cnotes Posts:33421 Followers:38
11/23/2011 12:24 AM

Inside the Numbers - Week 12

November 22, 2011

Thursday, Nov. 24 (12:30 p.m. ET)
Matchup Inside the Numbers

GB: 7-2 ATS L9 away
GB: 4-1 ATS L5 at DET
DET: 10-3 ATS L13 home
DET: 6-3 ATS L9 vs division

Thursday, Nov. 24 (4:15 p.m. ET)
Matchup Inside the Numbers

MIA: 17-7 ATS L24 away underdog
MIA: 5-2 ATS L7 vs NFC
DAL: 5-0 ATS L5 Thanksgiving
DAL: 3-8 ATS L11 home favorite

Thursday, Nov. 24 (8:20 p.m. ET)
Matchup Inside the Numbers

SFO: 5-2 ATS L7 vs AFC
SFO: 6-3 ATS L9 away
BAL: 4-7 ATS L11 off division game
BAL: 7-3 ATS L10 home vs non-division

Sunday, Nov. 27 (1:00 p.m. ET)
Matchup Inside the Numbers

ARZ: 1-7 ATS L8 vs division
ARZ: 4-8 ATS L12 away underdog
STL: 3-11 ATS L14 overall
STL: 6-14 ATS L20 vs division

BUF: 2-5-1 ATS L8 away
BUF: 3-8 ATS L11 vs division
NYJ: 3-5 ATS L8 off loss
NYJ: 8-4 ATS L12 vs division

CLE: 2-5 ATS L7 vs division
CLE: 7-4 ATS L11 off win
CIN: 2-10 ATS L12 home favorite
CIN: 5-1 ATS L6 vs opp off win

HOU: 4-7 ATS L11 away
HOU: 1-4 ATS L5 off bye
JAX: 5-3 ATS L8 home
JAX: 5-2 ATS L7 home vs division

CAR: 2-8 ATS L10 away
CAR: 3-7 ATS L10 vs AFC
IND: 2-8 ATS L10 home
IND: 3-5 ATS L8 vs NFC

TB: 3-9-1 ATS L13 vs AFC
TB: 2-9 ATS L11 off away loss
TEN: 6-3-1 ATS L10 vs NFC
TEN: 5-7 ATS L12 home

MIN: 4-2 ATS L6 off home loss
MIN: 3-7-1 ATS L11 away underdog
ATL: 6-3-1 ATS L10 home favorite
ATL: 8-4 ATS L12 off AFC game

Sunday, Nov. 27 (4:05 p.m. ET)
Matchup Inside the Numbers

CHI: 5-3-1 ATS L9 vs AFC
CHI: 6-3 ATS L9 away underdog
OAK: 6-1 'under' L7 home vs NFC
OAK: 4-1 ATS L5 off away win

WSH: 2-4 ATS L6 away vs non-division
WSH: 5-10-2 ATS L17 off home loss
SEA: 5-2 ATS L7 home favorite
SEA: 3-6 ATS L9 off division game

Sunday, Nov. 27 (4:15 p.m. ET)
Matchup Inside the Numbers

NE: 4-2 ATS L6 away vs NFC
NE: 5-1 'under' L6 off Monday game
PHI: 1-6 ATS L7 off ATS win
PHI: 2-5 ATS L7 home

DEN: 4-2 ATS L6 away underdog
DEN: 4-8 ATS L12 vs division
SDG: 3-5 ATS L8 home vs division
SDG: 1-5 ATS L6 off away loss

Sunday, Nov. 27 (8:20 p.m. ET)
Matchup Inside the Numbers

PIT: 4-1 ATS L5 off bye
PIT: 1-5 ATS L6 away vs non-division
KC: 6-0 ATS L6 off away game
KC: 4-1 ATS L5 home underdog

Monday, Nov. 28 (8:35 p.m. ET)
Matchup Inside the Numbers

NYG: 4-6 ATS L10 away underdog
NYG: 5-2 ATS L7 away vs non-division
NOR: 7-1 ATS L8 home favorite
NOR: 5-1 'over' L6 off bye

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33421 Followers:38
11/23/2011 12:26 AM

Week 12 Preview: Packers at Lions



Kickoff: Thursday, 12:30 p.m. EDT
Line: Green Bay -5.5, Total: 55.5

Detroit is hoping to end two long streaks on Thanksgiving Day when it hosts Green Bay. The Packers have won 16 straight games and the Lions have suffered seven straight losses (SU and ATS) on the November holiday.

The Lions haven’t come within 11 points in any of their Thanksgiving defeats. But the good news is that Green Bay allowed 455 yards of offense to Tampa Bay last week while the Lions hung 49 points on Carolina. Also, they beat the Packers at home in a defensive struggle last year, 7-3. That game gets an asterisk because QB Aaron Rodgers left with a concussion late in the first half, but the Lions had held him to 46 passing yards and no points when he left, and third-string QB Drew Stanton was the Lions’ starter. Both of these teams have been highly profitable bets over the past two seasons, as Green Bay is 20-10 ATS (67%) and Detroit is even better at 18-6 ATS (75%). And the Lions are a stellar 14-5 ATS (74%) against NFC teams over this same span. The Packers may win a tight game, but expect DETROIT to cover the spread.

The FoxSheets provide this pair of three-star trends supporting the Lions:

DETROIT is 8-0 ATS (+8.0 Units) off 2 or more consecutive Overs over the last 2 seasons. The average score was DETROIT 24.9, OPPONENT 21.8 - (Rating = 3*).

Play On - Underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (DETROIT) - after going over the total by more than 28 points in their previous game, in the second half of the season. (33-10 since 1983.) (76.7%, +22 units. Rating = 3*).

Green Bay is 9-1 SU (7-3 ATS) in the past 10 meetings with Detroit, and Rodgers has been a big part of that with 262 passing YPG, 14 TD and 4 INT in his six career games in this series. And nobody has been better than Rodgers this season, or possibly ever, as he has thrown for 317 passing YPG with 31 TD and just 4 INT. With the Packers’ top running back, James Starks, questionable with a sprained knee, Green Bay might not be able to take advantage of Detroit’s 27th-ranked run defense (135 YPG allowed).

Although Rodgers is playing on another level, the Lions are fifth in the NFL in passing defense (193 YPG) and tied for second in the league with 15 interceptions. If their front four can put the pressure on Rodgers, Detroit has enough playmakers to ruin Green Bay’s Thanksgiving. The Lions have done a great job creating turnovers recently with 12 takeaways in the past five weeks.

Detroit QB Matthew Stafford is coming off a monster game against Carolina, throwing for 335 yards and 5 TD. However, he also threw two interceptions, giving him six in the past two games. Stafford also threw four picks the only time he faced Green Bay in 2009. And considering the Packers defense leads the league with 19 interceptions, Stafford must make smart decisions throwing the football. But the Packers have been exposed in the passing game all year, allowing the second-most yards in the NFL (289 passing YPG).

The Lions won’t likely have top RB Jahvid Best (concussion) back on the field, but they will have Kevin Smith who is coming off a brilliant performance against Carolina. Smith rushed for 140 yards on just 16 carries (8.8 YPC) and caught four passes for 61 more yards, reaching the end zone three times. Smith has not found a lot of running room against Green Bay in the past though, gaining just 248 yards on 74 carries (3.4 YPC) with one touchdown in five career meetings with the Pack, all ending in Detroit losses.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33421 Followers:38
11/23/2011 12:30 AM

Week 12 Preview: Dolphins at Cowboys



Kickoff: Thursday, 4:15 p.m. EDT
Line: Dallas -6.5, Total: 44

The Dolphins seek their fourth win in a row when they spend Thanksgiving in Dallas, winners of three straight.

Miami has three consecutive double-digit wins, beating its opponents by a hefty 86-20 margin during the win streak. And over the past two years, the Dolphins have played better football on the road than at home—they’re 8-5 ATS (62%) outside of Miami over the past two seasons. Dallas has a habit of playing down to its opponent, as evidenced by the team’s 3-12-1 ATS record (20%) as a favorite over the past two years. The pick here is MIAMI to cover the spread.

This three-star FoxSheets trend also sides with the Dolphins:

Play Against - Favorites of 3.5 to 10 points (DALLAS) - a marginal winning team (51% to 60%) playing a losing team in the second half of the season. (31-8 over the last 5 seasons.) (79.5%, +22.2 units. Rating = 3*).

Miami has played nine straight games Under the total and this three-star FoxSheets trend also backs the UNDER on Thursday:

MIAMI is 38-13 UNDER (74.5%, +23.7 Units) when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 60% to 75%) in the second half of the season since 1992. The average score was MIAMI 17.0, OPPONENT 20.3 - (Rating = 3*).

The Dolphins recent surge has much to do with QB Matt Moore making a number of big plays. He was 14-of-20 for 160 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT in last week’s 35-8 trouncing of Buffalo. The Cowboys have used some creative defensive looks under first-year coordinator Rob Ryan, and they’ve managed to confuse opposing offenses on several occasions. But Miami has been balanced on offense, out-rushing three of their past four opponents with the duo of Reggie Bush and rookie Daniel Thomas. Bush has been able to rack up some huge gains in three career games versus Dallas, rushing for 8.4 yards per carry and adding nine catches for 154 yards (17.1 avg). Dolphins star WR Brandon Marshall had only one reception last week, but he expects to bounce back against a Dallas secondary still missing starting cornerback Mike Jenkins (hamstring).

The Cowboys are 5-0 ATS the last five times they’ve been favored on Thanksgiving Day, and they have the offense to exploit a suspect Miami pass defense, even with their best receiver shelved in Miles Austin (hamstring). With their lack of quality depth in the secondary, the Dolphins will have trouble matching up against a multi-faceted Cowboys passing attack that saw five players catch at least three passes in last week’s overtime win in Washington. QB Tony Romo threw for 292 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT against the Redskins, giving him a 69% completion rate, 841 passing yards (280 YPG), 8 TD and 0 INT during the three-game win streak. Romo needs another big afternoon considering the Dolphins have been so stingy against the run, allowing just 276 yards (69 YPG) on 3.0 yards per carry in the past four games. DeMarco Murray is having a huge rookie season (747 rushing yards, 6.0 YPC), but was held to 73 yards on 25 carries (2.9 YPC) last week.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33421 Followers:38
11/23/2011 12:31 AM

Week 12 Preview: 49ers at Ravens



Kickoff: Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EDT
Line: Baltimore -3, Total: 38.5

The Harbaugh brothers will spend Thanksgiving together as John Harbaugh’s Ravens host Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers on Thursday night.

The Niners just keep paying out. They’re 9-0-1 ATS in 2011, and that in and of itself is a five-star FoxSheets Power Trend (average score has been San Francisco 25.6, Opponent 14.5). The Ravens, meanwhile, have repeatedly shown up unprepared, letting games slip away to Seattle and Jacksonville, and nearly getting upended by Arizona in Week 8 and Cincinnati last week. LB Ray Lewis (toe) may miss a second straight game, which would be bad news against the 49ers’ power running game. And San Francisco’s elite defense should have little trouble shutting down erratic QB Joe Flacco. Take underdog SAN FRANCISCO as the pick here.

The FoxSheets provide another trend steering bettors away from the Ravens:

Play Against - Home favorites (BALTIMORE) - after a game where they forced 3 or more turnovers against opponent after 2 consecutive games with a turnover margin of +1 or better. (134-84 since 1983.) (61.5%, +41.6 units. Rating = 2*).

San Francisco makes no secret of the fact that they want to run, run, run, and the Ravens could be in for a long night with LB Ray Lewis (toe) questionable after having missed the game against the Bengals. The Ravens had held six straight opponents to less than four yards per carry, before Cincinnati was able to reach that mark on Sunday (119 yards on 30 carries). Niners RB Frank Gore has been bothered by a knee injury in the past two weeks, but he has been a beast on the road this year, averaging a hefty 6.3 yards per carry. Rookie backup Kendall Hunter has also been successful rushing the football with a strong 4.4 YPC average. If the 49ers have to throw the football, QB Alex Smith has proven he is capable, carrying a 93.9 QB rating (7th-best in NFL) with 13 TD and 4 INT. San Francisco takes great care of the football with a league-low-tying nine turnovers this season, and has posted a stellar +9 turnover margin in the past four games. However, Baltimore leads the AFC with 21 takeaways on defense.

The Ravens have been tough at home this year, and Flacco has been much more comfortable there (7.6 YPA at home, 5.9 YPA on road). He’s at least capable of making plays against a 49ers pass defense allowing 249 YPG (23rd in NFL). Rookie WR Torrey Smith (20.3 yards per reception) has really come on strong in the past few weeks, racking up a season-high 165 yards last Sunday against Cincinnati. And although the Niners lead the league in rushing defense (74 YPG), Baltimore RB Ray Rice remains one of the NFL’s most unique playmakers. Rice has a pedestrian 237 rushing yards in the past four weeks, but has scored six rushing TD and added another 176 yards receiving in this span. For the year, Rice has 1,176 total yards and 10 touchdowns.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33421 Followers:38
11/23/2011 12:34 AM

Week 12 Preview: Bears at Raiders



Kickoff: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Chicago -1.5, Total: 46

Chicago goes for its sixth consecutive win when it travels to Oakland, but it won’t be easy to keep the streak alive without its starting quarterback.

Jay Cutler was playing the best football of his Bears career, but a broken thumb has knocked him out for at least six weeks. Backup Caleb Hanie, who has thrown just 14 passes in the regular season in his career, gets the start. Although he has a great running back to rely on in Matt Forte, the Bears have rushed for only 202 yards on 3.0 YPC in the past two games, while Oakland has 353 yards on 4.3 YPC in this same span, winning both of these contests on the road. In the past two years, the Raiders are 9-2 ATS when the total is between 42.5 and 49 points, giving more ammunition for underdog OAKLAND to win on Sunday.

This pair of FoxSheets trends gives two more reasons to fade the Bears:

CHICAGO is 1-10 ATS (9.1%, -10.0 Units) in road games versus excellent offensive teams - averaging >=6 yards/play in the second half of the season since 1992. The average score was CHICAGO 11.2, OPPONENT 30.0 - (Rating = 2*).

CHICAGO is 4-16 ATS (20.0%, -13.6 Units) after scoring 25 points or more in 2 straight games since 1992. The average score was CHICAGO 19.0, OPPONENT 23.3 - (Rating = 2*).

The Bears have played three straight games Over the Total, and this five-star FoxSheets trend expects the OVER to occur again on Sunday.

Play Over - Any team against the total (OAKLAND) - after covering the spread in 4 or 5 out of their last 6 games against opponent after covering the spread in 5 or 6 out of their last 7 games. (67-16 over the last 5 seasons.) (80.7%, +49.4 units. Rating = 5*).

Oakland also lost its starting QB Jason Campbell (collarbone) last month and his replacement, Carson Palmer, is slowly getting comfortable with his new offense. After completing less than half of his passes with 6 INT in his first two starts, Palmer has connected on 72% of his attempts with 3 TD and just 1 INT in his past two games. He could have a big afternoon against Chicago’s weak pass defense that is allowing the third-most yards in the league this year (271 YPG). The Raiders have also been without their best offensive player, RB Darren McFadden, for the past four weeks as he has battled a foot injury. But Michael Bush has been a stellar backup with 461 rushing yards in these four games. He’ll be tested though against a strong Bears run-stop unit surrendering just 101 YPG (10th in NFL). The Chicago defense has had success bottling up speed, scoring a comfortable road win over the Eagles in Week 9 and hammering the Lions at home two weeks ago.

Hanie nearly led the Bears back in last year’s NFC Championship loss to Green Bay, finishing 13-of-20 for 153 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT. Hanie could have success targeting WR Johnny Knox who is coming off his best game of the year (3 rec, 97 yds, 1 TD). RBs Matt Forte and Marion Barber should be a handful for a Raiders defense that’s been unable to stop the run (132 YPG, 5.2 YPC). Forte has amassed 1,391 total yards this year, and has carried the ball more effectively on the road (5.5 YPC) than at Soldier Field (4.6 YPC). He will get another huge workload with Cutler sidelined. Both defenses have been quite opportunistic in recent weeks, as Chicago has forced 15 turnovers in the past four games while Oakland has seven takeaways in its past two contests.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33421 Followers:38
11/23/2011 12:48 AM

Play Under - Home teams where the total is between 42.5 and 49 points a marginal winning team (51% to 60%) playing a losing team in the second half of the season
49-20 since 1997. ( 71.0% | 27.0 units )

Play On - Home favorites of -160 to -475 vs. the money line (DALLAS) in non-conference games, off an extremely close road win by 3 points or less
40-7 since 1997. ( 85.1% | 0.0 units )

Play On - Favorites vs. the 1rst half line (DALLAS) off a road no-cover where the team won as a favorite, with a winning record playing a losing team in the second half of the season
41-15 since 1997. ( 73.2% | 24.5 units )

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33421 Followers:38
11/23/2011 04:30 PM

Tebow And Broncos On Trail At San Diego Chargers

The Chargers have won and covered their last four meetings with Denver.
Pick your sidebar story. There are plenty of them from which to choose when Denver pays a visit to San Diego on Sunday in AFC West action.

What might be most surprising about this matchup is that the Broncos (5-5 straight up and against the spread) currently sit a game ahead of the Chargers (4-6 SU, 2-8 ATS) in the division table. Something not many would have believed a few weeks ago, much less when San Diego won the season’s first meeting by a 29-24 count back on October 9.

Few would also believe that early October success at Sports Authority Field at Mile High would be the Bolts’ last win, either straight up or against the spread, until at least after Thanksgiving.

Las Vegas oddsmakers, however, have rated the Chargers as 6½-point favorites, as indicated by most of the properties listed on the Don Best odds screen. The total was hovering between 42 and 43 at midweek. Kickoff time at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday is 4:15 p.m. (ET) on CBS.

As for the various intriguing storylines on display in this matchup, we’ll try to cover them one-by-one.

1) San Diego coaching situation: It’s no secret that Norv Turner is on the hot seat at Qualcomm Stadium, where the Spanos Family is likely out of patience with the Bolts’ continuing underachieving ways.

The Chargers have often rallied down the stretch and hit the playoffs with some steam in Norv’s tenure, managing to self-motivate themselves despite Turner’s passive presence. But they couldn’t pull the same trick last season, when late losses to the Raiders and Bengals scotched the playoff drive. And the current 5-game midseason losing streak has San Diego poised to miss the postseason again as it sits level with the Chiefs at the foot of the AFC West table.

A loss this week likely spells doom for Turner, although most insiders aren’t sure if Dean Spanos would hit the eject button now or wait until after the season. But rest assured two straight playoff-less seasons out of a weak division will seal Norv’s fate.

2) Tebow Mania: It’s been (Tim) Tebow time in Denver the past month, with the ex-Florida Gator at the helm of one of the more unlikely rallies in modern NFL history. The Broncos have won and covered four of five since Tebow assumed the starting role in mid-October, after coming off of the bench and nearly leading an upset of the Chargers back on October 9.

Tebow has three times rallied the Broncos from deficits in the second half, and has three such comeback wins from double-digit deficits in his eight career starts. Despite completing only 45% of his passes, Tebow continues to provide uncanny and contagious leadership in the fourth quarter, as hard-to-imagine rallies vs. the Dolphins and Jets would attest.

In the meantime, Tebow continues to blow up every NFL stereotype with his intangibles that are overcoming a long windup and continuing inaccuracy with his throws, instead prompting Bronco coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to dust off the read-option plays that Tebow used to great effect at Florida. The option proved a handful for the Raiders and Chiefs when Denver won the first two of its current three-game uptick, although the option was used sparingly in last week’s 17-13 win over the Jets.

3) What’s wrong with Philip Rivers? Whatever it is, this isn’t the same Rivers we’ve come to know over the past few years, already exceeding his career-worst interception numbers with 17 picks this season (15 his previous worst), and there’s still six games to go. Throw in four lost fumbles and the Chargers QB has been a gridiron version of Charlie Brown from “Peanuts” fame.

Theories abound, including a downgrade of supporting talent, a plausible explanation after GM A.J. Smith unwisely allowed RB/KR Darren Sproles to move to New Orleans, coupled with TE Antonio Gates’ recurring foot injuries that have slowed him down and made him a shell of his former All-Pro self.

4) John Elway: The Broncos prexy has injected himself back into the news this week by offering only lukewarm support for Tebow and reportedly scouting last week’s Baylor-Oklahoma game to perhaps take a look at a pair of QBs, Robert Griffin III and Landry Jones. Although Elway also decided to cut ties with former starter Kyle Orton this week, effectively giving Tebow the rest of this season to show more improvement, with Brady Quinn and Minnesota rookie Adam Weber (up from the practice squad) now the backups.

There is, however, still a game to be played at Qualcomm, and there are some other developments to note. In particular, Denver’s much improved defense led by all-world rookie LB Von Miller, now with 10 sacks on the season and quickly becoming one of the most-disruptive defensive influences in the AFC. Along with hybrid DE Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos are effectively collapsing opposing pockets this season, and got to Rivers five times in the first meeting.

Recent series trends favor San Diego, which has won and covered four straight vs. the Broncos, but there seems to be change in the air in the AFC West, where the division has suddenly begun to implode around Denver, indicated by the Chargers’ five straight losses both outright and against the number. With Tebow in the lineup, the Broncos are also slowing the pace and have gone “under” their last two games after a 22-7 “over” run previously.

Whatever, bet against Tebow at your own risk.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33421 Followers:38
11/23/2011 04:32 PM

Tennessee Titans 3-Point Chalk Vs Buccaneers

The Bucs head to Nashville as 3-point underdogs against the Titans.
The 2011 season is quickly slipping away from the Titans and Buccaneers, who both envisioned themselves as playoff entrants when the campaign commenced.

The loser of their Sunday clash, however, can probably forget about the postseason. The winner might not be in much better shape but will at least carry some momentum out of this weekend.

Thus, the stakes are pretty high for Tennessee (5-5 straight up, 4-5-1 against the spread) and Tampa Bay (4-6 SU & ATS) when they tee things up at LP Field, across the Cumberland River from downtown Nashville, on Sunday. The Don Best odds screen indicates the Titans as 3-point favorites at almost every Las Vegas wagering outlet, with the total fairly priced at 43.

Kickoff time not far from the Pancake Pantry and Ernest Tubb's Record Shop will be at 1:00 p.m. (ET), with CBS providing TV coverage.

Modern-day fans who can’t remember the days when the Bucs wore their creamsicle-colored uniforms or when the Titans campaigned as the Houston Oilers might not realize these two were once involved in what was a landmark game for the Tampa Bay franchise.

Indeed, the Oilers/Titans were the Bucs’ first-ever regular-season opponent.

Of course, 1976 was a long time ago, so anyone not at least in their mid 40s would probably have no recollection of that game or that interesting season in which Tampa Bay and Seattle entered the NFL as expansion franchises. That year, the Bucs campaigned in the AFC as a member of the West Division, and the Seahawks were a member of the NFC West, although each team simply played every other team in its conference one time, plus each other, in the 14-game schedule that year. Seattle and Tampa Bay flipped conference the next season in 1977, with the Seahawks now in the AFC West and Bucs in the old NFC Central, and continued the same schedule pattern by playing each conference team once, and each other. Permanent assignments were made in 1978, when the teams stayed in their 1977 divisions.

The Bucs played their first game on September 12, 1976 at the Astrodome, and were hanging with Bum Phillips’ Oilers at halftime, trailing just 7-0. Tampa Bay, with none other than Steve Spurrier (yes, that Steve Spurrier) at QB, missed a quality chance to level matters in the third quarter, and Houston began to pull away from John McKay’s team thereafter. A pair of Dan Pastorini TD passes, one each to RB Fred Willis and WR Ken Burrough, and a pair of Skip Butler field goals proved all the scoring Houston would need in a 20-0 win, a familiar theme for the Bucs in their winless, 0-14 campaign of ’76 in which they were blanked four more times.

Fast-forward 35 years to Sunday, and much has changed. Tampa Bay now plays in a different stadium, the uniforms don’t look like they did for either in 1976, and the Oilers exist only in memory, although owner Bud Adams is still around, the last link to the old AFL days in Houston. The thought in 1976 of an NFL team based in Nashville, playing in a gleaming stadium, might have seemed a bit far-fetched, too.

Adams’ current Tennessee side received a scare last week when QB Matt Hasselbeck suffered an elbow injury that knocked him out of the game at Atlanta. Subsequent examinations have revealed no structural damage, so the former Seahawk, Packer, and Boston College QB is likely good to go this week.

In the meantime, Titans fans got a sneak preview of coming attractions when Washington Huskies rookie QB Jake Locker rallied Tennessee within striking distance with a pair of TD passes that cut the Falcons’ lead to 23-17, although the Titans could get no closer.

There wasn’t much else for Titan backers to like about the effort, especially another hugely disappointing day from RB Chris Johnson, who seemed to be back on track after gaining 130 yards rushing the previous week at Carolina. At the Georgia Dome, however, he endured the roughest day of his career (which is saying something after his struggles earlier this season), held to only 13 yards on 12 carries.

Hasselbeck (and Locker) have also been hampered all season by the lack of a true No. 1 receiver since Kenny Britt went down with a knee injury.

This is truly the last chance for the Bucs to have a realistic look at the postseason, as a win over the Titans sets up a decent possibility that Tampa Bay could get to 7-6 in two weeks with likely underdogs Carolina and Jacksonville on deck.

Bucs backers, however, will point out an especially difficult stretch of game recently endured by their team vs. the 49ers, Saints (twice), Bears, Texans, and Packers in which Tampa Bay went 1-5. Of some encouragement for Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris was the performance of recent-slumping QB Josh Freeman last week at Green Bay, passing for 342 yards and a pair of scores. Although for the season, Freeman has now tossed 15 picks compared to just 11 TD passes.

The Bucs are also a bit healthier in the backfield now that RB LeGarrette Blount has returned to the lineup.

This game, however, likely turns on developments involving the Tampa Bay stop unit. The Bucs rank near the bottom in NFL rush defense stats, allowing nearly five yards per carry, and cannot afford for Johnson to regain his rhythm and provide Hasselbeck (or Locker) a solid infantry diversion. Tampa Bay has also been burned by three TD plays of 40 yards or longer the past two weeks. Although in this case we’re not sure the Titans will be much of a threat, with top receiver Nate Washington hardly a feared downfield weapon and gaining less than 13 yards per reception this season.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33421 Followers:38
11/23/2011 04:37 PM

Caleb Hanie To QB Bears At Oakland Raiders

Kamerion Wembley has provided a recent spark to Oakland’s defense.
The rumor mill is whirring in Chicago after QB Jay Cutler suffered a broken thumb late in last week’s 31-20 win over the Chargers.

Expect the buzz to continue until the Bears (7-3 straight up, 6-4 against the spread) sign another signal-caller (more on that on a moment). For this weekend, at least, the Monsters of the Midway seem quite comfortable with the options they have on hand.

Whatever, we’ll know more about Chicago’s non-Cutler plight after Sunday’s game at the venerable Coliseum in Oakland against the host Raiders (6-4 SU, 7-3 ATS). News of Cutler’s injury caused a sharp jump in the number early in the week, confirmed by the Don Best odds screen which notes the Raiders now priced as 4-4½ point favorites at the various Las Vegas wagering outlets. Depending upon the property, the total on the game is fluctuating between 41 and 42 points.

Kickoff time in the East Bay will be at 4:05 p.m. (ET), with FOX providing the TV coverage.

News of Cutler’s injury has dominated the news cycle this week in the Windy City, where a five-game Bear win and pointspread cover streak would normally be cause to order extra pepperoni or sausage on one of the delectable pizza pies at one of the many Lou Malnati’s restaurants in town. Instead, thumb problems for “Midway Jay” are causing many Bears backers to order another stiff drink.

No need to worry, assure head coach Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Martz, both of whom have confidence in backup Caleb Hanie to keep the Bear machine humming.

You might remember Hanie from last January’s NFC title game at Soldier Field against the Packers. Cutler’s leg injury forced the little-used former Colorado State Ram into the lineup, where he promptly came close to authoring one of the great bullpen stories in NFL playoff annals. Hanie rallied Chicago from a 21-0 deficit, cutting the margin to 21-14 and having the Bears in position to force an unlikely overtime with a last-minute drive deep into Green Bay territory.

Hanie showed poise and cool under fire and is well-schooled in his second year of exposure the Martz offense. The bulk of Hanie’s work this campaign, however, came in preseason; in his career, he’s only thrown 14 regular-season passes.

He also brings another dimension to the Chicago offense with his mobility, prompting none other than LB Brian Urlacher to comment the Bears “can use some (Tim) Tebow stuff” with Hanie at the helm.

The key for the Bears lately, however, has been a rededication to the ground game, and RB Matt Forte in particular. As the Bears went back-and-forth while winning just two of their first five games, they were decidedly imbalanced, averaging 40 passes and only 16 runs per game. The pass/run ratio has been nearly 50-50 in the five games since, with Forte fueling the engine room with 926 rush yards. Along with his 46 pass receptions, Forte is making a case that might rival Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers for NFC MVP honors.

But with Cutler probably sidelined until at least Christmas, Lovie and GM Jerry Angelo are likely to peruse the available market for an emergency QB alternative. And Denver might have thrown the Bears a real life preserver by just releasing Kyle Orton, the Broncos’ early-season starter and former Bear who started several games for Lovie (though before Martz arrived in Chicago) earlier in his career. For the moment, Idaho rookie Nathan Enderle is only other QB alternative. Stay tuned for further developments.

Defense has also keyed the recent Chicago surge which ironically began after the stop unit was burned for a couple of long TDs (a recurring them in the first month of the season) in a Monday night game at Detroit on October 10. Lovie subsequently benched safeties Chris Harris (eventually released and signed by, of all teams, the Lions) and Brandon Meriweather, with Major Wright and Chris Conte proving definite upgrades in their places. The Bears have also forced nine turnovers in their last two games.

Meanwhile, Oakland has stabilized after things began to go a bit pear-shaped in late October following an injury to QB Jason Campbell, who had been a revelation. Former Bengal Carson Palmer was quickly signed by coach Hue Jackson (who was offensive coordinator at Southern Cal when Palmer played for the Trojans) and has provided solid if not spectacular leadership since tossing three picks in each of his first two games wearing the Silver & Black against the Chiefs and Broncos.

Palmer has run a more-conservative, and effective, offense the past two weeks, passing just 20 times at San Diego and 23 times at Minnesota. More importantly, the former Heisman Trophy winner has only tossed one pick in those wins over the Chargers and Vikings that have put the Raiders back on top of the AFC West, a game ahead of surprising Denver and two up on fading San Diego and Kansas City.

Importantly, Oakland has not missed top-shelf RB Darren McFadden, absent the last three games with an injured foot. Saving the day, however, has been punishing ex-Louisville RB Michael Bush, gaining well over 100 yards per game in McFadden’s absence (including 256 total yards in the Nov. 10 win at San Diego).

Defensively, note the enhanced Oakland pass rush the past two weeks, with 11 sacks combined in the wins over the Chargers and Vikings. Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley has been responsible for four of those himself.

Spread-wise, Oakland has turned around what was a very negative home chalk mark, splitting its last eight decisions vs. the number as a Coliseum favorite. The Raiders had dropped 11 straight laying points at home before turning around the trend a year ago. Oakland is also ‘over’ 8-4 its last 12 at the Coliseum.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33421 Followers:38
11/23/2011 04:38 PM

Buffalo Bills Get Rematch Against New York Jets

Rex Ryan’s Jets are healthy 8-point home favorites against the Bills.
The nature of the NFL suggests a natural back-and-forth in team performance and results.

It also notes that once a team falls into the abyss, it is unlikely to recover.

Which brings us to this weekend and the AFC East standings that say that Buffalo (5-5 straight up and against the spread) and the New York Jets (5-5 SU, 4-6 ATS) are level in the division table. Recent performances and one-sided series trends, however, suggest that any deadlock between the two isn’t to be revisited the rest of the 2011 campaign after Sunday, when the two get together in the Meadowlands at Met Life Stadium.

The Don Best odds screen shows the Jets priced as an 8-point favorite at the majority of Las Vegas sports books, with the total mostly sitting at 42½ points. Kickoff time in the swamplands of New Jersey will be 1:00 p.m. (ET), with CBS providing the TV coverage.

Although the Jets have performed in an erratic manner all season, at least New York has exhibited a pulse in recent weeks., which has hardly been the case with the Bills, suffering from multiple systems breakdowns in November.

In other words, Buffalo looks to have fallen into the dreaded abyss.

Results confirm the Buffalo downturn, as over the Bills’ last three games, they’re not only winless and without a pointspread cover, but they’ve been outscored a whopping 106-26 (average score 35-9). And one of those defeats was against the Jets, who had no problem three weeks ago in Orchard Park, scoring an easy 27-11 win that sent the Bills into their current tailspin.

That afternoon, the Jets provided a road map for others to follow in defending the Chan Gailey Buffalo offense. In particular, coach Rex Ryan’s defense routinely employed five and six defensive backs to combat Gailey’s pet “five wide” looks which effectively jammed the Bills’ gear box. Subsequent Buffalo foes have followed suit, resulting in reduced stats for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had ironically signed a lucrative contract extension just prior to the commencement of the recent slump.

Fitzpatrick’s numbers have not been pretty the past three weeks, completing only 54 percent of his passes after connecting on nearly 70 percent of his throws prior. He’s totaled just 546 yards (182 pg) via the airways in that stretch, down almost 70 yards per game from his first seven outings. Moreover, he’s thrown only two TD passes against seven picks during the recent downturn.

Further, the Bills are only converting 23 percent of their third-down plays in the losing streak, and missed all 12 such chances last Sunday at Miami. Falling behind quickly in recent losses against the Jets, Cowboys, and Dolphins has also forced Buffalo away from its running game, which has been ineffective lately. The Bills need to establish an infantry diversion with RB Fred Jackson (934 YR in 2011), but he could be at less than 100% for the Jets after straining his calf at Miami, a game in which he was a non-factor with only 17 yards on seven carries.

Moreover, Buffalo has caved defensively, roughly coinciding with the season-ending foot injury suffered by DT Kyle Williams. The Bills, also minus LB Shawne Merriman, have not generated a consistent pass rush all season, recording just 16 sacks, and the rush defense has been spotty.

Normally we would not have much confidence in the Jets taking advantage of any such shortcomings, but series trends indicate QB Mark Sanchez might get back on the beam after another tough outing in last Thursday’s loss at Denver. Sanchez completed 20-of-28 passes for an efficient 230 yards in the 16-point win over the Bills on November 6 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

That was merely the latest in a trio of dominating Jets wins over Buffalo. Last season, Ryan’s team won in eased-up fashion in both meetings vs. the Bills, rolling by 38-7 and 38-14 scorelines. The Jets ran for over 270 yards in both of those meetings, prompting Gailey to look for immediate defensive help in the draft when taking Alabama DT Marcell Dareus in the first round, as well as focusing upon the stop unit in free agency when Merriman and ex-Packer LB Nick Barnett were the featured roster additions.

The Jets were not quite as overwhelming on the ground in the first meeting three weeks ago, however, rushing for a more-modest 126 yards, and backfield injuries are a concern this week with RBs Shonn Greene (ribs) and LaDainian Tomlinson (knee) both doubtful participants. Expect Sanchez’ Southern Cal teammate Joe McKnight to handle the bulk of the Jets’ rushing chores this week after gaining 59 yards on the ground and catching a useful six passes a week ago in Denver.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: