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SPOOKY'S BEND OVER ITS TIME FOR THE NFL WEEKLY UPDATE EXPRESS
Weekly List of 13: Our bottom 8, top 5 in NFL.........
32) Colts—Ironic that Colts will finish 0-16 the season they host the Super Bowl.
31) Rams—They’re 10-34 the last three years, 15-61 since start of ’07 season. But I’m not bitter or anything. Time to clean house, again.
30) Vikings—Before hiring a head coach, how about giving him a quiz to see if he understands the basics of clock management, stuff you don’t need to be a football coach to know, but STUFF YOU HAVE TO KNOW.
29) Browns—Let me see, the old Browns moved to Baltimore, became the Ravens and got really good; the old Browns’ coach before they moved was Belichick, whose done pretty well in Foxboro. Lets just move on.
28) Jaguars—New owner is the man who got rich after he invented the seamless bumper for cars. Interested to see who he hires as his new coach.
8) Broncos—Won six of last seven games; someone remind me why the Panthers let John Fox go.
7) Texans—TJ Yates is better than Leinart, so Houston actually gained on that exchange. Curious to see how much they expand his role each week.
6) Steelers—Big Ben had a spiffy fedora on in his post-game interview Sunday; how would history be different had the Giants not drafted Eli Manning and simply taken Big Ben?
5) 49ers—Miami Marlins gave Jose Reyes $106M for six years; they better hire a track coach to keep his hamstrings in one piece.
4) Ravens—Ex-Baltimore coach Brian Billick is very good on TV; explains the game in a non-technical way that’s easy to understand.
3) Saints—Before this season is over, Sean Payton is going to whack someone with one of those crutches.
2) Patriots—I think Belichick actually likes it when media nitwits keep saying the Patriots have the worst defense in the NFL (ranking is based on yards given up); that’s why he let Dan Orlovsky run amok in garbage time Sunday.
1) Packers—Ted Thompson doesn’t get enough credit for dumping Favre at just the right time. Took a lot of onions, and turned out to be brilliant.
Spooky's back List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) So ESPN basically traded Bobby Valentine to the Red Sox for Terry Francona? I’m thinking the TV network got the better of that trade.
12) Seeing as I watch 14 hours of college football every Saturday for three months a year, and then most every bowl game, I think I’m qualified to have a vote for the Heisman Trophy, seeing as there are like 900 voters anyway. I didn’t attend a college, so I would be fair minded and objective. Anyone know how I could make this happen? I mean, seriously, there are some nitwits who have votes. I’d like one, too.
11) Why are the 49ers really good? They’ve started 26 drives this season in enemy territory; their opponents have started six in 49er territory. They haven’t made many mistakes, and that wins games.
10) In four of Denver’s 12 games this season, the first Bronco TD was scored by the defense or special teams.
9) Nick Saban voted Stanford ahead of Oklahoma State in the coaches’ poll; does he really think the Cardinal is better than OSU, was he just protecting his own team’s butt in the vote, or does he not respect the Cowboys because their defense isn’t as good as the other national title contenders? Stanford-OSU will be a very interesting game.
8) Lions have an assistant coach named Brandon Fisher, who played college football at Montana; he is Jeff Fisher’s son. Jim Schwartz coached with the elder Fisher with the Titans.
7) Another reason I should vote for all things college football; six nitwits had Boise State ranked lower than 10th. Anyone who doesn’t have them as a top 10 team is either ill-informed, corrupt, or both.
6) In their last eight games, Rams have been outscored 108-31 in second half; first halves haven’t been all that much better.
5) TV station A&E should just change its name to Storage Wars Network (SWN); seems like they have Storage Wars marathons on at least twice a week. A&E has to be surprised how popular that show is.
4) Hugh Freeze is new Ole Miss football coach; he was Michael Oher’s high school coach, if you saw the movie The Blind Side. In jumping from Arkansas State to the SEC, Freeze adds a zero to the end of his salary, as in, he just got a 1,000% raise in pay.
3) Biggest bowl spread is the 15 points Oklahoma is favored to beat Iowa by. Its very, very hard for me to lay double digits in a bowl, just because when a team is favored by that many points, the chance of the kids being overconfident is very high. I’ll have to research that before bowls start.
2) Highest totals in a bowl right now: Washington-Baylor (78), OSU-Stanford (75), Wisconsin-Oregon (72).
Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) So Hanley Ramirez went to the Marlins and asked for more money to move to third base. Shocking. Now they're going to trade him. Good luck getting value there.
12) How does a parent teach a kid geography these days? San Diego State and Boise State are in the Big East? With Houston and SMU? Yikes.
11) Why is 6-7 UCLA playing in a bowl game but Western Kentucky is staying home? Sun Belt got three bowl bids; Hilltoppers finished second in the league but didn't get an invite. Nice bowl system they have.
10) Sacramento Kings have a season ticket plan where the 34 games cost $340, a mere $10 a game. Lot of empty seats at Arco Arena LY.
9) Braves' manager Fredi Gonzalez got ripped LY for using a reliever on back-to-back days 144 times, most in the big leagues. But for the last five years of his great career, future Hall of Famer Bobby Cox averaged using a reliever on back-to-back days 140.6 times. Not much difference.
8) Belmont Bruins are moving from Atlantic Sun to Ohio Valley next year will be interesting to see if they challenge Murray State for supremacy in the OVC. Racers are unbeaten this season, but right now, A-Sun is listed as the #19 conference, OVC #27 (out of 32). Step down for Belmont.
7) 70 of the 120 I-A college football teams go to bowl games; USC can't go, so they're #71. By my count, right now 9 of the 70 bowl teams will have a different coach next year. Another 11 will switch leagues or already have switched leagues. Kind of tough to handicap games when teams like Southern Miss and Arkansas State lose the coach before their bowl.
6) Tulsa won its last three bowl games by an average score of 57-18, and two of three teams they beat were ranked in top 25 when they beat them. Hurricane won 62-35 LY, as a 10-point underdog.
5) Mets' new leadoff hitter is Andres Torres, who will be 34 next month and has had exactly one good major league season, back in 2010. Wouldn't want to be selling Mets' season tickets this winter.
4) Over last five years, SEC teams are 30-16 in bowl games, 18-11 vs the spread when favored, 9-8 when an underdog, but they're 0-5 as underdogs the last two seasons.
3) North Carolina's Harrison Barnes and Creighton's Greg McDermott were high school teammates in Ames, Iowa, which is where Iowa State is located. McDermott's father was the ISU coach back then, but left when he didn't land Barnes for the Cyclones, and he signed on his son to play at Creighton, his new employer. Its worked out well for everyone but the home folks for Iowa State, who have a boatload of transfers this year.
2) You know you're having a good day when you turn down a job offer worth $20M a season over ten years.
1) Anyone else get a feeling the 2012 Marlins are a trainwreck waiting to happen? Lot of volatile personalities down there in Miami.
Browns (4-8) @ Steelers (9-3)—Pittsburgh won 14 of last 15 series games, with last four wins all by 13+ points; Browns are 0-7 here, with six of seven losses by 11+- they scored 14 or less points in last six series games. Steelers won seven of last eight games; they’re 5-1 at home, 3-2 as home favorites, winning at Heinz by 24-21-4-8-28 points, with only loss to Ravens. Browns lost five of last six games; they’re 1-3 as road underdogs, losing on foreign soil by 7-10-18-3 points, with only win at winless Indy. Teams are 8-2 vs spread (2-0 as favorites) week after playing the Bengals. Home teams are 2-5-21 vs spread in AFC North divisional games (over is 5-2-1 in those games). Under is 6-2 in Cleveland’s last eight games, 3-1-1 in Steelers’ last five. Browns are 0-7 when they allow 20+ points.
Chiefs (5-7) @ Jets (7-5)—KC put newly-acquired QB Orton in for start of 2nd quarter at Chicago last week; he dislocated index finger on passing hand the first play, so Palko was back under center- he completed 38-yard Hail Mary on last play of half, just Chiefs’ 2nd TD on last 54 drives, as KC snapped 4-game skid. Chiefs won three of last four away games; they’re 4-2 as road underdog, losing away games by 45-3-31 points. Jets are 7-1 when they score 24+ points, 0-4 when they don’t; they’re 3-3 as home favorites, winning in Swamp by 3-29-18-6-4 points, with loss to Patriots. AFC East non-divisional home favorites are 7-5-1 vs spread. Home side won four of last five Chief-Jet games, with three of last four decided by 4 or less points. Last seven KC games stayed under total; seven of Jets’ last ten went over.
Colts (0-12) @ Ravens (9-3)—Winless Colts are back in town they deserted 28 years ago; Indy won nine of last 11 series games and eight in row, but Manning was under center for those games, not Orlovsky, who was terrific in garbage time last week, but helped dig Colts 31-3 hole before that. Indy is 1-7 vs spread in last eight games; they’re 2-4 as road dogs, losing away games by 27-7-10-55-17-7 points. Last time Colts started drive on plus side of field was Week 3; over their last seven games, they’re -14 in turnovers. Ravens are 4-1-1 as home favorites, winning at home by 28-17-15-3-7-10 points. AFC South road underdogs are 4-6 vs spread in non-divisional games. Teams are 1-9 SU (1-2 as favorites) the week after playing Cleveland; underdogs are 2-2 the week after playing New England. Three of last four Raven games stayed under the total.
Texans (9-3) @ Bengals (7-5)—First NFL road start for rookie QB Yates, but Texans won/covered last six games, allowing only three TD’s on 47 drives in last four games. Houston is 4-2 on road, losing at Saints/Ravens; all four wins were by 10+ points. Bengals lost three of last four games, with all three L’s to Steelers/Ravens; Cincy is 3-2 at home, losing to Steelers/49ers- they’ve got only four takeaways in last five games (-4) after taking ball away 11 times in first eight games (+3). Home side won three of last four series games, with Houston winning last two meetings, 35-6/28-17. Teams are 8-3 SU (3-2 as dogs) week after playing Atlanta; teams are 3-7 SU (0-4 as favorites) week after playing Pittsburgh. Under is 7-2 in last nine Houston games; 2-5-1 in last eight Bengal tilts.
Raiders (7-5) @ Packers (12-0)—Green Bay playing for history now, only four wins away from 16-0 season; they’re 13-5 vs spread during this epic win streak, 4-1 as home favorites this year, winning at Lambeau by 8-26-21-38-9 points. Oakland is on road for 4th time in last five weeks; they’ve won three of last four games, are 3-1-1 as road dogs, losing by 20 at Miami, 3 at Buffalo on foreign soil (4-2 SU). Pack won last five series games, with four of the five wins by 13+ points; Raiders lost last three visits here, by 28-4-31 points, after winning first three visits. AFC West road underdogs are 5-7-1 vs spread in non-divisional games; NFC North home favorites are 8-6. Underdogs are 3-2 vs spread week after playing Miami; favorites are 2-2 week after playing the Giants. Four of last five Oakland games, five of last six Packer tilts went over total.
Vikings (2-10) @ Lions (7-5)—Frustration mounting for playoff-starved Detroit squad that’s been beating itself with immature play; Lions lost five of last seven games after 5-0 start, during which time they beat Vikings 26-23 in OT at Metrodome, after trailing 20-0 at half. Detroit scored 24+ points in all seven wins, 19 or less in every loss; they’re 3-2 as home favorites, winning at Ford Field by 45-11-14 points, but they’ve lost three of last four at home, Hapless Vikings lost last four games, giving up 32.8 ppg; they’re 2-2-1 as road dogs, losing away games by 7-5-29-38-10 points, with a win at Carolina. Lions have 22 penalties for 189 yards in last two games; is NFL sending them message for not disciplining their players themselves? Five of last seven Minnesota games went over the total. Favorites are 5-2 vs spread in NFC North divisional games.
Saints (9-3) @ Titans (7-5)—New Orleans is 6-0 at home, scoring 39.8 ppg, just 3-3 on road, allowing 26.5 ppg with losses to Rams/Bucs, two of worst teams in NFL; Saints are 2-2 on grass, outscoring foes 109-105. Tennessee won three of last four games, running ball for 389 yards last two weeks, as Johnson suddenly found his form- they were averaging 77.3 yards/game on ground up until then. Titans are 4-2 at home, losing to Texans/Bengals; they’re 5-1-1 vs spread as underdogs this year. Titans won last four series games, with three wins by 15+ points; last Saint series win was in 1993. AFC South non-divisional underdogs are 9-11-1 vs spread, 3-4 at home; NFC South road favorites are also 3-4. Last six Tennessee games, three of last four Saint games stayed under. Saints won/covered last four games since awful loss in St Louis.
Eagles (4-8) @ Dolphins (4-8)—Two teams with same record going in opposite directions; Miami won four of last five games after 0-7 start, outscoring foes 89-31 in winning last three home games, allowing two garbage-time TD’s in last 33 home possessions- they’re 3-0 as a favorite this year. Eagles lost four of last five games, giving up 10.1/9.1 yards/pass attempt in last two games- they’re expected to get Vick back under center here, but they lost his last two starts, too. Philly has had edge in field position only four times this year, but they lost three of those four games- they played last Thursday- underdogs that lost the previous Thursday are 0-2 vs spread this year. Under is 3-1-1 in Miami’s last five home games. NFC East non-divsional underdogs are 5-8 vs spread, 4-5 on road. AFC East home favorites are 7-5-1.
Patriots (9-3) @ Redskins (4-8)—New England won last four games (3-1 vs spread), scoring 31+ points in all four games (15 TDs on last 41 drives); Patriots are +8 in turnovers (9-1) in those games- they’re 4-2 on road, with all four wins by 12+ points (losses at Bills/Steelers). Redskins lost seven of last eight games, dropping last four at home by 7-8-3-15 points. Skins led Jets with 5:00 left last week, but gave up three TDs in x:xx and lost 34-19. Washington won six of last eight series games but lost 52-7 at Foxboro in last meeting, vs 18-1 Pats, who lost only two visits here, 22-17 in ’03, 24-22 in ’81. Favorites are 1-4 vs spread week after playing the Colts; underdogs are likewise 1-4 week after playing the Jets. Last two weeks, AFC teams have won eight of ten against NFC opponents. Brady vs Grossman is severe QB mismatch.
Falcons (7-5) @ Panthers (4-8)—Atlanta won four of last five series games, beating Carolina 31-17 (-4) at home in Week 6, with +3 turnover ratio leading to +13 edge in field position; they’ve won last three series games by 21-21-14 points, are 7-4 here, but this series has also been split four of last five years. Falcons were held to 14 or less points in four of their five losses; barring a monsoon, Carolina ain’t holding them under 14. Carolina won last two games, scoring 27-38 points; they’re 2-4 at home, beating Jaguars/Redskins. Panthers are 3-2 as underdogs this year, but eight of their ten losses are by 5+ points. NFC home underdogs are 7-3 vs spread in divisional games. Home teams are 5-2 vs spread in NFC South divisional games. Last eight Falcon games stayed under total; last three Carolina games went over.
Buccaneers (4-8) @ Jaguars (3-9)— Tampa Bay lost last six games (1-5 vs spread), Jaguars lost last three and are on short week with smaller coaching staff after last week’s firings; they gave up last 24 points of game in sloppy home loss to Chargers Monday night. Tampa Bay is 1-3 as a favorite this year, 1-5 away from home, with only win in Week 2 at Minnesota when they trailed 17-0 at half. Jags have three TD’s on last 31 drives, scoring 12.3 ppg in losses last three weeks by 4-7-24 points. Jaguars won three of four series games, with all four decided by 7 or less points; Bucs lost both visits here, 29-24/17-10. Bucs allowed 365 rushing yards last two weeks, good news for fantasy owners who have Jones-Drew. Usually bad teams don’t respond well after losing national TV game, but if Freeman is still out for Bucs, who knows?
49ers (10-2) @ Cardinals (5-7)—Niners clinched division last week, but real prize is first round bye, so they’ve got to keep going here, vs Arizona team they beat 23-7 (-9.5) at Candlestick three weeks ago. 49ers outgained Arizona 431-229, outrushed them 164-80, forced five turnovers (+4) and converted 8-21 3rd down plays in that game, but that was with Skelton, not Kolb under center for Cards. Redbirds won four of last five games, covered five of last six; they’re 3-2 at home, with 32-20 loss to Steelers only home loss by more than 4 points; they’re 1-2 as home dog this year. SF has started 26 drives in enemy territory, compared to six for opponents; they’re +18 in turnovers, Arizona is -8. 49ers won last five series games, with last four by average score of 28-7; Niners won last two visits to desert, 20-16/27-6.
Bears (7-5) @ Broncos (7-5)—Denver now 6-1 with Tebow starting at QB, winning last three weeks by 4-3-3 points; if game is close late, Broncos have supreme confidence in ability to pull game out. Can’t say same for Bears, who lost both of Hanie’s starts by 5-7 points; he’s thrown six INTs in two starts, converted only 6 of 25 3rd down plays and looks lost. Chicago had turned ball over only 12 times in Cutler’s 10 starts. Denver won/covered last five games; in four of their 12 games this year, the first Bronco TD was scored by defense/special teams. Bears won last two series meetings 19-10/37-34; four of last five series totals were 29 or less. Four of last five Chicago games went over total; three of Denver’s last four stayed under. Maybe return to Rocky Mountains will help Hanie (went to school at Colorado State) some here.
Bills (5-7) @ Chargers (5-7)—San Diego snapped 6-game skid Monday night on road vs anemic Jaguars, averaging 10.5 yards/pass attempt, getting them within two games of top spot in AFC West, but Chargers lost last three home games, by 7-7-3 points- their last home win was October 2. Bolts have severe injury issues on OL, playing on short week could be problem. San Diego is 3-5 as favorite this year, 1-4 at home. Buffalo lost its last five games (1-4 vs spread); they’re 2-2-1 as road dog, losing away games by 3-3-37-27-4, with Week 1 win at Arrowhead. Home side won seven of last eight series games; Bills lost last four trips here, by 33-2-3-38 points- their last win here was in ’81. AFC East road underdogs are 6-3 vs spread in non-divisional games. Underdogs are 0-6 vs spread this season the week after playing Tennessee.
Giants (6-6) @ Cowboys (7-5)— Must-have game for Giant squad on 4-game skid; they’ve allowed 11 TD’s in last two games, six on drives of 80+ yards, but that was against Saints/Packers. Big Blue won five of last seven against Dallas, with average total in last four games, 62.0- they’ve won three of last four visits here. Giants are 3-3 on road, 2-2 as road, dog, with losses on foreign soil by 14-7-25 points. Dallas already played eight games decided by 4 or less points, or in OT; brutal clock management cost them dearly in Phoenix last week, bringing into question how sharp rookie coach Garrett is. Cowboys are 2-4 as home favorites this year, winning at home by 2-27-10-1-27 points, with loss to Lions, when Romo imploded in second half. Over is 6-3 in last nine Giant games; under is 6-2 in Cowboys’ last eight games.
Rams (2-10) @ Seahawks (5-7)—Feeley has fractured thumb, Bradford’s ankle may need surgery, which could lead to former Fresno State QB Brandstater getting nod under center for pitiful Rams, who haven’t covered spread in any of their losses this year, going 1-5 as road dog, with losses by 12-21-27-6-26 points. Seahawks (+2) won 24-7 at Jones Dome three weeks ago, outrushing Rams 126-42 in game where they started five of 15 drives in St Louis territory. Rams are 0-6 here since ’04 playoff win, losing by 15-2-27-24-28-10 points; overall they’ve lost 12 of last 13 series games. Suddenly surging Seattle won three of last four games, but they got beat only other time they were favored this year, in last home game vs Washington. Seven of last nine St Louis games stayed under the total.