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Inside The Points - Week 15
Fritz Schlottman
December 17, 2004

PITTSBURGH AT N.Y. GIANTS

Vegas Line

PIT -10.5 TOTAL 34

Predicted Outcome

PIT 24 NYG 10

Records

PIT

SU (12-1-0)

ATS (8-4-1), ATS AWAY (3-2-1)

OVER/UNDER (6-7-0), O/U AWAY (2-4-0)

NYG

SU (5-8-0)

ATS (6-7-0), ATS HOME (2-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-8-0), O/U HOME (2-4-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

QB Eli Manning was just horrible last week before getting the early hook. Peyton’s younger brother was just 4-18, 27 yards and two interceptions. Ouch!

The Giants coaching staff went out of their way to issue a vote of confidence and to name Manning the starter again this week (normally the kiss of death for a quarterback), which just goes to prove how stubborn this organization is. Manning has shown every week that he has no business being on the field yet, and now he has to play against the Steelers defense because the powers that be made him the starting quarterback and they’re not going to admit they were wrong in doing so. The New York press is irate calling Manning’s insertion as a starting QB back in mid-Fall, and I paraphrase here, one of the NFL’s worst coaching moves this season. I’m not saying that he’s not going to be a great starting quarterback one day, but Manning was a deer in the head lights last Sunday and he may be road kill this Saturday. In the contests Manning has started, the Giants are averaging 10 points.

Pittsburgh has played seven straight under games. For the season, the Steelers are averaging 22 ppg. and giving up14 for an average total line of 36. The Giants are averaging 17 ppg. and surrendering 22 for a total line of 37. A 34 total is well below the average points scored which should point to an over play. However, in Pittsburgh’s last three road games, the average score has been 20-14 making the total 34 and the spread six. New York’s last five games have averaged 10-25 for a total of 35 and a spread of 15. I see no advantage at all in playing the total, but considering that the Giants have lost their last three games by scores of 6-27, 7-31, and 14-37, I have a lot of interest in playing against the G-men.

Yes this point spread is ridicules, but you can’t play the Giants with Manning as the starter. If you’re going to be on the game, its Steelers or don’t play at all.

WASHINGTON AT SAN FRANCISCO

Vegas Line

WAS -4 TOTAL 36.5

Predicted Outcome

WAS 24 SF 14

Records

WAS

SU (4-9-0)

ATS (6-7-0), ATS AWAY (3-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-10-0), O/U AWAY (0-6-0)

SF

SU (2-11-0)

ATS (6-7-0), ATS HOME (2-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (7-6-0), O/U HOME (4-2-0)

Recent Meetings

        WAS     SF  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/22/2002 WAS 10 SF 20 217 57 160 366 252 114

Commentary

Washington is the flip-side to the Giants. If you are going to criticize HC Joe Gibbs you’d have to say that he waited too long to make at change at quarterback after Mark Brunell was ineffective early in the season. Yes it’s hypocricy to be on both sides of the QB issue, but I don’t get paid for making the right call, they do.

That said I’m not exactly thrilled with laying 4.5 on the road with a team that struggles on offense. Washington has been another huge under team this season. The Redskins have only played three over games all year and nine of the last eleven contests have gone under the total. Since November, the Redskins average contest is 14-16 making the spread -2 and the total an incredible 30. Like I said, I find it very difficult to lay more than four points in a low-scoring game…but not impossible.

San Francisco has played high-scoring games at home this season. In their last four home contests, the final scores were 31-28, 27-42, 27-37, and 17-24. With this week’s total set at 36.5, a half point below the key number of 37, I smell a trap and will play over the total if I play the total at all.

You don’t often see an NFL head coach interviewing mid-season for a coaching job. SF head man Dennis Erickson was on the campus of the University of Mississippi mid-week looking for a new job. The fact that the 49ers organization gave Erickson permission to look for a job mid-season tells you all you need to know about how the team’s upper management feels about their head coach. They would be relieved if Erickson took another job and he probably feels the same about the 49ers organization.

So will the 49ers perform for a coach that has one foot out the door in a meaningless game? My guess is probably not. I think they left everything they had on the field against Arizona. RB Barlow has been benched and he been vocal about how unhappy he is with the decision. He’s been a cancer in the 49ers locker room all season and I think his attitude is more representative of the organization then the team would want you to know.

My best guess is that Washington goes in and lays some pain on the 49ers who should in turn roll over and play dead. San Francisco can’t run on that Redskins defense with or without Barlow as the 49ers average 89 yards rushing per game and Washington gives up 85. San Francisco should put it in the air 35 times and have at least two interceptions. I’ll lay the points with Washington.

CAROLINA AT ATLANTA

Vegas Line

ATL -3.5 TOTAL 42.5

Predicted Outcome

ATL 20 CAR 17

Records

CAR

SU (6-7-0)

ATS (8-5-0), ATS AWAY (5-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-7-1), O/U AWAY (3-1-1)

ATL

SU (10-3-0)

ATS (6-7-0), ATS HOME (3-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-10-1), O/U HOME (1-6-0)

Recent Meetings

        CAR     ATL  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/3/2004 ATL 27 CAR 10 360 67 293 313 165 148
12/7/2003 CAR 14 ATL 20 231 90 141 380 224 156
9/28/2003 ATL 3 CAR 23 361 193 168 267 144 123
11/24/2002 ATL 41 CAR 0 122 71 51 426 149 277
10/20/2002 CAR 0 ATL 30 205 101 104 393 187 206
11/25/2001 ATL 10 CAR 7 247 96 151 239 145 94
9/23/2001 CAR 16 ATL 24 359 89 270 377 121 256

Commentary

Best game on Saturday. Carolina has won five and a row and the Panthers have come back from a horrible start to have a really good shot at making the playoffs. That said if you look at who they’ve beaten and how they’ve won, then you understand a little better how Carolina has made this run.

Last week the Panthers got six interceptions and a fumble recovery to beat the Rams. But you have to ask yourself how good is this team when they get seven turnovers and are life and death to win and cover the game 20-7. Prior to that, the Panthers beat three of the worst teams in the NFL ( San Francisco, New Orleans, and Arizona). They needed three missed field goals and an interception return by DE Julius Peppers to beat the Buc’s who aren’t a playoff team either. The fact is Carolina have played the weak part of their schedule, and while you can only play the teams the schedule makers put in front of you, the Panthers haven’t beaten a winning team all season.

Atlanta has won a lot of close games this year as reflected in their records. Being 10-3 SU and 6-7 ATS means you’re winning games, but not by enough to cover the spread. Moreover, the Falcons have played five straight under games. During that period ATL is 3-2 ATS and the average score is 20-17 making the spread three and the total 37. This week’s game is 3.5 and 42.5. This is an under series to begin with and seven of the last seven games in the series have gone under this week’s total. That’s enough for me. I’ll play the game under.

SEATTLE AT N.Y. JETS

Vegas Line

NYJ -6 TOTAL 41.5

Predicted Outcome

NYJ 27 SEA 17

Records

SEA

SU (7-6-0)

ATS (5-8-0), ATS AWAY (4-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (8-5-0), O/U AWAY (3-4-0)

NYJ

SU (9-4-0)

ATS (7-5-1), ATS HOME (3-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-8-0), O/U HOME (3-3-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

You can make the case that Seattle’s victory over the Vikings was their first good win since September…and by good win you’d have to consider a victory over New Orleans, Tampa Bay, or San Francisco a good win, which is a bit of a stretch. The Seahawks have done it all: dropped passes, made poor coaching decisions, played poor defense, and turned over the football. Yet, with all that, they are still in first place in the NFC West. The Seahawks are very fortunate to play in the NFC this year.

If Seattle should win this week, they play Atlanta and Arizona at home and have a decent shot at winning out the season. Nope, never happen. The Seahawks have beaten just one winning team all season, and it took a terrible play call in Minnesota just to get that victory.

The Jets will move the ball against the Seahawks. Their running game and short, precision passing game should take advantage of a Seattle defense that has been missing three defensive linemen and two of their best linebackers (Simmons and Brown) for much of the season.

If the Jets were in the NFC West, they’d have clinched the division a long time ago.

Vegas is solidly behind the Jets with all the steam on this game coming in behind New York. I can’t ague on bit with that analysis; I’ll lay nearly a touchdown with the Jets.

DALLAS AT PHILADELPHIA

Vegas Line

PHI -12.5 TOTAL 46

Predicted Outcome

PHI 34 DAL 17

Records

DAL

SU (5-8-0)

ATS (6-7-0), ATS AWAY (2-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (8-5-0), O/U AWAY (5-1-0)

PHI

SU (12-1-0)

ATS (9-4-0), ATS HOME (5-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (4-9-0), O/U HOME (2-4-0)

Recent Meetings

        DAL     PHI  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
11/15/2004 PHI 49 DAL 21 317 71 246 485 149 336
12/7/2003 DAL 10 PHI 36 225 150 75 403 167 236
10/12/2003 PHI 21 DAL 23 292 119 173 232 122 110
12/21/2002 PHI 27 DAL 3 146 68 78 359 114 245
9/22/2002 DAL 13 PHI 44 304 123 181 447 153 294
11/18/2001 PHI 36 DAL 3 213 132 81 227 98 129
9/30/2001 DAL 18 PHI 40 242 181 61 276 131 145

Commentary

The Eagles biggest concern is getting healthy. The Eagles are starting a M*A*S*H unit on the defensive line. Corey Simon is hurt, Hollis Thomas will miss 3-6 weeks after getting dinged last week, Jason Short was placed on the IR, Jerome McDougal has missed the last four games, and LB Nate Wayne is hurt and the injuries continue to mount. This Philly team isn’t a great run-stopping team to begin with and with all those wounded bodies lying around you’d expect the Cowboys to go right after them with their running game.

Even with that, you can’t play Dallas this week. If Philadelphia is interested in this game, they’re going to kill Dallas just like they did earlier this season when the Eagles beat the Cowboys 49-21. Looking at the series history Philadelphia has beaten Dallas 49-21, 36-10, 27-3, 44-13, 36-3 and 40-18. I just don’t know if the Eagles aren’t going to do just enough in the first half to get the win and then rest everyone in the second half. If you can’t play the Eagles and lay nearly two touchdowns, then play the over instead.

MINNESOTA AT DETROIT

Vegas Line

MIN -3 TOTAL 49

Predicted Outcome

MIN 24 DET 17

Records

MIN

SU (7-6-0)

ATS (7-6-0), ATS AWAY (4-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-7-0), O/U AWAY (4-2-0)

DET

SU (5-8-0)

ATS (7-6-0), ATS HOME (2-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (6-7-0), O/U HOME (3-3-0)

Recent Meetings

        MIN     DET  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
11/21/2004 DET 19 MIN 22 319 107 212 213 146 67
11/23/2003 DET 14 MIN 24 307 121 186 241 74 167
9/21/2003 MIN 23 DET 13 414 127 287 302 77 225
12/29/2002 MIN 38 DET 36 450 154 296 386 93 293
10/13/2002 DET 24 MIN 31 402 111 291 354 53 301
12/16/2001 MIN 24 DET 27 314 80 234 369 167 202
10/14/2001 DET 26 MIN 31 343 145 198 457 129 328

Commentary

You have to wonder how this team reacts after the Moss-toss blunder that may have cost the Vikings a playoff spot and the coaching staff their jobs. I know Minnesota is desperate, but to take the ball out of QB Daunte Culpepper’s hands and have Moss try and win the game with a throw may have been a colossal blunder. I know its Monday morning quarterbacking, but I think I would have rather thrown four straight fades to Moss in the end zone than pull a trick play out of the hat. The press is still drilling the Vike’s coaching staff about the call and that distraction may carry over into this game against the Lions. The question is whether the Vikings will be depressed or pissed off and wanting to take out their frustrations on the lowly kitties.

This game sets up to be an easy under. Minnesota has played four straight unders, and in that streak the average score is 21-21. This week’s total is 49, a full touchdown over that total. The Lions have played three of their last four games under the total and the average score over those four games is 17-23 for a total of 40, nine points under this week’s total. The previous meeting this season was 22-19 Vikings for a total of 41, eight points under this total. I have no idea where the Sports Gods got that 49, but I think you know where I’m going here.

SAN DIEGO AT CLEVELAND

Vegas Line

SD -10 TOTAL 43

Predicted Outcome

SD 31 CLE 10

Records

SD

SU (10-3-0)

ATS (10-1-2), ATS AWAY (5-0-1)

OVER/UNDER (8-5-0), O/U AWAY (2-4-0)

CLE

SU (3-10-0)

ATS (4-9-0), ATS HOME (4-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (7-6-0), O/U HOME (3-4-0)

Recent Meetings

        SD     CLE  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/19/2003 SD 26 CLE 20 289 228 61 277 101 176
10/7/2001 SD 16 CLE 20 269 126 143 278 97 181

Commentary

I’m not sure the Browns still qualify as a professional football team. Talk about a squad quitting on a season, Cleveland has lost seven in a row and had just 17 yards in total offense last week with 15 of those yards coming on their last drive.

The Browns are a play against team for the rest of the season. They have been out first-downed 21-14, outgained 335-238, and outscored 33-14 in their last six games. It’s not been an easy schedule, but it isn’t getting better this week with another five Browns going down to injury last week including their starting center.

Cleveland is a whipped team that’s playing out the string for a lame-duck coach. I don’t see them coming with any kind of effort this week especially as the care-taker HC says the team is a “beaten and whipped group”.

This may be a look-ahead game for the Chargers. San Diego has a big game next week against Indianapolis. That said, they have a great defense against the run and if the Browns can’t run and have to turn to their quarterback, Cleveland is dead meat.

I’m not standing in front of the Chargers and their 10-1-2 ATS record. Give me San Diego and I’ll lay the big points.

BUFFALO AT CINCINNATI

Vegas Line

No line

Predicted Outcome

An over

Records

BUF

SU (7-6-0)

ATS (9-4-0), ATS AWAY (4-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (8-5-0), O/U AWAY (2-4-0)

CIN

SU (6-7-0)

ATS (5-7-1), ATS HOME (3-2-1)

OVER/UNDER (7-6-0), O/U HOME (1-5-0)

Recent Meetings

        BUF     CIN  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/5/2003 CIN 16 BUF 22 257 80 177 279 67 212
12/29/2002 CIN 9 BUF 27 324 99 225 317 84 233

Commentary

Buffalo is just steamrolling teams right now. Ever since RB Willis McGahee went into the line-up the Bills have been on fire. You can make a pretty good argument that no team has improved more over the course of the season than Buffalo. And it’s not just the offense that’s improved the Bills defense gave up just 17 total yards to the Browns last week.

Can the Bills win three straight on the road? Coming in as a favorite and winning six of the last seven, this may be a bad spot for the Bills. The Bengals have a good home field advantage and the home folks should behind the home team.

The Bills last four games have been high-scoring affairs. The final outcomes were 37 – 17, 38 – 9, 42 – 32, and 37 – 7 for an average score of 39-17. Ouch! The Bengals have had three straight overs with scores of 58 – 48, 27 – 26, and 28 – 35 so it’s pretty safe to assume some big number are going up on the scoreboard this Sunday regardless of who plays quarterback for Cincinnati. Anything less than a 50 and I’ll play this game over the total.

JACKSONVILLE AT GREEN BAY

Vegas Line

GB -4 TOTAL 40.5

Predicted Outcome

GB 21 JAX 13

Records

JAX

SU (7-6-0)

ATS (8-5-0), ATS AWAY (3-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (3-10-0), O/U AWAY (2-4-0)

GB

SU (8-5-0)

ATS (5-7-1), ATS HOME (2-5-0)

OVER/UNDER (8-5-0), O/U HOME (4-3-0)

Recent Meetings

        JAX     GB  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
12/3/2001 GB 28 JAC 21 348 62 286 389 37 352

Commentary

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. You expect bad weather in Wisconsin in December, but the weatherman is saying 16 degrees and 25 mile per hour winds with snow both Saturday and Sunday. Jacksonville is a good defensive squad for a warm weather team, but I’m pretty sure they won’t be on their game in these conditions.

This is Packers kind of weather. Green Bay is a big, strong team that’s used to playing in poor conditions. Jacksonville has a great defense and a clear edge over Green Bay if you compare the two defensive units. That’s mitigated by the cold weather and especially the wind. The Packers were probably looking ahead last week when they beat the Lions at the final gun and I expect them to play much better this week.

In bad weather games, you have to look to the under. This game opened at 41 total and the steam has come in on the under as the weather becomes more certain with each passing day. I think 41 is long gone, but grab 40.5 if you can get it because this game’s dropping faster than the thermometer.

HOUSTON AT CHICAGO

Vegas Line

CHI -1 TOTAL 36

Predicted Outcome

CHI 20 HOU 16

Records

HOU

SU (5-8-0)

ATS (6-6-1), ATS AWAY (2-4-0)

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

CHI

SU (5-8-0)

ATS (6-7-0), ATS HOME (2-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (5-8-0), O/U HOME (2-4-0)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Two disappointing teams meet in a meaningless game in what should be nasty cold weather. Both of these teams have played hard the last two games, but have nothing to show for it.

Much was expected from Houston this season and to be fair the Texans have been a disappointment. They got off to a sluggish start, then had a decent run in the middle of the season, and now look to have fallen apart as the season grinds to a close. Over the season Houston has taken the Packers to the final minutes and lost to Minnesota in overtime, but can’t seem to get over the hump and win the big game. On the road has been a different story, the Texans have been horrible. Aside from the straight up wins at Kansas City and Tennessee early in the season, this team has gotten blown out in three road games: 31-13 by Denver, 49-14 by Indianapolis, and 29-7 by the Jets and are just 1-5 in their last six games.

Chicago is still playing hard, but they don’t have much talent. QB Chad Hutchinson has played well since getting the start and that has given the Bears hope, beating the Vikings at home. Chicago seems to be able to throw the ball a little more and that has made opposing defenses play them honestly rather than cheating up nine in the box.

Not a game I have any interest in, but I can’t play the Texans on the road in cold weather against a Chicago team that plays well at home. It’s the Bears or pass the game entirely.

NEW ORLEANS AT TAMPA BAY

Vegas Line

TB -7.5 TOTAL 44

Predicted Outcome

TB 31 NO 17

Records

NO

SU (5-8-0)

ATS (5-8-0), ATS AWAY (4-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (7-6-0), O/U AWAY (4-2-0)

TB

SU (5-8-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (4-9-0), O/U HOME (1-5-0)

Recent Meetings

        NO     TB  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/10/2004 TB 20 NO 17 251 145 106 319 81 238
12/7/2003 TB 14 NO 7 292 90 202 314 107 207
11/2/2003 NO 17 TB 14 257 124 133 352 56 296
12/1/2002 TB 20 NO 23 238 102 136 283 34 249
9/8/2002 NO 26 TB 20 368 118 250 333 72 261
12/23/2001 NO 21 TB 48 271 41 230 364 157 207

Commentary

The Saints haven’t covered two straight games all season. When you can’t play defense, your only shot at covering is when the other team screws up more than you do, as you saw last week in Dallas when the Cowboys donated five turnovers. The Saints defense either gives up 100+ yards rushing or 300+ yards in the air and in the end they can’t conceal all their weaknesses so opposing offense can score at will …if they can hold on to the football.

Are the Saints going to get five more turnovers this week? Not likely as the Buc’s under QB Griese have found a rythum and can grind out yardage without misplacing the pig skin. The Buc’s gave the Chargers a game last week, but came up short when Griese made a few critical errors. Still a good effort from a team that’s shown in the last half of the season that they’re not going to quit.

I think Tampa’s defense can pressure Brooks into some mistakes. If New Orleans loses the turnover battle, this should be a cakewalk for Tampa Bay.

ST LOUIS AT ARIZONA

Vegas Line

STL -1.5 TOTAL 41.5

Predicted Outcome

ARI 20 STL 17

Records

STL

SU (6-7-0)

ATS (4-9-0), ATS AWAY (2-5-0)

OVER/UNDER (8-5-0), O/U AWAY (5-2-0)

ARI

SU (4-9-0)

ATS (5-8-0), ATS HOME (3-3-0)

OVER/UNDER (8-5-0), O/U HOME (3-3-0)

Recent Meetings

        STL     ARI  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/12/2004 ARI 10 STL 17 448 176 272 260 103 157
11/23/2003 STL 30 ARI 27 415 117 298 358 166 192
9/28/2003 ARI 13 STL 37 401 133 268 161 36 125
12/15/2002 ARI 28 STL 30 366 66 300 378 129 249
11/3/2002 STL 27 ARI 14 415 192 223 235 64 171

Commentary

RB Marshall Faulk will play in this game but that may be enough as QB Chris Chandler requires too much protection to make plays down the field. Faulk replaces an injured Steven Jackson. Unfortunately, Faulk can’t play guard and Head Coach Mike Martz doesn’t seem either inclined or clever enough to get Chandler the protection he needs. Under pressure and getting abused in the pocket, Chandler threw six interceptions and fumbled the ball once last week.

The Rams are in a bad 1-6 ATS run in their last seven and have failed to score more than 17+ points in the last four games. As bad as St. Louis’ offense has been, the defense has surrendered as well. The Rams rush defense has given up 532 yards on the ground in that four game run.

The Cardinals are showing life again with their season-opening starter back at quarterback. Arizona came back from a huge deficit to take the 49ers to overtime. The pin the tail on the quarterback experiment seems to be over at least for now and I expect the Cardinals offense to play a little more consistently with a solid starter every week.

I don’t like the game, but if I must play it, I’ll take the Cardinals and under the total.

DENVER AT KANSAS CITY

Vegas Line

KC -1 TOTAL 53

Predicted Outcome

KC 28 DEN 27

Records

DEN

SU (8-5-0)

ATS (4-6-3), ATS AWAY (2-2-2)

OVER/UNDER (3-8-2), O/U AWAY (0-6-0)

KC

SU (5-8-0)

ATS (5-8-0), ATS HOME (2-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (8-5-0), O/U HOME (5-2-0)

Recent Meetings

        DEN     KC  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/12/2004 KC 24 DEN 34 413 202 211 318 167 151
12/7/2003 KC 27 DEN 45 508 270 238 444 63 381
10/5/2003 DEN 23 KC 24 469 176 293 261 133 128
12/15/2002 KC 24 DEN 31 482 197 285 494 185 309
10/20/2002 DEN 37 KC 34 507 141 366 305 162 143
12/16/2001 DEN 23 KC 26 335 94 241 396 137 259
10/7/2001 KC 6 DEN 20 300 197 103 297 42 255

Commentary

Definitely a home field series as the home team has won six of the last seven contests. A 53 total without RB Priest Holmes on the field is a boat-load of points, perhaps the Sports Gods are planning on Jake Plummer throwing five interceptions.

The Broncos last five games have come under this week’s inflated 53 total. However the Chiefs last three and four of the last six contests have gone over 53, an indication that KC’s defense has rolled over and is waiting to be put out of their collective misery. Looking at Kansas City’s last six games, that defense has given up 27, 27, 24, 27, and 38 points so you might as well pencil the ponies in for at least 27.

If the home team wins the game, and they always do in this series, then the Chiefs would need at least 28 points. That sounds just about right to me. Give me the over in what should be a wild game.

TENNESSEE AT OAKLAND

Vegas Line

No Line

Predicted Outcome

OVER

Records

TEN

SU (4-9-0)

ATS (4-9-0), ATS AWAY (3-4-0)

OVER/UNDER (8-5-0), O/U AWAY (4-3-0)

OAK

SU (4-9-0)

ATS (4-9-0), ATS HOME (1-5-0)

OVER/UNDER (8-5-0), O/U HOME (3-3-0)

Recent Meetings

        TEN     OAK  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
9/7/2003 OAK 20 TEN 25 334 76 258 280 34 246
1/19/2003 TEN 24 OAK 41 312 138 174 375 89 286
9/29/2002 TEN 25 OAK 52 430 43 387 464 90 374
12/22/2001 TEN 13 OAK 10 262 103 159 311 77 234

Commentary

My guess is that the Titans will sit QB Steve McNair for the rest of the season. There’s simply no reason for Tennessee to start him and get McNair hurt again. RB Chris Brown may be done as well. The team is taking about sitting him for that turf-toe that’s bothered him for so long. They join a long list of Titans on the injury list, and looking at the list, I think I’d rather have the guys on the injury list than the Titans on the field.

With Tennessee starting a lot of young guys, I think they will come out and play. I don’t think HC Jeff Fisher will let this team toss in the towel.

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure the Raiders won’t show up. Oakland laid an egg last week in Atlanta and they had so little respect for HC Norv Trunver that some of the players had their names printed on a program for a gentlemen’s club party that started after the team’s curfew. Suffice it to say that this team either thinks Turner is toast or they simply don’t care anymore. Either way, Oakland becomes a play against team the rest of the way.

I think Oakland’s letdown comes on the defensive side of the ball. My guess is that this is a pretty high scoring game because QB Kerry Collins will hang in there knowing that this may be his last stop in the NFL if he lets up. The Raiders haven’t had a running game for half the season now so there’s no great loss if the ball carriers have laid down already. Tennessee’s defense is so inexperienced that the Raiders may just try and throw the ball down the field every down and rack up points the way the Chiefs did last week.

BALTIMORE AT INDIANAPOLIS

Vegas Line

IND -8.5 TOTAL 49

Predicted Outcome

IND 27 BAL 17

Records

BAL

SU (8-5-0)

ATS (9-4-0), ATS AWAY (4-2-0)

OVER/UNDER (7-6-0), O/U AWAY (1-5-0)

IND

SU (10-3-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (9-4-0), O/U HOME (5-1-0)

Recent Meetings

        BAL     IND  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/13/2002 BAL 20 IND 22 244 105 139 317 60 257
12/2/2001 IND 27 BAL 39 398 130 268 314 51 263

Commentary

This should be a great game. Peyton Manning will be going for the season passing record at home and the Colts will want to finish off the Ravens before they could meet in the playoffs. Baltimore’s defense won’t want the distinction of having Manning break Dan Marino’s record against them on national television so you know the Ravens will play hard this week. Both teams are motivated and that should give us a good contest on Sunday night.

The Ravens are a much better home team than a road team. Through 13 games, the Ravens are averaging just 12.7 points and 15 first downs on the road while they score 20.8 points and have 16 first downs in all games.

Baltimore will play that two-deep zone and try not to give the explosive Colts offense the big play. On the other hand, while the Colts defense also gives up yards, they lead the league in turnover margin at plus 18 and Kyle Boller is prone to making the big mistake.

The steam is coming in on Baltimore and you may see a seven on this game before kickoff. If you get that number, jump on it as I see the Colts winning the game but not by a big margin.

NEW ENGLAND AT MIAMI

Vegas Line

NE -9.5 TOTAL 41

Predicted Outcome

NE 21 MIA 10

Records

NE

SU (12-1-0)

ATS (9-2-2), ATS AWAY (5-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (7-5-1), O/U AWAY (4-2-0)

MIA

SU (2-11-0)

ATS (5-8-0), ATS HOME (1-5-0)

OVER/UNDER (7-5-1), O/U HOME (3-3-0)

Recent Meetings

        NE     MIA  
Date Away Home TOTAL RUSH PASS TOTAL RUSH PASS
10/10/2004 MIA 10 NE 24 204 135 69 295 67 228
12/7/2003 MIA 0 NE 12 228 78 150 134 68 66
10/19/2003 NE 19 MIA 13 332 59 273 326 97 229
12/29/2002 MIA 24 NE 27 332 116 216 359 256 103
10/6/2002 NE 13 MIA 26 245 37 208 319 137 182
12/22/2001 MIA 13 NE 20 313 196 117 368 58 310
10/7/2001 NE 10 MIA 30 149 80 69 296 209 87

Commentary

Get some z’s on Monday night because you won’t need to stay awake for this stinker. Yes the Dolphins are playing better and they’ve scored a lot of points since making the change at head coach, but this is New England not the dregs of the NFL (SF, SEA, and ARI) the Dolphins have been scoring against.

The Patriots have won the last four games in this series and no one really expects anything different this week. This should be the typical hard-hitting contest in this series and the game should be a low-scoring affair with the Patriots stomping the Dolphins by at least two touchdowns. Since the Pittsburgh loss, the Patriots have scored 40, 29, 27, 24, 42, and 35 points. In that same period, New England’s defense has given up 22, 6, 19, 3, 15, and 28 points. The only reason I don’t play this game over the total is that I have no guarantee the Dolphins will score a touchdown and I have no guarantee the Patriots aren’t looking past this game.

Bring on the pain! New England covers the big number.