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 6
By Fritz Schlottman
October 10, 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.

Carolina (4-0) at Indianapolis (5-0)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 38.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 44
Indianapolis 24, Carolina 20

Trends
No recent regular season meetings between these teams.

Carolina's last three games overall have gone under.
Under is 5-2 in Colts last seven games overall.

Motivation
The Colts are coming off an improbable Monday night game were they came from 21 points behind to beat Tampa. Carolina is undefeated coming off a victory over the Saints.

Opinion
Indianapolis comes in off a huge high-an incredible 21-point come from behind victory in the last four minutes of the 4th quarter on Monday night. Vegas would have liked the Colts much better in this game had they come off a loss. Even with the big win, the wise guys think the Colts will win this football game.

Carolina doesn't look like an undefeated football team. They rank 23rd on offense and 22nd on defense. RB Stephen Davis will be able to run the ball against Indianapolis; the Colts are averaging 4.7 yards per carry against. However, Panthers QB Jake Delhomme is averaging less than 120 yards passing per start and only had 124 yards against a New Orleans' defense last week that was missing eight starters. The Panthers have two undrafted free agents starting at cornerback and they may be very vulnerable to the combination of QB Payton Manning and WR Marvin Harrison. The Colts have a better defense statistically and a much better offense.

Houston (2-2) at Tennessee (3-2)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 40

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 38
Tennessee 21, Houston 17

Trends
       

HOU

   

TEN

 

Date

Away

Home

Tot

Rush

Pass

Tot

Rush

Pass

12/29/2002

TEN 13

HOU 3

224

28

196

277

140

137

11/10/2002

HOU 10

TEN 17

233

68

165

251

142

109

Over is 3-0 in Texans last three played on grass.
Over is 4-0 in Houston's last four games overall.
Under is 4-1 in the Titans last five overall.

Motivation
An AFC South Divisional game that hasn't developed into a rivalry yet. Houston comes off a bye week while the Titans come off a loss to New England.

Opinion
The history between these two teams is that they place close, low-scoring games. Tennessee won both games last year 17-10 and 13-3.

For some reason, the Texans now think they have a chance to be a playoff team after starting 2-2. Vegas thinks they're pretenders not contenders, but concedes that all aspects of their game are better this year. QB David Carr isn't making as many rookie mistakes and WR Andre Johnson has been an impact player in his first year. The offensive line is blocking a little better and the running game has improved with RBs Mack and Davis carrying the football.

On the other side, Tennessee is becoming more one-dimensional. They can't run the ball and put three, four, and five receivers on the field to compensate. RB Eddie George is no longer a threat, he's averaging just 2.7 yards per carry. Even though they are limited, coming off a bad road loss to the Patriots, the Titans should be up for this game.

Miami (3-1) at Jacksonville (1-4)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 38

Predicted Outcome
Total Points =37
Miami 20, Jacksonville 17

Trends
       

MIA

   

JAX

 

Date

Away

Home

Tot

Rush

Pass

Tot

Rush

Pass

8/15/2003

MIA 23

JAC 27

270

118

152

379

130

249

1/15/2000

MIA 7

JAC 62

131

21

110

520

257

263

Miami's last three games have gone under.
The last two meetings between these teams have gone over.
Over is 4-1 overall in Jaguars games this season.

Motivation
Miami management will remember that the Dolphins were whipped by the Jaguars 62-7 in a 1999 playoff game. Dolphins' HC Dave Wannstedt was an assistant coach on that Miami team.

Opinion
Miami benefited from a lot of turnovers last week. While that made the final score look good, the handicappers have looked deeper inside this Dolphins team and questions still remain.

You know Miami wants to run the ball. It could be Ricky Williams left, Ricky Williams right, and Ricky Williams up the middle any other week. Williams is on pace to set a NFL record for carries in a season, and by a large margin. But against Jacksonville, that may not work. The Jaguars are capable of shutting him down. Jacksonville's run defense has been great so far this season. The Jaguars shut down the Buffalo Bills; they shut down the Colts on the ground, last week they shut down RB LaDainian Tomlinson.

There is another concern with Miami; they're moving the football but aren't scoring a lot points. They forced four turnovers against the Giants and yet only scored 23 points. The Dolphins also struggled to score against the Jets and the Bills. They aren't showing a lot of offensive explosiveness right now.

The Jaguars don't have a great record, but they play hard every week. QB Byron Leftwich has played very well since becoming the starter. He brings a spark to this offense. Leftwich made some nice throws and made some nice reads last week against the Chargers. The odds makers have noticed that the Jaguars rookie signal caller is utterly fearless.

Oakland (2-3) at Cleveland (2-3)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 43

Predicted Outcome
Total Points =47
Cleveland 27, Oakland 20

Trends
       

OAK

   

CLE

 

Date

Away

Home

Tot

Rush

Pass

Tot

Rush

Pass

9/24/2000

CLE 10

OAK 36

292

113

179

230

89

141

Raiders are 0-5 ATS overall this season.
Under is 13-5 in Oakland's last 18 games overall.

Motivation
The Raiders blew a 15-point lead and lost to the Bears last week while the Browns hammered their AFC North rivals (the Steelers).

Opinion
A year ago, both of these teams were in the playoffs. This year, both teams are struggling. Oakland was outplayed by the Bears and the Bengals and Cleveland has struggled on offense, their strength coming into the season.

Of the two teams, the Vegas insiders think Cleveland will come out of their funk first. The Browns got an average of 120 yards rushing on two of the worst run defenses in the league in the last two games. The Browns have one of the poorest offensive lines in the league. They don't often get a chance to grind out rushing first downs, but they should have a bunch again this week. The big win over Pittsburgh has to be a huge morale booster for QB Tim Couch and the rest of the squad. The Browns are a terrible home team, but Vegas thinks they'll get the win over an aging Raiders team this week.

In the last two weeks, the Raiders have given up 200 yards rushing to the both Bears and the Chargers. Oakland is nearly dead last in the league in defense while the Browns are 7th in yardage allowed. Now the Raiders have a training room full of injuries to worry about and that won't help their execution on either side of the ball.

Tampa Bay (2-2) at Washington (3-2)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 37

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 37
Tampa Bay 20, Washington 13

Trends
       

TB

   

WAS

 

Date

Away

Home

Tot

Rush

Pass

Tot

Rush

Pass

10/1/2000

TB 17

WAS 20

255

72

183

330

145

185

Under is 7-2 in the last nine meetings.
Under is 20-6 in TB's 26 games vs. NFC East

Motivation
Tampa DT/TE Warren Sapp has been trading smack in the media this week with Redskins LB LaVar Arrington. Buc's HC Gruden and Redskins HC Spurrier came into the league with very different ideas about work ethic.

Opinion
Tampa Bay has a great record on the road, coming off a loss. The last four times the Buc's have gone on the road, they've given up a combined total of 20 points. That's five points per game, with two games against the Eagles. Tampa has outscored their opponents in these games 90-20. They are 17-2 ATS off a loss and 13-0 coming off the loss as a favorite.

Washington is 3-2, but they've not beaten a good opponent yet. They've beaten the 0-4 Jets on opening night by a field goal, they've hung on to beat a banged up New England team, and they've beaten a poor Atlanta team without QB Michael Vick. Their losses haven't been that great either. They've lost to the Giants at home and were beaten by the Eagles.

Both of the two teams have faced Atlanta and Philly. In these to games, Washington was 1-1 and scored the same amount of points they gave up. Tampa, on the other hand, won both games by a 48-10 margin. Vegas likes the Buc's a lot this week.

Chicago (1-3) at New Orleans (1-4)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 42

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 47
New Orleans 27, Chicago 20

Trends
       

CHI

   

NO

 

Date

Away

Home

Tot

Rush

Pass

Tot

Rush

Pass

9/22/2002

NO 29

CHI 23

353

125

228

302

73

229

10/8/2000

NO 31

CHI 10

245

72

173

403

186

217

Under is 8-0 in Chicago's last eight played in a dome.
Under is 5-2 in New Orleans' last seven games overall.

Motivation
Bears are coming off a huge win against the Raiders. New Orleans comes off yet another loss, this time to the Panthers.

Opinion
The Bears come off an 18-point, 4th quarter, come from behind victory while the Saints come off another loss.

Oakland didn't take the Bears seriously last week, and they paid for it. They went in at half time with an 18-3 lead and figure they had the game won. Oakland did nothing in the third quarter and they tuned it on only after the Bears rallied.

Despite the win, the Bears remain terrible. They have a very short passing game, and it's not very good. QB Kordell Stewart is still out-of-sink with his receivers and Stewart doesn't get enough time to complete those longer routes. He did much more damage scrambling then he did with his arm dinking and dunking down the field. The best performer is RB Anthony Thomas who's averaging whopping 5.9 yards per carry. Thomas has 233 yards rushing the last two games.

On the other hand, the Saints have a lot of weapons on offense; they just can't seem to score. They've been a major disappointment so far this year. Their beat up defense played better last week, keeping New Orleans in the game against the Panthers until the end. On the bright side, their offensive line didn't give up any sacks last week and they put up 355 yards of offense on the Panthers.

Kansas City (5-0) at Green Bay (3-2)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 48

Predicted Outcome
Total Points =53
Green Bay 27, Kansas City 26

Trends
No recent regular season meeting between these teams.

Over is 8-3 in KC's last 11 games overall.

Motivation
A sandwich game for the Chiefs and another home game in Wisconsin where the Packers ambushed the favored Seahawks last week.

Opinion
The big 48 total tells you all you need to know about what the sportsbooks think about this game. A 48 opening total is almost unheard of, so Vegas is expecting an all out track meet between these two squads.

That said, there is no clear guidance from the handicappers on this game. You can find experts on both sides that think one team or the other is very over rated.

Take the Chiefs. They don't look statistically like an undefeated team. KC is 15th on offense and 26th on defense. They were outgained 469 to 261 last week. They trailed 20-10 before their comeback.

The Chiefs defense looked vulnerable against the run last week. They gave up 5.7 yards per carry to the Broncos. RB Clinton Portis ran wild through the Chiefs' secondary. Packer RB Ahman Green is certainly a capable runningback. If the Packers get the running game going, QB Brett Favre may have a big game as well and his wide receivers are finally healthy.

On the other hand GB playing much better. They had five straight touchdown drives. GB has the #1 punt return defense and is #4 in kick return defense so they may be the first team to limit Kansas City KR Dante Hall this season.

And yet, you get a lot of experts that don't know how the 5-0 Chiefs can be a "dog" in this game. Despite the victory over Seattle, these handicappers are still of the opinion that Green Bay is a little overrated. They played very well against the Seahawks, but still have some nagging injuries. They are hopeless against the run, so this sets up to be yet another big Priest Holmes game.

This is a sandwich game for Kansas City. Last week, it was a war against Denver; next week is the Raiders on Monday night. They're on the road this week in a place where no visiting team wins. From an emotional point of view, Green Bay holds an edge.

New York Giants (2-2) at New England (3-2)

Vegas Line
Total Points =41.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 45
New York Giants 24, New England 21

Trends
No recent regular season meeting between these teams.

Under is 3-1 in the last four meetings.

Motivation
New York comes off a loss to the Dolphins while New England comes off a victory at home over the Titans.

Opinion
The New York Giants defense did what it was expected to do last week, limit Miami RB Ricky Williams. The Dolphins runningback had just 39 rushing yards. Unfortunately, the New York defense couldn't overcome the offenses' turnovers. Three interceptions put the Giants defense in bad spots throughout last week's game.

The wise guys expect the Giants to bounce back this week against the Patriots. The Patriots are coming off a big victory over the Titans. This beaten up New England squad played their hearts out last week, but the Vegas boys don't think they have enough left in the tank to do it again this Sunday afternoon. The Giants are 17-9 vs. the spread as a visitor in their last 26 games.

Philadelphia (2-2) at Dallas (3-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 37.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points =35
Philadelphia 19, Dallas 16

Trends
       

PHI

   

DAL

 

Date

Away

Home

Tot

Rush

Pass

Tot

Rush

Pass

12/21/2002

PHI 27

DAL 3

359

114

245

146

68

78

9/22/2002

DAL 13

PHI 44

447

153

294

304

123

181

11/18/2001

PHI 36

DAL 3

227

98

129

213

132

81

9/30/2001

DAL 18

PHI 40

276

131

145

242

181

61

11/5/2000

DAL 13

PHI 16

357

129

228

295

204

91

9/3/2000

PHI 41

DAL 14

425

306

119

167

67

100

Philadelphia has won the last six games in this series.

Motivation
The Eagles probably want this game more. Their still trying to overcome their 0-2 start while the Cowboys have looked good in their recent three week 2-0 tour of the Meadowlands.

Opinion
The Eagles struggled out of the gate, but the offense has really come around after the bye week. The big difference is that QB Donovan McNabb is running again. Philadelphia is still having problems throwing the ball and the protection continues to be questionable. McNabb is still misfiring on a lot of his short throws.

The Cowboys haven't played a tough schedule so far. Dallas has won three straight games against the Giants, Jets and Cardinals. In these games, their defense has been solid and their receivers have run wild. The Cowboys are number one statistically rushing the football and only give up just 2.9 yards per carry.

Both teams will likely struggle to rush the football. This sets up as a contest between the two quarterbacks with McNabb having the edge and Dallas having the better receivers. The handicappers are giving the edge to the Eagles based on their huge divisional record. They have beaten the Cowboys in the last six games.

Baltimore (2-2) at Arizona (1-4)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 37

Predicted Outcome
Total Points =37
Baltimore 24, Arizona 13

Trends
       

BAL

   

ARI

 

Date

Away

Home

Tot

Rush

Pass

Tot

Rush

Pass

12/17/2000

BAL 13

ARI 7

214

177

37

309

51

258

The last two meetings have played under.

Motivation
The Ravens are coming off a loss to the Chiefs and a bye week while the Cardinals got pounded on the road yet again, this time by Dallas.

Opinion
Vegas thinks this one's all about the Ravens ability to run the ball and play defense. You can't play runningback much better than Baltimore RB Jamal Lewis this season. The Ravens RB has 611 yards rushing in four games. The Cardinals have no running back that can match Lewis stride for stride.

On the other hand, the Ravens defense is difficult to move the ball against while the Cardinals defenders are questionable at best. The Cardinals are giving up 31 points per game and only sacking the quarterbacks three times this season. Without a pass rush, Arizona isn't getting turnovers either; they have just three interceptions this season. With a great defense and tough running game, Vegas thinks the Ravens can grind away at the clock and still be able to defend a lead even when the Card's drop their own running game and pass every down.

Pittsburgh (2-3) at Denver (4-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 45.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 51
Denver 27, Pittsburgh 24

Trends
No recent regular season meetings between these teams.

Over is 17-6 in Denver's last 23 vs. AFC North

Motivation
Both teams are coming off a loss. Denver's loss was at least close and to a 4-0 team. The Steelers looked terrible against the Browns on Sunday Night.

Opinion
This could be a bit of a flat spot for the Broncos. They're coming off an emotional game against the Chiefs where they lost the game on a late punt return for a touchdown. Next week, they go on the road against the undefeated Vikings. They had a similar situation already this year. The came off a huge victory against Oakland and then came out flat against Detroit at home before playing the Chiefs.

Pittsburgh has their own problems. Their secondary started out well, but have collapsed in recent weeks. The Broncos have four and even five good receiving options that can take advantage of that secondary.

The Broncos secondary is a high-risk, high-reward bunch. They'll get some interceptions and they'll give up some big plays as well. WRs Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward match up well against them this week. Burress can make some unbelievable plays and Ward is one of the league's most consistent receivers. With both defenses vulnerable and both teams coming off a loss, Vegas thinks this will be a high scoring game.

Buffalo (3-2) at New York Jets (0-4)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 37.5

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 27
Buffalo 14, New York Jets 13

Trends
       

BUF

   

NYJ

 

Date

Away

Home

Tot

Rush

Pass

Tot

Rush

Pass

11/24/2002

BUF 13

NYJ 31

258

88

170

325

155

170

9/8/2002

NYJ 37

BUF 31

384

142

242

266

73

193

12/30/2001

BUF 14

NYJ 9

368

192

176

375

140

235

10/7/2001

NYJ 42

BUF 36

473

162

311

335

162

173

10/29/2000

NYJ 20

BUF 23

338

86

252

337

51

286

Over is 4-2 in the last six meetings.
Under is 3-0 when the Bills play on turf.
Under is 9-3 in Jets last 12 games overall.

Motivation
The Jets are still looking to win their first game while the Bills struggled to beat the Bengals. This is an intrastate divisional game.

Opinion
The 0-4 New York Jets have had a week to regroup. They are 31st in rushing the football and 31st against the rush. The obvious problems have been the offensive and defensive lines. QB Vinny Testaverde has been OK, and he seems to get time to throw, but this team desperately needs a little balance on offense. They are averaging under three yards per carry. On defense, they allowed 202 yards rushing against the Cowboys and the Dolphins ran all over them as well.

The Bills can't run the ball. And when Buffalo can't run, defenses shut down their pass as well. QB Drew Bledsoe has struggled against quality defenses without a running game. He's getting too much pressure right now. Philadelphia kept the pressure up by blitzing, Miami's defensive ends dominated Buffalo's tackles, and even the Bengals got pressure on Bledsoe. The Jets defensive line has been the best unit on New York's defense. They will follow the same blueprint and apply the pressure to Bledsoe and see if they can get a couple of turnovers and a couple of easy scores.

San Francisco (2-3) at Seattle (3-1)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 45

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 47
Seattle 24, San Francisco 23

Trends
       

SF

   

SEA

 

Date

Away

Home

Tot

Rush

Pass

Tot

Rush

Pass

12/1/2002

SEA 24

SF 31

299

142

157

507

80

427

10/14/2002

SF 28

SEA 21

351

161

190

334

123

211

The over is 8-1 in the last nine meetings.

Motivation
San Francisco cruised to a victory over the Lions while the Seahawks got creamed on the road in Green Bay. SF Head Coach Erickson used to be HC at Seattle and Holmgren used to coach at SF.

Opinion
Seattle has had some great Sunday night games. RB Shawn Alexander has been explosive in these games. He seems to get his touchdowns in bunches and has scored them by the handful on Sunday night.

The Seahawks had their bad game against the Packers last week and got whacked. The handicappers noticed that QB Matt Hasselbeck got blitzed and blitzed again in that game, failed to pick it up or make the hot reads, and struggled to move the team. In the sportsbook's opinion, if the Seahawks passing game is going, that running game really opens up. And if that happens, the 49ers are going to be in world of hurt because their secondary is extremely questionable.

Last week against the Lions, the 49ers jumped out to a 17-0 lead and then just did nothing. QB Jeff Garcia had a real dry stretch during the game going 1-10 for just 4 yards in the second-third quarter. WR Terrell Owens should have burned the Lions secondary, but had an average game. He failed to go after a couple of balls, one of which might have been a long game and the other resulted in an interception. They can't afford these dry spells this week, as the Seahawks are too good of a football team to spot them a quarter.

Atlanta (1-4) at St. Louis (2-2)

Vegas Line
Total Points = 45

Predicted Outcome
Total Points = 43
St. Louis 30, Atlanta 13

Trends
       

ATL

   

STL

 

Date

Away

Home

Tot

Rush

Pass

Tot

Rush

Pass

1/6/2002

ATL 13

STL 31

255

107

148

458

192

266

12/2/2001

STL 35

ATL 6

320

128

192

422

89

333

10/15/2000

ATL 29

STL 45

259

61

198

529

227

302

9/24/2000

STL 41

ATL 20

286

68

218

395

74

321

Over is 4-0 when Falcons play on turf this season.
Over is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings.

STL has won the last four, scoring more than 30 pts. in each game.

Motivation
The Falcons are coming off another loss and now face the Rams. St. Louis has stomped Atlanta in each of the last four meetings.

Opinion
The Atlanta Falcons have not had a lot of success. They have been outplayed badly in their last three contests, particularly in the second halves. The Falcons have been outscored by Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Minnesota 93-39 in these games.

However, they did look better last week. WR Peerless Price finally had a decent performance with double digit catches. QB Brad Johnson had a big game and the Falcons were able to run the ball. Unfortunately, their defense can't stop anyone, so when the offense isn't working things go very wrong.

St. Louis comes off the big win against Arizona and a bye week. The Rams have really been up and down this year. At times, they looked like they're back and the next they don't look really crisp. Part of it is they're very young on defense and are still learning to make plays. Vegas doesn't trust them to be in sync off the bye week. Still, they should manage to beat the struggling Falcons.