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Inside The Points - Week 13
Fritz Schlottman
December 3, 2004

HOUSTON AT N.Y. JETS

Vegas Line

NYJ -6.5 TOTAL 39

Predicted Outcome

No prediction

Records

HOU

SU (5-6-0)

ATS (6-5-0), ATS AWAY (2-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-4-1), O/U AWAY (2-2-1)

NYJ

SU (8-3-0)

ATS (6-4-1), ATS HOME (2-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-6-0), O/U HOME (3-2-0)

Recent Meetings

        HOU     NYJ  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/19/2003 NYJ 19 HOU 14 325 169 156 296 136 160

Commentary

The first game with a question mark at quarterback, this time it’s the Jets who may get QB Chad Pennington back into the line-up. If that happens, and that’s a big if, then you’d think the Jets offense should improve significantly. With Quincy Carter, the Jets relied on their defense to win games. Pennington is able to win games with his arm while Quincy Carter has done nothing at quarterback. Pennington is worth at least a touchdown more to the Jets offense and that’s a big point swing both for the sides and the total in this game. If Pennington plays, New York’s offense can open up and score some points which changes the complexion of this game entirely.

For the Texans, this game may come down to who controls the line of scrimmage. If the Jets defense wins, the Texans will be unable to run the ball once again and QB David Carr will be under siege because the Jets have a pretty decent pass rush. If the Texans offensive line wins, Carr will have enough time to throw and the Texans will be a real threat to pull the upset.

I wouldn’t hazard a guess on this game without knowing the status of Pennington. A touchdown is way too much to lay if Quincy Carter is my quarterback however.

CINCINNATI AT BALTIMORE

Vegas Line

BAL -7 TOTAL 37.5

Predicted Outcome

BAL 17 CIN 10

Records

CIN

SU (5-6-0)

ATS (4-6-1), ATS AWAY (1-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-6-0), O/U AWAY (4-1-0)

BAL

SU (7-4-0)

ATS (8-3-0), ATS HOME (4-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-6-0), O/U HOME (4-1-0)

Recent Meetings

        CIN     BAL  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/26/2004 BAL 23 CIN 9 398 109 289 380 254 126
12/7/2003 CIN 13 BAL 31 268 100 168 353 223 130
10/19/2003 BAL 26 CIN 34 303 59 244 391 110 281
12/1/2002 BAL 27 CIN 23 381 73 308 247 148 99
11/10/2002 CIN 27 BAL 38 372 123 249 325 162 163
12/23/2001 CIN 0 BAL 16 281 150 131 305 157 148
9/23/2001 BAL 10 CIN 21 203 67 136 382 64 318

Commentary

I’m having a really hard time with this game. You have two teams that have won three of their last four games and are playing some of their best football of the season. On the other hand, these are two teams that haven’t looked good in wining those games and the score lines are a bit misleading.

Each team has played Cleveland and Dallas in the last month. The Bengals beat both teams: they beat the Browns 58-48 in a barn-burner last Sunday and beat the Cowboys 26-3 on 11/7/2004. Both games were played in Cincinnati. The Ravens beat Cleveland 27-13 on 11/7/2004 and beat the Cowboys 31-10. Both of those games were home contests as well. Not great wins for either team, but all the victories were comfortable and by ten points or more.

Inside the box scores however, Baltimore has had there problems running the ball, which is unusual as you normally think of the Ravens as a rushing team with Jamal Lewis in the backfield. QB Kyle Boller has stepped up and played better, but probably not well enough to cover this big number by himself. Cincinnati isn’t a good road team as their 1-4 ATS record indicates so I’m not entirely opposed to laying points with Baltimore despite their offensive problems.

I think the Under is the best play as I can find fault with either offense. I don’t foresee Cincinnati having a big rushing day and grinding out first downs against a stingy Ravens defense. The Bengals are going to have to mix it up and get a few big plays to win. I also don’t see the Ravens dominating the Bengals defense unless T Jonathan Ogden is back in the line-up. Baltimore is going to have to take some chances as well. If you don’t get a defensive score, this game should go under the total as both offenses should struggle for consistency.

NEW ENGLAND AT CLEVELAND

Vegas Line

NE -10.5 Total 41

Predicted Outcome

NE 24 CLE 6

Records

NE

SU (10-1-0)

ATS (8-1-2), ATS AWAY (4-1-0)

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

CLE

SU (3-8-0)

ATS (4-7-0), ATS HOME (4-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-6-0), O/U HOME (2-4-0)

Recent Meetings

        NE     CLE  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/26/2003 CLE 3 NE 9 347 94 253 203 84 119
12/9/2001 CLE 16 NE 27 290 81 209 277 50 227

Commentary

There’s a big question at quarterback here for the Browns. QB Kelly Holcomb may not be able to play and that makes Luke McCown, a fourth-round pick from Louisiana Tech, the starting quarterback. The line jumped from eight points to ten and a half on the news. Kelly Holcomb sustained three crack ribs in last week's loss to Cincinnati and may give it a shot this week, but the chances of him playing the entire game would be slim. Holcomb can be an exciting quarterback when he’s in the game, but the Cleveland signal-caller has the distinction of 13 starts and four broken bones, he’s fragile or unlucky to be kind.

Ten and a half is a boat-load of points to lay in a place as dangerous as the dog pound where the Browns are 4-2 ATS this year. But, I sure wouldn’t want Cleveland with a rookie quarterback making his first start against the Patriots defense either. I’ll probably wait for more news before going to the window, but I’ll be on the Patriots and the under if McCown is the starter and Cleveland and the over if Holcomb is healthy.

ARIZONA AT DETROIT

Vegas Line

DET -6 TOTAL 38.5

Predicted Outcome

Detroit 21 ARI 13

Records

ARI

SU (4-7-0)

ATS (6-5-0), ATS AWAY (3-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-5-0), O/U AWAY (4-2-0)

DET

SU (4-7-0)

ATS (5-6-0), ATS HOME (1-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-6-0), O/U HOME (2-3-0)

Recent Meetings

        ARI     DET  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/7/2003 ARI 24 DET 42 439 95 344 261 66 195
12/8/2002 DET 20 ARI 23 313 133 180 203 51 152
11/18/2001 DET 38 ARI 45 417 89 328 478 49 429

Commentary

Two ugly quarterback situations. Arizona tries their third quarterback this season as John Navarre gets the start in Michigan where he played in college for the Wolverines. Josh McCown will be the back-up after starting most of the season and Shaun King becomes the emergency quarterback after struggling in his last two games. Navarre will be seeing his first NFL action and will be teamed with undrafted rookie RB Larry Croom a product of UNLV also getting his first NFL start, after RB Emmitt Smith spent this week in a walking boot nursing his injured toe and will likely miss 2-3 weeks.

Detroit has its own crisis in confidence at quarterback. Joey Harrington will get another start, but he’ll be on a short leash. Harrington has struggled most of 2005 and hasn’t been the answer at quarterback the Lions organization had expected.

Certainly a battle of teams playing without confidence in what should be a low-scoring game. There’s been a big line move on the Lions as the sharps came in to bid up the Lions from three point favorites to six. I think the money’s in the right place here. Give me the Lions and the under.

TENNESSEE AT INDIANAPOLIS

Vegas Line

Predicted Outcome

IND 41 TEN 13

Records

TEN

SU (4-7-0)

ATS (4-7-0), ATS AWAY (3-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-5-0), O/U AWAY (3-3-0)

IND

SU (8-3-0)

ATS (7-3-1), ATS HOME (3-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (8-3-0), O/U HOME (4-1-0)

Recent Meetings

        TEN     IND  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/19/2004 IND 31 TEN 17 389 153 236 373 129 244
12/7/2003 IND 29 TEN 27 327 93 234 338 117 221
9/14/2003 TEN 7 IND 33 236 53 183 291 127 164
12/8/2002 IND 17 TEN 27 348 119 229 389 92 297
11/3/2002 TEN 23 IND 15 198 121 77 378 80 298

Commentary

QB Steve McNair is talking about retirement this week. Perhaps the endless stream of injuries is finally catching up with him or perhaps having their first losing season in some time is weighing heavily on McNair, but you have to consider his mental state because so much of the Titans offense goes through McNair. Can a Tennessee team with a questionable Steve McNair keep up with a Colts team that has scored 40 or more points in their last three games? I can’t see it.

This is a terrible spot for Tennessee. This is there third straight road game against a division foe. Meanwhile, the Colts have had since Thanksgiving to rest and recuperate after thrashing the Lions on turkey day. I would not expect the Titans offense to be at their best this week, regardless of the rash of injuries that have hit the squad.

RB Chris Brown didn’t practice on Wednesday and probably won’t play as well. LT Jason Mathews will start his third game in a row at left tackle in place of Brad Hopkins. Mathews will matchup against Dwight Freeney and that will likely result in some more hits on McNair.

This is a lot of points when I’m not at all confident that the Titans are going to score all that much. The Colts defense has done better as of late, surrendering an average of 11 points during this streak. That will put me on the Colts and the under here.

MINNESOTA AT CHICAGO

Vegas Line

MIN -7 TOTAL 41

Predicted Outcome

MIN 24 CHI 10

Records

MIN

SU (7-4-0)

ATS (7-4-0), ATS AWAY (4-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-5-0), O/U AWAY (4-1-0)

CHI

SU (4-7-0)

ATS (5-6-0), ATS HOME (1-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-6-0), O/U HOME (2-3-0)

Recent Meetings

        MIN     CHI  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/26/2004 CHI 22 MIN 27 443 93 350 385 146 239
12/14/2003 MIN 10 CHI 13 393 178 215 232 87 145
9/14/2003 CHI 13 MIN 24 400 202 198 208 80 128
10/27/2002 CHI 7 MIN 25 364 148 216 218 44 174
9/8/2002 MIN 23 CHI 27 364 136 228 368 80 288
11/25/2001 CHI 13 MIN 6 316 124 192 235 142 93

Commentary

I don’t see the Bears staying close in this game despite their winning series record. Chicago will be starting another new quarterback as Chad Hutchinson, formerly of the Cowboys, makes his first start as a Bear. There’s money to be made betting against these emergency quarterbacks, and if Hutchinson were capable, the Cowboys wouldn’t have gotten rid of him.

Chicago has nothing to lose. Over the past four weeks the Bears offense has just been terrible. Chicago has just 762 yards total offense in that period, less than 200 yards per game! It can’t get worse, can it? Maybe not, but it isn’t going to get better here despite the Vikings soft defense.

It’s very hard to make the case that this offense is going to keep pace with the Vikings even at home. Randy Moss will be back and that should be enough to cover the touchdown and then some.

BUFFALO AT MIAMI

Vegas Line

BUF -3.5 TOTAL 35.5

Predicted Outcome

BUF 17 MIA 14

Records

BUF

SU (5-6-0)

ATS (7-4-0), ATS AWAY (3-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-5-0), O/U AWAY (1-4-0)

MIA

SU (2-9-0)

ATS (4-7-0), ATS HOME (1-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-4-1), O/U HOME (2-3-0)

Recent Meetings

        BUF     MIA  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/17/2004 MIA 13 BUF 20 341 137 204 212 111 101
12/21/2003 MIA 20 BUF 3 177 73 104 169 132 37
9/21/2003 BUF 7 MIA 17 118 41 77 313 166 147
12/1/2002 MIA 21 BUF 38 431 161 270 300 270 30
10/20/2002 BUF 23 MIA 10 294 132 162 287 132 155
1/6/2002 BUF 7 MIA 34 250 39 211 289 202 87
11/25/2001 MIA 34 BUF 27 422 127 295 364 101 263

Commentary

The Bills have been an automatic under play on the road for several years now and I don’t see anything that will change my mind here. Miami comes off back-to-back road trips to the west coast and they should be flat. On the other hand, the Dolphins (unlike the Bears) still look like they are going to go out and make an effort, but I think that effort is more likely to occur on defense and that’s probably enough to keep me off the Bills here as Buffalo has improved over the course of the season. Buffalo has improved, but not to the extent that I’m going to lay more than a field goal on the road with them against a motivated team.

ATLANTA AT TAMPA BAY

Vegas Line

PICK TOTAL 39.5

Predicted Outcome

ATL 21 TB 17

Records

ATL

SU (9-2-0)

ATS (5-6-0), ATS AWAY (3-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-8-0), O/U AWAY (2-3-0)

TB

SU (4-7-0)

ATS (4-5-2), ATS HOME (3-1-1)

OVER/UNDER (3-8-0), O/U HOME (1-4-0)

Recent Meetings

        ATL     TB  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
11/14/2004 TB 14 ATL 24 325 205 120 193 68 125
12/20/2003 ATL 30 TB 28 267 148 119 440 94 346
9/21/2003 TB 31 ATL 10 136 29 107 316 132 184
12/8/2002 ATL 10 TB 34 181 68 113 421 150 271
10/6/2002 TB 20 ATL 6 243 70 173 327 74 253

Commentary

I know I don’t look at the Falcons as a 9-2 football team. Maybe that’s because Atlanta is only 5-6 against the spread, but I don’t remember the dominance on either side of the ball I’d associate with that kind of record. QB Michael Vick hasn’t really strung four quarters of football together in one game so far this season and the Falcons defense has played well at times and then gets bombed by the Chiefs at other times.

I’m not sure how you get a nine win team as a pick on the road against a four win team. That line looks cheap to me. Atlanta beat the Buc’s 24-14 just three weeks ago. In that game, the Falcons sacked TB QB Brian Griese seven times. The Falcons outgained the Buc’s by 325-193. Do I think Tampa Bay has enough to turn the game around? No. I think the Falcons are in a zone where they’re going to win a lot of close, low-scoring games much like the Panthers did last season.

I’d love to find a reason to support Tampa, but I can’t find one. I think Atlanta wins a close game.

SAN FRANCISCO AT ST LOUIS

Vegas Line

STL -10.5 Total 48

Predicted Outcome

STL 34 SF 20

Records

SF

SU (1-10-0)

ATS (4-7-0), ATS AWAY (2-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-5-0), O/U AWAY (2-3-0)

STL

SU (5-6-0)

ATS (3-7-1), ATS HOME (1-3-1)

OVER/UNDER (8-3-0), O/U HOME (3-2-0)

Recent Meetings

        SF     STL  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/3/2004 STL 24 SF 14 332 58 274 360 174 186
11/2/2003 STL 10 SF 30 389 165 224 340 9 331
9/14/2003 SF 24 STL 27 390 148 242 278 88 190
12/30/2002 SF 20 STL 31 329 193 136 263 35 228
10/6/2002 STL 13 SF 37 386 179 207 313 88 225
12/9/2001 SF 14 STL 27 220 76 144 385 115 270
9/23/2001 STL 30 SF 26 232 116 116 424 115 309

Commentary

The 49ers are the worst team in the NFL, and this year, that’s saying something. They are just pathetic. San Francisco’s defense has completely fallen apart over the last month. Opposing offenses have scored 42, 37, 35, and 24 points over the past four weeks, and I don’t expect the 49ers to be able to shut down the Rams offense, which despite the loss in Green Bay, has been able to move the ball through the air.

The Rams defense isn’t showing up either. St. Louis’ defense has given up big points over a five game period where the Rams have lost four games. The Dolphins scored 31, the Patriots scored 40, the Bills scored 37, and the Packers put up 45. I don’t see the Rams getting any better either, but I don’t think they’ve quit just yet.

I’m not comfortable laying 10.5 points with a team that can’t stop anyone on defense and I really don’t want the 49ers. That’s going to put me on the over here as I don’t see either defense putting up a great effort.

CAROLINA AT NEW ORLEANS

Vegas Line

NO -1.5 TOTAL 46.5

Predicted Outcome

NO 23 CAR 20

Records

CAR

SU (4-7-0)

ATS (6-5-0), ATS AWAY (4-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (4-6-1), O/U AWAY (2-2-1)

NO

SU (4-7-0)

ATS (4-7-0), ATS HOME (1-5-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-5-0), O/U HOME (2-4-0)

Recent Meetings

        CAR     NO  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/26/2003 CAR 23 NO 20 368 223 145 294 104 190
10/5/2003 NO 13 CAR 19 309 185 124 344 155 189
12/29/2002 CAR 10 NO 6 273 85 188 244 125 119
11/10/2002 NO 34 CAR 24 396 100 296 345 97 248
12/2/2001 CAR 23 NO 27 150 49 101 432 125 307
10/14/2001 NO 27 CAR 25 218 34 184 358 198 160

Commentary

Carolina has made a little bit of charge over the last few weeks. I wouldn’t have believed that 4-7 football teams would be in the middle of the playoff chase (one game out), but that’s how weak the NFC is this year. Both of these teams have something to play for and Carolina has shown that they haven’t taken a powder yet this season.

Carolina has won three games in a row and have gotten their running game going, but it’s come against some pretty weak opposition. They were life and death with San Francisco, caught the Cardinals making a quarterback change and they didn’t show up, and the Panthers got lucky to beat the Buc’s after giving up over 300 passing yards to Brian Griese.

New Orleans has plenty of weapons on offense. Aaron Brooks isn’t the best quarterback in the NFL, he can play well at times, and at other times he looks like a rookie. The Saints have a good receiving corps (if they can catch the ball) and a better running game than the Panthers.

I don’t like any Saints game because I can never predict when they are going to show up. I think the talent is on the side of New Orleans but I don’t know if that’s going to come through. Oh, what the heck, give me the Saints.

KANSAS CITY AT OAKLAND

Vegas Line

No line

Predicted Outcome

OAK 24 KC 21

Records

KC

SU (3-8-0)

ATS (3-8-0), ATS AWAY (1-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-5-0), O/U AWAY (3-2-0)

OAK

SU (4-7-0)

ATS (4-7-0), ATS HOME (1-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (7-4-0), O/U HOME (2-3-0)

Recent Meetings

        KC     OAK  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
11/23/2003 OAK 24 KC 27 384 142 242 379 166 213
10/20/2003 KC 17 OAK 10 319 125 194 357 100 257
12/28/2002 KC 0 OAK 24 176 44 132 354 280 74
10/27/2002 OAK 10 KC 20 323 133 190 417 83 334
12/9/2001 KC 26 OAK 28 447 204 243 264 79 185
9/9/2001 OAK 27 KC 24 254 35 219 427 100 327

Commentary

The Chiefs defense has given up at 27 points in each of its last five games and that’s a big concern with a veteran team that may quit down the stretch. KC hasn’t won the turnover battle once since their first game with Denver and their ball control offense that can march up and down the field has not been able to translate that yardage into points the last four games. The Chiefs have been in each of those contests but have found a way to lose each game.

I’m not sure what’s more demoralizing to a veteran team, getting blown out or watching as you piss away another game. My guess is that this team isn’t believing in the magic any more and you may see KC fade down the stretch as they realize their Super Bowl hopes are gone for another year.

Oakland , on the other hand, showed in snowy Denver that they haven’t quit. They came from two touchdowns down in bad conditions in a noisy, hostile stadium. That showed me something. Oakland has no running game, but they’ve found a way to win. My concern is that the Raiders were pointing that Denver game and don’t have anything left in the tank. Not a game I’m looking to go to the window on.

DENVER AT SAN DIEGO

Vegas Line

SD -3 Total 47.5

Predicted Outcome

SD 27 DEN 17

Records

DEN

SU (7-4-0)

ATS (4-5-2), ATS AWAY (2-2-1)

OVER/UNDER (3-6-2), O/U AWAY (0-5-0)

SD

SU (8-3-0)

ATS (9-1-1), ATS HOME (4-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (7-4-0), O/U HOME (5-0-0)

Recent Meetings

        DEN     SD  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/26/2004 SD 13 DEN 23 328 37 291 214 85 129
11/16/2003 SD 8 DEN 37 448 201 247 96 40 56
9/14/2003 DEN 37 SD 13 382 197 185 303 121 182
12/1/2002 DEN 27 SD 30 417 156 261 434 220 214
10/6/2002 SD 9 DEN 26 417 117 300 314 79 235
11/11/2001 SD 16 DEN 26 338 127 211 243 96 147
10/21/2001 DEN 10 SD 27 263 81 182 379 107 272

Commentary

Gee. The Chargers are 9-1-1 ATS this season, eight straight covers, and I don’t think anyone could have seen that coming back in summer. You could have gotten Drew Brees as a free agent of your fantasy team for nothing and now this guy is looking at getting a big paycheck this off-season.

I’m asking myself if I would rather at this point have Drew Brees or Jake Plummer? After some thought, I’d rather have Brees. Plummer is the better talent, but somewhere in the game, he makes the dumb play.

The reason I’m asking myself that question is that both these teams are very similar. Both the Chargers and the Broncos feature the power running game and both teams try and stop the opposing running game and make the enemy quarterback beat you. This game is going to come down to which quarterback plays better. In the game earlier this year, it was Plummer that made more of the long throws that eventually led to a 23-13 victory at home. This time I think it’s Brees that makes the big play in what should be a low-scoring game. I like under the total better than any side, but give me the Chargers here.

N.Y. GIANTS AT WASHINGTON

Vegas Line

WAS -2.5 Total 35

Predicted Outcome

WAS 24 NYG 13

Records

NYG

SU (5-6-0)

ATS (5-6-0), ATS AWAY (3-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-8-0), O/U AWAY (1-4-0)

WAS

SU (3-8-0)

ATS (4-7-0), ATS HOME (1-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-9-0), O/U HOME (2-3-0)

Recent Meetings

        NYG     WAS  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/19/2004 WAS 14 NYG 20 277 62 215 322 108 214
12/7/2003 WAS 20 NYG 7 220 120 100 288 150 138
9/21/2003 NYG 24 WAS 21 399 129 270 456 124 332
12/8/2002 NYG 27 WAS 21 316 111 205 447 132 315
11/17/2002 WAS 17 NYG 19 299 88 211 166 60 106
10/28/2001 NYG 21 WAS 35 388 42 346 353 157 196
10/7/2001 WAS 9 NYG 23 309 142 167 181 57 124

Commentary

Just when you’ve had enough bad football, you get another serving here. Eli Manning (6 of 21 and two interceptions last week) makes his first road trip ever and his first to Washington to face an ultra active defense that stuffs the run. If RB Tiki Barber isn’t a factor and the Giants have to rely on Manning’s arm to move the team, New York is in big trouble.

Looking at the statistics, QB Patrick Ramsey has had decent games the last two weeks, on the road at Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. I think the Redskins will actually score some points and should get a comfortable win.

GREEN BAY AT PHILADELPHIA

Vegas Line

PHI -6.5 Total 47

Predicted Outcome

PHI 31 GB 24

Records

GB

SU (7-4-0)

ATS (5-6-0), ATS AWAY (3-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (7-4-0), O/U AWAY (3-2-0)

PHI

SU (10-1-0)

ATS (8-3-0), ATS HOME (4-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-8-0), O/U HOME (4-1-0)

Recent Meetings

        GB     PHI  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
1/11/2004 GB 17 PHI 20 381 210 171 363 164 199
11/10/2003 PHI 17 GB 14 307 241 66 282 92 190

Commentary

This looks like a big over game to me. Both offenses are playing well and their defenses are not. Philadelphia’s defense gives up way too many rushing yards and Packers in their six straight wins have been unstoppable at times. Green Bay’s offensive line should be able to open up holes for a rested Ahman Green. As you saw on Monday night, when Green Bay is balanced on offense, can run the ball for over 100 yards, they don’t have to have QB Bret Favre throw for 300 yards and he doesn’t throw that big interception.

The Packers defense still doesn’t inspire any confidence, however. They gave up more than 400 passing yards to QB Marc Bulger and the Rams so the Eagles dynamic duo of McNabb and Terrell Owens should hook up for a couple touchdowns. The Packers didn’t get any pressure on Bulger without blitzing and I don’t think they will generate a pass rush against the Eagle with their front four either. If Green Bay blitzes, Owens will light them up down the field. If the Packers don’t blitz, then McNabb can sit back and pick them apart.

I don’t like laying nearly a touchdown against the Packers with Green Bay playing so well, so I’m not willing to play either if they can’t play defense. I also don’t trust the Packers not to finally hit a speed bump and have an off week. As I said, I think the over is the play, but Green Bay has value if you can get a touchdown.

PITTSBURGH AT JACKSONVILLE

Vegas Line

PIT -4 Total 35.5

Predicted Outcome

JAX 16 PIT 14

Records

PIT

SU (10-1-0)

ATS (7-3-1), ATS AWAY (3-1-1)

OVER/UNDER (6-5-0), O/U AWAY (2-3-0)

JAX

SU (6-5-0)

ATS (6-5-0), ATS HOME (3-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-8-0), O/U HOME (1-4-0)

Recent Meetings

        PIT     JAX  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
12/1/2002 PIT 25 JAC 23 403 219 184 226 102 124
11/18/2001 JAC 7 PIT 20 402 145 257 234 48 186
9/9/2001 PIT 3 JAC 21 281 120 161 299 101 198

Commentary

An interesting game. Jacksonville’s defense is very strong between the tackles where the Steelers like to run. The Jaguars two big defensive tackles just absorb blocks allowing Jacksonville’s linebackers to flow to the ball and make plays. Pittsburgh’s power running game focuses on hitting defenses between the tackles and forcing opposing linebackers to step up into the hole and take on a 300 lb lineman. I’m not sure either side can impose their will in what could be a stalemate on the line of scrimmage.

If Pittsburgh cannot grind out first downs and has to depend on rookie QB Ben Rothlisburger to move the football, there could be an upset here. Jacksonville has a little more versatility on offense and can keep the Steelers defense off balance enough that Blitzburgh cannot load up and come after the passer.

I see this as a low-scoring field goal kind of game where the team that makes the least amount of mistakes wins the football game. An under seems the play here as both teams have a good shot at winning the game but neither team should be able to put together 10 play drives.

DALLAS AT SEATTLE

Vegas Line

SEA -8.5 TOTAL 42

Predicted Outcome

SEA 21 DAL 17

Records

DAL

SU (4-7-0)

ATS (4-7-0), ATS AWAY (1-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (7-4-0), O/U AWAY (4-1-0)

SEA

SU (6-5-0)

ATS (4-7-0), ATS HOME (1-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (7-4-0), O/U HOME (4-1-0)

Recent Meetings

        DAL     SEA  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/27/2002 SEA 17 DAL 14 237 105 132 267 97 170
12/16/2001 DAL 3 SEA 29 218 102 116 312 173 139

Commentary

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times,..I’m not laying more than a field goal with the Seahawks again this year. I must be in the minority as money keeps coming in on the sea bags despite the fact that they covered slightly more than half the games they’ve not covered. That astounds me because if you’ve watched this team play, and especially if you watched last week’s debacle, laying a touchdown should be the last thing on your mind and laying 8.5 should win you a referral to Gamblers Anonymous. For God’s sake, this is the same Seahawks team that lost to Drew Bledsoe and the Bills 38-9 last week and now you’re standing in line at the window to lay points? You have to be kidding me.

The Cowboys and the Bears won this year’s award for the biggest turkey; god that was an awful game. The Drew Henson quarterback experiment lasted a half as Bill Parcells yanked him at intermission and inserted Vinny Testaverde and the team responded with a victory. Dallas, despite their struggles, are right in the thick of the playoff hunt and I don’t expect Parcells to put Henson in another game until the Cowboys are eliminated from the post season…and that’s okay by me, I’ve seen enough bad football already this season.

Some way, somehow Dallas keeps this game within a touchdown. It may take the Seahawks receivers dropping a half dozen balls given how badly the Cowboys secondary has played, but I have every confidence they can do it. Give me the Cowboys.

College Thoughts

Army/Navy (over)
Michigan St/Hawaii (over)
Miami FLA -7
USC/UCLA over 58
Colorado +21.5
Louisville/Tulane over 72