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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Inside The Points - Week 9
Fritz Schlottman
November 5, 2004

Can the NFL get any stranger? I went into the casino on Sunday and felt like I just fell down the rabbit hole.

You had seven Overs, three Unders, and one push in a week where the casino’s total line was over the average outcome to begin with. As just one example of the week’s strangeness, Atlanta gets spanked at Kansas City giving up eight rushing touchdowns and doing nothing on offense against a terrible defense, and then goes to the shotgun formation and just tears the number one defense in Denver a new one while giving up 500 yards but little points. Go figure. Example two: Carolina, who covers against no one, gets a break when Seattle mishandles a field goal attempt, and then hits a bomb on the very next play against a two deep zone to cover the spread and put the game over the total with less than two minutes to play. Thanks so much Ray Rhodes.

This week the Sports Gods are taking games to the extreme. You have a 60 total for Colts/Vikings, that’s getting a little silly folks. Let’s just toss that one out for this analysis. You’d expect that with the two best offensive teams out of the mix that the total on the remaining games would be under 40 total points. Well, the average total not counting the Vikings game is 40.73 indicating that you’ll be paying a tax to play the Over this week. So I’ll look for a few Unders as a number of teams should be flat off high-scoring games last week.

The spreads are interesting as well. You have six games at a field goal or less and 13 games at a touchdown or less. You’d expect to have a few road favorites under those circumstances and there are five. The Jets are -3, the Eagles are -1, the Chiefs are -3, the Seahawks are -7, and the Patriots are -2 which is interesting because three of those teams failed to cover last week and now they are laying points on the road. It may be time to find some home dogs as well. The opportunity is there so on to the games!

NY JETS AT BUFFALO

Vegas Line

NYJ -3 Total 36.5

Predicted Outcome

NYJ 17 BUF 14

Records

NYJ

SU (6-1-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (3-4-0), O/U AWAY (1-2-0)

BUF

SU (2-5-0)

ATS (4-3-0), ATS HOME (2-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-4-0), O/U HOME (3-1-0)

Recent Meetings

        NYJ     BUF  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/10/2004 BUF 14 NYJ 16 383 85 298 252 80 172
12/7/2003 NYJ 6 BUF 17 215 88 127 256 203 53
10/12/2003 BUF 3 NYJ 30 233 118 115 193 53 140
11/24/2002 BUF 13 NYJ 31 325 155 170 258 88 170
9/8/2002 NYJ 37 BUF 31 266 73 193 384 142 242
12/30/2001 BUF 14 NYJ 9 375 140 235 368 192 176

Commentary

The Jets pounded the Dolphins on Monday night and now they come back on a short week to go on the road to another divisional foe. The Bills had their first big win of the season at home against the Cardinals last week.

The Bills game against the Cardinals was misleading, in my mind. Buffalo’s special teams were exceptional giving the team great starting field position: starting four drives inside the Arizona 30-yard line. Other than driving a short field, the Bills offense struggled, gaining just 209 total yards, 81 through the air.

Expect the Jets to bring a lot of pressure against QB Drew Bledsoe who continues to hold the ball and take sacks. After expecting Buffalo’s offense to show some improvement over the course of the first half of the season, I’ve been disappointed yet again. The change at running back gives the team more speed, but the weakness between the tackles on the offensive line has not been fixed and Buffalo gets too much pressure up the middle to pound the football between the tackles or protect the quarterback. That weakness kills far too many drives and makes the Buffalo offense inconsistent at best.

The Jets just dominated the Dolphins. They ran the ball at will against a Dolphins’ defense that crumbled in the second half. I don’t normally like teams off a Monday night game, but New York’s starters didn’t see all sixty-minutes of action and they shouldn’t be as bumped and bruised as you would expect. They also have something to play for as New York is tied with the Patriots for the Divisional lead and two games ahead of the Colts in the loss column.

The last four meetings in this series have been under the total line and have totaled 30, 23, 33, and 44 points with three of the four (including this season’s) going under this week’s total line. The home team has also done well.

I sure don’t want Buffalo at less than a field goal as they haven’t show they can beat good teams at home, and I don’t want the Jets in what may be a flat-spot after a Monday Night game. With a lot of rain in the North-East already this week, I think the Under is the play here and I’ll take the Bills as long as it’s free.

PHILADELPHIA AT PITTSBURGH

Vegas Line

PHI -1 Total 44

Predicted Outcome

PIT 23 PHI 20

Records

PHI

SU (7-0-0)

ATS (5-2-0), ATS AWAY (2-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-5-0), O/U AWAY (1-2-0)

PIT

SU (6-1-0)

ATS (5-2-0), ATS HOME (3-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-1-0), O/U HOME (4-0-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Two defenses that like to blitz and rain should make for an interesting game. Pittsburgh has the stronger running game, and while the Eagles have the second rated defense in the NFL, they can be run on as we saw in Cleveland who ripped them for six, seven, or eight yards per carry on a regular basis for over 160 yards in that game two week’s ago. So I’d expect Pittsburgh to run the ball to set up the play-action pass and the Eagles to counter on defense by putting eight in the box and blitzing into the gaps. Philadelphia will try and disguise and or mix up their blitzes, but they will still put their cornerbacks in man coverage, which is a favorable match-up for the Steelers. I’d expect the Steelers to have some big plays in the air as they go deep against those cornerbacks.

Philadelphia doesn’t have as many options on offense. They have weapons, for sure, but without a running game, Philadelphia will pass more than they’d like and that favors the Steelers blitz. Pittsburgh is going to bring the pressure on McNabb and the Steelers will cheat a safety over the top of Owens to prevent the big play.

The Eagles have a track record of being road monsters. They stomped Detroit and Chicago by 30-13 and 19-9 scores, but then failed to cover in their game against Cleveland. Pittsburgh has won all four games at home this season, three of them by more than ten points.

I think the Eagles are ready for a fall on the road against a team that’s playing confident football, especially at home. Give me the Steelers.

WASHINGTON AT DETROIT

Vegas Line

DET -3.5 Total 37.5

Predicted Outcome

DET 17 WAS 14

Records

WAS

SU (2-5-0)

ATS (2-5-0), ATS AWAY (1-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-5-0), O/U AWAY (0-3-0)

DET

SU (4-3-0)

ATS (4-3-0), ATS HOME (1-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (4-3-0), O/U HOME (2-1-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

I really don’t like supporting teams that have only covered two games all season, so Washington is going to have to earn my trust first and then my money. Washington is dead last in yards per play on offense gaining only 4.3 per snap. I’m still waiting for the ‘Skins offense to wake up and show me something, but I haven’t seen anything yet and I have some serious doubts they will break out any time soon. The Lions’ defense has lived on turnovers all season leading the league in takeaway margin (+12). Given that Washington has yet to show they can drive the field, I expect another conservative game plan where the Redskins offense doesn’t take chances and is willing to punt and put their number one defense on the field.

On the other hand, Detroit is not any better on offense. Detroit is averaging just 244 yards per game on offense, last in the league. The Lions have been out first-downed and out-gained in every game this season. They have all kinds of injury issues at WR and WR Roy Williams may not play again this week. Pretty tough to put money on a team that can’t move the football. As I mentioned, Washington has the best yards per play against average of any defense, so don’t expect Detroit to light up the scoreboard either.

Washington has played three road games and not broken 14 points on offense in any of them. They were beaten by the Giants 14-10 and Cleveland 13-17 while winning in Chicago 13-10. Detroit hasn’t played well at home beating Houston 28-16 in the season home opener then losing to the Eagles 13-30 and Green Bay 10-38.

I like a dog that can win the game, but a “live” dog has to think it can score before it thinks it can win. I’m not sure Washington believes it can win at Ford Field which has one of the best ATS ratios of any home field. But I sure don’t like Detroit as more than a field goal favorites when I’m not confident they can score either. Looks like the Under is the play here.

DALLAS AT CINCINNATI

Vegas Line

DAL -1 Total 43.5

Predicted Outcome

CIN 24 DAL 21

Records

DAL

SU (3-4-0)

ATS (3-4-0), ATS AWAY (1-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-2-0), O/U AWAY (3-0-0)

CIN

SU (2-5-0)

ATS (1-6-0), ATS HOME (1-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (4-3-0), O/U HOME (0-3-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Watching Dallas every week is getting painful. They were really unimpressive on offense against the Lions and turned the football over three times (interceptions) on really poorly thrown balls. If the Lions had a competent offense, they would have buried Dallas. The Cowboys better understand sometime soon that they can’t stand back, throw the football 40 times per game, and win. They have to run the football. Look for Parcells to try and run now that his receivers are banged up and they face a Bengals squad that is among the worst against the run.

Cincinnati had a really flat game last week against the Titans coming off a Monday night victory over the Broncos…or it could be their normal form for the 2004 season. Looking at the Bengals’ statistics, they have been out first-downed by a 21-18 margin in all their other games, out-gained by an average of 90 yards, and out-scored by 23-18 in all those other games. Tough to bet on the Bengals with those numbers, but the home crowd has shown they can lift this team and they should be pumped up for a game against Dallas. The Bengals have won two of their three games at home this season.

I’m not really sure why the Cowboys are laying points on the road, but I sure know why the Bengals are a dog every game. Not a game I especially like, but Cincinnati has shown that they can win as a home dog this season in low-scoring games. Their two wins have been 16-13 over Miami and 23-10 over Denver. Cincinnati’s home loss was 9-23 to Baltimore, a team that ran them to death. Dallas has two road loses against Minnesota and Green Bay with the games flying over the total and won one road win 21-18 at Washington for a third over which seems to indicate that they can be beaten through the air on the road. Give me Cincinnati for the home upset.

OAKLAND AT CAROLINA

Vegas Line

CAR -6.5 Total 41.5

Predicted Outcome

CAR 20 OAK 17

Records

OAK

SU (2-6-0)

ATS (2-6-0), ATS AWAY (1-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-3-0), O/U AWAY (3-1-0)

CAR

SU (1-6-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (1-5-0), O/U HOME (0-3-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Two really struggling teams as the Panthers used bad execution by Seattle to cover on the road last week with a late touchdown and the Raiders looked disinterested while rolling over and playing dead against the Chargers last Sunday.

I just don’t see either team coming back this season. Carolina is just too beaten up to win four games in the second half of the season. QB Jake Delhomme hasn’t anyone left to throw to if teams take away WR Mohammad by playing a safety over the top. The Panthers don’t have a runningback that can grind out first downs the way they did last season, so handing the ball off 30 times doesn’t look like it’s going to work either. No passing game and no running game just doesn’t give you a lot of ways to score on offense. And that shows as Carolina hasn’t even kept it close with losing margins of 10, 17, 3, 22, 11, and 6 points. Two loses within a touchdown is not keeping games respectable.

The Raiders lead the league in penalties and QB Collins has been a disaster, turning the ball over with bad interceptions. There is no confidence left on a Raiders team that looks like it has quit already this season. Oakland doesn’t just lose games, they lose by margin. Their losing margins have been 13, 21, 28, 5, and 28 points.

Oakland has more talent and the better special teams. That isn’t much to hang my hat on because I’m not sure they’re interested enough to show up and play on the road. Carolina doesn’t have anything left in the tank, so they shouldn’t be laying points to anyone right now. Not a game I want any part of, I’ll spend my money elsewhere.

ARIZONA AT MIAMI

Vegas Line

MIA -3 Total 34.5

Predicted Outcome

ARI 17 MIA 13

Records

ARI

SU (2-5-0)

ATS (4-3-0), ATS AWAY (2-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (4-3-0), O/U AWAY (2-2-0)

MIA

SU (1-7-0)

ATS (2-6-0), ATS HOME (1-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-4-0), O/U HOME (1-3-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Ugh. Arizona goes to Buffalo, loses badly, flies back to the west coast only to fly cross-country again to Miami to play on the road, and Arizona doesn’t win on the road in the first place. Bad travel spot here so they should be flat again on offense this week.

Miami finally cracked last week. It was the first time I saw the Dolphins defense, a defense that had performed miracles in keeping games close, get blasted in a big Monday night game against the Jets. New York ran it down their throats on the last two drives of the half and the entire second half of that football game. Its straight downhill from here as this team has quit written all over it. The time to start fading the Dolphins begins right now.

If Arizona is going to break its road losing streak, this would be the game. I don’t like the travel spot, so I’ll probably play the Under, but I think Arizona goes into Miami and wins this game as well.

KANSAS CITY AT TAMPA BAY

Vegas Line

KC -3 Total 43.5

Predicted Outcome

TB 21 KC 20

Records

KC

SU (3-4-0)

ATS (3-4-0), ATS AWAY (1-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (4-3-0), O/U AWAY (2-1-0)

TB

SU (2-5-0)

ATS (2-5-0), ATS HOME (1-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-5-0), O/U HOME (1-3-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Here comes the big, old flat spot for the Chiefs. KC’s offense finally woke up and started playing, putting up 56 points against Atlanta and 45 against the Colts in two home wins. Now the Chiefs go on the road, flying cross-country to play a bad Tampa Bay team that’s had two weeks to get ready for this game. That is not a good thing if you’re a Chiefs fan, so don’t expect that offense to roll again this week.

Tampa Bay has improved on offense, but do they have enough firepower to hang with the explosive Chiefs? Well, maybe. Tampa Bay has been able to run the ball a little better since RB Pittman’s return, but the Buc’s passing game is so bad that if they get behind by a couple of touchdowns they will have problems coming back. Therefore, you’d expect the Buc’s to game plan for a low-scoring contest where they can run the football, play defense, and hang around in this game for three quarters and give themselves a chance to win.

The combination of a flat KC offense and a conservative, but motivated Tampa team is enough to put me on the Under in this game. I expect this point spread will continue to grow as the week goes on. You might see four or four and a half by kickoff. If that happens, I may get a Tampa Bay ticket as well.

CHICAGO AT NY GIANTS

Vegas Line

NYG -9.5 Total 36

Predicted Outcome

NYG 21 CHI 13

Records

CHI

SU (2-5-0)

ATS (3-4-0), ATS AWAY (2-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-5-0), O/U AWAY (1-2-0)

NYG

SU (5-2-0)

ATS (5-2-0), ATS HOME (2-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-5-0), O/U HOME (1-2-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

The butt-ugly Bears team I saw play on Sunday night will go on the road to the house that Hoffa built to face a Giants team that may be within one game of the Eagles by the end of the day. Oh, joy.

In what was an ugly game worthy of Halloween, Chicago’s offense was so bad that it’s hard to imagine that they will be effective against the Giants’ defense. Bears QB Craig Krenzel, after hitting his first pass as a professional, was horrible against a San Francisco defense that was missing five starters including two starting defensive ends and two starting corners. I think Krenzel’s performance blinded viewers across the windy-city, but I could be wrong about that part.

Are the Giants good enough, or the Bears bad enough, to lay 9.5? You couldn’t blame New York for looking past this game and just doing enough to win and move on, so I don’t have a lot of confidence that the Giants will cover this game by ten points. On the other hand, there’s no way in the world I’m putting money on the Bears when two bad throws by Krenzel can result in a 14 point lead for the G-men. If I play the game, it will be Under the total as an unmotivated New York squad will probably struggle to score against a pretty decent Bears defense and the Bears offense would struggle to score against the Russian ladies figure-skating team.

SEATTLE AT SAN FRANCISCO

Vegas Line

SEA -7 Total 40

Predicted Outcome

SEA 24 SF 13

Records

SEA

SU (4-3-0)

ATS (3-4-0), ATS AWAY (2-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (4-3-0), O/U AWAY (2-2-0)

SF

SU (1-6-0)

ATS (4-3-0), ATS HOME (2-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-4-0), O/U HOME (1-2-0)

Recent Meetings

        SEA     SF  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/26/2004 SF 0 SEA 34 374 117 257 175 48 127
12/27/2003 SEA 24 SF 17 394 89 305 290 59 231
10/12/2003 SF 19 SEA 20 333 147 186 261 111 150
12/1/2002 SEA 24 SF 31 507 80 427 299 142 157
10/14/2002 SF 28 SEA 21 334 123 211 351 161 190

Commentary

As bad as Krenzel looked last Sunday night, Dorsey was that much worse. So the 49ers switch QB’s once again and bring in QB Tim Rattay (who’s probable for this game) to play against a maddeningly inconsistent Seahawks team.

San Francisco is just so beaten up that it’s hard to imagine they can complete with Seattle. You’d expect an offensive explosion for Seattle, except they are so hurting at wide receiver that the team asked the NFL to delay the suspension appeal of K. Robinson for another week just so they can put two receivers on the field at the same time. WR’s Jackson, Ingram, Rice, Bannister, and Hackett are all injured. HC Holmgren will have to work some magic to exploit the 49ers injury problems. That magic probably starts and ends with RB Shawn Alexander, so expect Seattle to run the ball 30 times and grind up the rest of the San Francisco defense. Looks like Seattle and the Under to me.

NEW ORLEANS AT SAN DIEGO

Vegas Line

SD -6 Total 48

Predicted Outcome

SD 31 NO 24

Records

NO

SU (3-4-0)

ATS (2-5-0), ATS AWAY (2-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-2-0), O/U AWAY (3-0-0)

SD

SU (5-3-0)

ATS (6-1-1), ATS HOME (3-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-3-0), O/U HOME (4-0-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

If you haven’t been on the Chargers bandwagon, you’re probably the only one. San Diego has become one of the handicappers’ favorites as Brees, Gates, and Tomlinson have just destroyed Tennessee by 11 points, Jacksonville by 13 points, Carolina by 11 points and Oakland by 28 points. Credit an offensive line that was thought to be the worst in the NFL going into the season. This unit has played way over their heads. If you’re a Chargers fan, you have to be pleased not only by the effort this team puts out every week, but now the results are coming in as well.

I hate New Orleans. They have all that talent on paper but somehow under achieve every season. San Diego can be beaten in the secondary, but you can’t bet on a Saints team to do the job. You can’t count on Brooks to deliver the ball and you sure can’t count on the Saints receivers to catch it. Not a team I back happily.

So, you have a choice between the classic over-achieving team and the talented slackers. Boy I hate laying nearly a touchdown against a team that on talent should beat San Diego handily, but I’m not insane enough to bet on the Saints on the road off a bye week. Give me the Over in what should be a high-scoring game.

NEW ENGLAND AT ST LOUIS

Vegas Line

NE -2 Total 48.5

Predicted Outcome

STL 24 NE 20

Records

NE

SU (6-1-0)

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

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

STL

SU (4-3-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (5-2-0), O/U HOME (2-1-0)

Recent Meetings

        NE     STL  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
2/3/2002 STL 17 NE 20 267 133 134 427 90 337
11/18/2001 STL 24 NE 17 230 51 179 482 86 396

Commentary

Well, it was going to happen sooner or later. The Patriots are just so beaten up that there was no way they were going through the season undefeated. It’s not terribly surprising that they lost on the road at Pittsburgh last week, and to some degree it may be a relief.

This is New England’s second game on the road, so it isn’t the best spot to start another winning streak. The Rams had two weeks to get ready, but considering the coaching miss-match that may not matter as much as you’d think. In fact, if you toss out games involving the Dolphins or teams where mom buys ice cream if you win, you’d have a problem finding a bigger coaching miss-match, edge to the Patriots.

Not a game I like very much. A bad spot for New England and they will be missing both starting cornerbacks. Give me St. Louis, the Under, and keep me away from sharp objects.

HOUSTON AT DENVER

Vegas Line

DEN -6 Total 41

Predicted Outcome

DEN 24 HOU 21

Records

HOU

SU (4-3-0)

ATS (4-3-0), ATS AWAY (2-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (4-3-0), O/U AWAY (1-2-0)

DEN

SU (5-3-0)

ATS (2-4-2), ATS HOME (1-2-1)

OVER/UNDER (2-5-1), O/U HOME (2-1-1)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Denver is a really odd team. Their statistics look great and plug those suckers into the handicapping formula and you see a team that could and should compete in every game. But on the field, nah-ah, no way. After the Chiefs put eight rushing touchdowns up against the Falcons, Atlanta turns around, goes back on the road last week and just stomps the Denver Broncos in the second half. Oh well, that’s the NFL for you.

I think the problem with Denver comes down to the passing game. Plummer has five interceptions in the past two games, but I don’t think that’s its all his fault. Every time I watch Plummer drop back to pass, he’s looking for one receiver and one only (Rod Smith). It’s really obvious that he has no confidence in WR Ashley Lelie and I can’t blame him. Lelie looks like Tarzan, runs like Cheeta, and catches like Jane. Really, is there another receiver that runs worse patterns and drops more balls that doesn’t play for the Saints? As long as Plummer’s locked on to Smith, I don’t see that passing game going anywhere.

I think you’re probably getting a little line value with Denver here. This is the second of three big games for Houston so they may not be sharp. But I just can’t put money on Denver given what I’ve seen out of their offense the past two weeks. Pass.

CLEVELAND AT BALTIMORE

Vegas Line

BAL -6 Total 35

Predicted Outcome

BAL 17 CLE 14

Records

CLE

SU (3-4-0)

ATS (4-3-0), ATS AWAY (0-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-4-0), O/U AWAY (1-2-0)

BAL

SU (4-3-0)

ATS (5-2-0), ATS HOME (2-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-5-0), O/U HOME (2-1-0)

Recent Meetings

        CLE     BAL  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/12/2004 BAL 3 CLE 20 250 85 165 254 88 166
12/21/2003 BAL 35 CLE 0 211 78 133 359 276 83
9/14/2003 CLE 13 BAL 33 175 60 115 393 343 50
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

Commentary

I’m a little puzzled by this line. Yes, Baltimore gets RB Jamal Lewis back for this game, but the Browns have shown they can keep him in check, as Baltimore had just 88 yards rushing in the first contest this season. Cleveland has shown they can run the ball, averaging 120 yards per game, so there may not be the huge rushing edge you normally get in this series.

I really don’t expect a whole lot out of either quarterback. Cleveland is averaging 188 yards passing per game and Baltimore is averaging a terrible 122. For those keeping score at home, that is two checks in the yuck column.

Last game was a battle of punters and special teams with the Browns getting the best of it, I expect no less in what should be a field goal game. Give me Cleveland and the Under.

MINNESOTA AT INDIANAPOLIS

Vegas Line

IND -5 Total 60

Predicted Outcome

IND 31 MIN 24

Records

MIN

SU (5-2-0)

ATS (4-3-0), ATS AWAY (2-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (4-3-0), O/U AWAY (2-1-0)

IND

SU (4-3-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (5-2-0), O/U HOME (2-1-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

I have a really hard time believing that the high-powered Colts offense will sleep walk through three straight losses coming off a bye week, especially against a Vikings secondary that can’t stop anyone. On the other hand, Indianapolis just can’t stop teams themselves right now so might think this should be a track meet with the last team having the ball getting a chance to win this game.

I have a really hard time figuring out where the Colts’ heads are. I know the Colts don’t want to have to go through Foxboro to get to the Super Bowl, but if they lose this game, they are 4-4 and making the playoffs, not getting home-field advantage, has to be the concern. Indy doesn’t have another game with Jacksonville, so Indianapolis is going to have to get some help from another team somewhere this season if they are going to win their division. I had thought last week they would bounce back against the Chiefs, but no, the offense didn’t click until the 3 rd quarter and their defense was horrible. Will Indy bounce back this week? Typically, teams in a funk will try and run the ball to get a little rythum going on offense and keep their defense off the field, so I would expect that the Colts will try and at least be balanced on offense.

Minnesota looks like they’re going into their annual mid-season dive. I have no idea why, but as soon as you turn your clock back each fall, Minnesota’s offense finds a reason to go into the tank and the Vikings start playing defense like Stevie Wonder impersonators. You saw it last week where Minnesota played a dreadful game and scored 10 points at home against the Giants. Now, they go on the road where they always struggle and get a wounded Colts team. Randy Moss may miss this game as well, and that sound you here is fantasy owners wailing at the lost stats against a horrible defense.

I think 60 points is a little ambitious in a game where both teams are lacking timing on offense. I can’t take the Vikings on the road after last week because I’m just not sure where there offense is right now without Moss, so that puts me on the home favorite for Monday Night Football.

College Thoughts

Akron +9
Wisconsin -6
Missouri -4.5
Florida Atlantic +13
Clemson +17
Virginia -14
Washington/Arizona (under)
Virginia Tech -10
Arkansas +3.5
Notre Dame +7