VOTED #1 FANTASY FOOTBALL SITE
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
PRIORITY NEWS   MESSAGE BOARDS JOIN   
HOME ARTICLES STATISTICS WEEKLY FEATURES TEAM LINKS NFL RESOURCES  
Inside the Points - Week 2
By Fritz Schlottman
September 12, 2003
 

This is a weekly view of the upcoming games considering the perspective of the sportsbooks to see how their information about teams and trends can be relevant to your fantasy football team. There are probably a few of you who feel that the gaming industry should give to you for a change. This view is interesting and different from fantasy football since it considers the teams and games as a whole first considering trends and motivations and only later the players – almost the exact opposite from when you decide your weekly starting players.

If you would like a detailed introduction to this new weekly feature at The Huddle please click here.

Washington (1-0) at Atlanta (1-0)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 39

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 42
Falcons 23, Redskins 19

Trends
No recent regular season history between these teams.
2 of 3 games in this series have gone under since 1992

Motivation

Falcons' QB Doug Johnson played for Spurrier at Florida. He probably hasn't forgotten the number of times he was yanked by his former head coach. The Falcons starting quarterback just may want to stick it to his "old ball coach" on Sunday.

Opinion

Vegas noticed that QB Patrick Ramsey played poorly in the second half of the season opener. They also noticed that he left practice on Tuesday with an ice bag on his knee. It doesn't take a genius to put two and two together. The team said there is some swelling, but they say it's nothing serious.

The Falcons are hurting at linebacker. As of Wednesday, Will Overstreet (shoulder) and Sam Rogers (knee) are "doubtful," while Keith Newman (four-game suspension) won't play.

Atlanta is also hurting at WR. With starter Brian Finneran out with a broken hand, the Falcons are hurting. Quentin McCord will start and two reserves, Jimmy Farris and Terrence Edwards, who have never caught a pass in the NFL will play third and fourth receiver.

Cleveland (0-1) at Baltimore (0-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 40

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 42
Cleveland 22, Baltimore 20

Trends
      Cleveland Baltimore

Date

Away

Home

Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/22/2002

CLE 14

BAL 13

256 63 193 275 146 129
10/6/2002

BAL 26

CLE 21

433 62 371 409 201 208
11/18/2001

CLE 27

BAL 17

232 95 137 350 108 242
10/21/2001

BAL 14

CLE 24

219 88 131 321 113 208
11/26/2000

CLE 7

BAL 44

112 28 84 461 247 214
10/1/2000

BAL 12

CLE 0

230 23 207 348 188 160

5 of 8 games in this series have gone over since 1992
3 of 4 games in this series have gone over the last three seasons

Motivation

There's still a lot of bitter feeling surrounding Ravens' relocation to Baltimore. The Browns have been making them pay for the insult by winning three of the last four meetings.

Opinion

Neither team had a good opening weekend, so the odds makers are struggling with this game. Neither the Browns offense nor the Ravens defense is probably as bad as they looked last Sunday, but no one knows for sure. None of the handicappers are talking about this game other than to say how bad both teams played and no one will venture a guess at what happen this weekend.

Detroit (1-0) at Green Bay (0-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points =46.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points =48
Green Bay 27, Detroit 21

Trends
      Detroit Green Bay

Date

Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
11/10/2002 DET 14 GB 40 362 126 236 503 150 353
9/22/2002 GB 37 DET 31 271 95 176 442 95 347
11/22/2001 GB 29 DET 27 360 167 193 339 104 235
9/9/2001 DET 6 GB 28 288 56 232 424 179 245
12/10/2000 DET 13 GB 26 293 103 190 330 128 202
10/8/2000 GB 24 DET 31 253 74 179 339 69 270

16 of 23 games in this series have gone over since 1992
3 of 4 games in this series have gone over the last three seasons
In Green Bay, 8 of 11 games in this series have gone over since 1992

Motivation

Lions head coach Steve Mariucci faces his former Packers QB Brett Favre. Mooch was the quarterback coach at Green Bay during the Holmgren administration. The pupil seems to be getting the better of his teacher. Favre was 5-0 in match-ups against his former coach while Mariucci was with the 49ers.

The Packers have won the last five meetings between these two divisional rivals. However, Lambeau's power seems to have faded as the Vikings overcame recent history by winning a big game in Wisconsin last Sunday. The Lions will try and overcome their own jinx this weekend.

Opinion

Vegas really loves the Lions combination of Head Coach Steve Mariucci and QB Joey Harrington. They think they have a great fit and have a bright future ahead of them. That said, most of the handicappers think the Packers will win this high-scoring game.

Even without their first two starting wide receivers, the Packers are expected to dominate this game against a very shaky Lions defense. Poor tackling and coverage by the secondary was very noticeable. Green Bay probably won't have their starting WRs in this week, but Favre has enough fire left in his arm to burn this sad bunch.

Tennessee (1-0) at Indianapolis (1-0)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 44

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 45
Tennessee 24, Indianapolis 21

Trends
      Tennessee Indianapolis
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/8/2002 IND 17 TEN 27 348 119 229 389 92 297
11/3/2002 TEN 23 IND 15 198 121 77 378 80 298

3 of 5 games in this series have gone under since 1992
1 of 2 games in this series have gone under over the last three seasons
In Indianapolis, 3 of 4 games in this series have gone under since 1992

Motivation

The Peyton Manning (former University of Tennessee quarterback) playing the Tennessee Titans angle still seems to be running hot and heavy. To make matters worse, the two teams are now divisional rivals. No doubt he'll want to do well against his home state's squad for the folks back at UT.

Opinion

No love for this game whatsoever in Vegas. The Titans looked too good at home against the Raiders and the Colts did absolutely nothing on the road at Cleveland. Vegas can't tell if the Titans were that good or the Colts were that bad. Would the real teams please stand up? If they (the sportsbooks) have an opinion, they like the Titans but they really want to see them play on the road before deciding if this team will challenge for the AFC title.

Buffalo (1-0) at Jacksonville (0-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 43

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 41
Bills 24, Jaguars 17

Trends
      Buffalo Jacksonville
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
10/18/2001 BUF 13 JAC 10 317 98 219 247 115 132

3 of 4 games in this series have gone under since 1992
1 of 1 games in this series have gone under over the last 3 seasons
In Jacksonville, 1 of 1 games in this series have gone under over the last 3 seasons

Motivation

Bills are coming of an early blow out and the Jaguars had a crushing last seconds defeat last week. There is no history between these teams that would be motivational.

Opinion

The Buffalo defense look very dominate on defense. They held New England to 130 yards. The Bills made a lot of progress on defense that went unnoticed last season. For the first 6 games they were terrible, but they really came on in the last part of the season.

Jacksonville doesn't have that formidable offense. The Jaguars offensive game plan revolves around RB Fred Taylor. Jaguars QB Mark Burnell had a huge game, going 23-27 last Sunday, and they still lost. How many of those kind of games can he have at this point in his career? With all the rumors this summer about the team shopping him around, the Jaguars didn't want him and it seems that no one else did either. Last week may have been an aberration.

The Handicappers think the power ratings are off. The Jaguars are getting a little too much respect. They have problems on the offensive line and the secondary. Jacksonville stayed close against Carolina because the Panthers don't have a very good offense.

Pittsburgh (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 48

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 51
Steelers 27, Chiefs 24

Trends
      Pittsburgh Kansas City
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
10/14/2001 PIT 20 KC 17 316 203 113 271 165 106

The last two meetings have played over.
Over is 13-6 in Steelers last 19 games overall.
Over is 11-6 in Chiefs last 17 games overall.

Motivation

Not a divisional game and no history between the two teams.

Opinion

Everyone's forgotten that the Steelers were the best team in football in the middle of 2002. The Steelers offense can score. They scored four or more touchdowns nine different times last season. Are they as good as advertised? Vegas thinks Pittsburgh has the best one-two-three (QB-WR-WR) combination in the league. Maddox isn't very mobile, but if he gets hot and has time to throw he could rip apart the Chiefs' secondary. Arrowhead is a terrible place to play on the road. The crowd noise really seems to bother passing teams.

Kansas City was very impressive early last Sunday, then shut it down in the second half. The Chiefs got pressure on the quarterback, something they didn't do last year.

The look very improved on defense this year. But because they jumped out early last week, they really haven't proved what they have on defense this year. This could be an offensive showdown.

Houston (1-0) at New Orleans (0-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 40.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 37
New Orleans 24, Houston 13

Trends
No regular season meeting between these teams.

Under is 5-2 in Texan's last seven games overall.
Saints last three games overall played under.

Motivation

No history between these teams. The Texans are coming off a bid win and the Saints are coming home after a disappointing loss.

Opinion

Poor New Orleans didn't look that impressive against the Seahawks. This team averaged 27 points per game last year and they scored big points at home. A lot of injury concerns for the Saints early this season. Both WRs Joe Horn and Daunte Stallworth are injured. Charles Grant is gone for this game.

The Houston Texans can move the ball, as evidenced by the five field goals (seven opportunities in total). This offense is improved over a year ago. They even showed a little running game.

But Houston has a lot of young players. After the Texans opened by beating the Cowboys last year, they were blown out in the following two games. They seem to lose big every game after a victory.

Miami (0-1) at New York Jets (0-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 36.5 Total

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 33
Miami 20, New York 13

Trends
      Miami NYJ
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
11/10/2002 MIA 10 NYJ 13 279 69 210 264 97 167
9/22/2002 NYJ 3 MIA 30 394 211 183 189 58 131
11/18/2001 NYJ 24 MIA 0 254 78 176 162 86 76
10/14/2001 MIA 17 NYJ 21 348 115 233 268 128 140
11/19/2000 NYJ 20 MIA 3 200 83 117 228 133 95
10/23/2000 MIA 37 NYJ 40 433 198 235 455 79 376

The last five meetings have played under.
Under is 11-6 in MIA's last 17 games overall.
Under is 7-2 in Jets last nine games overall.

Motivation

Two divisional teams that hate each other, each team is coming off a big loss. They will be under pressure not to start 0-2 in a very competitive division.

Opinion

Vegas likes the Dolphins coming off that terrible loss. Giving up seven field goal opportunities to the Texans was unforgivable. Miami is the better team again this week and their getting points based on the poor past performance in this seriew. They possess the better running game and the better interior defense. Hopefully they won't have another net -3 turnover margin and 15 penalties this week.

The Jets did nothing on offense last week. New York only really had a total of 101 passing yards. They have little offensive punch and little talent on either side of the ball. New York had a lot of breaks go their way last year, but statistically lost many of the games they won last year. They are in the bottom third of offensive numbers. This is a team that looks like they're in a lot of trouble and they have to go on the road to New England next week. The Jets had a hard time stopping the Redskins running game last week, a team not noted for running the football. Their linebackers appear to be slow. The Jets strength is pass defense and running the football, neither play into Miami's hands. Both their' weaknesses, passing and rush defense, play into the hands of the Dolphins.

The Dolphins beat the Jets 30-3 last season when Vinny T was quarterbacking. He's throwing up a lot of ducks right now.

San Francisco (1-0) at St. Louis (0-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 47

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 52
Rams 31, 49ers 21

Trends
      San Francisco St. Louis
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/30/2002 SF 20 STL 31 329 193 136 263 35 228
10/6/2002 STL 13 SF 37 386 179 207 313 88 225
12/9/2001 SF 14 STL 27 220 76 144 385 115 270
9/23/2001 STL 30 SF 26 232 116 116 424 115 309
10/29/2000 STL 34 SF 24 325 92 233 447 149 298
9/17/2000 SF 24 STL 41 401 111 290 529 140 389

The over is 6-3 in the last nine meetings.

Motivation

A big divisional game between two long-standing rivals. The Rams will be starting a new quarterback and looking at 0-2 right in the face. The 49ers are coming off an easy win at home against the Bears.

Opinion

One Vegas insider called Rams Head Coach Mike Martz, "one of the worst decision makers in the league." To paraphrase, "He doesn't know when to kick a field goal or when to pull an ineffective quarterback." The criticism didn't end there. Running RB Marshall Faulk nine times last Sunday also drew lots of less than supportive remarks. Speaking of the concussion suffered by QB Kurt Warner, the handicappers' attitude is. that's what you get when you drop back and pass 54 times. It's been a long time since an NFL team won a game with 13 total rushing attempts.

Vegas thinks that the Rams secondary is very vulnerable in this game. They have Bulger as the better quarterback, but Garcia has the better match-up between receivers and defensive backs.

The home team has been huge winners in these games, by 10 points or more last season. They are also high-scoring contests going over the Totals Line. The Rams have won seven of the last eight games between these teams and Vegas expects them to win and go over the total in this game.

Seattle (1-0) at Arizona (0-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 44.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points =47
Seattle 30, Arizona 17

Trends
      Seattle Arizona
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
11/10/2002 SEA 27 ARI 6 406 151 255 337 111 226
9/15/2002 ARI 24 SEA 13 426 81 345 347 249 98

The last four meetings have played under.
The over is 7-1 in the Cards last eight overall.

Motivation

A game between two new members of the Western Division.

Opinion

Some interest in the Seahawks here. The handicappers don't think their passing game was hitting on all cylinders last week against the Saints and may do a lot more against a Cardinals team that can't pressure the quarterback. Without giving the signal callers something to think about, Arizona can't take the heat off their vulnerable secondary.

The Cardinals beat the Lions in the stat column last Sunday. Unfortunately, they made enough mistakes to lose a pretty tight game. Detroit got 21 points off turnovers to blow a close game wide open in the second half. Seattle has better talent than Detroit, especially at runningback and Arizona may start the game with three of their top four receivers on the bench injured. The Cardinals will have to generate a running game to stay close. If they go three and punt, Seattle's offense will put up some points early in this game and win easily.

Carolina (1-0) at Tampa Bay (1-0)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 34

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 38
Tampa Bay 24, Carolina 14

Trends
      Carolina Tampa Bay
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
11/17/2002 CAR 10 TB 23 231 63 168 314 67 247
10/27/2002 TB 12 CAR 9 130 110 20 226 71 155

The over is 10-2-1 in Carolina's last 13 played in Sept.
The over is 6-3 in Carolina's last nine overall.
The last five meetings have played under.

Motivation

Divisional game. Both teams are coming off emotional victories.

Opinion

Vegas thinks Tampa Bay is likely to improve on offense this season. They benefit from playing on a short field because of the dominating defense. Tampa Bay's back-to-back 81 yard drives to put the Eagles game away really impressed the book makers.

These teams are not so far apart. The biggest difference being Carolina doesn't have WR Keyshawn Johnson to go over the middle. Both teams had a nice showing in the second half.

Carolina has second best defense in the NFL. Last year's totals indicate that this will be a defensive battle.

Some concerns about the Carolina defense. They didn't get the kind of pressure they expected last week. Jaguars QB Mark Brunell 23-27 had too high of a completion percentage as the Panthers blew too many coverages. Losing Jack Del Rio as defensive coordinator has hurt this team. They are a few weeks from bringing their "A" game on defense.

Cincinnati (0-1) at Oakland (0-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 45

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 44
Oakland 31, Cincinnati 13

Trends
No recent regular season meetings between these teams.

The over is 12-6-1 in the Bengal's last 19 overall.
The over is 6-1 for OAK as a favorite with 10+ points.
The under is 11-3 in the Raiders last 13 overall.

Motivation

Raiders have something to prove after last week's loss.

Opinion

Oh, how 'Vegas hates the Bengals. Jon Kitna got beat up all week by the handicappers for his horrible (two interceptions, two fumbles) game one. He wasn't alone; Cincinnati's performance just confirmed the wise guy's previous thoughts on this team. Right now, they're struggling while learning the West Coast Offense and a new defensive package. But then again, how do you have to be to lose a game by 20 points to an opposing quarterback (Plummer) with a 21.7 rating? What's going to happen when they face a real quarterback (Gannon) and a really pissed off Raider team this week?

New England (0-1) at Philadelphia (0-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 38

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 41
New England 21, Philadelphia 20

Trends
No recent regular season meeting between these teams.

The under is 11-3 in the Pats last 14 overall.
The under is 4-1 in the Eagles last five overall.

Motivation

Both teams coming off a shut out will be desperate to get their Super Bowl campaign back on track. Starting 0-2 would put either team behind the eight ball within their very competitive divisions.

Opinion

If misery loves company, these two teams were made for each other. Neither scored in week one, and they're players and coaches are taking the heat as a result. Vegas hates this contest because they learned absolutely nothing from both team's first game. It's all a mystery right now.

Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid was taking his lumps this week for a conservative game plan that seem to play to the strength of the Buccaneer defense. If your quarterback is your best runner, what does that saw about your runners and wide receivers? Giving your starting running back two touches isn't exactly a vote of confidence.

To make matters worse, the Eagles are in deep trouble on defense after suffering a number of injures on Monday night. They will be without three starters this week against the Patriots.

Denver (1-0) at San Diego (0-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 44.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 41
Broncos 21, Chargers 20

Trends
      Denver San Diego
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/1/2002 DEN 27 SD 30 417 156 261 434 220 214
10/6/2002 SD 9 DEN 26 417 117 300 314 79 235
11/11/2001 SD 16 DEN 26 338 127 211 243 96 147
10/21/2001 DEN 10 SD 27 263 81 182 379 107 272
11/19/2000 SD 37 DEN 38 536 93 443 385 86 299
10/8/2000 DEN 21 SD 7 304 96 208 277 65 212

The over is 52-28 in last 80 for Denver when 42.5-49 points.
The under is 6-3 in the last nine meetings.

Motivation

A big divisional game. The Chargers got blown out in the first half while the Broncos shut it down after getting an easy lead.

Opinion

The Broncos got an easy win last week against the Bengals. Clinton Portis is the poor man's Priest Holmes and may emerge as this season's difference maker. But the handicappers think QB Jake Plunmer may screw it up. He makes countless mistakes. He's statistically a terrible quarterback. Season after season he ends up being ranked in the bottom four quarterbacks. He has a tremendous losing record in the NFL. The bookmakers think that just because he went to Denver, putting on that jersey isn't going to change his career. There was nothing wrong with QB Brian Griese, he just took the fall for not making the playoffs.

Denver is given way too much credit; they're living on their reputation. They have won zero playoff games the past two years. They are two games over .500 over the same period.

The Chargers always seem to play the Broncos tough. They don't have a top 10 defense, but they're not the Bengals either. These teams have split the last eight meetings. The Chargers are in a great position to sneak up on the Broncos. San Diego gets up for games when they are the home underdog. They also seem to play better coming off a big loss.

Chicago (0-1) at Minnesota (1-0)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 45.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 45
Minnesota 28, Chicago 17

Trends
      Chicago Minnesota
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
10/27/2002 CHI 7 MIN 25 218 44 174 364 148 216
9/8/2002 MIN 23 CHI 27 368 80 288 364 136 228
11/25/2001 CHI 13 MIN 6 235 142 93 316 124 192
9/23/2001 MIN 10 CHI 17 284 47 237 319 104 215
10/15/2000 MIN 28 CHI 16 294 98 196 368 191 177
9/3/2000 CHI 27 MIN 30 425 153 272 374 186 188

The under is 7-0 when the Bears play in a Dome.
The under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
The over is 14-7 for the Vikings last 21 overall.

Motivation

A divisional game is always motivating, however, it a night home opener for the Vikings and both the fans and their team will be fired up. The Bears are dealing with a front office power struggle between the General Manager and the Head Coach. It has been suggested that several free agent moves this past off-season were intended to create a situation where firing the coach would come sooner rather than later.

Opinion

Point spread is all over the place in this game. The Vikings are a big favorite and coming off an emotional win. The Bears were humiliated, and were only competitive for about 15 minutes. Actually, the Bears were never competitive at any point in the game. The Niners marched down the field on their first two drives of the game and scored. The Bears offensive line woes are hurting this team. The play-calling was bad, but when you can't run and can't protect the signal-caller, there isn't a good play to call. Multiple undrafted free agents are going to be starting this game on the Chicago offensive line. The team is resigned to the fact that Head Coach isn't going to be around very long.

Dallas (0-1) at New York Giants (1-0)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 37.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 41
New York 24, Dallas 17

Trends
      Dallas NYG
Date Away Home Tot Rush Pass Tot Rush Pass
12/15/2002 DAL 7 NYG 37 241 104 137 377 157 220
10/6/2002 NYG 21 DAL 17 340 91 249 316 104 212
12/9/2001 NYG 13 DAL 20 289 102 187 245 125 120
11/4/2001 DAL 24 NYG 27 324 86 238 358 93 265
12/17/2000 NYG 17 DAL 13 145 75 70 225 99 126
10/15/2000 DAL 14 NYG 19 269 76 193 311 203 108

The over is 3-1 in the last four meetings.
The over is 5-2 in the Cowboy's last seven overall.
The over is 12-6 in Dallas' last 18 played in Sept.
The over is 8-2 in the Giants last 10 overall.

Motivation

Does calling the other team's coach a homo incite the enemy? I'm guessing that will be talked about sometime this week. The Giants and the Cowboys have had lots of history even before TE Jeremy Shocky played the gay card. As many readers will remember, Dallas Head Coach Bill Parcells coach both the Jets and the Giants, leading the latter to two Super Bowls. These two teams have never liked one another and a round of name calling just adds fuel to the fire.

Opinion

The handicappers seem to be reluctantly lining up behind the Giants in this game. They think the point spread makes this game unattractive, but no one questions that New York will this football game, it just a matter of by how much.

Most bookmakers are saying that the real difference in this football game comes down to the talent at quarterback. The Giants have it and the Cowboys don't. Quincy Carter is still making bad decisions and too many mistakes, bad plays that led directly to the Dallas' loss last week. Both offensive lines have question marks, the Giants have a slight advantage with their defense, although the Cowboys are better than most think, and New York has a slight edge in talent at WR and RB. Add it all up and the better team should win this game, although if may be a low scoring football game.