fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    
HOME ARTICLES NEWS DRAFT GUIDE REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS NFL TEAMS MESSAGE BOARDS

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Inside The Points - Week 6
Fritze Schlottman
October 15, 2004

Last week was another rough week for the touts and the ‘cappers as it was a week of big comebacks by the dogs. Buffalo started it off by scoring two late touchdowns to pull ahead of the Jets only to give it up in the final moments. Houston came back from 21 behind to send the Vikings into overtime. San Francisco got its first win of the season by scoring two late touchdowns and two two-point conversions to take the Cardinals to OT and the freaking Seahawks blew a 17 point lead in the final six minutes to lose at home in overtime (yes, I’m bitter).

Needless to say, it was a tough week for the folks in the Hilton contest once again. The first choice of the players was the Seahawks (140-58 ouch!), followed by the Browns (117-40 doh!). It wasn’t my best week either as my best bets (SEA, CLE, and NYJ) gave it up at the end. In the debut of the handicapping formula the sides went a disappointing 5-7 while the totals kept their winning streak going, but just barely at 7-6 (stupid #$%&ing computer!). With another week of data points the motherboard’s ability should improve or I have an icy Coke just waiting to be spilled on her keyboard (just a little threat…err, joke). Considering the box took three bad beats, I’ll let it slide for now.

There is a slight change to the format this week. In response to overwhelming demand, I’ve included the overall statistics used in the handicapping formula. And let me say that if some of my readers nag their mother/spouse/boy toy the way they’ve complained to me, I understand why their loved ones’ have developed facial twitches. I’ve omitted the usual section on trends as I believe what’s happened through the first third of the season trumps what happened in 1998 anyway. As important trend situations come up (Packers <choke> Lions), I’ll mention them in my commentary. On to the games!

MIAMI AT BUFFALO

Vegas Line

BUF -6 TOTAL 30.5

Predicted Outcome

BUF 14 MIA 7

Records

MIA

SU (0-5-0)

ATS (1-4-0), ATS AWAY (0-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-4-1), O/U AWAY (0-1-1)

BUF

SU (0-4-0)

ATS (2-2-0), ATS HOME (0-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-3-0), O/U HOME (1-1-0)

STATISTICS

MIA

 

BUF

 

FIRST DOWNS GAINED

69

FIRST DOWNS GAINED

65

FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED

72

FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED

71

RUSHES

116

RUSHES

108

OPPONENTS’ RUSHES

172

OPPONENTS’ RUSHES

98

RUSH YDS GAINED

306

RUSH YDS GAINED

380

RUSH YDS ALLOWED

674

RUSH YDS ALLOWED

340

PASS ATTEMPTS

186

PASS ATTEMPTS

110

OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT

117

OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT

135

PASS YDS GAINED

940

PASS YDS GAINED

694

PASS YDS ALLOWED

532

PASS YDS ALLOWED

938

TURNOVERS LOST

16

TURNOVERS LOST

6

OPP TURNOVERS REC

5

OPP TURNOVERS REC

5

POINTS SCORED

42

POINTS SCORED

51

POINTS ALLOWED

87

POINTS ALLOWED

73

TOTAL PLAYS

302

TOTAL PLAYS

218

TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED

289

TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED

233

TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL

13

TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL

-15

TOTAL YARDS

1246

TOTAL YARDS

1074

TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED

1206

TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED

1278

TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL

40

TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL

-204

YDS Per Rush

2.64

YDS Per Rush

3.52

Rush YDS per Rush Against

3.92

Rush YDS per Rush Against

3.47

YDS Per Pass Attempt

5.05

YDS Per Pass Attempt

6.31

YDS Against per Pass Attempt

4.55

YDS Against per Pass Attempt

6.95

Recent Meetings

        MIA     BUF  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
12/21/2003 MIA 20 BUF 3 169 132 37 177 73 104
9/21/2003 BUF 7 MIA 17 313 166 147 118 41 77
12/1/2002 MIA 21 BUF 38 300 270 30 431 161 270
10/20/2002 BUF 23 MIA 10 287 132 155 294 132 162
1/6/2002 BUF 7 MIA 34 289 202 87 250 39 211
11/25/2001 MIA 34 BUF 27 364 101 263 422 127 295

Commentary

One of the big considerations in what should be a low scoring game is the loss of Dolphins PK Olinda Mare. His absence last Sunday against the Patriots probably cost the Dolphins backers the cover last week. With Miami touchdowns coming few and far between, not being able to convert a 40 yard field goal may be the difference in covering or not covering this week in what should be a very low-scoring game.

The field goal issue aside, I’ve never seen a 30 total before. Some of the smaller books are not even putting up the game. Then again, we have the 32 nd ranked offense ( Miami) playing the 28 th ranked offense ( Buffalo) and two pretty good defenses ( Miami is ranked 2 nd in the NFL and Buffalo is great at home), so you wouldn’t expect a ton of scoring.

The motherboard continues to be harsh with the Dolphins, rating them at a -12 on a neutral field. Buffalo came in at -4 making the spread BUF -8 on a neutral field and -12 in upstate New York after home field and a surface advantage is factored in.

I hate taking on a very short total where one mistake, a special teams play or a defender that slips and falls down, can cost you the game, but I’ll take Buffalo and the Under in this contest. While I may bet the game, there isn’t enough No-doze in America to keep me awake if I actually had to watch it.

SAN FRANCISCO AT NY JETS

Vegas Line

NYJ -10 TOTAL 43

Predicted Outcome

NYJ 27 SF 13

Records

SF

SU (1-4-0)

ATS (3-2-0), ATS AWAY (0-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-3-0), O/U AWAY (1-1-0)

NYJ

SU (4-0-0)

ATS (3-1-0), ATS HOME (2-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-2-0), O/U HOME (1-1-0)

STATISTICS

SF   NYJ  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 106 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 86
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 98 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 70
RUSHES 113 RUSHES 123
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 154 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 96
RUSH YDS GAINED 436 RUSH YDS GAINED 536
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 535 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 401
PASS ATTEMPTS 214 PASS ATTEMPTS 122
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 147 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 124
PASS YDS GAINED 1248 PASS YDS GAINED 900
PASS YDS ALLOWED 1048 PASS YDS ALLOWED 822
TURNOVERS LOST 13 TURNOVERS LOST 4
OPP TURNOVERS REC 3 OPP TURNOVERS REC 11
POINTS SCORED 91 POINTS SCORED 98
POINTS ALLOWED 137 POINTS ALLOWED 75
TOTAL PLAYS 327 TOTAL PLAYS 245
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 301 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 220
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 26 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 25
TOTAL YARDS 1684 TOTAL YARDS 1436
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1583 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1223
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 101 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 213
YDS Per Rush 3.86 YDS Per Rush 4.36
Rush YDS per Rush Against 3.47 Rush YDS per Rush Against 4.18
YDS Per Pass Attempt 5.83 YDS Per Pass Attempt 7.38
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 7.13 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 6.63

Recent Meetings

        SF     NYJ  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/1/2001 SF 19 NYJ 17 359 233 126 268 92 176

Commentary

It’s always tough to lay ten points, but here we have a beaten-up 49ers team going on the road against an undefeated Jets team coming off two divisional games, so it’s sure going to be tempting.

SF lost LB Julian Peterson for the season last week, and considering he’s their best defensive player, you can expect the 49ers defense will continue to struggle for the remainder of the season. On the other side of the ball, SF’s best receiver (TE Eric Johnson) has broken ribs so the NFL catch leader may be limited for a while. Then there are all those injuries to cornerbacks and that’s really bad against Pennington who completes 60% of his passes against healthy secondaries, so the 49ers just may not have the personnel to hang in this game (Side note: its probably a good thing that they got that first win of the season last week, as they may not get another).

The 49ers only chance to stick around oddly rests with the Jets. It’s not if New York will score, but it’s how long it takes them. Week after week, they methodically work their way down the field on long scoring drives that eat up the clock using short passes and the run. I’m not entirely sure New York is going to have enough possessions to win the game by two touchdowns and go over the total in this game. After letting the Bills back into last week’s game and failing to cover (yes, I’m bitter) I don’t trust them not to repeat that mistake either. So I’ll split the baby and pick the Jets to cover and stay under the total. SEATTLE AT NEW ENGLAND

Vegas Line

NE -4 TOTAL 42

Predicted Outcome

SEA 21 NE 17

Records

SEA

SU (3-1-0)

ATS (3-1-0), ATS AWAY (2-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-3-0), O/U AWAY (0-2-0)

NE

SU (4-0-0)

ATS (3-0-1), ATS HOME (1-0-1)

OVER/UNDER (2-1-1), O/U HOME (1-0-1)

STATISTICS

SEA   NE  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 74 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 81
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 59 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 78
RUSHES 132 RUSHES 123
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 122 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 110
RUSH YDS GAINED 531 RUSH YDS GAINED 488
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 338 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 457
PASS ATTEMPTS 122 PASS ATTEMPTS 113
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 150 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 131
PASS YDS GAINED 831 PASS YDS GAINED 894
PASS YDS ALLOWED 830 PASS YDS ALLOWED 788
TURNOVERS LOST 3 TURNOVERS LOST 7
OPP TURNOVERS REC 13 OPP TURNOVERS REC 9
POINTS SCORED 92 POINTS SCORED 105
POINTS ALLOWED 46 POINTS ALLOWED 63
TOTAL PLAYS 254 TOTAL PLAYS 236
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 272 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 241
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -18 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -5
TOTAL YARDS 1362 TOTAL YARDS 1382
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1168 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1245
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 194 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 137
YDS Per Rush 4.02 YDS Per Rush 3.97
Rush YDS per rush Against 2.77 Rush YDS per rush Against 4.15
YDS Per Pass Attempt 6.81 YDS Per Pass Attempt 7.91
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 5.53 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 6.02

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETING

Commentary

The Patriots are probably going to have to play without RB Corey Dillon and that may be the difference in this game. New England’s offense has been pretty lethargic in the last two games. The Patriots didn’t put away the Dolphins until late in last week’s snoozer and the week prior they kept Buffalo in the contest far too long. Injuries to Dillon and the receiving corps seem to be affecting the Patriots’ offensive production. New England will need to be better this Sunday if the Patriots are going to keep that winning streak going because Seattle is a big step up in competition from the dregs the Patriots have been playing.

Will the real Seahawk defense please stand up? Are they the defensive monsters their statistics suggest or are they the team that blew a 17-point lead with little more than five minutes left in their game against the Rams? My best guess is the defensive collapse late last week had more to do with terrible clock management (and yes I’m bitter about my losing ticket) and that prevent defense than it did with the personnel or their intensity. I think the way Seattle’s defense played in the first 54 minutes of the game is more representative of the way they will play in this game, so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt this week. The almighty ‘puter thinks the streak ends here with the game going under the total.

CAROLINA AT PHILADELPHIA

Vegas Line

PHI -8 TOTAL 42

Predicted Outcome

PHI 24 CAR 13

Records

CAR

SU (1-3-0)

ATS (2-2-0), ATS AWAY (2-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-3-1), O/U AWAY (0-1-1)

PHI

SU (4-0-0)

ATS (4-0-0), ATS HOME (2-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-3-0), O/U HOME (1-1-0)

STATISTICS

CAR   PHI  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 71 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 83
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 82 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 73
RUSHES 99 RUSHES 95
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 147 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 73
RUSH YDS GAINED 352 RUSH YDS GAINED 449
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 636 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 357
PASS ATTEMPTS 127 PASS ATTEMPTS 144
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 103 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 166
PASS YDS GAINED 893 PASS YDS GAINED 1100
PASS YDS ALLOWED 671 PASS YDS ALLOWED 946
TURNOVERS LOST 7 TURNOVERS LOST 3
OPP TURNOVERS REC 4 OPP TURNOVERS REC 5
POINTS SCORED 69 POINTS SCORED 107
POINTS ALLOWED 88 POINTS ALLOWED 55
TOTAL PLAYS 226 TOTAL PLAYS 239
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 250 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 239
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -24 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 0
TOTAL YARDS 1245 TOTAL YARDS 1549
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1307 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1303
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL -62 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 246
YDS Per Rush 3.56 YDS Per Rush 4.73
Rush YDS per rush Against 4.33 Rush YDS per rush Against 4.89
YDS Per Pass Attempt 7.03 YDS Per Pass Attempt 7.64
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 6.51 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 5.70

Recent Meetings

        CAR     PHI  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
1/18/2004 CAR 14 PHI 3 256 155 101 289 137 152
11/30/2003 PHI 25 CAR 16 336 136 200 283 124 159

Commentary

Carolina ’s brutal schedule just rolls on. This week the Panthers limp into Philadelphia missing an important component of their rush defense. DT Jenkins will be missing from the line-up again this week. Denver exploited his absence by lining up and running the ball straight at the Panthers’ defense. You can expect that Philadelphia will mix in a little more rush this week and then turn to the play-action passing game. That game plan should generate at least three touchdowns.

If there’s one team that can cover big spreads every week, it’s the Eagles. This is a huge revenge game for Philly to boot as the Eagles will have their NFC Championship loss on their minds, so I’m not terribly concerned that Philadelphia will let up if they get ahead early in this contest. I think the likelihood of a back-door cover by the Panthers will be pretty low given the intensity of this match-up. The Eagles want their revenge and it they break at little china, and hurt a few feelings, oh well.

The mother board thinks this is blow-out city. She’s expecting a big win for the Eagles as well in a game that goes under the total. CINCINNATI AT CLEVELAND

Vegas Line

CLE -3 TOTAL 41

Predicted Outcome

CIN 20 CLE 17

Records

CIN

SU (1-3-0)

ATS (0-4-0), ATS AWAY (0-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-2-0), O/U AWAY (2-0-0)

CLE

SU (2-3-0)

ATS (2-3-0), ATS HOME (2-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-4-0), O/U HOME (0-2-0)

STATISTICS

CIN   CLE  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 79 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 71
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 72 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 95
RUSHES 110 RUSHES 130
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 128 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 154
RUSH YDS GAINED 453 RUSH YDS GAINED 539
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 663 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 573
PASS ATTEMPTS 154 PASS ATTEMPTS 138
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 109 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 153
PASS YDS GAINED 799 PASS YDS GAINED 774
PASS YDS ALLOWED 714 PASS YDS ALLOWED 1178
TURNOVERS LOST 10 TURNOVERS LOST 8
OPP TURNOVERS REC 8 OPP TURNOVERS REC 10
POINTS SCORED 66 POINTS SCORED 82
POINTS ALLOWED 95 POINTS ALLOWED 96
TOTAL PLAYS 264 TOTAL PLAYS 268
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 237 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 307
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 27 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -39
TOTAL YARDS 1252 TOTAL YARDS 1313
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1377 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1751
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL -125 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL -438
YDS Per Rush 4.12 YDS Per Rush 4.15
Rush YDS per rush Against 5.18 Rush YDS per rush Against 3.72
YDS Per Pass Attempt 5.19 YDS Per Pass Attempt 5.61
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 6.55 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 7.70

Recent Meetings

        CIN     CLE  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
12/28/2003 CLE 22 CIN 14 271 115 156 379 264 115
9/28/2003 CIN 21 CLE 14 295 80 215 339 69 270
11/17/2002 CLE 27 CIN 20 350 102 248 382 140 242
9/15/2002 CIN 7 CLE 20 357 156 201 265 75 190
11/25/2001 CIN 0 CLE 18 191 84 107 249 78 171
10/14/2001 CLE 14 CIN 24 400 199 201 211 34 177

Commentary

The Bengals have gotten off to a slow and sluggish start in 2004. I had expected them to take a step back this season, but things have gone straight down hill from the opening kick-off week 1. Cincinnati obviously misses QB Jon Kitna’s efficiency and leadership and have struggled with a new starter (Palmer) more than I initially expected, and maybe the week off has helped that situation. The Bengals running game isn’t off to a great start either and Cincinnati’s defense has played badly to start the season. Hmmm, that sounds more like the Bungles we all know and love from the lost decade.

This may be an Alamo game for Cincy as a loss to the Browns will probably sink their playoff chances and may doom the Bengals to yet another losing season so I would expect a decent effort against their cross-state rivals. Then again, going to the window to get a Bengals ticket always gives me the shakes, so I may pass on this game entirely.

The motherboard’s numbers do reflect how badly Cincinnati has played. She makes them a six point dog in Cleveland giving the Browns a field goal worth of line value. Given the situation points one way and the numbers the other, I’ll pass on the sides in this game and take an Under in what should be a hard-fought divisional game.

GREEN BAY AT DETROIT

Vegas Line

DET -2 TOTAL 44.5

Predicted Outcome

DET 24 GB 21

Records

GB

SU (1-4-0)

ATS (1-4-0), ATS AWAY (1-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-3-0), O/U AWAY (1-1-0)

DET

SU (3-1-0)

ATS (3-1-0), ATS HOME (1-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-3-0), O/U HOME (1-1-0)

Recent Meetings

      GB     DET  
Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
GB 14 DET 22 320 52 268 266 100 166
DET 6 GB 31 332 200 132 293 56 237
DET 14 GB 40 503 150 353 362 126 236
GB 37 DET 31 442 95 347 271 95 176
GB 29 DET 27 339 104 235 360 167 193
DET 6 GB 28 424 179 245 288 56 232

STATISTICS

GB   DET  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 106 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 61
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 105 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 78
RUSHES 127 RUSHES 103
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 151 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 110
RUSH YDS GAINED 494 RUSH YDS GAINED 349
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 749 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 393
PASS ATTEMPTS 202 PASS ATTEMPTS 114
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 151 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 142
PASS YDS GAINED 1386 PASS YDS GAINED 662
PASS YDS ALLOWED 1170 PASS YDS ALLOWED 1170
TURNOVERS LOST 14 TURNOVERS LOST 3
OPP TURNOVERS REC 5 OPP TURNOVERS REC 12
POINTS SCORED 99 POINTS SCORED 78
POINTS ALLOWED 142 POINTS ALLOWED 72
TOTAL PLAYS 329 TOTAL PLAYS 217
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 302 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 252
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 27 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -35
TOTAL YARDS 1880 TOTAL YARDS 1011
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1919 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1563
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL -39 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL -552
YDS Per Rush 3.89 YDS Per Rush 3.39
Rush YDS per rush Against 4.96 Rush YDS per rush Against 3.57
YDS Per Pass Attempt 6.86 YDS Per Pass Attempt 5.81
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 7.75 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 8.24

Commentary

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the Packers, now they have to go on the road to Detroit on a short week to play a must-win game against a Lions’ team that always seems to cover on their home field. Detroit beat a better Packers team on Thanksgiving Day a year ago and will likely give this season’s bumbling version a run for their money as well.

Detroit doesn’t play many games as home favorites, and you have to go a long ways back to find a home game where they were favored over the Packers, so we are in uncharted waters as far as trends go. We do know this season’s numbers, however. The Lions’ offensive numbers are just dreadful, but they’ve won sloppy games on special teams and by forcing turnovers, and just their luck, here comes a Packer team that can’t hold on to the football! Some people just live charmed lives.

Green Bay got embarrassed on Monday night. I would point out the obvious and say the Packers run defense is dreadful, but then you may not notice how bad their secondary has been. Green Bay would love to run the ball, but they’ve gotten so far down so quickly that they’ve had to abandon their game plan early and put the ball in QB Brett Favre’s hand on every down…that may account for a few turnovers, just a guess.

The motherboard gives the nod to the Lions here based on Detroit’s turnover margin and the Packers’ inability to play defense. I don’t like the spot for Detroit coming off a big win against Atlanta on the road, but I can’t support GB right now either. The Packers should yet again make enough mistakes for the Lions to cover the short number with the game going over the total.

WASHINGTON AT CHICAGO

Vegas Line

PICK TOTAL 34

Predicted Outcome

CHI 17 WAS 16

Records

WAS

SU (1-4-0)

ATS (1-4-0), ATS AWAY (0-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-0-0), O/U AWAY (1-4-0)

CHI

SU (1-3-0)

ATS (2-2-0), ATS HOME (0-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-0-0), O/U HOME (1-3-0)

STATISTICS

WAS   CHI  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 76 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 74
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 68 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 84
RUSHES 142 RUSHES 108
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 139 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 115
RUSH YDS GAINED 493 RUSH YDS GAINED 488
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 394 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 480
PASS ATTEMPTS 164 PASS ATTEMPTS 130
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 139 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 137
PASS YDS GAINED 876 PASS YDS GAINED 770
PASS YDS ALLOWED 851 PASS YDS ALLOWED 1005
TURNOVERS LOST 12 TURNOVERS LOST 8
OPP TURNOVERS REC 7 OPP TURNOVERS REC 7
POINTS SCORED 71 POINTS SCORED 68
POINTS ALLOWED 85 POINTS ALLOWED 76
TOTAL PLAYS 306 TOTAL PLAYS 238
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 278 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 252
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 28 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -14
TOTAL YARDS 1369 TOTAL YARDS 1258
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1245 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1485
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 124 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL -227
YDS Per Rush 3.47 YDS Per Rush 4.52
Rush YDS per rush Against 2.83 Rush YDS per rush Against 4.17
YDS Per Pass Attempt 5.34 YDS Per Pass Attempt 5.92
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 6.12 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 7.34

Recent Meetings

        WAS     CHI  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
12/21/2003 WAS 24 CHI 27 286 44 242 429 191 238
12/23/2001 CHI 20 WAS 15 293 89 204 237 112 125

Commentary

It’s really hard to like either team in this game. Neither offense has done anything through the first third of the season nor can you count on one hand the number of big plays either team has had. Even the ‘puter had issues with this game and called it more or less a pick.

Chicago is really beaten-up: a change at quarterback, a new starting center, and more injuries of the offensive line will further handicap a Bears’ offense that struggles to score even when they’re healthy. The one thing Chicago can do is run the ball and of course, the one think the Redskins defense does exceedingly well is stop the run. I can’t make a case for the Bears offense getting anything going as they look outmatched against that Washington defense.

Washington isn’t a sure thing as well. If it wasn’t for the Ravens mistakes last Sunday night, the Redskins may not have crossed the 50-yard line. WAS running game has disappeared and QB Brunell looks dazed and confused. The Bears have their share of injuries on defense and that may allow Washington some success on offense, but not much.

This shapes up to be one of the ugly games on the schedule, and both teams have to be thanking a higher power that Miami and Buffalo will look worse on offense this week..but not by much. Take the Under and thank your lucky stars you’re not a season ticket holder for either team.

HOUSTON AT TENNESSEE

Vegas Line

TEN -6.5 TOTAL 46

Predicted Outcome

TEN 31 HOU 24

Records

HOU

SU (2-3-0)

ATS (2-3-0), ATS AWAY (1-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (4-1-0), O/U AWAY (1-1-0)

TEN

SU (2-3-0)

ATS (2-3-0), ATS HOME (0-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-2-0), O/U HOME (1-1-0)

STATISTICS

HOU   TEN  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 101 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 97
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 105 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 94
RUSHES 145 RUSHES 154
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 137 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 107
RUSH YDS GAINED 508 RUSH YDS GAINED 750
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 657 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 560
PASS ATTEMPTS 151 PASS ATTEMPTS 166
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 167 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 169
PASS YDS GAINED 1306 PASS YDS GAINED 916
PASS YDS ALLOWED 1184 PASS YDS ALLOWED 1159
TURNOVERS LOST 9 TURNOVERS LOST 4
OPP TURNOVERS REC 7 OPP TURNOVERS REC 10
POINTS SCORED 118 POINTS SCORED 111
POINTS ALLOWED 127 POINTS ALLOWED 118
TOTAL PLAYS 296 TOTAL PLAYS 320
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 304 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 276
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -8 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 44
TOTAL YARDS 1814 TOTAL YARDS 1666
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1841 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1719
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL -27 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL -53
YDS Per Rush 3.50 YDS Per Rush 4.87
Rush YDS per rush Against 4.80 Rush YDS per rush Against 5.23
YDS Per Pass Attempt 8.65 YDS Per Pass Attempt 5.52
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 7.09 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 6.86

Recent Meetings

        HOU     TEN  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
12/21/2003 TEN 27 HOU 24 326 91 235 450 182 268
10/12/2003 HOU 17 TEN 38 458 91 367 535 114 421
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

Commentary

Tennessee ’s off to a slow start, so what’s new? The Titans seem to struggle out of the game season-after-season and then come on strong in the second two-thirds of the campaign; so, I wasn’t entirely surprised with the tail-kicking of the Packers on Monday night. No, they’re not as good as they showed against a very bad Green Bay defense, but RB Chris Brown looks very solid and he should have a good game again this week against a questionable Texans defense. The Titans wide receivers still drop too many passes for me to be comfortable betting this side week after week, but the Texans aren’t playing that well in the secondary either and there should be enough room for those Tennessee receivers to drop passes 20 yards down the field again this week.

Houston can’t continue to get behind in games if they want to make the playoffs. They can get away with throwing every down against a very weak Viking’s defense when they’re down 21 points, but you’re not going to steal a victory from the Titans if the Texans get behind early. Look for Houston to run the ball early against a Titans defense that’s giving up over five and a half yards per rushing attempt. Houston should be able to move the ball and put up some points as well, and this game should go over the total. The great and might electronic box likes Tennessee and the over as well. SAN DIEGO AT ATLANTA

Vegas Line

ATL -5.5 TOTAL 42

Predicted Outcome

ATL 27 SD 20

Records

SD

SU (3-2-0)

ATS (3-1-1), ATS AWAY (1-0-1)

OVER/UNDER (4-1-0), O/U AWAY (1-1-0)

ATL

SU (4-1-0)

ATS (2-3-0), ATS HOME (1-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-4-0), O/U HOME (1-2-0)

STATISTICS

SD   ATL  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 88 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 88
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 109 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 82
RUSHES 146 RUSHES 162
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 121 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 118
RUSH YDS GAINED 689 RUSH YDS GAINED 790
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 421 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 352
PASS ATTEMPTS 135 PASS ATTEMPTS 110
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 202 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 171
PASS YDS GAINED 955 PASS YDS GAINED 728
PASS YDS ALLOWED 1381 PASS YDS ALLOWED 1114
TURNOVERS LOST 5 TURNOVERS LOST 9
OPP TURNOVERS REC 8 OPP TURNOVERS REC 11
POINTS SCORED 140 POINTS SCORED 98
POINTS ALLOWED 115 POINTS ALLOWED 66
TOTAL PLAYS 281 TOTAL PLAYS 272
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 323 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 289
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -42 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -17
TOTAL YARDS 1644 TOTAL YARDS 1518
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1802 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1466
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL -158 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 52
YDS Per Rush 4.72 YDS Per Rush 4.88
Rush YDS per rush Against 3.48 Rush YDS per rush Against 2.98
YDS Per Pass Attempt 7.07 YDS Per Pass Attempt 6.62
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 6.84 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 6.51

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Two teams that no one expected to have winning records six weeks into the season meet and you can make the case that both squads are either over-rated or under-appreciated by the betting public. Atlanta has found a defense and San Diego has found a quarterback in Drew Brees, something no analyst was expecting this summer. Whether you are unconvinced or giving too much respect for either team, this game isn’t likely to settle the argument.

I’m not sure why Atlanta’s having so many problems on offense. QB Michael Vick has uncharacteristically been making mistakes (especially fumbles) and teams are starting to go for the ball when he’s holding it like a loaf of bread. It could be that Vick’s still struggling learning the West Coast offense, and that would make sense given the poor passing numbers. At some point, the Falcons are going to have to cut Vick loose and this may be the week against a questionable Chargers secondary. As we saw last week, Atlanta may not be ready to start laying touchdowns, but that may change if their passing game gets in gear.

San Diego showed they can run the ball on anyone last week against Jacksonville. After powerful offenses such as the Colts, Titans, and Broncos failed to crack that tough defensive nut, the Chargers runningbacks went through the Jaguars defense like they weren’t even there. Atlanta has greatly improved their defense this season but that new 4-3 should be tested in a game I think goes over the total.

The handicapping formula continues to be impressed by Atlanta’s defense. While I personally think that defense will be tested this week, the ‘puter thinks ATL should do well enough to give the Falcons the win and the cover.

KANSAS CITY AT JACKSONVILLE

Vegas Line

KC -1.5 TOTAL 44

Predicted Outcome

KC 28 JAX 21

Records

KC

SU (1-3-0)

ATS (1-3-0), ATS AWAY (1-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-2-0), O/U AWAY (2-0-0)

JAX

SU (3-2-0)

ATS (3-2-0), ATS HOME (1-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-4-0), O/U HOME (0-2-0)

STATISTICS

KC   JAX  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 82 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 88
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 78 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 90
RUSHES 133 RUSHES 123
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 121 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 159
RUSH YDS GAINED 622 RUSH YDS GAINED 463
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 531 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 613
PASS ATTEMPTS 127 PASS ATTEMPTS 167
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 100 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 147
PASS YDS GAINED 741 PASS YDS GAINED 1028
PASS YDS ALLOWED 743 PASS YDS ALLOWED 957
TURNOVERS LOST 4 TURNOVERS LOST 6
OPP TURNOVERS REC 6 OPP TURNOVERS REC 5
POINTS SCORED 89 POINTS SCORED 73
POINTS ALLOWED 110 POINTS ALLOWED 86
TOTAL PLAYS 260 TOTAL PLAYS 290
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 221 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 306
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 39 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -16
TOTAL YARDS 1363 TOTAL YARDS 1491
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1274 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1570
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 89 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL -79
YDS Per Rush 4.68 YDS Per Rush 3.76
Rush YDS per rush Against 4.39 Rush YDS per rush Against 3.86
YDS Per Pass Attempt 5.83 YDS Per Pass Attempt 6.16
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 7.43 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 6.51

Recent Meetings

        KC     JAX  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/15/2002 JAC 23 KC 16 336 140 196 450 130 320
12/30/2001 KC 30 JAC 26 365 92 273 431 182 249

Commentary

Jacksonville is down to their last defensive ends. The Jag’s are converting their tough defensive tackles into ends (involuntarily, I may add) and that has exposed the center of their defense to the oppositions’ running game, and that’s a bad-thing as we saw against the Chargers last week.

And just their luck, Jacksonville couldn’t have picked a worse time to suddenly struggle against the rush with RB Priest Holmes and the Chiefs coming to town needing a victory. Kansas City’s offensive line showed they could dominate the Ravens defense on the line of scrimmage so they should be able to open rushing lanes in the Jaguars depleted front four.

Jacksonville doesn’t have a lot of weapons on offense, but they may not need them against a Chiefs defense that doesn’t stop anyone. This looks like a high-scoring game to me with Kansas City covering the short number on the road. The motherboard does not concur, however. She likes the Jaguars and the under in this contest. PITTSBURGH AT DALLAS

Vegas Line

DAL -3 TOTAL 38.5

Predicted Outcome

DAL 20 PIT 17

Records

PIT

SU (4-1-0)

ATS (3-2-0), ATS AWAY (1-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (4-1-0), O/U AWAY (1-1-0)

DAL

SU (2-2-0)

ATS (2-2-0), ATS HOME (1-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-2-0), O/U HOME (2-2-0)

STATISTICS

PIT   DAL  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 93 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 77
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 85 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 75
RUSHES 179 RUSHES 100
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 139 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 104
RUSH YDS GAINED 688 RUSH YDS GAINED 413
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 520 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 491
PASS ATTEMPTS 123 PASS ATTEMPTS 141
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 153 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 128
PASS YDS GAINED 907 PASS YDS GAINED 1016
PASS YDS ALLOWED 855 PASS YDS ALLOWED 846
TURNOVERS LOST 8 TURNOVERS LOST 8
OPP TURNOVERS REC 12 OPP TURNOVERS REC 4
POINTS SCORED 112 POINTS SCORED 67
POINTS ALLOWED 94 POINTS ALLOWED 91
TOTAL PLAYS 302 TOTAL PLAYS 241
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 292 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 232
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 10 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 9
TOTAL YARDS 1595 TOTAL YARDS 1429
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1375 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1337
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 220 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 92
YDS Per Rush 3.84 YDS Per Rush 4.13
Rush YDS per rush Against 3.74 Rush YDS per rush Against 4.72
YDS Per Pass Attempt 7.37 YDS Per Pass Attempt 7.21
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 5.59 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 6.61

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

I like the Cowboys situation here. Pittsburgh has gotten a little fat and happy while playing some struggling football teams over the past few weeks. All four of the Steelers’ victories have come against poor teams that don’t figure to make the playoffs. This week, Pittsburgh goes on the road in Big Ben’s first real road test against a really tough Cowboys defense and we’ll get a much better idea if he is indeed he’s the next coming of Dan Marino. Ben has the weapons to take advantage of a Dallas defense that isn’t playing well in the secondary, but he’ll have to execute the offense in what is the first big game of his NFL career.

The Cowboys look to bounce back after looking just terrible last Sunday against the Giants. Very uncharacteristic for a Parcells’ team, Dallas just can’t seem to get a running game going this season. RB Eddie George isn’t the answer and dropping back and throwing two out of three downs isn’t moving the ball and scoring touchdowns either. That said- this is a Bill Parcells’ kind of game. If you had to pick one coach to lead your underdog squad in a must-win game, you’d pick Parcells. I expect that the Cowboys will leave everything on the field this week.

I may like the Cowboys, but the motherboard is all over the Steelers in this game. Those easy games have pumped up their numbers in the handicapping formula and the spreadsheet has PIT walking out with a straight-up victory on the road.

DENVER AT OAKLAND

Vegas Line

DEN -1.5 TOTAL 43.5

Predicted Outcome

DEN 28 OAK 21

Records

DEN

SU (4-1-0)

ATS (1-2-2), ATS AWAY (0-1-1)

OVER/UNDER (1-3-1), O/U AWAY (0-2-0)

OAK

SU (2-3-0)

ATS (2-3-0), ATS HOME (1-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-2-0), O/U HOME (1-1-0)

STATISTICS

DEN   OAK  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 104 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 89
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 63 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 95
RUSHES 164 RUSHES 112
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 130 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 160
RUSH YDS GAINED 656 RUSH YDS GAINED 511
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 493 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 574
PASS ATTEMPTS 164 PASS ATTEMPTS 177
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 122 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 133
PASS YDS GAINED 1124 PASS YDS GAINED 1163
PASS YDS ALLOWED 711 PASS YDS ALLOWED 1019
TURNOVERS LOST 7 TURNOVERS LOST 14
OPP TURNOVERS REC 3 OPP TURNOVERS REC 5
POINTS SCORED 99 POINTS SCORED 95
POINTS ALLOWED 74 POINTS ALLOWED 119
TOTAL PLAYS 328 TOTAL PLAYS 289
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 252 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 293
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 76 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -4
TOTAL YARDS 1780 TOTAL YARDS 1674
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1204 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1593
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 576 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 81
YDS Per Rush 4.00 YDS Per Rush 4.56
Rush YDS per rush Against 3.79 Rush YDS per rush Against 3.59
YDS Per Pass Attempt 6.85 YDS Per Pass Attempt 6.57
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 5.83 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 7.66

Recent Meetings

        DEN     OAK  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
11/30/2003 DEN 22 OAK 8 287 193 94 262 120 142
9/22/2003 OAK 10 DEN 31 383 190 193 195 39 156
12/22/2002 DEN 16 OAK 28 324 81 243 322 136 186
11/11/2002 OAK 34 DEN 10 342 77 265 374 27 347
12/30/2001 OAK 17 DEN 23 231 106 125 334 51 283
11/5/2001 DEN 28 OAK 38 366 119 247 356 114 242

Commentary

Typically, this is a series that brings out the best in both teams. Denver HC Mike Shanahan loves beating Oakland who cut him lose to go to the Broncos and Oakland tends to play its best football in this game as well. That said you’re now hearing the same rumblings you heard from this Raider squad just before their death-spiral at the end of last season so you have to wonder if the team’s recent struggles are now hitting critical mass. If that happens, the Raiders are a bet against team the rest of the way including this game.

After two bad road games that were filled with interceptions, fumbles, and penalties Oakland limps into this game with serious questions on offense. QB Kerry Collins had great match-ups the past two weeks against Houston’s and Indianapolis’ defense and looked awful. Now he has to face the NFL’s number one defense and there’s no guarantee that the Raiders will be able to pass the football if their running game, that had just 55 yards against the Colts, disappears again this week. Raiders’ backers justifiably cringe at the thought of putting the game on Collins’ shoulders.

Then again, I wouldn’t be sleeping well at night if I had big money behind QB Jake Plummer either. Some of the mistakes he makes (like the interception that cost the Broncos a cover last week) just make me tear my hair out. It’s very hard to back him when he’s throwing back-to-back interceptions with the wrong hands or chasing down defensive ends after throwing a 101-yard interceptions. The Broncos out-gained the Panthers by over 200 yards and yet were life and death at the end of the game. That does not inspire a lot of confidence in the betting line.

The electronic box says Denver by a touchdown in this game. Looking at the series history, I can’t argue with that assessment. I’ll take Denver and the over here. MINNESOTA AT NEW ORLEANS

Vegas Line

MIN -3.5 TOTAL 51

Predicted Outcome

MIN 35 NO 21

Records

MIN

SU (3-1-0)

ATS (2-2-0), ATS AWAY (1-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-1-0), O/U AWAY (1-1-0)

NO

SU (2-3-0)

ATS (1-4-0), ATS HOME (0-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-2-0), O/U HOME (1-2-0)

STATISTICS

MIN   NO  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 99 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 86
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 89 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 103
RUSHES 96 RUSHES 118
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 83 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 158
RUSH YDS GAINED 429 RUSH YDS GAINED 452
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 360 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 719
PASS ATTEMPTS 152 PASS ATTEMPTS 175
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 156 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 156
PASS YDS GAINED 1349 PASS YDS GAINED 1123
PASS YDS ALLOWED 1175 PASS YDS ALLOWED 1161
TURNOVERS LOST 4 TURNOVERS LOST 8
OPP TURNOVERS REC 4 OPP TURNOVERS REC 8
POINTS SCORED 112 POINTS SCORED 92
POINTS ALLOWED 94 POINTS ALLOWED 127
TOTAL PLAYS 248 TOTAL PLAYS 293
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 239 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 314
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL 9 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -21
TOTAL YARDS 1778 TOTAL YARDS 1575
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1535 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1880
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 243 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL -305
YDS Per Rush 4.47 YDS Per Rush 3.83
Rush YDS per rush Against 4.34 Rush YDS per rush Against 4.55
YDS Per Pass Attempt 8.88 YDS Per Pass Attempt 6.42
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 7.53 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 7.44

Recent Meetings

        MIN     NO  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
12/15/2002 MIN 32 NO 31 439 146 293 299 78 221
10/7/2001 MIN 15 NO 28 340 34 306 370 160 210
1/6/2001 NO 16 MIN 34 429 127 302 355 69 286

Commentary

Only the Saints can look great one week and then lose two straight games against the Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buc’s while doing absolutely nothing on offense. There are two glaring weaknesses with New Orleans, QB Brooks and that defense. Brooks can play at times, but not against a solid defense and the Saints defense hasn’t shown up yet this season.

The good news is Minnesota is just as poor defensively as New Orleans. Blowing that huge lead last Sunday against the Texans was textbook Vikings. Every year you look for Minnesota to improve on defense and every year they finish in the bottom five statistically. Oh well, what’s new. New Orleans should be able to move up and down the field with Deuce back in the line-up and more balance on offense this week.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that that 51 point total may not be nearly enough as this game has a good chance of finishing in the 60’s if the Saints offense can contribute their fair share of points. I’m betting the Vikings defense is the medicine the Saints need and this game goes flying over the total.

TAMPA BAY AT ST LOUIS

Vegas Line

STL -6.5 TOTAL 42

Predicted Outcome

        TB     STL  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/23/2002 STL 14 TB 26 252 63 189 358 89 269
11/26/2001 TB 24 STL 17 264 97 167 345 76 269

Records

TB

SU (1-4-0)

ATS (1-3-1), ATS AWAY (1-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-4-0), O/U AWAY (1-2-0)

STL

SU (3-2-0)

ATS (2-3-0), ATS HOME (0-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-2-0), O/U HOME (1-1-0)

STATISTICS

TB   STL  
FIRST DOWNS GAINED 74 FIRST DOWNS GAINED 111
FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 80 FIRST DOWNS ALLOWED 109
RUSHES 111 RUSHES 120
OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 156 OPPONENTS’ RUSHES 156
RUSH YDS GAINED 405 RUSH YDS GAINED 582
RUSH YDS ALLOWED 653 RUSH YDS ALLOWED 736
PASS ATTEMPTS 163 PASS ATTEMPTS 181
OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 135 OPPONENTS’ PASS ATT 171
PASS YDS GAINED 1012 PASS YDS GAINED 1350
PASS YDS ALLOWED 719 PASS YDS ALLOWED 1125
TURNOVERS LOST 8 TURNOVERS LOST 9
OPP TURNOVERS REC 6 OPP TURNOVERS REC 2
POINTS SCORED 69 POINTS SCORED 116
POINTS ALLOWED 89 POINTS ALLOWED 113
TOTAL PLAYS 274 TOTAL PLAYS 301
TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 291 TOTAL PLAYS ALLOWED 327
TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -17 TOTAL PLAY DIFFERENTIAL -26
TOTAL YARDS 1417 TOTAL YARDS 1932
TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1372 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED 1861
TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 45 TOTAL YARDAGE DIFFERENTIAL 71
YDS Per Rush 3.65 YDS Per Rush 4.85
Rush YDS per rush Against 4.19 Rush YDS per rush Against 4.72
YDS Per Pass Attempt 6.21 YDS Per Pass Attempt 7.46
YDS Against per Pass Attempt 5.33 YDS Against per Pass Attempt 6.58

Recent Meetings

        TB     STL  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/23/2002 STL 14 TB 26 252 63 189 358 89 269
11/26/2001 TB 24 STL 17 264 97 167 345 76 269

Commentary

I’m sure this game sounded a lot more exciting last summer than it does this week. Madden may be cleaning the horse trailer after where done with this stinker.

Tampa Bay will be cutting cards to determine who starts at quarterback and you know two of the participants will end up sulking on the sidelines after they lose the draw. I’m just not loving all the drama on a team that comes off its first win of the season (albeit against the Saints). Somehow, winning should be a good thing for everyone, not a signal for your former starting QB to ask to be cut from the team. Starting quarterbacks tend to be bell-weathers for their teammates and I’m getting signals about how Chuckie and the boys are getting along, and none of them are good. It should be happy-happy, joy-joy after the Buc’s first win of the season and it’s not and that’s a problem.

Now TB have to go on the road and play on turf against a Rams team that regained some of their swagger after coming from behind to get an exciting road win in Seattle (yes, I’m still bitter). It’s not a great spot for either team as you have to think letdown game for both teams. The ‘box thinks Rams by a touchdown and I think ugly game going under the total.

College Thoughts (In no particular order)
Minnesota/Michigan State (over)
UAB
Akron
Wisconsin
Iowa/Ohio State (under)
USC
Navy
Memphis
UTEP