I'm bored. I'm not going to lie to you. The other thing too is that I'm totally frustrated. My truck is in the shop, and the job hunt is in a stand-still (apparently there is some money problems going on with, oh, I don't know...everyone!). So now, everything is out of my hands. I'm not sure if there is anything more frustrating than not having control over a single element of my life. It's absolutely brutal. But, I do respect the fact that there are people that are way worse off than I am. The whole thing with me is that you do what everyone wants you to do (school, internship, work experience), and yet I can't even get a sit-down with a human being. Instead, I just get rejection notices in my e-mail account. There is no real rhyme or reason to it to me other than it's just a bunch of people saying "you're not good enough." I understand that all of this could be used as motivation, but after a while, it makes you do a lot of soul searching, which I subsequently have been doing for more than two years, and you really start to question the idea of "hey, maybe I am not good enough." I know that you don't want to hear me bitching for this entire column, but I do want to keep you updated on how it's going. So, basically, frustration is the key word here. Alright, enough on that, here's what you came to read (thank you for coming to read my stuff by the way):
Alright, I'm going to attempt to be productive in my "leave" of sorts, and hit you with some random things about each of this week's games that I've come across while reading some previews. The Plaxico Burress thing is getting beaten to death, but yet every day, there is a new wrinkle to the story. I can't wait for the eventual timeline that will be released about this story, because while it is getting a ton of run on ESPN all day long, it still remains pretty fascinating. So, here are the games on tap for the week. All simulations are done by the good folks at AccuScore, and you can see more of their anaysis at their site, which is under the "links" column:
Oakland vs. San Diego:
- Last meeting was at Oakland. The Chargers won 28-18, but were at one point down 15-0.
- The last five contests have seen San Diego win out, outscoring the Raiders 134-63.
- The losses have not been because of INTs by Oakland. The Chargers are up 6-4 in that category.
- What has killed Oakland has been their lack of protecting the QB. The Chargers have 29 sacks in those five games. Granted, they will be without Shawne Merriman this time around, but outsacking a team 29-6 is a real big disparity.
- Both are coming off of a loss, and both are 2-3 in their last five games after a loss.
- All three Oakland RBs are finally healthy. This could be critical to the Raiders since they basically put the ball in JaMarcus Russell's hands last time in Oakland.
- Tomlinson has been a menace to the Raiders. He has 19 scores against Oakland, the most against any single opponent he's faced. The key for the Raiders will be to shut LT down (duh). However, this is a lot easier than it used to be. Many people are putting the "Preist Holmes" tag on Tomlinson (outstanding portion of his career leads to him getting overused and breaking down), and while I'm not going to go that far yet, I will say that this is not the same guy that won the MVP two years ago.
- Oakland is 4-2 ATS on the road this year, San Diego is 2-4 at home, and are 3-7 as the favorite
- Score: San Diego 25, Oakland 15
- Tomlinson: 23 carries, 112 yards, 1TD; Rivers: 236 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Russell: 152 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; McFadden/Fargas/Bush: 30 carries, 120 yards, 1TD
- San Diego Defense: 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
- If Oakland keeps LT to under 75 yards, and they are able to sack Rivers at least twice, they find themselves winning 54% of the sims.
- Composite Advantage: Oakland +4.5
It is so incredibly difficult for me to look at this San Diego team, who many thought would be winning division titles year after year, as bottom-feeders now. This is what Norv Turner does to a team. I was shocked about their road win against Indy in the playoffs, and how well they played at Foxboro, but with another year under his belt, and without Merriman, the shine has offically worn off, and the rust is setting in. Tom Cable is ten times less qualified to be coaching this team as Lane Kiffin was...and that's saying something. These are two awful, awful coaches, and I'm feeling like, despite the numbers being favorable for the Raiders, Cable will figure out how to make a mess of things. The spread is perfect for this game, but I'm going with San Diego because I really cannot see Oakland winning at San Diego...they did win in Denver, but at least they had some kind of track record there.
Jacksonville vs. Chicago
- Last Meeting: 2004: Jacksonville 22, Chicago 3 at Jacksonville
- David Garrard is 7-1 as a starter against the NFC.
- Kyle Orton is 12-2 as a starter at Soldier Field
- Chicago is #1 in the NFL with 26 takeaways.
- Fred Taylor has run for 100 yards in four of the last five December games he's played in.
- Jacksonville is 3-3 ATS on the road, Chicago is 2-3
- When the Jags don't cover the week before, they are 3-9 ATS. The Bears are also in a similar situation, but are 5-6
- Final Score: Chicago 22, Jacksonville 17
- Garrard: 185 yards, 1TD, 1INT; Orton: 203 yards, 1TD, 1INT
- Jones-Drew/Taylor: 90 yards, 1TD; Forte: 92 yards, 1TD
- If both Jags' RBs go for 50 yards, Jacksonville wins 64% of the time
- If Matt Forte goes for over 100, which happened in 37% of the sims, the Bears win by an average of 11 points
- Composite Advantage: Chicago +27
The Jags are another team that I cannot really understand. Another team that were thought to be perennial playoff contenders, they, too, are cellar-dwellers. The Bears are coming off a rough one up in Minny, but I feel like Orton, outside of the three picks he threw in seven attempts, doesn't make the big mistakes (he had thrown over 200 attempts before then without getting picked). Also, they are under-utilizing Devin Hester. I thought Michael Lombardi of the "National Football Post" brought up an interesting point when he thought Hester could be used in a Wes Welker-like setting because of his small stature and natural quickness. Basically, they may want to move him to the slot instead of him lining up on the outside.
Minnesota vs. Detroit:
- Last Meeting: Minnesota 12, Detroit 10
- Minnesota has won 12 of the last 13 in the series.
- Adrian Peterson leads the league in rushing, the Lions have given up a league-worst 176.9 yards a game on the ground.
- Pat and Kevin Williams' suspensions have been blocked for now...which means they're playing Sunday...for now.
- Gus Frerotte is 3-0 as a starter against Detroit, and is 7-3 as a starter this year.
- Calvin Johnson has a TD in six of the last eight games.
- Detroit is 4-7 ATS after a loss, Minnesota is 1-5 ATS after a win.
- Minnesota is 3-0 ATS when being favored between 3.5-9.5; Detroit is 0-5 ATS when 'dogged by 3.5-9.5
- Final Score: Minnesota 26, Detroit 17
- Frerotte: 177 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Culpepper: 190 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
- Peterson: 26 rushes, 142 yards, 1 TD; Smith: 19 rushes, 67 yards, 1TD
- There is a 35% chance Peterson will go over 170 yards
- Jared Allen is averaging two sacks, and there is a 40% chance Culpepper will get sacked at least five times
- If the Williams boys were suspended, the Lions' chances of winning would go up almost 15%.
- Composite Advantage: Minnesota +93.5
When word came out that Pat and Kevin Williams' suspensions were being blocked, it told me this: "Okay, these guys are probably not exactly happy with appearing in court and having to go through a legislative process to stay on the field...and I'm pretty sure they are going to take their frustrations out on the Lions." If the suspensions go through, and they still might, that would be the only chance the Lions would really have. Otherwise, they will be going against two really pissed off Pro Bowl D-Tackles. If the Lions are going to win, this is the week, but simply put, this is the worst team I have ever seen play in the NFL...and I only have seen them play one game, and yet that one game was enough for me to determine that. I really think they are going 0-16. I couldn't believe it at first, but after watching them play, I am a believer. I know they played the Titans, and, news flash, they're really good, but still, the Lions at no point should have been even in the same building with the Titans. They had absolutely nothing for them. This game was close the first time because of the Vikings' QB carousel. Now that Frerotte has, yes, stabilized them, I'm looking for a monster output here.
Cincinnati vs. Indianapolis
- Last Meeting: 2006; Indianapolis 34, Cincinnati 16 in Indy
- Indy has won the last five meetings.
- Key Indy defensive injuries: Bob Sanders, Gary Brackett, Tyjuan Hagler, Kelvin Hayden, and Keyunta Dawson
- Indy is on a five game winning streak.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick has completed 60% of his passes in six of eight starts.
- Indy is 1-4 ATS has a home favorite, Cincy is 2-4 as an away 'dog.
- Indy 27, Cincy 13
- Fitzpatrick: 177 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Manning: 244 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Benson: 17 rushes, 61 yards; Addai/Rhodes: 30 carries, 132 yards, 1 TD
- If Joseph Addai runs for at least 50 yards and has a score, Indy win 95% of the sims.
- There is 1 17% chance Peyton Manning throws more than one pick, and despite this, Indy still wins 72% of the time.
- Composite Advantage: Indianapolis +56.5
Indy has been atrocious against the spread, especially considering the kind of offense they run, but injuries have nearly brought their playoff aspirations to a hault, and yet they continue to win. However, the injuries are going to catch up to this team. That being said, they still have Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis rushing the quarterback. Cincy may get Chad Johnson back for this game, and I feel like Cincy has enough of a running attack and a passing game to keep this one below the line.
Philadelphia vs. New York Giants
- Last Meeting: New York 36, Philly 31 in Philly
- In the Eagles' six wins, Donovan McNabb is averaging 283 yards and thrown 12 TDs with 3 INTs; in the five losses and the one tie with Cincy, he is averaging 222 yards with 6 TDs and 7 INTs.
- If McNabb has a 100+ passer rating, the Eagles are 38-1.
- Brandon Jacobs has a TD in four consecutive starts.
- New York is 5-1 ATS as the home favorite, Philly is 1-1 has the road 'dog.
- Final Score: New York 27, Philly 18
- McNabb: 244 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Manning: 208 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Westbrook: 16 carries, 61 yards, 1 TD; Jacobs/Ward: 26 carries, 155 yards
- If Brandon Jacobs runs for at least 75 yards and a score, the Giants win 88% of the time
- There is a 20% chance of McNabb throwing for 300+ yards, but the Eagles only win 27% of the time.
- Composite Advantage: New York +43.5
I'm glad McNabb has a week to not get completely torn apart by everyone in the media. When looking at the past history of games played at Giants Stadium, it's clear that the team who wins wins convincingly. This line would have been around 10 if Philly didn't show up on Thanksgiving. The line opened at 8.5, but has dropped to 6.5...and that's not going to stop me. If we have learned one thing this year, it is this: When gambling, take the Giants, and ride them out until they prove you wrong.
Cleveland vs. Tennessee
- Last Meeting: 2005; Tennessee 20, Cleveland 10 at Cleveland
- Tennessee leads the AFC in interceptions with 17.
- Ken Dorsey is 2-7 as a starting QB.
- Cleveland is 6-3 ATS as an underdog, 3-2 on the road.
- Tennessee is 10-1 ATS overall, 7-1 as the favorite, and 3-1 as the home favorite.
- Final Score: Tennessee 26, Cleveland 12
- Dorsey: 173 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs; Collins: 171 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Lewis: 62 yards; Johnson/White: 177 yards, 2 TDs
- Tennessee Defense: 3 TOs
- There is a 14% chance Johnson and White are held under 120 yards
- Dorsey's average QB rating in the sims is 45
- Jamal Lewis has a 28% chance to clear 75 yards rushing
- Composite Advantage: Tennessee +72
This is fish in a barrel in my opinion. You know, if Ken Dorsey can go out and win this game, good for him. For now, I've pretty much blocked that possibility from my head. Sure, weirder things have happened, but the Titans have to be feeling better about not having the whole "undefeated" thing still hanging over them. Trust me, after a while, it kind of interferes with the matter at hand. Tennessee...big time.
Atlanta vs. New Orleans:
- Last Meeting: Atlanta 34, New Orleans 20 at Atlanta
- New Orleans has one four of the last five meetings.
- New Orleans is 1-3 vs. the NFC South.
- Atlanta is 0-2 vs. the NFC South on the road.
- Roddy White has caught a TD in three straight vs. New Orleans
- Lance Moore has a TD in six straight games.
- Atlanta is 2-3 ATS has an away 'dog; New Orleans is 4-1 as a home favorite.
- Final Score: New Orleans 27, Atlanta 24
- Ryan: 213 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Brees: 311 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Turner: 20 carries, 104 yards, 1 TD; Thomas/Bush: 23 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD
- If Drew Brees throws no more than one pick, the Saints are winning 80% of the sims
- If Michael Turner runs for at least 75 yards, Atlanta is winning 75% of the sims by an average margin of nine points.
- Composite Advantage: Atlanta +10.5
I am really looking forward to this game. Atlanta has been red hot, and while the Saints have been off and on this year, they have definitely been "on" at home. I think it's fascinating how much the game turns if Michael Turner has a big game. This game started off as a three point spread for the Saints, and now, it has climbed all the way down to even. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the suspensions that have been levied against Deuce McAllister and, more importantly, Will Smith, the team's best pass-rusher. Another reason you can kind of understand why this game is a pick 'em is the fact that the Falcons are on fire, but play poorly within the division on the road, while New Orleans is in neutral right now, but has been amazing at home. This is one of those games where it is almost an impossibility of there being a blowout. I also think that the Falcons have two straight division games: this one, and next week at home against Tampa. I think they'll go 1-1, and I feel like they have a better chance of beating the Bucs at home.
Houston vs. Green Bay:
- Last Meeting: 2004; Green Bay 16, Houston 13 at Houston
- Green Bay has won seven of its last eight games in December.
- Greg Jennings has a TD catch in three straight games.
- Green Bay is 5-2 ATS as the favorite, but just 3-3 ATS at home.
- Both teams are 6-5 ATS overall; Houston is 3-3 as a road 'dog.
- Final Score: Green Bay 30, Houston 22
- Schaub: 250 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs; Rodgers: 257 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Slaton: 20 rushes, 93 yards, 1 TD; Grant: 20 rushes, 83 yards, 1 TD
- If Steve Slaton rushes for over 100 yards, and Matt Schaub passes for 250 yards and a score, Houston is winning 44% of the sims.
- If Greg Jennings scores a TD, the Packers win 74% of the sims by an average of 10 points.
- Composite Advantage: Green Bay +35
Green Bay is coming off a devastating loss to Carolina at home. Say what you will...4th and Goal from the 1? I'm going for it. Sure, the Pack gave up a huge pass play to Steve Smith in the subsequent drive that basically nullified any chance the Pack has of winning the game. However, even if you don't get it on 4th down, you start Carolina at the 1, and you have to believe the degree of difficulty in getting down the field to set up a field goal would be a lot higher if Carolina had started out of their own end zone. An interesting wrinkle in this will be the (supposed) return of Matt Schaub. I think Kubiak may be in somewhat of a QB controversy at this point considering how well the Texans played on Monday with Rosenfels as the QB. Sure, he's inconsistent, but he is in the flow. Schaub hasn't played in four weeks, and you know that old addage about getting back to "game speed." Schaub is also 0-4 on the road. If you look at how Schaub has done against somewhat good defenses, which I still believe categorizes, Green Bay, he has been real inconsistent. 2 INTs against Pittsburgh, 3 against Tennessee, 2 against Miami. Plus, when you add in the bounce-back, let-down factor, which this game clearly has, I just don't see Green Bay losing again at home.
Miami vs. Buffalo:
- Last Meeting: Miami 25, Buffalo 16 at Miami
- Buffalo has won seven of the last nine meetings.
- This will be the first regular season game ever played in Canada (Toronto...indoors).
- Buffalo is averaging 31 points in six wins, 15 in their six losses.
- Miami has won five of their last six games.
- Miami is 5-3 ATS as an underdog, Buffalo is 4-5 ATS as the favorite
- Buffalo is 1-4 in its last five on turf.
- Final Score: Miami 21, Buffalo 19
- Pennington: 197 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Losman: 196 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Brown/Williams: 27 carries, 133 yards, 1 TD; Lynch/Jackson: 25 carries, 109 yards, 1 TD
- If Trent Edwards starts the game for Buffalo, the Bills have a 50% chance of winning; with J.P. Losman? 42%.
- There is a 50% chance Miami will sack Losman at least four times, and if that were to occur, Miami is winning 70% of those sims.
- If Losman gets sacked less than four times, and Marshawn Lynch rushes for at least 75 yards, Buffalo is winning 75% of the sims.
- Composite Advantage: Miami +38.5
Buffalo was awful last week against San Fran, and the correlation between how bad they play and whether or not J.P. Losman plays is a full 100%. Look, here's the trouble with the NFL now: The injury reports mean absolutely nothing. Sure, they tried to get teams to cough up a little more information with the whole "limited participant in practice" spiel, but really, how well has that informed the average fan? Especially in fantasy football terms. It can drive you nuts, and I'm not about to delve into the cerebrial mind games that NFL coaches play. The last time Miami played in one of these international experimental games (London last year), they played pretty well against the soon-to-be Super Bowl champs. Plus, has anyone else factored in the idea that Miami has a built-in fan base in Toronto because of Ricky Williams and his days with the Argonauts. Granted, he wasn't the best player ever, but it's something. Besides, the word is that Toronto is not really going as crazy for this game as the NFL wanted, and really needed them to be. With tickets at $300 a pop, this is going to be more like going to Wimbledon than seeing an NFL game.
New York Jets vs. San Francisco:
- Last Meeting: 2004; New York 22, San Fran 14
- 49ers have won five of the last six meetings.
- Shaun Hill has five TDs, one INT, and a 113.2 passer rating in his last three starts.
- The Jets are 0-2 on the west coast (San Diego, Oakland), but have won four straight on the road.
- Brett Favre is 7-0 against San Francisco.
- The Niners have 52 plays of 20+ yards, the second most in the NFL.
- The Jets are 4-2 ATS on the road; San Fran is 2-4 ATS at home.
- Jets are 4-4 ATS as the favorite; San Fran is 3-6 ATS as the 'dog, and 0-3 as the home 'dog.
- Final Score: New York 23, San Francisco 22
- Favre: 231, 2 TD, 1 INT; Hill: 185 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Jones/Washington: 25 rushes, 121 yards, 1 TD; Gore: 24 rushes, 113 yards, 1 TD
- Shaun Hill has a 37% chance of throwing a pick, while Brett Favre is at 58%
- If Frank Gore rushes for 100 yards, the Niners win 66% of the sims, but if he goes under 100, the number goes to 27%.
- Composite Advantage: New York +54
Every week, there is at least one spread where the majority have to do a double-take, and usually, there is just cause for why the spread is so low. This is no exception. The AFC East leading go out to the Bay Area as just four point favorites against a team with just three wins. Here's the thinking: Mike Singletary is a bigger wild card than any player playing this week. He is a powder keg of emotion, and I love it. I'm officially sold on the fact that he is not just good for the NFL, he is stupendous baby! The man played for Ditka, he coaches like Ditka...so now the question is this: Who would you take in a game: The Jets, or the Niners being coached by a certain linebacker who played under a certain coach Ditka...da Niners!
New England vs. Seattle:
- Last Meeting: 2004; New England 30, Seattle 20 at New England
- Seattle has won five of the last six meetings.
- This will mark the second time New England will play two west coast games in a row this year.
- New England has won 13 straight games against the NFC.
- New England is 4-1 ATS on the road; Seattle is 1-4 ATS at home.
- New England is 2-0 ATS as an away favorite, Seattle is 0-3 as a home 'dog.
- Final Score: New England 25, Seattle 17
- Cassel: 251 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Hasselbeck 213 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Morris/Faulk: 21 carries, 105 yards, 1 TD; Morris/Jones: 19 carries, 77 yards
- Randy Moss has a 44% chance of catching a TD, and New England wins 78% of sims when this happens.
- If Julius Jones gets at least 50 yards rushing, and Maurice Morris at least 25, Seattle is winning 53% of the sims.
- Composite Advantage: New England +55
Three words: Welker is practicing. That should be about all you need to know. I also want to comment about the magical mystery tour that has gone on in terms of the linebacking core this week, signing back both Rosevelt Colvin and Junior Seau. Colvin was a cap casuality when it was made clear that the A-Train would be the OLB of the future. Well, Thomas is on IR, and Colvin doesn't have his albatross of a contract anymore...so that kind of worked out. The Junior Seau singing just makes me laugh. I have no idea what is behind it...it's just funny that we're back to doing our random little things to screw with people's heads. This is the Patriots team I've come to know and love! I will be shocked if this isn't a two-touchdown win. How can it not be? Remember the last time we came off a loss? It was the beatdown of Miami. This will be no different.
Kansas City vs. Denver:
- Last Meeting: Kansas City 33, Denver 19 at Kansas City
- Denver has won two of the last three meetings.
- In Larry Johnson's last four games against Denver, he is averaging 155.5 yards a game.
- Kansas City is 4-2 ATS on the road; Denver is 1-5 ATS at home.
- Kansas City is 4-2 ATS as a road 'dog; Denver is 0-5 ATS as a home favorite.
- Final Score: Denver 27, Kansas City 19
- Thigpen: 197 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Cutler: 250 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Johnson: 19 rushes 79 yards, 1 TD; Hillis: 21 carries, 113 yards, 1 TD
- Peyton Hillis has a 52% chance of running for 100 yards; if he succeeds, Denver is winning 88% of the sims by an average of 14 points. If Hillis is held under 100 yards, Denver is winning 43% of the time.
- Composite Advantage: Denver +3.5
Denver has been one of the screwiest teams in the league this year. Lose to Oakland at home, then go to the east coast and beat the playoff-bound Jets soundly in Jersey. I don't really know what to make of this team. The "revenge factor" is the one thing that is keeping me from picking KC outright. Also, you have to believe Shanahan is sick of seeing Johnson run all over his defense, and that he is going to be stacking the box in an attempt to prevent this. However, this leads to Thigpen having less outside coverage on Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez, who has caught at seven balls for 100 yards in the last two games. Another thing that frightens me is that Denver has to be looking at themselves, knowing that they are abysmal at home, and may be out to make a statement in this one. They will have a home game, being the de facto winner of the AFC West. So, there is some motivation there. Still, I like how KC only has three wins, and how they've played well against not only Denver, but the rest of the AFC West. While that division is really bad, they are at least keeping things interesting. I like Thigpen though...a lot.
St. Louis vs. Arizona
- Last Meeting: Arizona 34, St. Louis 13 at St. Louis
- Arizona has won five of the last six meetings.
- Kurt Warner has a TD pass in 20 consecutive games
- Tim Hightower had his best game in terms of rushes (22) and yards (109) in the first meeting this year.
- St. Louis is 4-8 ATS as an underdog; Arizona is 5-1 ATS as the favorite.
- St. Louis is 2-4 ATS as a road 'dog; Arizona is 2-1 ATS as the home favorite.
- Final Score: Arizona 29, St. Louis 18
- Bulger: 214 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Warner: 282 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Jackson: 21 rushes, 77 yards, 1 TD; Hightower: 17 rushes 77 yards, 1 TD
- Marc Bulger has multiple pass TDs in 28% of sims, and when this happens, the Rams are winning 26% of the time.
- If Bulger throws for multiple TDs, and Steven Jackson has 100 yards rushing, the Rams are winning 49% of the sims.
- Arizona Defense: 4 sacks
- Composite Advantage: Arizona +84
Look, the Rams are terrible, but they got Steven Jackson back last week, and at least made it somewhat interesting against the Dolphins. Arizona got pulverized by the Eagles on the road, but that was a statement game for Philly, and the Cards really had no way of winning an east coast night game. They come back now to face the a really weak Rams team. For some reason, I keep thinking that Bulger is going to get his act together, especially now that he has Jackson back, but they did not look so hot last week against Miami, despite the game being close. This will be a very telling game in terms of how Arizona can bounce back. I'm going with the Cards...but that's a lot of points. I hope they're up for it.
Dallas vs. Pittsburgh
- Last Meeting: 2004; Pittsburgh 24, Dallas 20
- Dallas has won three of the last four meetings.
- Adam Jones will be active for Dallas.
- Gary Russell has a TD in two straight games.
- Dallas has scored at least 34 points and over 400 yards in two straight games.
- Hines Ward is averaging 91 yards in his last three games.
- When Marion Barber has 11 carries, Dallas is 26-4.
- Dallas is 3-3 ATS on the road; Pittsburgh is 2-4 ATS at home.
- Final Score: Pittsburgh 23, Dallas 21
- Romo: 229 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Roethlisberger: 245, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Barber: 18 rushes, 58 yards; Parker/Moore: 23 rushes, 87 yards, 1 TD
- Dallas Defense: 4.5 sacks
- If Barber rushes for under 75 yards, Dallas' winning percentage goes from 44% to 36%.
- If Dallas has less than three sacks, they win 18% of the time.
- If Terrell Owens and Jason Witten have over 75 yards receiving, and Tony Romo has no more than one INT, Dallas is winning 51% of the sims.
- Composite Advantage: Pittsburgh +19
This will be the beginning of three games that signal the return of actual good games in primetime. There are playoff implications abound for both teams. Despite Pittsburgh winning at Foxboro last week, they still have the red hot Ravens on their heels. Dallas seems to have switched roles with the Giants. Remember last year, everyone thought that Dallas was going to waltz into the Super Bowl and looked unbeatable, then, the Giants went from mediocre to winning like nine in a row on the road to the title? Very, very interesting. I can't overlook that for the life of me. I respect that the Steelers have a great home-field advantage, but against above-average teams, they have not looked good at home.
Washington vs. Baltimore:
- Last Meeting: 2004; Baltimore 17, Washington 10 at Washington
- Baltimore has won two of the three meetings, with all three being decided by a TD or less.
- Joe Flacco has thrown a TD pass in seven straight games.
- Since 2002, Ed Reed leads the NFL in INTs with 37.
- Washington is 3-1 ATS on the road. Baltimore is 4-1 ATS at home.
- Washington is 3-3 ATS as an underdog, and 2-1 as a road 'dog; Baltimore is 5-1 ATS as a favorite, and 4-1 as a home favorite.
- Final Score: Baltimore 21, Washington 16
- Campbell: 219 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Flacco: 199 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Portis: 19 rushes, 53 yards; McClain/Rice: 24 rushes, 100 yards, 1 TD
- Baltimore Defense: 3 sacks, 2 turnovers
- If Washington throws the ball 65% of the time, they go from a 31% chance of winning to 38%.
- If LeRon McClain gets 60 or more yards, Baltimore is winning 75% of the time.
- If Washington has no turnovers, they are winning 55% of the sims; if they have two or more turnovers, they are winning 20% of the time.
- Composite Advantage: Baltimore +13.5
The injury to Portis is a lot more serious than what was led on. Considering he was, at one point this year, the runaway choice for MVP, this continues to be a source of indeterminability on the part of the coaching in terms of how much they can utilize Portis. Meanwhile, the Ravens have been exceptional this year. I think Joe Flacco was one of those guys that you almost knew could turn a franchise around. I didn't even see that in Matt Ryan, but it's happened down there as well. In terms of skill position players, this has to be one of the better rookie classes we have seen. I mean, how do you not take Baltimore here? The reason the spread is that low is because of Washington's record. In terms of where they're playing, what kind of defense the 'Skins are up against, and the Ravens uncanny ability of creating monster plays on defense, I have no choice really.
Tampa Bay vs. Carolina:
- Last Meeting: Tampa Bay 27, Carolina 3 at Tampa Bay
- Tampa has won two of the last three meetings.
- Jake Delhomme is avaeraging 1.7 turnovers in games their three losses, 0.8 in their nine wins.
- Warrick Dunn has had one 100-yard game this year...against Carolina.
- Delhomme is 7-2 in his career vs. Tampa.
- Tampa is 3-3 ATS on the road; Carolina is 3-2 ATS at home.
- Tampa is 2-2 ATS as an underdog; Carolina is 4-2 ATS as a favorite.
- Carolina 24, Tampa Bay 18
- Garcia: 229 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Delhomme: 199 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Dunn/Williams: 23 carries, 73 yards, 1 TD; Williams/Stewart: 28 carries, 132 yards, 1 TD
- Tampa is winning 38% of the time when Jeff Garcia does not throw a pick.
- If Tampa sacks Delhomme twice, limits Deangelo Williams to under 100 yards, and Garcia throws no picks, they are winning 55% of the sims.
- Composite Advantage: Tampa Bay +9
Again, I want to thank Carolina for becoming good as soon as I leave...jerks. Anyway, the Panthers seem to have found something in Jonathan Stewart and Deangelo Williams splitting time. This is the ideal situation for the Panthers because both were low first-round picks, and both really never had a shot at becoming featured backs straight out of school, so the time-share is working out great. Detroit, take note: Drafting wide receiver in the first round two years in a row: bad; drafting running back in the first round two years in a row: good. Also, the last time a team swept this series was 2004. Good luck shaking that.
Well, I hope that was helpful if you have a lack of bathroom material. Basically, flip a coin on the NFL at this point...except the Giants, and you'll probably be in good shape. Why do you think I gave you all that information? To help you pick games? Hell no! That was a gigantic, and now fairly public, cover up to the truth...I've got nothing, and I've had nothing all year because I'm stuck in last year. So, at least I'm honest...that is if you've read all the way down to this part, and if so, thanks again. One final thing: Here's a message to American companies out there:
STOP LAYING OFF PEOPLE!!! IT'S HARD ENOUGH AS IT IS TO FIND A JOB!!!
Hope you have a good weekend. Peace.