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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Inside The Points - Week 10
Fritz Schlottman
November 12, 2004

Week 9 was a good week for the players and that compensated for Saturday which was a blow-out win for the books. My weekly record was 10-4 on sides in the NFL, 5-9 for totals (it was another big week for the Overs), and 7-2-1 in college football. Hopefully Week 10 is another good week for the players as I look to come out of an October slump and make up some ground for the season.

Two weeks of outstanding performance by the Overs has driven the average line up to 41.92 points per game. This is significantly above the NFL average of 41 points per game and especially high considering a number of big-name quarterbacks (Pennington, Leftwich, and McNair) will likely miss this week’s games. Those high point totals should at some point lead to a big week by the Unders as the Sports Gods will continue to bump up the totals to unreasonable levels in an effort to chase the actual results. At some point a correction is inevitable and the totals will begin to decrease, but not without a blood-bath among over players.

The spread on sides are very tight this week with only one game (Houston/Indianapolis) opening over a touchdown. There are five road favorites: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, New York Giants, and Philadelphia with three of them (KC, NYG and PHI) losing last week straight up. There are five home dogs: NY Jets, Cleveland, New Orleans, Arizona, and Dallas and only one of them ( Arizona) covered ATS last week. Last week home dogs were 4-2 indicating that the strong road favorite cover rate through the first part of the season may be coming to an end and things may actually get back to normal in the NFL (fat chance). If that happens, I know a number of handicappers that would appreciate getting some of their money back from the casinos. Regardless, there are a number of tempting games this week, so let’s not delay any longer…on to the games!

BALTIMORE AT NEW YORK JETS

Vegas Line

BAL-1.5 TOTAL 33.5

Predicted Outcome

NYJ 17 BAL 16

Records

BAL

SU (5-3-0)

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

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

NYJ

SU (6-2-0)

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

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

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

How much will the loss of QB Chad Pennington hurt the Jets? With him in the lineup, you have to figure the Jets would be a 3.5 point favorite at home. Without him, and they’re 1.5 point dogs. I know QB Quincy Carter isn’t Joe Montana, but it’s not like the Jets are starting a rookie either. A five point swing in the line seems a little excessive, which would lead me to believe there’s line value with the Jets.

This looks like a conservative game to me. New York will use their short passing game and strong running game to keep drives going and prevent turnovers. Carter is a little more mobile than Pennington, but the timing in the passing game may be a little off this week. New York averages 23 points, but the loss of Pennington, if the lines-maker is correct in his estimation (five points), should bring that total down to 18 points.

Baltimore , on the other hand, doesn’t have any offense. The Ravens average only 123 yards per game through the air, not good. Baltimore relied on an interception return and a seven yard punt by the Browns on their own goal line to score two touchdowns and cover last week. I’m just not sure how Baltimore’s offense can score if it’s asked to drive more than 10 yards. Look for Baltimore will pound away with the running game (so what’s new) and the Jets will counter by putting nine in the box to stop RB Jamal Lewis.

The Ravens only score 19 points per game and that number over-estimates Baltimore’s offense by including all those defensive and special teams touchdowns. It’s very hard to make a case for Baltimore laying points on the road if I’m not certain the Ravens offense will score. All things considered, I see the Jets winning this game by a field goal with the game going under the total.

PITTSBURGH AT CLEVELAND

Vegas Line

PIT -4.5 TOTAL 41.5

Predicted Outcome

CLE 24 PIT 17

Records

PIT

SU (7-1-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (6-2-0), O/U AWAY (2-1-0)

CLE

SU (3-5-0)

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

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

Recent Meetings

        PIT     CLE  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/10/2004 CLE 23 PIT 34 401 170 231 296 98 198
11/23/2003 PIT 13 CLE 6 168 109 59 303 90 213
10/5/2003 CLE 33 PIT 13 209 60 149 324 124 200
1/5/2003 CLE 33 PIT 36 432 89 343 447 38 409
11/3/2002 PIT 23 CLE 20 391 136 255 193 36 157
9/29/2002 CLE 13 PIT 16 358 93 265 245 123 122
1/6/2002 CLE 7 PIT 28 376 221 155 173 68 105
11/11/2001 PIT 15 CLE 12 428 247 181 187 74 113

Commentary

I night as well get the upset special out of the way as every tout in ‘Vegas is releasing this same game.

This is the same spot the Chiefs were in last week against Tampa Bay. As you will remember, Kansas City had spent the two prior weeks just destroying teams at home before going on the road. They crushed Atlanta and then turned around and beat up the Colts at Arrowhead. Last week, KC went on the road to play a lesser team in Tampa Bay and lost that game outright in a sluggish effort. On the other hand, the Rams were in a great spot last week against the Patriots (at home, on turf, coming off a bye week with an opponent that was coming off their first loss of the season, beaten-up, and on the road) and that didn’t work out as expected as the Patriots were the better team fundamentally.

So, now we have the Steelers off back-to-back victories over the undefeated Patriots and Eagles and Pittsburgh goes on the road to a divisional rival in a difficult place to play (the Browns are 4-0 ATS at home). Why wouldn’t you expect a let down in this game?

Fundamentally, Pittsburgh should have a cake-walk. They are the number one rushing team in the NFL averaging 160 yards per game and the Steelers defense is number one against the rush yielding just 81 yards per contest. Cleveland can’t pass averaging just 179 yards per game in the air while the Brown lack of a pass rush (just 12 sacks all year) has resulted in the defense giving up 223 yards through the air. Pittsburgh has a turnover margin of +8 and Cleveland has a margin of -4.

Despite the statistics, at more than a field goal, I’ll take a shot with the Browns here just because it’s such a bad spot for the Steelers. I expect this to be a field goal game in the end with both teams running the football. Pittsburgh averages 24 points on offense while giving up 17 and Cleveland scores 20 while giving up 21. I think it’s more likely that the Steelers will be flat on offense than defense so that puts me on the Under as well.

HOUSTON AT INDIANAPOLIS

Vegas Line

IND -9.5 TOTAL 54

Predicted Outcome

IND 31 HOU 28

Records

HOU

SU (4-4-0)

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

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

IND

SU (5-3-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (6-2-0), O/U HOME (3-1-0)

Recent Meetings

        HOU     IND  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
12/28/2003 IND 20 HOU 17 204 99 105 418 207 211
10/26/2003 HOU 21 IND 30 270 131 139 391 122 269
12/1/2002 HOU 3 IND 19 165 65 100 278 88 190
9/22/2002 IND 23 HOU 3 204 126 78 339 88 251

Commentary

As we saw yet again on Monday night, there’s no way you can lay more than a touchdown with the Colts and that defense. Once the Vikings finally gave up on running the ball, they were right back in that game, scoring at will against a Colts defense that has struggled mightily the past three games.

So, we have a Texans team that can move the ball and averages 21 points per game, 100 yards per game on the ground, and 256 yards through the air against a Colts defense that gives up 25 points per game, 116 on the ground, and 298 yards passing. Indy’s defense has given up 27, 45 and 28 points the past three weeks, and that’s not a good thing if you’re a Colts fan. Given those numbers, you’d expect that the Texans will move the ball and score at least 21 points and more likely 24-31.

I just don’t see how you get to more than a touchdown spread. Houston gives up as many points as they score (21) while Indianapolis averages six more points on offense than they give up (31-25). If the Colts score their season’s average, you probably have a 31-27 game. If the Colts beat up that Houston defense, then you could see 34-31. If you get the chance to buy the half point, take it as the probability that the Clots will win by more than 10 points is exceedingly small. Either way, I think the play is Houston and the Over.

CHICAGO AT TENNESSEE

Vegas Line

TEN -6.5 TOTAL 35.5

Predicted Outcome

TEN 20 CHI 17

Records

CHI

SU (4-4-0)

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

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

TEN

SU (3-5-0)

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

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

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

RB Chris Brown is still questionable with a toe injury and McNair is still bothered by a bruised chest even after a bye week and will probably not play. If neither can play (and I think that’s likely one of the two won’t), this is a field goal game.

Chicago should have been buried by the Giants last week, but one penalty changed the game. Leading 14-0, the Giants scored on what appeared to be a long run by Tiki Barber for a touchdown, but was called back on a holding penalty. Then boom, turnover and the Bears just rolled from there. Pretty or not, the Bears have won two straight games with Craig Krenzel at quarterback and an improving defense. Of the two squads, the Bears are the team with the momentum right now.

Tennessee , outside the strong performance against the Packers, have not looked anything like the team they’ve been the past few years. The Titans are only averaging 18 points on offense while giving up 22. Most of that lack of production has to do with a passing game that has struggled, averaging just 187 through the air.

Without either McNair or Chris Brown in the line-up, there’s just no way I’m laying more than a field goal with the Titans. Reluctantly, that puts me on the Bears.

TAMPA BAY AT ATLANTA

Vegas Line

ATL -3.5 TOTAL 41

Predicted Outcome

ATL 27 TB 24

Records

TB

SU (3-5-0)

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

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

ATL

SU (6-2-0)

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

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

Recent Meetings

        TB     ATL  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
12/20/2003 ATL 30 TB 28 440 94 346 267 148 119
9/21/2003 TB 31 ATL 10 316 132 184 136 29 107
12/8/2002 ATL 10 TB 34 421 150 271 181 68 113
10/6/2002 TB 20 ATL 6 327 74 253 243 70 173

Commentary

Looking at the series history, Tampa Bay has just owned Michael Vick and the Falcons. In three of the last four game, the Falcons have score 10, 10, and 6 points. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has played its best games on offense against the Falcons scoring 28, 31, 34, and 20 points. The Falcons are off a bye week, which is enough to keep me off the game, but I can’t play Atlanta in this series until they can prove to me they can beat the Bucs.

DETROIT AT JACKSONVILLE

Vegas Line

JAX -3.5 TOTAL 34.5

Predicted Outcome

DET 17 JAX 14

Records

DET

SU (4-4-0)

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

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

JAX

SU (5-3-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (2-6-0), O/U HOME (0-3-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

This could be a really ugly game with Jags QB Byron Leftwich out this week. The Jaguars will likely turn to the running game, not a good thing as the Jags are only averaging 91 yards rushing per game. The bad new is the Lions are reasonably good against the rush, giving up only 113 yards per game. Expect Jacksonville to go back into their offensive shell, punt the ball, and put their defense on the field against a suspect Lions offense.

Detroit will likely struggle as well. The Lions are dead last in the league on offense while the Jaguars defense is one of the NFL’s better units. The good news for Detroit is that the will likely get WR Roy Williams back for this game. When Williams has been in the line-up, Detroit has scored and won and covered games. Without him on field, this Lions offense has been terrible. It will be interesting to see how Jacksonville handles him, specifically if the Jaguars double him or play two-deep zone. My guess is they play zone and give him some yardage without surrendering a big play, so look for Williams to have a decent day with one touchdown.

Turnovers will likely settle this contest. Since I don’t know which way the ball will bounce, I’ll pass on the sides and take the Under in what should be a defensive battle.

SEATTLE AT ST LOUIS

Vegas Line

STL -2 TOTAL 50.5

Predicted Outcome

SEA 31 STL 27

Records

SEA

SU (5-3-0)

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

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

STL

SU (4-4-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (6-2-0), O/U HOME (3-1-0)

Recent Meetings

        SEA     STL  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/10/2004 STL 33 SEA 27 391 187 204 441 124 317
12/14/2003 SEA 22 STL 27 366 135 231 316 86 230
9/21/2003 STL 23 SEA 24 316 96 220 308 82 226
12/22/2002 STL 10 SEA 30 392 100 292 271 17 254
10/20/2002 SEA 20 STL 37 290 50 240 478 218 260

Commentary

Can the Rams lose back-to-back games at home? ‘Could be as St Louis was in a great spot last week and failed to get the victory. New England, without their top three cornerbacks, went in and dominated the Rams on the rug surprising many. That may spark St. Louis this week as the team at 4-4 faces a “must-win” situation. If St Louis can get the victory, they would own the tie-breaker between these teams and be tied for the division lead. A loss and the Rams face an up hill battle just to make the post season. That should be incentive enough for St Louis to bring their A game this week.

The Seahawks probably have their meltdown earlier this season against St. Louis fresh in their memories. As you will remember, Seattle held a 27-10 4 th quarter lead only to have defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes go into prevent defense and HC Mike Holmgren do a Mike Marts and use some “creative” clock management. The result was the Rams stormed back in the final six minutes to tie the game in regulation and win on a bomb in overtime. I may be wrong, but I think they won’t make that mistake twice. If the Seahawks get the chance to win by 40 points, they’ll be running fake punts in the fourth quarter.

Revenge in NFL games isn’t as big a deal as it is in college football, but this is one of those situations where it may matter. I’ll take an embarrassed Seattle team in a game that goes over the total.

KANSAS CITY AT NEW ORLEANS

Vegas Line

KC -4 TOTAL 57.5

Predicted Outcome

KC 34 NO 27

Records

KC

SU (3-5-0)

ATS (3-5-0), ATS AWAY (1-3-0)

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

NO

SU (3-5-0)

ATS (2-6-0), ATS HOME (0-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-2-0), O/U HOME (2-2-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

RB Priest Holmes looks like he will miss this game. I really don’t think it matters who the Chiefs line up in the backfield, they are going to run the ball against the Saints. Kansas City averages 159 yards rushing per game and the Saints give up 142 yards rushing per game. In fact, we all think of the Chiefs as having the worst defense in the league, and they are bad at 349 yards against per game, but the Saints give up a whopping 414 yards per game. I never thought I’d write this, but the Chiefs have an edge on defense.

New Orleans will make a mistake in this game, a badly-thrown pass by Aaron Brooks or a fumble and the Chiefs will cover this number. You can put the over/under on punts by the Chiefs at one. I just don’t see the Saints defense stopping the Chiefs. Give me Kansas City and the Over.

CINCINNATI AT WASHINGTON

Vegas Line

WAS -3 TOTAL 36.5

Predicted Outcome

WAS 20 CIN 13

Records

CIN

SU (3-5-0)

ATS (2-6-0), ATS AWAY (0-4-0)

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

WAS

SU (3-5-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (2-6-0), O/U HOME (2-2-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Washington hasn’t show they can score, but if they were going to take their frustrations out on offense, this would be the game. The Redskins are only averaging two touchdowns per game but their defense is only giving up 16, meaning the Redskins are staying in close, low-scoring games. Finally, they won one of those games beating the Lions last week and that may give them some confidence in this spot.

Washington will want to run the ball (as usual) and this time they match-up well against the Bengals who give up 149 yards per game on the ground. On the other hand, Cincinnati who averages 141 yards rushing per game will likely struggle to move the ball against a Redskins defense that only gives up 84 yards on the ground. All things considered, it would appear that the Redskins have the rushing advantage.

The Bengals are one of those teams that plays well in front of the home crowd and struggles on the road. All three of Cincinnati’s SU victories have come at home while they are 0-4 ATS on the road. I’ll take the Redskins to cover in a low-scoring game.

MINNESOTA AT GREEN BAY

Vegas Line

GB -3 TOTAL 50

Predicted Outcome

GB 31 MIN 24

Records

MIN

SU (5-3-0)

ATS (5-3-0), ATS AWAY (2-2-0)

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

GB

SU (4-4-0)

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

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

Recent Meetings

        MIN     GB  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
11/2/2003 GB 30 MIN 27 323 125 198 451 261 190
9/7/2003 MIN 30 GB 25 337 154 183 304 62 242
12/8/2002 MIN 22 GB 26 316 191 125 328 124 204
11/17/2002 GB 21 MIN 31 425 218 207 367 71 296
12/30/2001 MIN 13 GB 24 302 199 103 213 56 157
10/21/2001 GB 13 MIN 35 377 196 181 234 74 160

Commentary

The Packers are playing at home off a bye week while the Vikings have a short week after losing to the Colts on the road in Indianapolis on Monday night. That situation favors the Packers in a game that will go a long ways in determining the NFC North Division champ.

Statistically, these two teams are very similar. Minnesota averages 26 points on offense and the Packers average 25. Minnesota averages 414 yards on offense and Green Bay averages 394. The Vikings give up 24 points on defense while the Packers surrender 23. Finally, the Vikings give up 356 yards on defense while the home team gives up 334.

Call it even statistically, so what is the impact of WR Randy Moss? If he can’t play, Moss has to be worth more than one point. If he plays hurt, a healthy Moss is still probably worth more than one point over an injured Moss with a bad hammy. With the Packers having home field advantage (3 points) that puts me on the rested Packers to win by a touchdown in a game that goes over the total.

NEW YORK GIANTS AT ARIZONA

Vegas Line

NYG -3 TOTAL 37.5

Predicted Outcome

ARI 24 NYG 21

Records

NYG

SU (5-3-0)

ATS (5-3-0), ATS AWAY (3-1-0)

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

ARI

SU (3-5-0)

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

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

Recent Meetings

        NYG     ARI  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/29/2002 NYG 7 ARI 21 263 67 196 263 102 161
12/15/2001 ARI 13 NYG 17 244 105 139 285 88 197
11/11/2001 NYG 17 ARI 10 334 186 148 207 78 129

Commentary

A beaten up Giants team travels west to play the Cardinals that have suddenly become points spread-covering monsters. Arizona has ambushed stronger teams as home dogs and I think they get another victim this week.

New York lost both of its starting defensive ends in the Lions game so they will likely have to take more chances and blitz more to get pressure on the opposing quarterback. That will put the Giants’ secondary in more man-to-man coverage situations against a pretty good Cardinals receiving corps. If the Cardinals can take advantage then you should see some long catches and a game that flies over the total.

I think there’s some value with the Cardinals. Statistically, the Giants have a huge edge on offense, averaging 335 yards per game to the Cardinals 269. But I think the losses on New York’s defense puts these two teams on an equal basis. Give me Arizona and the Over in this contest.

CAROLINA AT SAN FRANCISCO

Vegas Line

SF -1 TOTAL 41

Predicted Outcome

SF 20 CAR 17

Records

CAR

SU (1-7-0)

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

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

SF

SU (1-7-0)

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

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

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Yuck. Two teams that are playing for nothing and its only week ten…so much for parity in the NFL. It’s going to be hard for either team to get up for this game.

Statistically, there isn’t much to separate these two bad teams. San Francisco scores three more points per game (18-15) but gives up five more on defense (28-23). There’s two yards difference on offense (312-316) and eighteen on defense (327-345). In what’s essentially a tie game, if I had to bet it, I’d take the home field advantage with the 49ers against a team traveling all the way from the east coast.

BUFFALO AT NEW ENGLAND

Vegas Line

NE -9 TOTAL 37.5

Predicted Outcome

NE 21 BUF 14

Records

BUF

SU (3-5-0)

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

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

NE

SU (7-1-0)

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

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

Recent Meetings

        BUF     NE  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/3/2004 NE 31 BUF 17 337 138 199 397 99 298
12/27/2003 BUF 0 NE 31 256 82 174 321 131 190
9/7/2003 NE 0 BUF 31 319 104 215 239 105 134
12/8/2002 BUF 17 NE 27 390 78 312 275 92 183
11/3/2002 NE 38 BUF 7 331 65 266 422 114 308
12/16/2001 NE 12 BUF 9 310 98 212 335 129 206
11/11/2001 BUF 11 NE 21 241 68 173 205 134 71

Commentary

Nine points seems like a lot of lumber to lay with a Bills team that can play defense, especially on the road. It takes a lot to convince me to lay more than a touchdown in the NFL, and I’m not sure the Patriots have the stuff this week.

The Bills have won their last two games and that should give them a little momentum for this contest. Even the Buffalo offense has looked better, scoring 38 against the Cardinals and 22 against the Jets the last two weeks. For the season, the Bills are averaging 17 points of offense per game and giving up 17. Over their three road games, the Bills have kept games close, losing by three to Oakland 10-13, losing by two to the Jets 14-16, and losing to Baltimore 6-20. Given that the Bills have averaged just ten points in those three road games, I wouldn’t expect an offensive explosion from Buffalo here. On the other hand, the Bills are only giving up 17 on average on the road pointing to another close contest this week.

New England is pretty beaten up. They are having problems finding enough healthy bodies to play wide receiver and cornerback yet again. With that, I don’t expect New England to open it up on offense and take the chance that a turnover costs them this game. With the winning streak out of the way, I think New England will focus on doing just enough to get home field advantage in the playoffs. I think the Patriots win by a touchdown with the game going under the total.

PHILADELPHIA AT DALLAS

Vegas Line

PHI -7 TOTAL 41.5

Predicted Outcome

PHI 21 DAL 14

Records

PHI

SU (7-1-0)

ATS (5-3-0), ATS AWAY (2-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-6-0), O/U AWAY (1-3-0)

DAL

SU (3-5-0)

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

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

Recent Meetings

        PHI     DAL  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
12/7/2003 DAL 10 PHI 36 403 167 236 225 150 75
10/12/2003 PHI 21 DAL 23 232 122 110 292 119 173
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

Commentary

I think the line’s about right here. If the spread was more than a touchdown, I’d probably be on the Cowboys and if the spread was 6.5 I’d definitely be on the Eagles.

As we saw once again in Pittsburgh last week, Philly’s weakness is their rushing defense. If Eddie George wasn’t the Cowboys primary ball carrier and Dallas didn’t have a habit of imploding with turnovers, then I’d expect Dallas to pound away on the ground. Unfortunately, Dallas just doesn’t match-up well. The Cowboys are averaging just 101 yards rushing per game. Dallas could put together long drives on the ground were it not for all those turnovers. The ‘Boys are -12 and tied for last in the NFL in turnover margin.

I don’t like Philly and I’ll probably will be playing against them for most of the rest of the season, but I just can’t put good money on Dallas. I’ll pass on a game I think goes under the total.

College Thoughts

Michigan State +8
Minnesota -3.5
Wake Forest +8
Duke +13
UCLA (over)
Tulane -6
North Texas -17
Texas -22