Cnotes 2017 NFL Trends/Stats/News/Picks Thru The Super Bowl

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    [b]Thursday, December 7[/b][/B]

    [size=”3″][I][B] Thursday Night Football Betting Preview and Odds: Saints at Falcons [/B][/I][/size]

    [B]New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (+1, 51.5)[/B]

    The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons will get to know each other quite well over the next 2 1/2 weeks as the NFC South rivals play the first of their two meetings in that stretch on Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. First-place New Orleans posted its ninth win in 10 outings with a 31-21 victory over Carolina last week, although the Falcons control their own destiny with four games remaining versus division foes.

    “I like where we’re at, but I feel like we can continue to get better,” said New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who has thrown for an NFL third-best 3,298 yards. “There’s still things I feel like we’re leaving out there, opportunities that we’re leaving out there, that if we want to accomplish and go where we want to go, then we’ve got to continue to improve upon and get better at those things.” Running backs Mark Ingram (NFL-best nine rushing TDs) and rookie Alvin Kamara haven’t been wasting many opportunities, as the duo has combined for at least 200 scrimmage yards in five consecutive games – totaling 1,243 scrimmage yards and 13 touchdowns. Impressive statistics to be certain, but Matt Ryan and the Falcons had the Saints’ number last year as the reigning NFL MVP completed 47 of 66 passes for 571 yards with six touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 127.8 in the season sweep last season. “Everything we want is still in front of us,” Ryan said of the Falcons, who reside on the outside looking in of the NFC playoff picture.
    TV:[/B] 8:25 p.m. ET, NBC, NFL Network.
    POWER RANKINGS:[/B] Saints (-4) – Falcons (-1.5) + home field (-3) = Falcons -0.5.
    LINE HISTORY:[/B] The Falcons opened as two-point home favorites but heavy action on the Saints has caused that number to jump the fence, with New Orleans now giving one point. The total hit betting boards at 55 and has dropped significantly down to 51.5
    WHAT SHARPS SAY:[/B] “Huge NFC South division battle Thursday night in Atlanta finds the floundering Falcons taking on the sizzling Saints in what should be a playoff atmosphere. With New Orleans 0-5 UNDER on Thursdays and 1-4 UNDER after facing the Panthers, and Atlanta 0-3 UNDER after facing the Vikings and 1-4 UNDER after scoring less than 10 points in its last game, look for a snoozer tonight.” – Marc Lawrence.

    Saints – LB A.J. Klein (Probable, Groin), RB Mark Ingram (Probable, Toe), T Terron Armstead (Probable, Thigh), CB Marshon Lattimore (Questionable, Ankle), S Marcus Williams (Questionable, Groin), DE Trey Hendrickson (Questionable, Knee), CB P.J. Williams (Questionable, Shoulder), CB Ken Crawley (Questionable, Abdominal), T Andrus Peat (Out, Groin), NT David Parry (I-R, Ankle), DL Mitchell Loewen (I-R, Ankle), TE Coby Fleener (I-R, Concussion), T Zach Strief (I-R, Knee), DE Alex Okafor (I-R, Achilles), RB Daniel Lasco (I-R, Spine), CB Delvin Breaux (I-R, Leg), LB Alex Anzalone (I-R, Shoulder), LB Nathan Stupar (I-R, Knee), FB John Kuhn (I-R, Bicep), LS Jon Dorenbos (I-R, Heart), TE Clay Harbor (I-R, Undisclosed), DT Devaroe Lawrence (I-R, Knee), WR Dan Arnold (I-R, Undisclosed), DT Nick Fairley (I-R, Heart).

    Falcons – CB Brian Poole (Probable, Back), CB Desmond Trufant (Probable, Concussion), LB Sean Weatherspoon (Questionable, Illness), TE Eric Saubert (Out, Back), G Andy Levitre (Out, Tricep), S Quincy Mauger (Out, Knee), LB Jordan Tripp (Out, Concussion), DE Jack Crawford (I-R, Bicep).
    ABOUT THE SAINTS (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS, 7-5 O/U):[/B] While New Orleans’ high-octane offense has produced consistent headlines over the years, the team’s defense has made vast improvements in 2017 – permitting only 17.9 points in the last 10 games. NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November Cam Jordan has registered 10.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss this season and has eight sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery in his last nine encounters with Atlanta. Rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who has made progress from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the past two games, could be in line to guard wideout Julio Jones on Thursday.
    ABOUT THE FALCONS (7-5 SU, 5-7 ATS, 5-7 O/U):[/B] Atlanta boasts a potent pair of running backs in its own right in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, with the former faring well with 12 carries for 74 yards in his return from a concussion in a 14-9 loss to Minnesota on Sunday. Coleman has recorded five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) in his past five games overall and four (three rushing, one receiving) in his past two against New Orleans. Jones (NFC-best 1,063 receiving yards) was limited to two catches for 24 yards versus the Vikings, but has 361 receiving yards and a touchdown in his past three homes games versus the Saints.

    * Saints are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 road games.
    * Falcons are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games.
    * Over is 6-0 in Saints’ last 6 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
    * Over is 6-1-1 in Falcons’ last 8 vs. NFC South.
    * Underdog is 13-3 ATS in their last 16 meetings.
    CONSENSUS:[/B] The public is siding with the Saints on the road at a rate of 61 percent and the Over is getting 66 percent of the totals action


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    [B][I]Thursday’s Best Bet
    December 7, 2017[/I][/B]

    [B]NFL Week 14 TNF Betting Preview

    New Orleans vs Atlanta[/B]

    The New Orleans Saints are looking to keep their perfect record against division rivals in tact tonight as they prepare for the first of two meetings with Atlanta over the next three weeks. The Saints are 3-0 SU and ATS in NFC South play already this season as they’ve beaten Tampa Bay once and Carolina twice, all three of which came by double-digits.

    New Orleans has taken the idea that it’s succeeding within the division first that leads you to overall success in the league, and they are on track to do both at the moment. But disposing of this Atlanta squad that currently is on the outside of the NFC playoff picture is going to be no easy task – especially on a short week.

    [B]Atlanta (-2.5); Total set at 51.5[/B]

    Atlanta had a rough go of it on Sunday against another NFC leader in the Minnesota Vikings, as Matt Ryan and the Falcons attack couldn’t find the endzone all afternoon in the 14-9 loss. The defeat snapped a three-game run that saw Atlanta get right back into the thick of things in the playoff race, entering Week 14 a full game behind Seattle and Carolina who currently sit in those final two playoff spots respectively.

    With each one of their remaining four games coming against a division rival, the Atlanta Falcons still control their own destiny, but they’ve got to get quite hot in this final month to get the payoff of still playing football in January.

    Atlanta fans wish they had a bit more margin of error in December given it’s only NFC South matchups the rest of the way, but even on a short week this is a relatively good spot for the Falcons. This is Atlanta’s third straight game at home and that level of comfort can bring a lot of confidence with it. After not finding paydirt four days ago, getting right back on the field for game action is probably the best thing for the Falcons.

    After all, New Orleans has the better SU record, is catching points, and predictably has become the more “public” side this evening. All of that adds up to a side play on the Falcons probably ending up as the better betting option in that regard – especially with Atlanta’s season basically on the line – but it’s actually not the side I’m looking to get down on.

    Tonight’s total of 51.5 is actually a little low when you consider the history of this rivalry, as only once in the last 10 meetings between these two teams has the total closer at a lower number then it currently sits (and that was just 51).

    Now defensively both teams have improved this year – especially New Orleans – and the Saints emphasis on running the ball this year has forced oddsmakers to put this number where it currently sits. But let’s not forget they actually opened up this game at 54.5 last Sunday night and even with some bigger wagers forcing the number down, it’s gotten to the point where going the other way is the better option.

    During that 10-game run of totals being lined at 51 or higher, Saints/Falcons games have produced a 4-5-1 O/U mark. That’s not really much help in terms of an ‘over’ tonight, but the fact that this is Atlanta’s third straight at home is. See, during the last two years in the NFL, teams playing their 3rd of three consecutive home games and coming off a SU loss like the Falcons are, are 8-1 O/U overall. That stretch includes a 4-0 O/U mark this season and it’s not like these two QB’s aren’t capable of putting up big numbers against one another either. Last year’s two meetings averaged 73.5 points per game.

    With Atlanta on a 4-0 O/U run in home games against division rivals and the Saints 10-4 O/U in their last 14 when they were lined as a favorite or underdog of less than three points, I do believe we see one of those shootouts we saw last year between these two squads. In both meetings during 2016, both teams scored 32+ points and had 442 yards or more of offense. We might not see this game reach into the 70’s again, but getting into the 60’s should be achieved as both QB’s air it out all over the yard.

    [B]Best Bet: Over 51 points[/B]


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    [B][I]TNF – Saints at Falcons
    December 7, 2017
    [B]New Orleans at Atlanta (PK, 51.5), 8:25 pm ET, NBC/NFLN[/B]

    Alvin Kamara’s broke off a 50-yard touchdown in the preseason, but few saw what he’s been able to accomplish over the past few weeks coming. Sean Payton openly gushed about him, but with Adrian Peterson on board and Mark Ingram entrenched as the No. 1, the rookie looked like he’d have to wait his turn.

    Kamara, who started his college career in Alabama and flourished at Tennessee, got 11 touches for 38 yards in a Week 1 loss to Minnesota and only one carry in a blowout loss to the Patriots the following game.

    In Week 3, he scored his first touchdown. His next game produced a 10-catch day. Peterson was cut loose and Kamara has had at least 11 touches in every game since. He’s not the only reason New Orleans has won nine of its last 10, but is pretty high on the list. Kamara has scored in six straight games and has produced at least 116 yards from scrimmage over his last five.

    The Falcons will get their first look at him on Thursday night in a game they almost have to win. The betting line has fluctuated, but is basically a pick’em.

    Kamara, a former prep Georgia Mr. Football, is a native of Norcross and may have a little extra in him for his first game in Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The home team will look to avoid becoming a playoff afterthought in the same calendar year that a Super Bowl slipped out of their grasp.

    Standing in their way is a rookie averaging 7.0 yards per carry and 10.4 per catch, accounting for 11 touchdowns. That’s good enough to be the Saints’ most productive running back, but only barely. Ingram has nine scores and is just 43 yards behind Kamara, who has produced 1,177. As a duo, they’re first in yardage gained from scrimmage and are pushing to become the first duo since 1978 to combined for over 200 yards per game, having done it in five straight games. According to NFL Network, Walter Payton and his fullback Matt Suhey were the last to do that for the 1985 Bears.

    The Falcons allow a healthy 4.3 yards per carry and rank 18th, in the league’s bottom half, in giving up 113.2 yards per game. They’ll have to step their game up to try and get a handle on New Orleans in addition to containing old friend Drew Brees, who has been as efficient as ever.

    Atlanta gave up its second-lowest scoring output of the season in last week’s 14-9 loss to Minnesota and looked most impressive in last month’s 27-7 win over Dallas. For the most part, however, its defense has been as vulnerable as it looked when Tom Brady led that improbable comeback last February that ultimately turned inevitable. In nine of the Falcons’ 12 games, opponents have managed to score 20 or more points. The Saints have only been held under 20 once, back in that season-opening loss to the Vikings, who have been on point defensively for months. While the Falcons do get to host this first of two meetings in 17 days, taking on the Saints on a short week doesn’t seem ideal.

    Offensively, the Falcons do have some good reasons to hope they can bounce back quickly from Sunday’s dud. New Orleans has given up 21 or more points in each of the last three games, the first time that’s happened all season. Julio Jones comes off a two-catch outing that produced 24 yards, his worst of the season, which comes on the heels of a 12-reception, 253-yard day against Tampa Bay. Odds are he’ll bounce back. Devonta Freeman returned from missing nearly three full games after sustaining a concussion and ran for 74 yards on just 12 carries, so he’ll be in place to team with Tevin Coleman as the new top running back tandem in the NFC South arrives.

    As for Matt Ryan, he’ll be looking to bounce back from his first TD-less game in 30 outings, snapping the longest streak in the NFL. His 173 passing yards were his lowest total since Week 10 of 2013. Ryan has a 5-2 mark on Thursday night football and has an incredible 16-0 TD-to-INT ratio, throwing 250 passes without being picked off.

    Brees is 5-5 on Thursday nights, which includes a 2-1 mark against the Falcons, having come up with wins on each of his last two appearances against them (’13 and ’15).

    [B]New Orleans Saints
    Season win total: 8 (Over +100, Under -120)
    Odds to win NFC South:5/7 to 1/6
    Odds to win NFC: 8/1 to 11/2
    Odds to win Super Bowl: 16/1 to 12/1

    Atlanta Falcons
    Season win total: 9.5 (Over -110, Under -110)
    Odds to win NFC South: 17/4 to 9/1
    Odds to win NFC: 6/1 to 9/1
    Odds to win Super Bowl: 12/1 to 20/1[/B]


    Atlanta opened the regular season at 8/1 to win the NFC and 16/1 to win the Super Bowl at Westgate, so it’s not like they’re surprising oddsmakers by flirting with missing the playoffs altogether. The Saints, on the other hand, were 13/1 to win the NFC and 25/1 to bring home a Super Bowl, so anyone holding those tickets right now is undoubtedly giddy.

    New Orleans has already exceeded its season win total, while the Falcons will need to win out to cash the over. The defending champs opened as the 3-to-2 favorite to win the NFC South, while (4/5) the Saints were the biggest longshot at 6/1. Carolina and Tampa Bay were each available at 5/2.

    As far as this matchup is concerned, the Falcons were installed as a 3-point favorite when the Westgate’s early numbers were announced, opened the week as a 1-to 1.5-point ‘chalk’ and then progressed to being even as a pick’em.

    The money line is different at many spots, so shop around if you’re so inclined.

    Scott Cooley of provides info on what his shop is seeing as far as betting trends.

    “A lot of steady sharp involvement ahead of Thursday Night Football thus far. We opened Falcons -2 and went to a pick ’em less than 24 hours later,” Cooley said. “Steam followed and we’re now offering Saints -2. A four-point swing this early indicates a ton of smart money on the Saints, and the public backing them as well. The total has also been bet down by the pros, going from an opener of 55 to 53.”

    New Orleans’ biggest question mark was rookie corner Marshon Lattimore, who has missed the last two games with an ankle injury, is expected to return to upgrade the secondary. Safety Marcus Williams will also be back from a groin injury, while Ken Crawley returned last week. LB A.J. Klein will also play, so the defense should be at full strength.

    Up front, the Saints will be missing tackle Andrus Peat, who played every snap on Sunday. The return of Terron Armstead from a groin injury could ease that burden, but he’s been banged up most of the season. Tight end Cody Fleener remains out with a concussion.

    Atlanta corner Desmond Trufant has cleared protocol and will be back in action, so the defensive backfield will be in place since safety Brian Poole has been cleared as well. Guard Andy Levitre will miss this game due to a triceps injury, ending a streak of 140 straight starts.
    RECENT MEETINGS (Atlanta 4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS last six; OVER 4-2)[/B]

    1/1/17 Atlanta 38-32 vs. New Orleans (NO +7.5, 58.5)
    9/26/16 Atlanta 45-32 at New Orleans (ATL +2.5, 54)
    1/3/16 New Orleans 20-17 at Atlanta (NO +5.5, 52.5)
    10/15/15 New Orleans 31-21 vs. Atlanta (NO +3, 51)
    12/21/14 Atlanta 30-14 at New Orleans (ATL +6, 56.5)
    9/7/14 Atlanta 37-34 OT vs. New Orleans (ATL +3, 51.5)

    The Westgate opens its advance lines for the following week on Tuesdays and Week 15 currently has the Saints as a 10.5-point home favorite against the N.Y. Jets. The Falcons will be back on a national stage, visiting Tampa Bay for Monday night football as they seek a sweep of their season series following a Week 12 road win. Atlanta is listed as a 3.5-point favorite.


    • Author

    [B][I]Tech Trends – Week 14
    December 7, 2017[/I][/B]

    [B]THURSDAY, DEC. 7[/B]
    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]NEW ORLEANS at ATLANTA (NBC/NFL, 8:25 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Saints 7-3 vs. spread last nine TY. Brees has covered last two at Falcs. Both meetings “over” LY. Falcs “over” 21-10 since LY.
    Tech Edge: “Over” and slight to Saints, based on “totals” and team trends.
    SUNDAY, DEC. 10[/B]
    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]DETROIT at TAMPA BAY (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Lions “over” 9-3 in 2017, 11-3 “over” reg season since late 2016. Bucs 4-10-1 last 14 on board since late 2016.
    Tech Edge: “Over” and slight to Lions, based on “totals: and team trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]CHICAGO at CINCINNATI (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Streaky Bengals have been all about spread streaks this season…lose 2, win 3, lose 3, now win 4. Only 11-18-1 last 30 vs. spread in reg.-season games. Bears no covers last four TY after covers in first four Trubisky starts. Bears “under” 5-1 last six.
    Tech Edge: “Under,” based on “totals” trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]INDIANAPOLIS at BUFFALO (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Colts “under” last four this season, though Indy “over” 11-3 last 14 away from Lucas Oil. Bills “over” 4-1 last five at home this season and “over” 11-7 last 18 since late 2016.
    Tech Edge: “Over,” based on “totals” trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]DALLAS at NY GIANTS (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)[/B]
    G-Men only 1-4 vs. spread at MetLife TY also “under” 5 of last 7 TY, 14-6 “under” last 20 since mid 2016. Last three “under” in series.
    Tech Edge: “Under,” based on “totals” trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]OAKLAND at KANSAS CITY (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Mostly a road series for years, though Raiders didn’t cover at Arrowhead last season. They had covered 8 of previous 10 at Arrowhead. Chiefs on 1-6 SU and spread skid at moment, though Raiders only 2-7-1 vs. line last ten TY. Eight of last nine meetings “over” at Arrowhead.
    Tech Edge: Raiders and “over,” based on series and “totals” trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]MINNESOTA at CAROLINA (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Vikes have won last eight and covered last seven TY. Panthers only 2-3 vs. line at Bank of America in 2017 and 3-8 last 11 as host since early 2016. Vikes “over” 4-2 last six TY.
    Tech Edge: Slight to Vikings and “over,” based on recent trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]GREEN BAY at CLEVELAND (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Browns now on 9-28-1 spread skid since mid 2015. Hue Jackson 3-9 vs. line TY, 7-21 since LY. Pack has covered last two on road with Hundley. Pack “over” 4 of last 5 TY.
    Tech Edge: Packers and slight to “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]SAN FRANCISCO at HOUSTON (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Niners now 5-2 vs. spread last seven away after win at Chicago. Both “under” 4 of last 5 TY.
    Tech Edge: “Under” and 49ers, based on “totals” and team trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]WASHINGTON at L.A. CHARGERS (CBS, 4:05 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Bolts have covered 6 of last 8 TY. Skins however 12-5 vs. spread as visitor since late 2015. Jay Gruden “over” 25-8 since late 2015.
    Tech Edge: “Over” and slight to Skins, based on “totals” and team trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]N.Y. JETS at DENVER (CBS, 4:05 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Broncos skidding with no wins or covers last eight TY! Meanwhile, Jets 7-2-1 last ten vs. line.
    Tech Edge: Jets, based on recent trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]TENNESSEE at ARIZONA (CBS, 4:05 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Titans only 3-6 vs. spread last 9 TY. Also just 1-4 vs. points last five away. Titans are “over” 20-10-1 last 31 since late 2015. Big Red “over” last three with Gabbert TY.
    Tech Edge: “Over” and slight to Cards, based on “totals” and recent trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]PHILADELPHIA at L.A. RAMS (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Birds grounded last week at Seattle but had won 9 SU in a row and 8 vs. line prior. Rams 6-1 SU and vs. line last seven TY. Birds “over” 9-4-1 last 14 away.
    Tech Edge: “Over,” based on “totals” trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]SEATTLE at JACKSONVILLE (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Seahawks only 2-6-1 vs. spread last nine away form home but are 2-0-1 last three. Also 4-1 “under” away this season. Jags “under” 5 of last 6 TY after extended “over” run prior (27-12 “over” previous 39).
    Tech Edge: Slight to “under,” based on recent “totals” trends.

    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]BALTIMORE at PITTSBURGH (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Ravens 4-1 vs. line as true visitor TY (doesn’t count London loss to Jags). “Unders” 5-2 last seven in series, and Steel “under” 8-3-1 TY. Ravens have covered last two at Heinz Field.
    Tech Edge: Ravens and slight to “under,” based on “totals” trends.

    [B]MONDAY, DEC. 11[/B]
    NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
    [B]NEW ENGLAND at MIAMI (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET)[/B]
    Patriots have won last 8 SU, covered last 6 and 7 of 8 TY. Dolphins 1-4-1 vs. spread last six TY. Though Miami has won outright 3 of last 4 at Hard Rock vs. Pats and is 3-1-1 vs. spread last five as series host. Dolphins “over” six straight TY, “over” 19-9 last 28 with Gase. “Overs” 5-2 last seven in series.
    Tech Edge: Patriots and “over,” based on recent and “totals” trends.


    • Author


    NO at ATL 08:25 PM

    [B]NO +2.5

    O 51.5[/B]


    • Author

    [B][I]Drew Brees goes for the win, and winds up losing the game
    December 8, 2017[/I][/B]

    ATLANTA (AP) Drew Brees went for the win.

    He wound up with a loss.

    Brees’ pass in the end zone was picked off by Falcons linebacker Deion Jones, who made a soaring grab with 1:25 remaining to preserve Atlanta’s 20-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.

    Brees has made a lot of great throws in his 17-year career.

    This is one he wanted back.

    ”It wasn’t worth taking the risk,” Brees said. ”I should have checked down. It’s unfortunate.”

    Give some credit to Jones. Isolated on tight end Josh Hill, he leaped as high as he could, reached up even higher to grab the ball and managed to hang on even when he landed flat on his back.

    ”I pretty much had the tight end by myself,” Jones said. ”He looked back, I looked back and the ball was right there.”

    The Saints offense took a huge blow on its first possession. Rookie sensation Alvin Kamara took a shot to the helmet – from Jones, no less – and staggered off the field with a concussion.

    That deprived Brees of a backfield duo that has been a huge part of his success this season. With Mark Ingram forced to carry the load on his own, New Orleans largely abandoned one of the league’s top running games.

    The Saints finished with just 50 yards on the ground – their lowest output of the season and breaking a streak of eight straight games with more than 100 yards. Brees was 26 of 35 for 271 yards and a pair of touchdown passes .

    ”Every loss is frustrating,” said Ingram, who had 12 carries for 49 yards. ”Especially when you have control of the game and don’t finish it.”

    The Saints’ last possession had plenty of key moments.

    Brees connected with Michael Thomas on a 35-yard pass that quickly pushed New Orleans across midfield. On second-and-1 at the Atlanta 24, Ingram was stuffed for no gain. Then Brees threw an incompletion, and the Saints were also flagged for holding.

    Instead of backing New Orleans up 10 yards, Falcons coach Dan Quinn declined the penalty. He figured the Saints would take the field goal, but coach Sean Payton decided to go for it on fourth down. Brees dove into the line on a sneak and picked up the first down, putting his team in good opposition to pull out the win.

    Ted Ginn Jr. hauled in an 11-yard pass, hanging on to the ball despite a vicious hit by Ricardo Allen.

    A short pass to Willie Snead IV failed to gain anything, setting up the decisive play of the game.

    Brees was thinking touchdown.

    Jones had other ideas, preventing the Saints (9-4) from building a three-game lead over the Falcons (8-5) with three weeks left in the regular season.

    While Atlanta may have saved its season, New Orleans persevered through a rash of injuries that are sure to raise more outrage about playing games on Thursday nights.

    The Saints lost not only Kamara, but an offensive lineman and three defensive starters.

    In the end, it was too much to overcome.

    ”Proud of our guys,” Payton said. ”I’ve never seen anything like it.”


    • Author

    [B][I]Best Bets – Week 14 Totals
    December 7, 2017[/I][/B]

    [B]NFL Week 14 Best Bets – Totals[/B]

    We’ve reached the final month of the NFL regular season and it should be an exciting stretch drive. Chances are we see quite a few meaningful games throughout the league in Week 17, but for now it’s about starting off on the right note in December.

    This is the time of year when we get plenty of division rematches each week and those “must win” scenarios as well.

    This week’s totals Best Bets touch on a little bit of both so let’s get right to the plays.
    Best Bet #1: Oakland/Kansas City Under 48.5[/I][/B]

    This is one of four division rematch games in Week 14 as the first meeting between Oakland and Kansas City was a TNF thriller. Oakland ended up winning that game 31-30 thanks to four untimed downs at the end of the game due to penalties. It was a wild loss for the Chiefs to experience and not much has gone right for KC since then.

    The Chiefs are 1-4 SU and ATS since that loss, and now find themselves tied with Oakland and L.A for tops in the AFC West. It’s been quite a crash, but if there ever is a way to get back on track, a home win against a division rival is usually a good place to start.

    For Kansas City to win this game, they’ll need to rely on a defense that has been much better at home than on the road this year. Last week in New York this Chiefs unit gave up 38 points to the Jets, but in five home games this season they’ve yet to allow more then 20 points against. That 18.8 allowed per home game average matches up quite well with an Oakland attack that scores 17.4 per road game this year. Add in the fact that this game is basically for 1st place in the division, eight of the last nine meetings in KC have stayed under, and Oakland on a 1-6 O/U run in division games, this might be a race to 20.

    Finally we can’t forget about the division rematch flip flop angle in play here after the first meeting finished with 61 points, especially when’s betting percentage numbers show more than 90% of the early action has bettors expecting another shootout between these two clubs. I am definitely not of that mindset as both offenses appear to be shells of their early-season selves, and both defenses will be looking for redemption after that first meeting. This number could even continue to rise as Sunday nears, but if it does I’ll just be adding another unit or two on an ‘under’ I already like at the current number.
    Best Bet #2: Green Bay/Cleveland Over 40.5[/I][/B]

    Green Bay is one of those clubs in a proverbial “must win” spot as they try to remain within reach of a playoff spot as QB Aaron Rodgers potential return looms. The Packers chances of getting that W against a team that’s a combined 1-27 SU the past two years is probably pretty good in the eyes of many, but Green Bay is still fighting for their lives right now with a backup QB that they don’t seem to fully trust.

    Cleveland just wants to win and avoid the possibility of a winless season. That mindset has been evident in Cleveland’s strategy the past few weeks as they are continuously aggressive when the opportunity presents itself, they just haven’t been able to get over that final hump. But with a home game against Baltimore and road contests against Chicago and Pittsburgh left, this home game against a banged up Packers team might be the last legitimate shot Cleveland has at winning a game. That tells me that the Browns will continue to be of an aggressive mindset and one way or another, hopefully that turns into points.

    Green Bay’s offense has started to figure a few things out with Hundley under center as they’ve put up 23+ in three of their last four games overall. Hundley was brilliant on SNF against Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, and on the road against a much weaker AFC North foe, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Hundley have another good day at the office. After all, Green Bay is a perfect 4-0 O/U the last four times they’ve been on the road against an AFC team.

    Cleveland, well is Cleveland, and trusting them to do anything good is tough. But WR Josh Gordon’s return to the lineup paid immediate dividends in L.A last week, and now Gordon gets his first opportunity to be back at home. Cleveland home games have been death to ‘over’ bettors as they are 0-10 O/U in the last 10, but eventually a trend like that turns around, and what better spot to do it in a game featuring backups/rookie QB’s when the majority of bettors (65%) are going to the low side once again. I mean, it makes perfect sense for a game to break out with 60-70 points scored when it involves a Cleveland team that you can never really trust right?

    Bottom line, this is going to sort of feel like a playoff game for both teams with Green Bay playing to stay in contention and Cleveland trying to avoid 0-16. With that being the case, neither OC will be shy about pulling out all the stops in order to get the W, and with two young QB’s in there prone to INT’s and mistakes, we have the potential for a lot of short field drives in this one. As long as both sides can turn those opportunities into TD’s rather than FG’s more often than not (which could be a big if), both sides should finish in the 20’s here as this number of 40.5 easily gets eclipsed.


    • Author

    [B][I]Best Bets – Week 14 Sides
    December 7, 2017[/I][/B]

    [B]NFL Week 14 Best Bets – Sides[/B]

    When you look across the entire NFL betting board for Week 14 games, the feeling of this week potentially being one of those “tricky” ones the league sees often a few times a year tends to take hold. We’ve got two games still currently without point spreads, and including TNF’s game in Atlanta, eight games feature spreads in the +/- 3 range.

    That’s a big number of games fitting that range and when that’s the case it may be better to lean towards an “against the grain” approach because toss-up games like this could end up going either way.

    So with that being said, this week’s Best Bets in the NFL take those words to heart as there are two home teams that are laying points in that -3 or lower range that nobody really seems to want this week. And that’s just fine by me.

    [B]Best Bet #1: Jacksonville Jaguars -2.5[/B]

    The Jaguars sit at 8-4 SU and in a share of 1st place in the AFC South entering the week. But despite winning four of their last five overall and having one of the best defensive units against the passing game in the league, the majority of bettors have shown already that they’ve got no problem fading the Jaguars this week.

    That’s because in today’s “what have you done for me lately society,” Jacksonville’s opponent this week are the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle just ended Philadelphia’s nine-game win streak on national television last week and can surely go out on the road and beat Jacksonville right? Well nearly 90% of the ATS money according to believes that to be the case as the Seahawks are being bet ATS and SU like this game doesn’t have to even be played.

    However, this is a brutal sandwich spot for Seattle after that primetime showdown against the Eagles, and before another big time game with a home game against the 1st place Rams on deck. Seattle does catch a bit of a break with this being a 4:25 pm EST start time, but the cross-country flip to Florida doesn’t help much, and neither does this matchup really.

    Seattle’s best strength offensively is Russell Wilson (in general), but specifically through the air attack. Much is made of Wilson being the leading rusher on the team as well, but even with the Jags defensive weakness being against the run, Seattle’s got zero threat of a running game outside of Wilson, so putting a spy on him most plays should negate some of Wilson’s production in that aspect.

    That leaves the passing game where Jacksonville is supremely confident in their backend DB’s to make plays, and that’s if their top tier pass rush doesn’t get their first. No matter which way you slice it, the matchup is simply not one that bodes well for Seattle.

    And yes, backing Blake Bortles to not only win but cover a point spread as well has to be concerning to some degree, but Seattle’s defense can be had – especially now with all their injuries – and there is no chance Seattle’s D brings the same kind of intensity we saw from them against Philly (and probably next week vs. LA Rams) on the plane with them for this non-conference game. It won’t be a Jacksonville rout, but if the oddsmakers are going to need a small home favorite to cover, I’ve got no problem joining them in that regard for this contest.
    Best Bet #2: L.A Rams -2.5[/B]

    Speaking of the Rams and Eagles, they meet in L.A this week as it’s the first time we get to see the top two picks from 2016 battle one another. The fact that it’s not only Wentz vs Goff, but this game has serious playoff implications in the NFC, this is going to probably end up being the most heavily bet game during the 4 pm EST slate and you’ve already got a decided majority showing their hand.

    As of now, about 80% of bettors on this game are backing the Eagles both SU and ATS as the Philadelphia bandwagon continues to roll on with it’s most loyal passengers asserting that last week’s loss in Seattle was nothing more than a bump in the road. But although last week was a brutal spot for Philadelphia, this week’s spot isn’t much better.

    For one, you’ve already got a bit of reverse line movement on this game in favor of L.A after they opened up in the -1 to -1.5 range. The line isn’t likely to hit -3 as oddsmakers will know even more Philly money will pour in then, but a move like that shouldn’t be glossed over by anyone, even those wearing Eagles decal beer goggles.

    Secondly, fading a team after they had a long winning streak snapped is always a situational spot I’ve believed in in NFL betting and the Eagles fit that role as well. Yes, Philadelphia actually played quite well in Seattle a week ago in outgaining the Seahawks through the air and on the ground, but now with that unbeatable bubble being burst, you can also say that the one “lay an egg” game every NFL team seems to have every year is still out there to be had for Philadelphia. Who’s to say that won’t happen this week against a very good Rams team against a Philly team that’s probably excited to get back to the East Coast.

    So with the Rams on a money-making tear of 6-1 ATS in their last seven, at home and looking to make a statement against a NFC rival that many have already anointed as the Super Bowl participant in a few months, I expect the best from the Rams this week. They’ve got an explosive offensive attack that can easily keep pace if this game turns into a shootout. The one concern is the idea of L.A looking ahead to their rematch with Seattle on deck, but with the hype and magnitude this game already has, most of those concerns should subside rather quickly.

    Public underdogs are not ones that have a great success rate in NFL betting, and I’m betting the Eagles in that role this week end up causing quite a few bankrolls to take a hit Sunday evening with a loss in L.A.


    • Author

    [B][I]Sunday’s Top 5 Wagers
    December 7, 2017[/I][/B]

    Just wanted to give a shout out to all of our readers and fans, and apologize for the lack of content this week. Some unexpected surgery laid up yours truly early in the week and I’m just getting back on the wagon.

    Will be back with our regularly scheduled programming next week. In the meantime, I’ve got just enough energy to squeeze out some picks for NFL Week 14 betting so I don’t leave you lot hanging for the weekend.

    [B][I]Carolina Panthers +2.5 over Minnesota Vikings[/I][/B]

    If I’m speaking frankly, this is a hunch more than anything. The trends and momentum all favor the Vikings, who will hit the road to play in hostile territory for the third straight game. They’ve proven themselves after outlasting Atlanta last week and Detroit the week prior.

    But eventually the bottom has to fall out with the Vikings. It’s sort of a trend that we see in college football where the top teams keep getting randomly dethroned. However, losing to the Panthers would be anything but random. They’re still a good football team.

    Minnesota has an unbelievably hot 4-0 SU and ATS road record heading in to this game, but it’s just too good to be true at this point. Mike Zimmer has done an incredible job with this squad that’s undeniably worth Coach of the Year consideration. He’s playing with his backup backfield after all. Still, there’s a feeling that the bubble on this team is about to pop.

    Carolina already experienced that awful, bursting sensation when they were throttled by the Saints in Week 13. That’s their tendency this year. The Panthers can pick up huge, rolling victories and follow them up with brutal losses that seem to come out of nowhere. Fortunately, they seem to have thick skin.

    If this game has letdown potential for any team, it’s the Vikings. They’re riding just a bit too high right now and it’s been a long time since they’ve faced a truly great team operating at full capacity. Obviously you can tell from the tone of this section that both team represent good wagers. I just don’t want to be on the wrong side of the levy when the bow breaks for the Vikings.

    [B][I]Los Angeles Chargers -6.0 over Washington Redskins[/I][/B]

    This is a friendly reminder not to be intimidated by this betting line. The Chargers deserve to be favorites for a lot of reasons, most notably that they’re playing playoff worthy football. As for the Washington Redskins, it’s a real dumpster fire these days. This team has just fought uphill against bad management, bad luck and bad injuries.

    Sure, they’ve had plenty of time to recalibrate after taking a beating from Dallas last week but I don’t know if they have the pieces to lay down a solid foundation again. The Chargers have been a piss poor 2-4 ATS at home this year, but are riding a breezy 3-1 SU and ATS run that’s worth cashing in on here.

    [B][I]Oakland Raiders +4.0 over Kansas City Chiefs[/I][/B]

    Could things get any worse for the Chiefs? You bet they can! Kansas City losing a shootout to Josh McCown is a sign of just how predictable and broken the Chiefs have become. As for the Raiders, they absolutely feel like a late blooming onion with their running game thundering downhill thanks to the inevitable explosion of a now-game-ready Marshawn Lynch.

    There are zero elements that are truly trustworthy on either side. Oakland is brutal on the road at 0-3-1 ATS while the Chiefs are horrible overall. All that means is that the line here is far too generous, making the Raiders a surprisingly, phenomenal value play either with the points or on the moneyline.

    [B][I]New York Jets -1.0 over Denver Broncos[/I][/B]

    Nearly four weeks ago, we all panicked that the Jets were no longer a fun betting team. At least I did. Losing to Tampa is usually a bad sign in 2017. However, the Jets have shown some spice with a 35-27 loss to Carolina and a 38-31 steamrolling of Kansas City. This team is putting up some serious points, but they’ve also faced some harsh lines.

    This spread seems absolutely perfect. The Jets in a pick ‘em is a fun play against a Denver team that is 0-8 SU and ATS since their bye week with zero relief in sight. While New York remains one of the delightful surprises of the 2017 NFL betting season, Denver remains the most glaring and unexpected disappointment. I don’t get it either, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth while I’m trying to sort out the mess.

    [B][I]Philadelphia Eagles +2.0 over Los Angeles Rams[/I][/B]

    The Eagles were brought back to earth in a violent manner by the Seattle Seahawks, and now they have to travel out west again to take on the Rams. This is going to be fun. How often do we get the top-two picks from the same year battling it out in games that actually matter?

    This is the game where we find out what Philadelphia is made of. People have made a big deal out of their play-doh schedule, and it turns out that we were right to keep bringing it up. The Eagles have to prove to the world that they’re tougher mentally than most teams that just took a beating and I’m willing to pay to find out.

    The Rams themselves proved to be worthy of conference consideration when they beat New Orleans in a war of attrition 26-20 two weeks ago, and carried through that momentum by beating up on the Cardinals. If there’s one glaring weakness with the Rams, it’s their rushing defence and the Eagles are soaring in to town with three known weapons in Ajayi, Blount and Clement that can do damage.

    Goff and Wentz have both proven to be animals in the pocket, and each have some good weapons. Gurley is by far the deadliest, and a huge reason why the Rams are an unreal 4-2 ATS at home this year, but Wentz has a wider variety. That leaves the Eagles better focused to attack this game with a more decisive game plan.

    As usual, if the Rams are playing a team that is relatively equal then I’m going with the team that has the better quarterback. Right now, that means backing Wentz in a bounce back game for the Eagles.

    Catch up on all the NFL Week 14 action at and get ready for the playoffs with our exciting futures market while you’re at it!


    • Author

    [B][I]SNF – Ravens at Steelers
    December 7, 2017[/I][/B]

    The Baltimore Ravens (7-5 SU, 6-5-1 ATS) stroll into Western Pennsylvania on Sunday night with a three-game winning streak and look to keep their hold on the sixth and final AFC playoff spot. The division leading Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS) have won seven straight, but the last couple victories could have been easily been losses. In three of their past four they have won by exactly three points and they’ve gone 1-3 against the spread during this span.

    Baltimore’s defense leads the NFL in takeaways while Pittsburgh’s offense has the NFL’s top rusher in Le’Veon Bell (1,057 yds) and top wide receiver with Antonio Brown (1,296 yds). The Steelers opened as high as six-point favorites at Las Vegas sports books for this matchup thatis a huge game for both teams.

    The Ravens are fighting for their playoff lives knowing — three games behind Pittsburgh — if they do make the playoffs the journey will begin on the road. So they may as well start getting it done in Pittsburgh, a place they’ve had some success at recently winning two of the last three visits (3-0 ATS). Plus Baltimore has a trio of 6-6 teams (Bills, Chargers, Raiders) nipping at their heels in the AFC playoff race.

    Baltimore’s next three on the schedule after Pittsburgh — at Cleveland, Colts and Bengals — are winnable games they’ll be favored in. If the Ravens can sneak out of Sunday with a win and quarterback Joe Flacco doesn’t lose the game, we all have to seriously start considering the Ravens and their defense as a viable candidate to come out of the AFC and dare I say, win the Super Bowl. We all know that great defenses win Super Bowls and the Baltimore unit has all the credentials to almost making it great.

    Pittsburgh is fighting for home field advantage, tied with New England (10-2). An angle to think about regarding Sunday night’s game is the Steelers getting the Patriots at Heinz Field next week. That stuff is worth much more to the number in college sports as professionals ‘take one game at a time’, but this is a big look-ahead spot that can’t be ignored. However, they also hate the Ravens who they face twice a season.

    The Steelers captured the Week 4 meeting in Baltimore with a 26-9 win as road favorites (-3.5).

    So the question you have to ask yourself this week is whether those recent three-point Pittsburgh wins against very mediocre teams is who they are, or are they just in cruise control and not showing too much of their hand. The Steelers are No. 2 in the NFL with 40 sacks and Flacco isn’t the most graceful under pressure but he’s been sacked only 23 times this season. And this next statement is so cliche, but it’s so true: whoever wins the turnover battle wins the game. Or at least make it a -250 favorite.


    William Hill and Wynn sports books are showing Steelers -6, Caesars Palace is showing -5 and everyone else is -5.5. This is a range of numbers that gives the bookmaker an ability to move fast regardless of threshold because 5 and 5.5 are dead numbers. The question is whether or not books are forced to move past -6 to -6.5. By William Hill and Wynn being there already, they either have money now on the Steelers or they’re certain they’ll be heavy that way by kickoff. The other books want to see the Steelers cash first before moving knowing the public isn’t feeling the Steelers right now after two straight three-point wins and two straight non-covers.

    CG Technology books opened the Steelers -6 for this game back in May. The best current Steelers money-line is -230 at Station Casinos and the best Ravens money-line is +210 at CG Tech and William Hill.

    The total is set at 43.5 at most books.


    In a matter of three weeks, Joe Flacco has seen his QB rating increase up to 77.1 to take him from the No. 31 rating to the No. 28 rating. There are 27 other starting QBs in the league with at least an 80 rating. He hasn’t thrown an interception in his last two games and comes off his best game of the season against the Lions where he threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns. If this were the 1970’s, completing 65 percent for 2,144 yards with 11 TDs and 11 picks wouldn’t be frowned upon like it is now in this fantasy football stat driven era. But to give him some credit, he’s simply doing what head coach John Harbaugh wants and that’s stay conservative. Flacco has fumbled five times, but hasn’t turned it over yet. Roethlisberger has way better numbers, but also has more picks than Flacco with 13. Shaky at first this season, Flacco is doing his job much better lately.


    Pittsburgh has the fourth ranked total defense allowing 294 yards per game and 17.8 points per game while Baltimore is seventh, allowing 311 YPG and 17.3 PPG, but the major differences between the two is the most opportunistic defense and the other not creating what a top-5 defense should, The Ravens lead the league in takeaways with 29 and their 20 interceptions is four more than the next best (Jacksonville and Philadelphia). They’ve only had 15 turnovers (11 picks from Flacco) themselves making their +14 turnover Margin the NFL’s best. Pittsburgh has 17 turnovers and have a -1 turnover ratio, ranking 19th in the league.


    — Baltimore is 10-2 ATS in last 12 vs. AFC North.
    — Baltimore has watched the ‘over’ go 4-1 in its last five road games.

    — Pittsburgh is 12-4 ATS in last 16 December games.
    — Pittsburgh has watched the ‘under’ go 35-17-1 in its past 53 games.


    The Steelers went into Baltimore in Week 4 as a 3.5-point favorite and the total stayed ‘under’ (42). The Steelers jumped out to a 19-0 lead and that was it, basically. They ran Le’Veon Bell 35 times for 144 yards and 2 TDs, which game them 35:29 minutes of possession edge. The Steelers cover was unusual lately in this rivalry. Baltimore is now 4-1-1 ATS in the past six meetings and the ‘under’ is 4-1-1 in those games.

    [B]SUNDAY NIGHT PROPS – per Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook[/B]

    First Score Will Be? Touchdown -145, Any Other Score +125
    Total Completions by Joe Flacco: 21.5
    Total TD Passes & Interceptions Combined by Joe Flacco: 2 OV -140
    Total Rushing yards by Alex Collins: 59.5
    Total Gross Passing yards by Ben Roethlisberger: 264.5
    Total TD passes by Ben Roethlisberger: 2 UN -135
    Total Rushing Yards by LeVeon Bell: 85.5
    Total QB Sacks Both Teams Combined: 4.5


    The Ravens will be the next team to try an avoid the Browns bullet. Some team is eventually going to take a hit by the Browns, likely at Cleveland, before the season is done. With Baltimore’s offense not being so stellar, this would seem like the perfect spot for the Browns to win. On Tuesday, the Westgate SuperBook released their early lines with Baltimore being a 6.5-point favorite at Cleveland. Keep in mind that the Ravens are Cleveland’s worst nightmare every year because the logo reminds all fans that two Super Bowls were won by the team that moved from Cleveland in 1995.

    While the Ravens try to keep their playoff hopes alive — and keep their dignity — in Cleveland, the Steelers get a visit from the Patriots in what could be deemed as the Game of the Year so far. Home field throughout the playoffs is at stake. The Westgate wanted to post the Patriots -3, but instead made them -2.5 -120 to see if any bettor was willing to lay it, and there was. But then someone immediately took +3 -110. The Westgate is now at -3 EV.


    With four games to go and the Steelers having a three-game lead over the Ravens, the AFC North is still not settled yet, but the Westgate thought otherwise and chose not to offer odds on it any more. The Westgate was correct about the order of finish based on odds release in last May with Pittsburgh the 5/8 favorite followed by Baltimore (11/4), Cincinnati (7/2) and Cleveland (100/1).


    The Steelers were supposed to be where they are right now and came in as one of the 10/1 co-second choices to win the Super Bowl along with the Cowboys. They have been bet down to 7/2 odds, which now has them the second favorite behind the Patriots (2/1). The Eagles and Vikings are both 6/1 as the co-third choice to win. The Westgate throught highly of the Ravens coming in to the season and posted them at 25/1 odds. But now, even at 7-5 and control of their playoff destiny, they’re now 80/1 to win it all.


    • Author

    [B][I]december nfl best bets & opinions ( based on 5 units )

    date w-l-t % units record

    12/07/2017 0-2-0 0.00% -11.00
    12/04/2017 0-1-1 0.00% -5.50
    12/03/2017 11-17-0 39.29% -38.50

    best bets:………………….ats……………….. ..units…………………….o/u………………..units

    12/07/2017………………0 – 1…………………-5.50……………………….0 – 1……………..-5.50
    12/03/2017………………0 – 1…………………-5.50……………………….0 – 0………………push
    12/03/2017………………5 – 5…………………-2.50……………………….5 – 5………………-2.50[/I][/B]


    • Author

    [B][I]”We want prime time” – no love shown for Jaguars by TV
    December 8, 2017[/I][/B]

    Standout cornerback Jalen Ramsey believes the Jacksonville Jaguars should be playing in prime time.

    Ramsey expressed frustration that the NFL moved Jacksonville’s game against Seattle from 1 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. Sunday, far from the spotlight of a night game.

    ”That’s (wrong),” Ramsey said. ”If it ain’t 8 o’clock, it don’t matter. I would rather play at 1 than 4:25, but it’s all good. If we’re going to get flexed, we need to get flexed to the night game, you know what I’m saying?

    ”Playing at) 4:25 don’t do nothing for me. It don’t do nothing for anybody on this team.

    ”At the end of the day, we’re kind of like, `Damn.’ We’re balling and they’re a good team coming in here, and we’re still not getting respect.”

    A very small percentage of the country will get to see the matchup of projected No. 5 playoffs seeds on Fox. It will be broadcast in Jacksonville, Orlando and Gainesville in Florida, and throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska as well as half of Montana. An overwhelming majority will get the Philadelphia-Los Angeles Rams game.

    THE MUSIC DIDN’T DIE:[/B] The New York Giants’ coaching change from Ben McAdoo to interim coach Steve Spagnuolo didn’t stop the music at practice. Just the style a bit.

    McAdoo had music playing through most of his practices for his less than two-year tenure. There was a variety of hip hop, club, rap, country and others. Basically, there was something for everyone. His favorite seemed to be country.

    When the team hit the practice field Wednesday with Spagnuolo running the team, the first song was Frank Sinatra singing ”New York, New York.”

    ”You noticed the Sinatra song,” the 57-year-old Spagnuolo said after the workout. ”I did it just to see if the players would know who that was. Some did. Some did not. My dad used to play Frank Sinatra every Sunday morning when we got back from church. It was great. So, I enjoy it. It shifted real quick, didn’t it?”

    Spagnuolo, who coached the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11, will return to the head coaching ranks against Dallas (6-6) at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

    [B]GREEN BAY ”GLITZ'[/B]’ The Green Bay Packers have their own piece of jewelry that goes to a standout player. It’s not nearly as glitzy as the ”Turnover Chain” worn by Miami Hurricanes’ football players.

    The Packers’ ”Rehab Chain” consists of the word ”rehab” printed in bold letters on a piece of cardboard, attached to a piece of white ribbon. Defensive lineman Kenny Clark had it hanging in his locker this week following his standout, two-sack game against Tampa Bay. He had missed the loss against the Steelers the previous week with a high ankle sprain.

    Running back Aaron Jones wore the low-key necklace in the locker room after scoring the winning 20-yard touchdown in overtime to beat the Buccaneers. The rookie had missed the previous two games with a knee injury.

    ”Working hard in rehab, getting back on the field and making the most of it when you get the chance to get out there,” Jones said after the game in describing the chain.

    250 PLUS 250 EQUALS 500:[/B] The Dallas Cowboys, who visit the last-place New York Giants on Sunday, are one win from becoming the 12th NFL team with 500 regular-season victories. And it just so happens Dallas had 250 regular-season wins when Jerry Jones bought the franchise in 1989.

    So yes, it’ll be a milestone for Jones in an eventful few months for the outspoken owner and general manager if it happens in the final four games.

    Tight end Jason Witten, in his 15th season, has been there for 132 of Jones’ wins.

    ”I think anybody that grows up a fan of this game respects the tradition of what the Cowboys are,” Witten said. ”Certainly when Mr. Jones came, he had a lot of challenges in front of him. They don’t give away wins in this league. You earn every one of them.”

    Chicago and Green Bay are the only franchises with at least 700 wins.

    [B]CAPTURE THE FLAG:[/B] The American Flag Football League will have some NFL star power for its inaugural season-long tournament.

    The league announced this week that three of the four pro teams in the tournament will have Michael Vick, Chad Johnson and Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk as captains. The fourth team will have an ”outside the box” tandem as captains. The rosters for those teams will be selected in a draft in 2018.

    Registration has also begun for the 1,024-team ”America’s bracket.” Those teams will take part in a single elimination 7-on-7 flag football tournament starting in March, ending with a winner-take-all final for $1 million in July between the top pro team and the best from America’s bracket.

    Among the players participating are former NBA slam dunk champion and college football player Nate Robinson, who will be on a pro team.

    Teams will need to have a roster of between seven and 12 players and a player who loses in the first round will be able to sign as a free agent with another team later in the tournament. Teams that win their first two games get their $99 entry fee back.


    • Author

    [B][I]We’ll learn plenty about NFL playoff contenders this week
    December 7, 2017[/I][/B]

    Call it ”December Definition.”

    We’ll learn plenty about the various playoff contenders this week when the Eagles visit the Rams, the Vikings take on the Panthers, the Seahawks meet the Jaguars, the Raiders are at the Chiefs, and the Ravens head to Pittsburgh.

    The Eagles, Rams, Jaguars, Vikings and Steelers all have ways of clinching postseason berths. So do the Patriots, who visit Miami.

    [B]Most intriguing might be Philadelphia (10-2) at Los Angeles (9-3).[/B]

    The Eagles had their nine-game winning streak snapped at Seattle, then stayed out west trying to figure out why an offense that had been dominant was shut down. Now they take on the Rams, with an equally dangerous offense and, like Philly, a division leader.

    ”I think sometimes … winning can kind of cover up or mask some things, some deficiencies,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. ”A little chink in your armor, if there is any. And coaches and players fall into the same boat sometimes. We need games where we get hit in the mouth and we have to fight and battle and scratch. … You just have to understand that there’s no substitute for the preparation and the hard work.”

    The coolest of matchups has Rams QB Jared Goff , the top selection in the 2016 draft, against Eagles QB Carson Wentz, who went second overall that year. Both have matured rapidly, sparking turnarounds that could lead to, well, the Super Bowl.

    [B]A Philadelphia win gives it the NFC East title. So does a Dallas loss.

    Should the Rams win, a complicated formula gives them a playoff spot.[/B]

    The pivotal week began Thursday night with the Atlanta Falcans’ 20-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints that set up a three-way race for the NFC South title. Deion Jones made a leaping interception in the end zone with 1:25 remaining for the Falcons (8-5) after Drew Brees drove the Saints (9-4) to the Atlanta 11.

    [B]Minnesota (10-2) at Carolina (8-4)[/B]

    The Vikings haven’t gotten to the top of the NFC the easy way. They’ve already played New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Atlanta, Green Bay and the Rams – none of which has a losing record. Most of those teams will make the playoffs.

    Now, a trip to Carolina, which also is in the NFC mix. A victory in Charlotte, with Cincinnati, Green Bay and Chicago remaining, would stamp the Vikings as a conference favorite. And remember, the Super Bowl will be played in Minneapolis in February.

    The Panthers must improve late in games: Carolina has been outscored 75-58 in fourth quarter. They are hopeful that standout tight end Greg Olsen can contribute more in his return from a broken foot.
    Baltimore (7-5) at Pittsburgh (10-2)[/B]

    Pittsburgh’s victory over Cincinnati on Monday night was brutal, marred by malicious hits, launching and taunting on both sides. Now, the Steelers get their biggest rival in what always has been a physical affair.

    ”When you play Baltimore you are going to get your head knocked off, they’re going to knock your head off, you’re going to try to knock theirs off, but you’re going to help them up and respect it, and say `Hey great job, let’s go at it again,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says.

    The Steelers need to step up their game, despite having won seven in a row. They are barely getting by inferior opponents, and the Ravens – no matter the situation – are always dangerous for Pittsburgh. Preventing the Steelers from winning the AFC North is almost as prime a goal for Baltimore as remaining in front for a wild-card berth.

    [B]Seattle (8-4) at Jacksonville (8-4)

    Tennessee (8-4) at Arizona (5-7)

    The AFC South race, with a huge dose of NFC West.[/B]

    Tennessee holds the tiebreaker right now over Jacksonville, but the teams finish off the schedule against each other. The Titans are the only franchise never to have played at University of Phoenix Stadium. In their visit Sunday, they bring a potent running game of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, who’s coming off his second career 100-yard rushing game, including a 75-yard run against Houston.

    Tennessee hasn’t allowed an opponent to run for more than 100 yards in eight straight games, the longest streak in NFL this season, which doesn’t bode well for Arizona’s Adrian Peterson.

    Jacksonville has a much tougher task, even at home. Although Seattle has some key injuries in its secondary, the defense has stepped up and shut down Philadelphia last week. The offense, as sensational QB Russell Wilson states his case for league MVP, has been dynamic, particularly now that TE Jimmy Graham has become a major force.

    With a series of occurrences, the Jags can clinch a playoff spot.

    [B]Oakland (6-6) at Kansas City (6-6)

    Washington (5-7) at Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)[/B]

    If it’s not the best rivalry in pro football, Raiders-Chiefs is top three. That it has so much meaning Sunday is like adding a tasty dessert to some delicious Kansas City BBQ.

    Raiders coach Jack Del Rio explains the AFC West situation best.

    ”There’s a better feel when you’re winning and doing things well. For us, it’s about the next game,” Del Rio says. ”We went through, we had our stretch. … The Chargers had theirs the first four games. We had ours, four in a row after winning two. The Chiefs have had a little bit of a spell. Yet we all sit here at 6-6 with an opportunity.

    ”Which team takes the most advantage of that opportunity is sitting there?”

    Lately, that team has looked like LA. And they get perhaps the most injury-ruined squad in the league in the Redskins, who have lost five of seven.

    The Chargers have racked up more than 400 yards in three straight games while outscoring opponents 101-40.

    Philip Rivers has completed 72 percent of his passes for 1,029 yards, six TDs, no interceptions in the past three weeks. Keenan Allen became the first player in NFL history with 10-plus catches for 100-plus yards and at least one TD in three straight games.

    [B]New England (10-2) at Miami (5-7), Monday night[/B]

    If the Patriots haven’t secured their ninth straight AFC East crown by kickoff time – a Buffalo loss does the trick on Sunday – they are heavily favored to get the clincher here.

    One main reason: the Patriots are plus-9 in turnover differential, fourth best in the NFL. The Dolphins are minus-10, third worst.

    The Patriots have won eight games in a row, and though Rob Gronkowski will be serving a one-game suspension for a late, gratuitous hit to the head of Bills defensive back Tre’Davious White, Tom Brady isn’t likely to miss him much.

    Miami RB Kenyan Drake had a breakout game last week with 120 yards rushing, and New England is allowing 5.1 yards per rush, worst in the league.

    [B]Green Bay (6-6) at Cleveland (0-12)[/B]

    The house-cleaning has begun in Cleveland with the firing on Thursday of vice president Sashi Brown. There’s little reason to think that – or anything else – will lead to a Browns victory against a Packers team holding out hope of reach wild-card status.

    Green Bay should get back star quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) next week, and if it doesn’t stumble here, the team will give Cheeseheads some hope for the final three weeks.

    [B]Indianapolis (3-9) at Buffalo (6-6)[/B]

    Two banged-up teams whose best remaining options are their running backs.

    Indeed, Indy’s Frank Gore and Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy are worthy of top billing. Gore leads the active list and last weekend moved into fifth place overall with 13,697 yards rushing. McCoy is third on the active list and 31st overall with 9,805 yards.

    With Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (bruised left knee) uncertain, rookie Nate Peterman could get his second start. All anyone needs to know about his first one: Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half.

    [B]Dallas (6-6) at New York Giants (2-10)[/B]

    A classic matchup with little significance this year.

    Dallas finally won without suspended star running back Ezekiel Elliott when it beat Washington, but making a playoff push is a long shot in the rugged NFC. A loss would cap a bad week for owner Jerry Jones, whose fight to delay Commissioner Roger Goodell’s new contract was fruitless.

    Eli Manning gets his job back – how insulting was the way his starting string ended? – now that Steve Spagnuolo has replaced the fired Ben McAdoo as coach.

    Big days for tight ends Jason Witten of Dallas and rookie Evan Engram of New York could be on tap.
    Detroit (6-6) at Tampa Bay (4-8)[/B]

    Opponents can pass on Tampa Bay, and that’s about all the Lions can do. But with QB Matthew Stafford’s health (hand) uncertain, counting on Detroit’s attack makes little sense. Detroit has won three of the past four meetings.

    Key matchup figures to be Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans against cornerback Darius Slay, who is tied for the NFC lead with 15 passes defensed. Evans has been better at home than on the road recently with 696 receiving yards and seven TDs over his past nine at Raymond James Stadium.

    [B]New York Jets (5-7) at Denver (3-9)[/B]

    Denver has been on a Rocky Mountain low for two months, dropping eight consecutive games. With an inept offense, the defense has gotten worn down, but it does get back CB Aqib Talib from a one-game suspension.

    The Jets play everyone tough, and will have a say in the AFC West outcome. They defeated Kansas City last Sunday and still must play the Chargers.

    [B]Chicago (3-9) at Cincinnati (5-7)[/B]

    Other than Cleveland, the Bears might be the NFL’s worst side. They have the NFL’s lowest-ranked offense, have lost five in a row – they haven’t dropped more than five straight since a 2002 eight-game slide – and John Fox has a 12-32 record for a franchise-worst .273 winning percentage, in three seasons coaching the Bears.

    After the Bengals blew a game they led most of the way on Monday night to Pittsburgh, their postseason chances appear gone. Not that they have been playing poorly lately. Consider that Andy Dalton hasn’t thrown an interception since an Oct. 22 loss at Pittsburgh, 176 attempts.
    San Francisco (2-10) at Houston (4-8)[/B]

    Only the fourth meeting of these clubs, and it has little meaning.

    San Francisco has won two of its past three, and has its likely future QB, Jimmy Garoppolo, running things. He threw for 293 yards last week to set a franchise record for most yards passing in a first start with the team.

    The one guy who’s fun to watch in this is Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins. He’s tied for the NFL lead with nine TD receptions and has a TD catch in six straight home games.


    • Author

    [B][I]Pain, no gain, for Saints
    December 8, 2017[/I][/B]

    ATLANTA — The New Orleans Saints have a nine-day break before hosting the New York Jets on Dec. 17, and the NFC South leaders will need all that time and maybe more.

    New Orleans lost player after player in Thursday night’s 20-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

    The Saints also found themselves in controversy after the game when coach Sean Payton was accused of giving the choke sign to Falcons running back Devonta Freeman in the fourth quarter.

    “That man don’t know nothing about choking,” Freeman said. “He ain’t from where I’m from. He don’t know about choking.”

    Asked if he made a gesture, Payton said: “I don’t remember that.”

    Alvin Kamara, the Saints’ standout rookie running back, suffered a concussion on the game’s opening series and things just got worse from there for New Orleans.

    The casualty list included three defensive starters. Linebacker A.J. Klein (groin), defensive end Trey Hendrickson (ankle) and strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (groin) were all lost in the first half.

    Without the three starters, the Saints defense wore down in the second half against the Falcons, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.

    The offensive line was also a trouble spot for the Saints. With starting left guard Andrus Peat (groin) sidelined coming into the game, the Saints were down to his second replacement when Senio Kelemete suffered a second-quarter concussion.

    Josh LeRideus, a backup center, filled in and didn’t line up correctly, drawing a penalty that wiped out a Saints field goal on the final play of the first half.

    Wide receivers Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr., running back Mark Ingram, tight end Josh Hill and defensive tackle David Onyemata also were shaken up. Corner back Marshon Lattimore needed oxygen on the sideline several times.

    Kamara was hurt when he caught a pass for a 4-yard loss and his helmet collided with Falcons linebacker Deion Jones.

    Kamara came into the game with 1,220 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns, rushing for 606 yards and 614 yards receiving. He had touchdowns in five straight games.


    [B][I]Drew Brees goes for the win, and winds up losing the game
    December 8, 2017[/I][/B]

    ATLANTA (AP) Drew Brees went for the win.

    He wound up with a loss.

    Brees’ pass in the end zone was picked off by Falcons linebacker Deion Jones, who made a soaring grab with 1:25 remaining to preserve Atlanta’s 20-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.

    Brees has made a lot of great throws in his 17-year career.

    This is one he wanted back.

    ”It wasn’t worth taking the risk,” Brees said. ”I should have checked down. It’s unfortunate.”

    Give some credit to Jones. Isolated on tight end Josh Hill, he leaped as high as he could, reached up even higher to grab the ball and managed to hang on even when he landed flat on his back.

    ”I pretty much had the tight end by myself,” Jones said. ”He looked back, I looked back and the ball was right there.”

    The Saints offense took a huge blow on its first possession. Rookie sensation Alvin Kamara took a shot to the helmet – from Jones, no less – and staggered off the field with a concussion.

    That deprived Brees of a backfield duo that has been a huge part of his success this season. With Mark Ingram forced to carry the load on his own, New Orleans largely abandoned one of the league’s top running games.

    The Saints finished with just 50 yards on the ground – their lowest output of the season and breaking a streak of eight straight games with more than 100 yards. Brees was 26 of 35 for 271 yards and a pair of touchdown passes .

    ”Every loss is frustrating,” said Ingram, who had 12 carries for 49 yards. ”Especially when you have control of the game and don’t finish it.”

    The Saints’ last possession had plenty of key moments.

    Brees connected with Michael Thomas on a 35-yard pass that quickly pushed New Orleans across midfield. On second-and-1 at the Atlanta 24, Ingram was stuffed for no gain. Then Brees threw an incompletion, and the Saints were also flagged for holding.

    Instead of backing New Orleans up 10 yards, Falcons coach Dan Quinn declined the penalty. He figured the Saints would take the field goal, but coach Sean Payton decided to go for it on fourth down. Brees dove into the line on a sneak and picked up the first down, putting his team in good opposition to pull out the win.

    Ted Ginn Jr. hauled in an 11-yard pass, hanging on to the ball despite a vicious hit by Ricardo Allen.

    A short pass to Willie Snead IV failed to gain anything, setting up the decisive play of the game.

    Brees was thinking touchdown.

    Jones had other ideas, preventing the Saints (9-4) from building a three-game lead over the Falcons (8-5) with three weeks left in the regular season.

    While Atlanta may have saved its season, New Orleans persevered through a rash of injuries that are sure to raise more outrage about playing games on Thursday nights.

    The Saints lost not only Kamara, but an offensive lineman and three defensive starters.

    In the end, it was too much to overcome.

    ”Proud of our guys,” Payton said. ”I’ve never seen anything like it.”


    [B][I]Falcons’ Deion Jones saves his best for the Saints
    December 8, 2017[/I][/B]

    ATLANTA (AP) Deion Jones can’t wait to face the New Orleans Saints again in two weeks.

    The Falcons’ standout middle linebacker keeps putting up impressive numbers against his hometown team, and he made the play of the game in a 20-17 win Thursday night over the Saints.

    Jones was playing man coverage in the closing minutes on tight end Josh Hill when he leapt high in the end zone, intercepted Drew Brees’ pass with both hands and closed his eyes as he began falling backward for a big thud against the turf.

    ”Once I realized I had it, I knew it was going to be a long way down,” Jones said with a smile. ”I felt my feet in the air and I just wanted to hold onto it. I wanted to get up with the ball. I didn’t want to see myself fall. I really didn’t.”

    For Jones, it was just another great game against the Saints.

    Jones, who grew up in New Orleans and starred at LSU, has been on the other side of the fence since the Falcons drafted him in the second round last year. In three career games against the Saints – all victories – he has 20 solo tackles, 28 stops overall, five pass breakups and two picks.

    In his first game against New Orleans last year, he returned an interception 90 yards at the Superdome.

    His pick Thursday sealed a big win for the Falcons (8-5) and kept the Saints (9-4) from holding a tighter grip on the NFC South lead.

    ”We just have to keep stacking ’em, coming out and playing with that fire,” Jones said. ”No telling what might happen.”

    Saints coach Sean Payton appeared to taunt Devonta Freeman with a choking gesture, holding his hand at his neck and yelling, ”Choke!” after the Falcons running back was stopped for no gain at the New Orleans sideline early in the fourth quarter.

    Payton said after the game that he didn’t remember doing it. Freeman, who scored the game’s first touchdown earlier in the game , had no trouble recalling it.

    ”I saw it,” Freeman said. ”That man don’t know nothing about choking. He ain’t from where I’m from. He’s a good competitor so the competing probably came out, but you don’t let that bother you. He don’t know nothing about choking.”

    The Falcons know a little something about it. They blew a 28-3 lead to lose the Super Bowl last season.

    Payton’s apparent taunt didn’t slow them Thursday, though. They kept the drive going three more plays before quarterback Matt Ryan hooked up with Mohamed Sanu for an 8-yard touchdown.

    Payton has lost three straight to the Falcons for the first time since taking charge of the Saints in 2006.


    Ryan looked nothing like last year’s MVP, throwing three interceptions in a span of nine plays and making some uncharacteristically bad decisions with the football.

    At least Ryan got the offense back to scoring touchdowns. They went without a TD in last week’s loss to Minnesota, marking the first time that didn’t happen since they lost 38-0 at Carolina in 2015. But the pass he underthrew to Julio Jones in the end zone early in the third quarter was one he’d like to forget .

    The only thing good about it was New Orleans had to punt five plays later.

    ”On the third one in the end zone, you want to give Julio opportunities, and I didn’t throw the ball nearly high enough where it needed to be,” Ryan said.

    Ryan wasn’t alone. Brees was disappointed in himself for the game-ending pick.

    ”Yeah, I shouldn’t have thrown it,” Brees said. ”They made a nice play. It wasn’t worth the risk right there, especially when you know that you have points. It’s not like you have to have a touchdown to tie. We could have kicked the field goal since we had points. I’m just disappointed in the result there. I should not have taken that chance.”

    The Saints have a long list of injuries and will need the next eight days to heal up.

    They had five players leave the game and not return. The biggest loss was dual-threat running back Alvin Kamara, who was lost to a concussion in the first quarter. The offense also lost left guard Senio Kelemete, who was filling in for starter Andrus Peat, to a concussion.

    Three starters on defense – linebacker A.J. Klein (groin), right end Trey Hendrickson (ankle) and strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (groin) – left the game in severe pain.

    On the last drive, running back Mark Ingram, receiver Michael Thomas and receiver Ted Ginn Jr. each absorbed hard hits . Ingram and Thomas came back in.

    [B]HE’S BACK
    Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant missed last week’s game with a concussion, but he made an immediate impact on the opening drive, batting down what would’ve been a touchdown pass to Michael Thomas in the end zone.


    [B][I]Brees on injuries: ‘100 percent a product of playing on Thursday night’
    December 8, 2017[/I][/B]

    The New Orleans Saints lost six players to injuries during a 20-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons and quarterback Drew Brees sounded off after the game, saying the reason is “100 percent a product of playing on Thursday night.”

    New Orleans lost player after player throughout the game and they did not return: running back Alvin Kamara and guard Senio Kelemete with concussions; linebacker A.J. Klein and safety Kenny Vaccaro with groin injuries; defensive end Trey Hendrickson with an ankle injury; and wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. with an unspecified injury.

    Brees voiced his opposition to playing NFL games on Thursday night with short rest.

    “It’s 100 percent a product of playing on Thursday night,” Brees told reporters after the game. “Do you understand what guys’ bodies go through in a game? And then to have to turn around four days later and to play? Look at the injury studies: They’re off the charts. They’re off the charts. So is this smart as it pertains to guys’ health and safety? No, absolutely not.”

    Four other Saints players left briefly with injuries but returned to the game.

    Brees joins a growing list of NFL players who have spoken out against “Thursday Night Football.”

    “I can sit here and tell you that no player likes putting himself at risk on four days’ rest, to come and put their bodies through what they put them through in a game,” Brees said. “So you hope that it’s addressed (this offseason), you hope that it’s talked about and you hope that something is done about it.

    “When you see guys go down, when you lose guys for what you think is unnecessary just because you put ’em at a much higher risk in such a quick turnaround, that gets you upset.”

    Saints coach Sean Payton was asked after the game why he thinks there were so many injuries.

    “What do you guys think? Seriously, speak up,” Payton said. “What do you guys think? Why do you think there were so many injuries tonight? Anyone?”


    • Author

    [B][I]Steelers LB Shazier undergoes surgery
    December 7, 2017[/I][/B]

    Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery Wednesday night on the heels of the injury he sustained earlier in the week, the team announced Thursday.

    “(University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) neurosurgeons and Pittsburgh Steelers team physicians Drs. David Okonkwo and Joseph Maroon performed spinal stabilization surgery on Ryan Shazier to address his spinal injury,” the Steelers’ statement said.

    The team initially said that Shazier, 25, would not require surgery.

    The Steelers have not released any information about whether Shazier has any movement in his legs, or whether he is expected to make a recovery.

    A Pro Bowl selection last season, Shazier was injured during Monday’s 23-20 win versus Cincinnati while making a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone with 11:14 remaining in the first quarter. Shazier hit Malone low with his shoulder pads, then immediately reached for his back while his legs remained motionless.

    Shazier was transferred from University of Cincinnati Medical Center to the Pittsburgh hospital on Wednesday.

    He leads the team in tackles (89), interceptions (three) and pass deflections (11) this season.

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