what the number is. They keep winning so an additional tax is needed on the Eagles beyond what the Eagles really are. Why start at Philly -2.5 when the public will lay -4. And they laid it all the way up to -6 and will continue to lay it all weekend.
[B]THE WONDERFUL WENTZ [/B]
I’m way past my days as a kid when I had a favorite player (Randy Gradishar), but I think I’m liking Eagles QB Carson Wentz a lot, as in he’s my new favorite player. What’s the criteria for favorite player? Pretty much everything he does I like. I love his attitude, demeanor and overall skills. I love how he lowers his shoulder and gives the defender the business when on the run. He’s got eyes in the back of his head. He just seems like a guy who brings his lunch pail to work and then hangs out with the guys for two beers after work. Being from North Dakota doesn’t hurt, either. Plus, he puts up numbers (2,657 yds, 28 TD, 5 Int) and wins games. He just might give Philadelphia its first Super Bowl champion, and would then certainly be deserving of a statue. Rocky Balboa’s not even a real person and he’s got one.
The Eagles have averaged a 32-17 score, but have only gone Over the total in six of their 11 games. Their defense has been dominating in their past two games allowing just 3 points to the Bears and 9 points to the Cowboys. Three of their past four games have stayed Under. Seattle has stayed Under in seven of 11 games this season, including three of their past four. They’ve averaged a 24-19 score and have gone Over in three of five at home. Seattle has covered just one home game this season.
[B]RECENT MEETINGS [/B]
Since 2011, Seattle has won and covered the past three meetings with the Eagles, including a 26-15 Seattle home win last November. Seattle was -6.5 in that game and it stayed Under 42.5. The favorite is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings.
Philadelphia has gone Over in 14 of past 17 road games.
Philadelphia has gone Over in 23 of last 31 December games.
Philadelphia has covered 15 of past 20 Week 13 games.
Seattle has covered 13 of its past 16 Week 13 games.
Seattle Under in 13 of past 18 December games.
Seattle is 0-5-1 ATS in last six home games against team with winning road record.
PLAYOFF STANDINGS [/B]
The Eagles would have the No. 1 seed in the NFC while Seattle would miss out as the No. 7 seed. The Falcons are tied with Seattle at 7-4, but Atlanta gets the No. 6 seed based on a 34-31 win at Seattle.
[B]WEEK 14 SPREADS [/B]
The Eagles get another tough game next week and they’re favored again, this time -3 at the Rams according to odds at the Westgate SuperBook. Should Philly not cover this week and the Rams look decent at Arizona, this number will drop dramatically. Seattle goes across the country to play the Jaguars and are getting +3. The advantage for the Seahawks here is the start time is 1:25 p.m. PT instead of a 10 a.m. start so they’ll be playing at their normal time.
[B]DIVISION ODDS [/B]
The Westgate has the Rams as the 10/17 favorite to win the NFC West with Seattle getting 7/5. The Eagles runaway freight train in the NFC East has had odds taken down. When odds opened in May, the Eagles were the third choice at 7/2 behind the Cowboys (5/4) and Giants (11/4).
[B]SUPER BOWL ODDS
The Westgate has the Patriots as the 2/1 favorite following by the Steelers (7/2) and Eagles (9/2). Philly opened at 60/1 odds. Seattle, which opened at 12/1 are now 20/1. The Eagles are 8/5 to win the NFC.
[B][I]NFL notebook: Packers QB Rodgers returns to practice
December 2, 2017[/I][/B]
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrated his birthday Saturday by practicing with the team for the first time since breaking his collarbone on Oct. 15.
Rodgers, who turned 34, was designated to return off injured reserve on Saturday but can’t return to play in a game for at least two more weeks because of the IR rules. The earliest he can return is in Week 15 when the Packers travel to play the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 17.
The 5-6 Packers are home Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) and travel to Cleveland to face the winless Browns (0-11) the following week before Rodgers’ expected return.
Rodgers was seen throwing on the field ahead of last Sunday’s 31-28 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers as he continued his recovery from the Oct. 19 surgery. Saturday’s practice was closed to reporters.
–The Philadelphia Eagles[/B] signed wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to a four-year contract extension through the 2021 season, the team announced.
The deal is worth $52 million and includes $1 million per year in incentives and $27 million in guarantees, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The 27-year-old Jeffery came to Philadelphia as a free agent this offseason, signing a one-year deal with the Eagles. He has been a key target for quarterback Carson Wentz.
[B]–The Jacksonville Jaguars[/B] released safety Calvin Pryor and promoted defensive end Carroll Phillips to the active roster, the team announced.
Pryor, the former first-round pick of the New York Jets in 2014, played briefly in each of the last two games, making one tackle, after spending most of this season on injured reserve.
Phillips signed with the Jaguars this year as an undrafted rookie free agent out of the University of Illinois. He spent the first 12 weeks of the season on the Jaguars’ practice squad.
[B]–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers[/B] promoted offensive lineman Mike Liedtke from the practice squad to the active roster.
The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Liedtke has been on Tampa Bay’s practice squad this season after spending the final six weeks of the 2016 season on the practice squad. He originally entered the league as a college free agent with the Miami Dolphins in 2015. Liedtke spent the 2015 season between the practice squads of the Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.
To make room on the roster, the Bucs waived linebacker Cameron Lynch. The 6-0, 229-pound Lynch played in all 11 games for Tampa Bay this season, recording five special teams tackles and a special teams fumble recovery.
[B]–The Indianapolis Colts[/B] promoted wide receiver K.J. Brent and center Anthony Fabiano to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. The team also waived running back Matt Jones and waived-injured guard Kyle Kalis.
The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Brent was signed to the Colts’ practice squad on Oct. 24. He also spent time on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad earlier this season. Brent participated in the Oakland Raiders’ 2017 offseason program and training camp before being waived during final cuts.
The 6-4, 303-pound Fabiano was signed to Indianapolis’ practice squad on Nov. 28. He spent time on the practice squads of the New England Patriots, New York Giants and Washington Redskins this season. As a rookie in 2016, Fabiano spent time on the Cleveland Browns’ active roster and practice squad.
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[B][I]Essentials – Week 13
December 3, 2017[/I][/B]
The Cowboys opened Week 13 with an upset at home, dominating in unlikely fashion. Is it the beginning of a trend? Last week’s action featured favorites covering in weird ways, so we’ll see if the underdogs bite back Sunday. Here’s all you need to know to handicap the action.
Detroit at Baltimore, 1:00 ET:[/B] Matthew Stafford failed to put together one of his fourth-quarter comebacks against the Vikings on Thanksgiving because he couldn’t push off after taking a shot to his right leg. He’s expected to play, but will be facing a Ravens defense set to get after him after winning the most recent Monday night game through interceptions of Houston’s Tom Savage. Stafford practiced all week despite an ankle issue, but will not have RB Ameer Abdullah to hand off to due to a neck injury. Theo Riddick is expected to start and the ball will likely be in Stafford’s hands more often than not due to a lack of options. Center Travis Swanson ins out too, while guard T.J. Lang is a game-time decision. The Ravens will have their starting back, Alex Collins, available despite a calf issue, but may be down top corner Jimmy Smith in addition to CB Marlon Humphrey. Although it’s been raining in Baltimore, the weather is expected to clear up by kickoff.
[B]San Francisco at Chicago, 1:00 ET:[/B] Jimmy Garoppolo took over for an injured C.J. Beathard last week and threw two passes, one of which went for a score in last week’s loss to Seattle. He’ll start with the 49ers for the first time despite them tanking, so it will be interesting to see whether the team treats him with kid gloves due to his lack of knowledge of the team’s playbook. The expectation is that they’ll keep things simple and ride RB Carlos Hyde, but the weather should allow him to sling it since it’s no longer supposed to be as windy as the original forecast predicted. Tackle Joe Staley is back too, but Trent Brown remains a question mark and would be replaced by veteran Zane Beadles if he can’t go. The Bears gets top linebacker Danny Trevathan back and should be healthier in their defensive backfield despite the absence of Adrian Amos. Up front, veteran guard Josh Sitton will look to play after suffering a concussion.
Minnesota at Atlanta, 1:00 ET:[/B] The Vikings look to continue to hang just behind Philadelphia for the NFL’s top record, currently sitting at No. 2 in the NFC. While the Falcons are running third in the NFC South, they’re just one game back of the Panthers and Saints and are averaging nearly 32 points per game during their three-game winning streak. They’ll get RB Devonta Freeman back from a bout with a concussion, but will be without corner Desmond Trufant and may have to score on a Minnesota’s elite defense in order to pull out a win here. Minnesota has one of the healthier teams in football at the moment, potentially missing only tackle Mike Remmers in addition to the few guys already lost for the season that currently reside on IR. If Remmers can’t go, Rashod Hill will make his fourth straight start at right tackle. This will be the second consecutive domed stadium that the Vikes visit that isn’t their own, coming off a win in Detroit. They’re 6-1 in domed stadiums this season, losing only to the Lions at home on Oct. 1.
[B]New England at Buffalo, 1:00 ET:[/B] Tom Brady threw for 833 yards and accounted for 10 touchdowns in November, completing nearly 74 percent of his passes. He’s done so without starting center David Andrews and tackle Marcus Cannon available in addition to key WR Chris Hogan, and may not have tackle LaAdrian Waddle available today. Defensively, a Pats team already thin along the defensive line will be without Trey Flowers, so we’ll see whether Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor can take advantage. The Bills have already ruled out tackle Cordy Glenn, guard John Miller and fullback Mike Tolbert. Seantrel Henderson is questionable with an illness, so the Bills are down to just a pair of healthy tackles and could be in real trouble if they sustain an in-game injury. A little wind is expected in upstate New York, but the weather will otherwise be pretty balmy compared to typical December weather there, with temperatures reaching a high as 50 degrees. Buffalo will be playing the first of three straight home games here, hosting the Colts and Dolphins next. They’ll play at New England on Dec. 24.
Denver at Miami, 1:00 ET:[/B] The Broncos have dropped seven straight and the Dolphins have fallen in five in a row, so one of those streaks should end today. Temperatures are going to be in the 80s at kickoff, so we’ll see if there’s any effect on Denver, which will turn to Trevor Siemian at QB once again after starting Paxton Lynch last week and watching him exit with an ankle injury. The Dolphins get Jay Culter back from concussion protocol and won’t have to deal with CB Aqib Talib, who will miss this contest due to a one-game suspension after fighting Oakland WR Michael Crabtree last week. The Broncos are without DE Derek Wolfe and nose Domata Peko in addition to numerous other question marks up front, so we’ll see if the Kenyan Drake-led rushing attack can make some inroads for Miami. Denver has scored more than 20 points only once since mid-September and haven’t won on the road all season. The last six Dolphins games have all topped the posted total as the defense has surrendered an average of over 34 points per contest.
[B]Houston at Tennessee, 1:00 ET:[/B] The Texans had an opportunity to win on Monday night before Savage threw the game away with another inexcusable interception, but he remains the team’s best option at the position and will be under center again. WR Will Fuller remains out, but the defense will have Jadeveon Clowney out there despite an ankle issue and gets linebacker Brian Cushing back from suspension. The Titans are far healthier and will look to take advantage in their lone home game in a five-game stretch that saw them play at Pittsburgh and Indy to end November and calls for them to visit Arizona and San Francisco up next. Jacksonville comes through Nashville in the season finale on a New Year’s eve, so the Titans are just looking to stay within striking distance for the AFC South lead until then. Tennessee will look to split the season series against the Texans after losing in Houston 57-14 on Oct. 1 in a game that Deshaun Watson dominated.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville, 1:00 ET:[/B] The Colts have dropped five of six, a string that includes a 27-0 loss to the Jaguars at home on Oct. 22. The ‘under’ has prevailed in four of their last five games as they continue to sputter offensively, which obviously plays into the Jaguars’ hands given how their team is built. Jacksonville gave up its second-largest output of the season in last Sunday’s 27-24 loss in Arizona and will have top corner Jalen Ramsey in the mix after he played hurt last week. Blake Bortles will be operating behind an offensive line that’s extremely banged up, so look for the Jags to rely heavily on their running game. After being outscored 128-49 in its first three road games, Indianapolis has covered in its last two trips, losing just 24-23 at Cincinnati while beating Houston on Nov. 5.
[B]Tampa Bay at Green Bay, 1:00 ET:[/B] If everything works out according to plan, this will be the last time someone other than Aaron Rodgers starts for the Packers at Lambeau Field this season. Green Bay has only its Week 16 date against Minnesota remaining following this one, and hopes Brett Hundley can perform a lot better than he has to date since the Ravens shut him out 23-0 last time he took the field as the starter there. The Bucs are playing their third straight road game and welcome back Jameis Winston from a shoulder injury. The over is 5-1 in Tampa Bay road games. With the temperature potentially getting up as high as 50 degrees, both offenses should be able to move the ball. Key defensive players Clay Matthews and Kenny Clark are listed as questionable, while corner Kevin King has already been ruled out. The Bucs will be missing multiple players from their secondary, so Hundley will have an opportunity to do damage if he finds a rhythm.
Kansas City at N.Y. Jets, 1:00 ET:[/B] The Chiefs have dropped three straight games to see their AFC West lead dwindle to just a single game over the Raiders and Chargers. Alex Smith has struggled mightily in leading an offense that has managed an average of just 12 points per game in those setbacks, the last two of which have come despite Kansas City coming in as a heavy favorite. The Chiefs managed just nine points in an OT loss at Met Life Stadium against the Giants just two weeks ago, as the offense was unable to move the ball consistently due to heavy winds. It’s expected to be clear with limited wind today in East Rutherford, so the Chiefs will have a better chance to move the ball comfortably. Defensively, Kansas City will have Darrelle Revis make his season debut, but won’t have pass rusher Dee Ford and may again be without Tamba Hali. New York has averaged 27 points over its last three home games and has seen Robbie Anderson emerge as a consistent deep threat.
Cleveland at L.A. Chargers, 4:05 ET:[/B] Despite coming in with a losing record, L.A. is the heaviest favorite in Week 13, squaring off against the winless Browns. Josh Gordon will start as he comes off suspension, so combined with Corey Coleman, they’ll have their best receiving options available for rookie QB DeShone Kizer. Chargers corner Casey Hayward will play despite leaving the team briefly following the death of his brother, while nose tackle Corey Liuget is listed as questionable. Kicker Nick Novak is out, so L.A. signed Travis Coons to handle those duties as they look to get back to .500 for the first time after opening 0-4. A victory would give them their second three-game winning streak of the season. Philip Rivers threw for 434 yards and three TDs against the Cowboys and will be looking to build on his best performance in years.
Carolina at New Orleans, 4:25 ET:[/B] Arguably the game of the day, the winner here will take over sole possession of the NFC South lead. The Saints handed the Panthers their first loss of the season in Charlotte with a resounding 34-13 win in Week 3, but run into a hot team that won and covered in all four of their November contests. The defense has picked up their level of play since getting Luke Kuechly back from a concussion and will have LB Thomas Davis and corner Captain Munnerlyn out there. With center Ryan Kalil and tight end Greg Olson also back, Carolina has all of its key pieces in place to try and close out the regular season’s final month with momentum. The Saints will have corner Marshon Lattimore back in addition to DB Ken Crawley, having missed both in last week’s loss at the Rams. The setback snapped an eight-game winning streak. Although New Orleans has won its last four in the Superdome, it has only covered in two of those contests.
L.A. Rams at Arizona, 4:25 ET:[/B] The Cardinals look to remain alive by beating the NFC West-leading Rams here, hoping that Blaine Gabbert’s solid play continues after he impressively handled the Jaguars at home last week. The Cards are back in Glendale next week to welcome in the Titans, so there’s no question they can make a run but lack no room for error. The Rams beat Arizona in London 33-0 back on Oct. 22, injuring Carson Palmer for the season. A challenging month sees them home for the Eagles next week before road games in Seattle and Tennessee, so handling business here would definitely take some of the pressure off their young roster. The Rams are among the NFL’s healthiest teams, while Arizona is down DT Corey Peters and key hybrid LB Deone Bucannon.
[B]N.Y. Giants at Oakland, 4:25 ET:[/B] Amari Cooper wasn’t cleared to participate and Michael Crabtree is serving a suspension, so Derek Carr will be down his top two targets here. Complicating matters, WR Cordarrelle Patterson is dealing with a hip issue that he’s expected to play through, so Seth Roberts is likely to be the top receiving option alongside tight end Jared Cook. It’s expected to be a cool night in Oakland, where Geno Smith will debut as the starting quarterback for the Giants, replacing Eli Manning. Rookie Davis Webb, who went to school at Cal in nearby Berkeley, is also expected to get snaps. Versatile offensive lineman Justin Pugh will sit out another game, but both Smith and Webb will have WR Sterling Shepard to throw to since he’s been cleared to play after issues with migraines.
Philadelphia at Seattle, 8:30 ET:[/B] The Sunday night showdown will see the Seahawks attempt to make one last stand at home with their offensive line loaded with Duane Brown and Luke Joeckel in the mix. Earl Thomas is also back to help anchor a new-look secondary missing Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, absences that Carson Wentz will look to take advantage of as he seeks to improve on the NFL’s best record. Philly will have center Jason Kelce in the mix, so both offenses should be able to move the ball on what’s expected to be a cold, cloudy night. Rain isn’t going to be a factor as the Seahawks look to post consecutive wins for the first time since late October. They’ve dropped two straight at home and face an Eagles team that has traveled well this season, going 4-1 straight up and against the spread outside of Philly.
[B]Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m. EST[/B]. Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and the AFC North-leading Steelers (9-2) bring a six-game winning streak to division rival Cincinnati (5-6), which has won two straight to get back into playoff contention. The Steelers won the previous meeting between the teams, 29-14 in Week 7. Despite the Steelers’ multitude of weapons on offense, they have been inconsistent at times and are just 13th in the league in points per game. The Bengals’ defense is allowing 19.5 points per game, 10th in the league. Cincinnati’s two straight wins came against reeling Denver and Cleveland, and the Bengals have not beaten a team that currently has a winning record. However, they have not lost at home since Week 2.
-Alex Smith, Chiefs, went 19 for 33 for 366 yards and four touchdowns in the Chiefs’ 38-31 loss to the Jets.
-Philip Rivers, Chargers, completed 31 of 43 passes for 344 yards and a touchdown as Los Angeles beat winless Cleveland, 19-10.
-Russell Wilson, Seahawks, was 20 of 31 for 227 and three touchdown in Seattle’s 24-10 home victory over Philadelphia.
-Josh McCown, Jets, went 26 of 36 for 331 yards and a touchdown as New York beat Kansas City.
-Blake Bortles, Jaguars, completed 26 of 35 passes for 309 yards, with TD passes to Marqise Lee and Keelan Cole, in the Jaguars’ 30-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
-Joe Flacco, Ravens, had his best game of the season, completing 23 of 36 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns while guiding an offense that did not commit a turnover in Baltimore’s 44-20 victory over the Detroit Lions.
-Kenyan Drake, Dolphins, ran for 120 yards on 23 carries – both career highs – and a touchdown in Miami’s 35-9 victory over the Denver Broncos.
-Jamaal Williams, Packers, had 21 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown in Green Bay’s 26-20 overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
-Derrick Henry, Titans, rushed for 109 yards on just 11 carries and had a touchdown in the Titans’ 24-13 win over the Houston Texans.
-Marshawn Lynch, Raiders, had his first 100-yard game since coming out of retirement, gaining 101 yards on 17 carries – including a 51-yard touchdown run – in Oakland’s 24-17 win over the New York Giants.
-Alvin Kamara, Saints, ran for 60 yards and two tackle-shedding touchdowns and caught five passes for 66 yards in the Saints’ 31-21 win over the Carolina Panthers. Teammate Mark Ingram ran for 85 yards, doing most of his damage on a 72-yard run early in the second quarter. Two plays later, he scored from 3 yards.
-Todd Gurley, Rams, carried 19 times for 74 yards and caught six passes for 84 yards in Los Angeles’ 32-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
-Tyreek Hill, Chiefs, caught six passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns, including a 79-yarder, in Kansas City’s 38-31 loss to the New York Jets.
-Jermaine Kearse, Jets, had nine receptions for 157 yards in New York’s win over Kansas City, and teammate Robby Anderson caught eight passes for 107 yards.
-Rob Gronkowski, Patriots, had his best game of the season with nine catches for 147 yards in New England’s 23-3 win over the Buffalo Bills.
-Mike Wallace, Ravens, went over 100 yards for the second time this season, with five catches for 116 yards in the Ravens’ 44-20 win over the Detroit Lions.
-Keenan Allen, Chargers, had 10 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown in his third straight big game for surging Los Angeles, which beat the winless Cleveland Browns 19-10.
-Robbie Gould, 49ers, made all five field-goal attempts – none longer than 35 yards – including the winning, 24-yarder in the closing seconds as San Francisco beat his former team, the Chicago Bears, 15-14. Gould, cut by Chicago prior to the 2016 opener, pumped his right arm and screamed at the Bears on the sideline after his final kick.
-Greg Zuerlein, Rams, was 4 for 4 on field goals, including a 56-yarder, in Los Angeles’ 32-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Zuerlein did miss an extra point.
-Justin Tucker, Ravens, made all three of his field-goal attempts, including a key 51-yarder in the fourth quarter of Baltimore’s 44-20 victory over the Detroit Lions.
-Michael Brockers, Rams, blocked Phil Dawson’s try for a 45-yard field goal that would have cut Los Angeles’ lead to seven points early in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals. The Rams also blocked an extra point in their 32-16 victory, and Pharoh Cooper had a 30-yard punt return to set up a touchdown.
– Xavien Howard, Dolphins, returned an interception for a touchdown, the first interception by a Miami outside cornerback this season, and had another interception that set up a fourth-quarter TD in Miami’s 35-9 win over the Denver Broncos. The Dolphins also had two safeties, a first in franchise history.
-Eric Weddle, Ravens, had a strip-sack of Detroit’s Matthew Stafford that led to a touchdown, and later returned an interception for a touchdown against backup Jake Rudock. Baltimore forced three turnovers to extend its league-leading total to 29 in the 44-20 victory over the Lions.
-Clay Matthews, Packers, had 2 1-2 sacks, Kenny Clark added two sacks, and Green Bay sacked Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston seven times overall in a 26-20 overtime victory over the Buccaneers.
-The Vikings held Matt Ryan without a touchdown pass for the first time in 30 games, and Julio Jones had just two catches for 24 yards. Minnesota also kept Atlanta out of the end zone on the way to a 14-9 victory.
-Alex Ogletree, Rams, intercepted the Cardinals’ Blaine Gabbert and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Los Angeles’ 32-16 victory. Ogletree did a head-first flip into the end zone and left the game shortly thereafter with an elbow injury, but he said he did not get hurt on the flip.
[B]STREAKS & STATS[/B]
Chargers receiver Keenan Allen became the first player in league history to have 10 or more catches, 100 or more yards and one or more touchdowns in three consecutive games. … A 70-yard run by the Chiefs’ Alex Smith was the longest by a quarterback this season. Smith also became the first player since the 1970 merger to have a 70-yard run and a pass of 70 or more yards (79 to Tyreek Hill) in the same game. Carolina’s Cam Newton had a 69-yard run earlier this year. … Saints running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for 248 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns, the fifth straight game in which they totaled at least 200 scrimmage yards.
The AFC West didn’t look like it would be all that competitive when the Chiefs started the season 5-0, and if any team appeared capable of a challenge, it wasn’t the Los Angeles Chargers, who began 0-4. But Kansas City has since dropped six of seven, including Sunday’s undisciplined 38-31 loss to the Jets, and LA has won six of eight after beating the Browns 19-10. Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders improved to 6-6 with a win over the New York Giants, creating a three-way tie atop the division.
[B]SAME OLD, SAME OLD[/B]
Tom Brady continued his career-long dominance of the Buffalo Bills, and he didn’t even need to throw a touchdown pass to do it. Brady went 21 of 30 for 258 yards and an interception in New England’s 23-3 victory. He improved to 27-3 against Buffalo and broke Brett Favre’s record for wins by a quarterback against any one opponent. New England never trailed, and Brady was content to hand off in the second half and let the Patriots’ rejuvenated rushing attack wear down the Bills. Nearly always comfortable at Orchard Park, New York, New England has been good everywhere on the road, winning 14 consecutive away games – the second-longest streak in NFL history. The Patriots also reached double digits in victories for the 15th consecutive season.
The Ravens came into their game against the Lions with the NFL’s 31st-ranked offense, but were efficient on Sunday, with Joe Flacco directing three scoring drives in the second quarter and three more in the fourth quarter of a 44-20 victory.
Flacco threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns and was not intercepted. Mike Wallace caught five passes for 116 yards, going over 100 for the second time this season, and Alex Collins ran 15 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Baltimore gained 370 yards to Detroit’s 372, but much of the Lions’ offense came with Detroit in a big hole. Baltimore’s opportunistic defense did its part, too, forcing three turnovers, including Eric Weddle’s interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Justin Tucker, ranked the league’s top kicker in positional rankings released Friday by The Associated Press, was 3 for 3 on field goals, including a 51-yarder that gave the Ravens a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
[B]TWO FOR TWO[/B]
The Dolphins had two safeties in a game for the first time in franchise history in their 35-9 win over Denver, both of them on mistakes by the free-falling Broncos that could increase the heat on embattled first-year coach Vance Joseph. Miami took a 2-0 lead when the Broncos botched a third-down play at their 5. Matt Paradis’ high snap deflected off Siemian’s hands, and the ball squirted out of the back of the end zone. Joseph would not commit to Siemian remaining as the team’s starter next week. In the fourth quarter, Denver’s Isaiah McKenzie fumbled on a punt return and recovered in his end zone for another safety.
New England’s Tom Brady got his 27th win over Buffalo, breaking Brett Favre’s record for wins by a quarterback against a single opponent. Favre beat Detroit 26 times. Brady also became the fourth player in league history to surpass 65,000 passing yards, joining Peyton Manning, Favre and Drew Brees. … New England won its 10th game for the 15th consecutive season, the second-longest streak in league history. San Francisco had at least 10 wins in 16 straight seasons from 1983-1998. … Saints quarterback Brees has 6,127 career completions, surpassing Manning for second place all-time. Favre leads with 6,300 career completions. … Saints rookie Alvin Kamara has 614 receiving yards and 606 rushing yards this season, joining Charley Taylor (1964) and Billy Sims (1980) as the only rookies to have at least 600 yards rushing and receiving. … Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald had 10 catches and became the third player in league history with more than 1,200 career receptions, joining Jerry Rice and Tony Gonzalez. He reached the milestone in his 214th game, faster than either Rice or Gonzalez. Fitzgerald also passed Isaac Bruce for fourth place all-time in receiving yards with 15,267.
Jimmy Smith, the top cornerback on the Ravens’ dominant defense, tore his Achilles tendon on a non-contact play in Baltimore’s 44-20 win over the Detroit Lions and will miss the rest of the season, coach John Harbaugh said. … Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford left with a bruised and bloodied right hand after it was stepped on, but X-rays were negative. … Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor hurt his left knee on the opening series of Buffalo’s 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots. He played through the injury before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter, and was limping heavily in the locker room. He did not speak to reporters but nodded his head ”Yes” when asked if he was OK. … Bills tight end Tre’Davious White was being evaluated for a concussion after he was struck by Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski while lying on the ground. Gronkowski apologized for the hit after the game. … The Houston Texans suffered several injuries, with tight end C.J. Fiederowicz being evaluated for a concussion. Receiver Braxton Miller and running back Alfred Blue also suffered concussions. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph was ruled out just after halftime with an injured shoulder. Receiver Bruce Ellington also couldn’t finish against Tennessee with an injured hamstring. … Vikings tight end David Morgan went out in the first quarter against Atlanta with a concussion. Falcons guard Andy Levitre sustained a triceps injury in the first quarter and didn’t return.
”That’s just dirty football. There’s nowhere in our game for that. I don’t know if it was a shoulder, elbow. I’m not sure what it was. That was dirty.” – Bills safety Micah Hyde after Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski struck Tre’Davious White, who was lying on the ground after intercepting Tom Brady.
”I’m not in the business of that. It was a lot of frustration. I just want to apologize to Tre’Davious White. I don’t really believe in those type of shots.” – Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski after he struck White while the player was lying on the ground.
[B][I]NFL notebook: Giants may fire McAdoo
December 3, 2017[/I][/B]
New York Giants ownership may be ready to fire coach Ben McAdoo after Sunday’s loss against the Oakland Raiders, which would come less than a week after the benching of quarterback Eli Manning created a backlash from fans.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter are reporting that McAdoo could be fired within 24 hours after the game. General manager Jerry Reese’s standing with the 2-10 Giants is also on shaky ground but any timing on his potential departure is more uncertain than McAdoo’s, ESPN reported.
Manning, who started 210 straight games for the Giants, fought back tears on Tuesday as he talked about the stunning decision by McAdoo to name Geno Smith the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game.
Giants owner John Mara reportedly was not happy with how McAdoo presented the plan to the franchise’s two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback.
–Indianapolis Colts[/B] running back Frank Gore moved into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list during a 30-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Gore rushed for 61 yards as he moved ahead of Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684) with a 16-yard run in the third quarter. Gore finished the day with 13,697 career rushing yards
Gore, 34, also passed another Hall of Famer in Jerome Bettis (13,662) in the second quarter of the contest. Gore spent his first 10 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and is in his third season with the Colts.
[B]–Kansas City Chiefs[/B] coach Andy Reid gave up his play-calling duties for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, handing over the responsibilities to offensive coordinator Matt Nagy.
The move didn’t prevent the struggling Chiefs (6-6) from falling 38-31 to the Jets for their fourth straight loss and sixth in seven games.
Despite the losses, Reid has given strong support to quarterback Alex Smith. However, the veteran will be on a shorter “leash,” sources told ESPN.
[B]–Buffalo Bills[/B] quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the game during a 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots with a knee injury and Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White was escorted to the locker room and evaluated for a head injury during the fourth quarter.
Taylor wrapped a towel over his head as he was carted to the locker room early in the fourth quarter. He was able to walk off the field under his own power on the Bills’ previous possession. It was unclear on what play Taylor got injured. He was sacked three times in the game and had three rushes.
White was injured after intercepting a Tom Brady pass along the sideline. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski drove his shoulder into White’s back while he was lying face down on the turf after the whistle. Gronkowski was penalized for unnecessary roughness on the play and apologized after the game.
[B]–Baltimore Ravens[/B] cornerback Jimmy Smith suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during the 44-20 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh revealed the seriousness of the injury after the contest.
Smith has been dealing with a sore Achilles for the past several weeks and went down untouched late in the second quarter with the Ravens leading 17-0.
–Los Angeles Rams[/B] linebacker Alec Ogletree exited the 32-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals with an elbow injury.
Ogletree began the game in strong fashion, returning an interception 41 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. He picked off a Blaine Gabbert pass and ran it back with 2:45 left in the first quarter to help give the Rams a 16-0 lead.
Ogletree flipped into the end zone and landed awkwardly, although it wasn’t immediately known if that played a part in his injury.
[B]–Minnesota Vikings[/B] backup tight end David Morgan suffered a concussion in the first quarter of a 14-9 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Falcons lost left guard Andy Levitre to a triceps injury in the first quarter.
[B][I]MNF – Steelers at Bengals
December 3, 2017[/I][/B]
The Steelers (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS) were expected to cruise against the banged-up Packers, but Pittsburgh squeezed out a 31-28 victory as 14-point favorites at Heinz Field. Chris Boswell drilled a 53-yard field goal with no time remaining to break a 28-28 tie, as the Steelers racked up 462 yards of offense to pick up their sixth consecutive victory since a 21-point home loss to Jacksonville in Week 5.
Ben Roethlisberger tossed four touchdown passes to go along with 351 yards for Pittsburgh, including two of those scores to Antonio Brown, who hauled in 169 yards on 10 catches. Pittsburgh’s defense allowed four touchdowns for the first time this season, but the Steelers fell to 0-3 ATS this season when listed as a double-digit favorite.
The Bengals (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS) continue to hang around the AFC Wild Card race after picking up their second straight win last Sunday. Cincinnati took care of Cleveland, 30-16 to cash as 7 ½-point home favorites and pull off the season sweep of the Browns. Joe Mixon’s 11-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter helped aid Cincinnati with the cover, while the former Oklahoma standout produced his first ever 100-yard performance by compiling 114 yards on 23 carries.
In spite of the victory, the Bengals were outgained from a yardage standpoint for the sixth consecutive contest. Cincinnati covered for the third straight game, but Marvin Lewis’ club is seeking its first three-game winning streak since starting 8-0 in 2015.
Mike Tomlin’s squad has won five of six games away from Heinz Field this season with the lone loss coming in overtime at Chicago in Week 3. The Steelers have picked up victories in each of their first two road contests against AFC North foes by beating Cleveland in Week 1 by a 21-18 count as 10-point favorites, while routing Baltimore, 26-9 in Week 4. Pittsburgh has compiled at least two divisional road wins in each of the past three seasons, while putting together a 4-3 ATS record in its last seven away AFC North contests as a favorite.
POINT THE WAY[/B]
Cincinnati is listed as a home underdog for the first time this season, but the Bengals have been a profitable team in this situation over the years. Dating back to 2013, Cincinnati owns a solid 6-1 ATS record when receiving points at Paul Brown Stadium. The only loss came to the Steelers last season as three-point ‘dogs in Week 15 in a 24-20 setback, as five of those ATS wins were also straight-up victories.
The Steelers produced consecutive OVERS for the first time this season in last Sunday’s nail-biting win against the Packers. Pittsburgh began the season by producing the UNDER in six consecutive games before hitting the OVER in three of the past five contests. Cincinnati has been inconsistent from a totals standpoint this season as four of the first five games stayed UNDER the total, but the Bengals are currently on a 4-2 OVER run.
Pittsburgh has owned Cincinnati over the years by winning five straight meetings and compiling a 7-1 record since December 2013. The Steelers and Bengals were tied at 14-14 in their first meeting back in Week 7 at Heinz Field, but Pittsburgh scored the final 15 points of the game on five Boswell field goals to pick up a 29-14 victory as four-point favorites. Le’Veon Bell ran all over the Cincinnati defense for 134 yards on 35 carries, while Roethlisberger connected on a pair of touchdowns with Brown and rookie Juju Smith-Schuster.
The Steelers have also had their way against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium by capturing four consecutive wins in the Queen City since 2014. Each of the past two wins at Cincinnati came by a combined six points, while the Bengals squandered a 20-6 lead in a 24-20 defeat last season as Roethlisberger hooked up with Eli Rogers on the go-ahead 24-yard touchdown strike in the fourth quarter.
[B]GAME PROPS – According to Las Vegas Westgate Superbook[/B]
1st Score of the Game
Other Score +125
Total Completions – Ben Roethlisberger
OVER 22 ½ (-110)
UNDER 22 ½ (-110)
Total Touchdown Passes – Ben Roethlisberger
OVER 1 ½ (-150)
UNDER 1 ½ (+130)
Total Rushing Yards – Le’Veon Bell
OVER 86 ½ (-110)
UNDER 86 ½ (-110)
Total Gross Passing Yards – Andy Dalton
OVER 232 ½ (-110)
UNDER 232 ½ (-110)
Total Touchdown Passes – Andy Dalton
OVER 1 ½ (Even)
UNDER 1 ½ (-120)
Will A.J. Green score a touchdown?
VegasInsider.com trends expert Vince Akins provides a play-against trend on Pittsburgh, “The Steelers are 0-10-1 ATS as a road favorite since 2006 coming off a win as a favorite where they scored at least 30 points.” In each of the last three seasons, Pittsburgh has lost outright in this role, including a 30-15 setback at Miami in 2016. Akins also supplied an UNDER trend for Cincinnati, “The Bengals are 0-12 OU as a dog of more than three points coming off a home game where they scored more points than expected since 2006.”
Scott Cooley of BookMaker.eu says the sharps favor the home team, “The public likes Pittsburgh at anything less than a touchdown, but the smart money has been on the Bengals. We’ve adjusted down a half point off the opener, and we could see the number drop even more if Antonio Brown is absent. Currently, we have more than 70 percent of the tickets on the Steelers, but the money favors Cincy 60-40.”
Six most popular picks for Week 13 in the Westgate Super Contest:
6) Pittsburgh Steelers -5 (534)
5) New England Patriots -8.5 (605)- W
4) Minnesota Vikings +3 (744)- W
3) New Orleans Saints -4 (829)- W
2) Seattle Seahawks +6 (880)- W
1) Green Bay Packers +1.5 (1,016)- W
Season record of top 6 picks: 37-40
[SIZE=”4″][COLOR=”#A52A2A”][B]Armadillo: Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday [/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]
Saints 31, Panthers 21— New Orleans won its 9th game in last 10 tries, sweeping season series with Panthers; they lead NFC South by a game over Carolina, two over Atlanta- they play Falcons two of next three weeks. Saints scored 30+ points in four of last five games. Carolina ran ball for only 112 yards, after running it for 213 yards/week in previous three games.
Ravens 44, Lions 20— Baltimore is 3-0 since its bye, winning by 23-7-24 points; five of their seven wins are vs backup-type QB’s, but they also KO’d Stafford here with a hand injury. Ravens are now +20 in turnovers in their seven wins, -6 in their five losses. Detroit has run ball for only 65.3 ypg the last three weeks- they’re two games out of the playoff picture now.
49ers 15, Bears 14— Niners’ kicker Robbie Gould is the Bears’ all-time leading scoring leader; he kicked five FG’s here to beat Chicago on an oddly-warm December day in the Windy City. QB Garoppolo wins his first 49ers start; he is 3-0 as an NFL starting QB. Tarik Cohen ran a punt back for a TD for Chicago, a great highlight-film type run. 49ers were one of four teams Sunday not to score an offensive TD; other three lost, by 20-5-36 points.
Vikings 14, Falcons 9— Minnesota won its last eight games, covered last seven; Case Keenum might be MVP of the freakin’ league. Vikings have another tough road game next week, agains the Panthers in Charlotte. Falcons were held to 17 or less points in their five losses- they scored 23+ in all their wins- they scored 27-34-34 points in last three games before this one.
Patriots 23, Bills 3— New England won its last eight games, covered last six; Patriots’ opponents started their last 102 drives in their own territory, the longest-such streak in over a decade. Pats have started 15 drives in enemy territory this season. Tyrod Taylor got hurt late in this game, which means Nathan Peterman probably gets another start against Indy at home next week.
Dolphins 35, Broncos 9— Denver’s offense is so pathetic, they were outscored 9-0 by the Miami defense in this game. Broncos have now lost eight games in a row (0-8 vs spread); they’ve lost field position battle by 11+ yards in five of their last six games, which is really bad. As bad a QB as Geno Smith is, he’s head and shoulders above any of Denver’s QB’s. Broncos are 0-6 on the road, 0-4 as a road underdog. I can picture Eli Manning playing there next season.
Titans 24, Texans 13— Tennessee has won six of its last seven games; they were headed for yet another tight win, leading 17-13 when they stopped Houston in their territory with 1:08 left, but then Derrick Henry broke free for a 75-yard TD with 0:46 left to give Titan backers the cover. Texans are now 1-5 in Savage starts, though Savage did pass for 365 yards in this game.
Jaguars 30, Colts 10— Indy lost six of last seven games; they’re 2-4 as road underdogs, with road losses by 37-28-1-14-20 points, with win at Watson-less Houston. Jaguars were 9-15 on third down in this game, after being 12-50 in their previous three games. Colts lost six of their last seven games; hard to believe they won’t have a new coach next season.
Packers 26, Buccaneers 20— Packers’ RB Aaron Jones ran 20 yards for a walk-off TD in OT, on his first carry of the game. Tampa lost seven of its last eight games; teams really aren’t going to want to do Hard Knocks anymore- Jeff Fisher got fired last year, Bucs are 4-8 this year after their coach/GM did lot of talking this summer about how great Tampa Bay’s talent is. Packers are back at .500 and play Cleveland this week; they’re not dead yet.
Jets 38, Chiefs 31— Kansas City started season 5-0, is now in a 3-way tie atop AFC West at 6-6. Alex Smith threw for 366 yards, four TD’s in a losing cause- not often an NFL team averages over 10 yards per play and loses. Andy Reid gave up play-calling duties for this game, and that helped, but it didn’t help KC’s defense. Chiefs led this game 14-0 after 4:24, but lost in Swamp Stadium for second time in three weeks.
Chargers 19, Browns 10— Josh Gordon caught four balls for 85 yards in his first NFL game in three years, but UNTIL CLEVELAND DRAFTS A QB, they’re still going to be dreadful. Chargers have now won six of their last seven games and are tied for first place with four games left. Bolts are 28-43 on third down in their last three games.
Rams 32, Cardinals 16— Rams’ MLB/defensive QB Alex Ogletree had a pick-6 early in this game, then left game with hyperextended elbow— he didn’t play in second half. Rams’ 16-0 lead had shrunk to 16-13 late in 2nd quarter, but as usual, LA played really well in second half and won going away. Todd Gurley had 158 all-purpose yards and the special teams were terrific.
Raiders 24, Giants 17— Giants made a 52-yard FG with 1:38 left for the backdoor cover; if you wagered on the Giants here, good for you, but it was their first game since 2004 that someone other than Eli Manning started at QB. Have to keep in mind that Raiders played without their top two WR’s (Cooper/Crabtree). Three of Oakland’s last four games are on road, including games at Chiefs/Chargers- they’re tied for first place with both of them.
Seahawks 24, Eagles 10— Win puts Seattle back in playoff picture; they were outgained 425-310 in this game, but Wentz’s fumble near goal line was fatal blow for Eagles here. Philly has 4-game lead in NFC East with four weeks left, so not lot of urgency for them, other than home field/bye in playoffs. This loss snapped 9-game winning streak for Iggles. Seattle was 6-12 on 3rd down in this game, breaking a recent trend of Philly’s defense dominating on third down.
[size=”3″][I][B] Monday Night Football Betting Preview and Odds: Steelers at Bengals [/B][/I][/size]
[B]Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (+4.5, 43)[/B]
The Cincinnati Bengals have won two in a row to stay within striking distance of the final playoff berth in the AFC, but they will be taking a major step up in class against a bitter rival on Monday night. Coming off wins over a pair of last-place teams in Denver and Cleveland, the Bengals will host the AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cincinnati, which entered the weekend one game behind sixth-place Baltimore and Buffalo in the chase for the final wild card, was dominated by the Steelers 29-14 in Pittsburgh in Week 7. “It’s another game, but it’s Pittsburgh, and they’re leading our division,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “They beat us up there. They’re coming here, and it’s a big football game for us because we don’t get any more do-overs.” The Steelers, who own the tiebreaker with New England for the top record in the conference, extended their winning streak to six games by rallying for a 31-28 victory over Green Bay last week. Pittsburgh has won 10 consecutive prime-time games and has beaten the Bengals five times in a row while winning its last four visits to Cincinnati (playoffs included).
TV:[/B] 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
POWER RANKINGS:[/B] Steelers (-4) – Bengals (1.5) + home field (-3) = Bengals -0.5.
LINE HISTORY:[/B] The Steelers opened as high as 6.5-point road chalk and money coming in on the hometown Bengals brought that line down to +4.5. The total hit the betting board at 43 and briefly was bet up half-point before returning to the opening number, where it currently sits.
WEATHER REPORT:[/B] 57 degrees and overcast throughout the game – winds 14 – 15 MPH with 18% chance of fourth quarter precipitation
Steelers – LB James Harrison (Probable, Back), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (Probable, Hamstring), WR Antonio Brown (Questionable, Toe), S Mike Mitchell (Questionable, Ankle), LB Ryan Shazier (Questionable, Ankle), CB Cameron Sutton (Questionable, Hamstring), TE Vance McDonald (Out, Ankle).
Bengals – TE Tyler Kroft (Questionable, Wrist), OT Cedric Ogbuehi (Questionable, Shoulder), LB Vincent Rey (Questionable, Hamstring), S Shawn Williams (Questionable, Hamstring), LB Nick Vigil (Questionable, Ankle), QB Jeff Driskel (Questionable, Thumb).
ABOUT THE STEELERS (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS, 3-8 O/U):[/B] Ben Roethlisberger, an Ohio native who is 23-4 in his home state, tossed four touchdowns for the second straight week and threw for a season-high 351 yards against Green Bay. Two of those scoring passes went to wideout Antonio Brown, who had 10 catches for 169 yards and leads the NFL in in receptions (80) and yards (1,195). Running back Le’Veon Bell, the league leader in rushing with 981 yards, rushed for 134 yards on 35 carries in the first meeting versus the Bengals and amassed 95 yards on the ground and 12 receptions a week ago. Pittsburgh’s defense was gashed for three long touchdown passes by Green Bay, but it allows only 17.5 points per game and ranks No. 2 in sacks with 38.
ABOUT THE BENGALS (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS, 5-6 O/U):[/B] Cincinnati has scored 30 points twice this season — both times against the winless Browns — as rookie running back Joe Mixon finally showed some sizzle by rushing for a season-high 114 yards and a TD and catching three passes for 51 yards. Andy Dalton has nine touchdowns and zero interceptions since the loss to the Steelers, when he was sacked four times, picked off twice and the Bengals managed a meager 19 total yards in the second half. Wideout A.J. Green has a team-high 809 receiving yards — more than double any other Bengals player — for an offense that ranks 32nd overall in total offense (274.3 yards) and 31st in rushing (75.6). Cincinnati is third in sacks (33) and gives up 19.5 points per game.
* Steelers are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
* Under is 10-1 in Steelers last 11 road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
* Under is 4-1 in Bengals last 5 Monday games.
* Favorite is 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
* Steelers are 16-3-2 ATS in their last 21 meetings in Cincinnati.
CONSENSUS:[/B] The public is siding with the road chalk Steelers at a rate of 67 percent and the Over is getting 65 percent of the totals action.