Thanks in part to there being only two late games some of this week’s best games will be played early. At the same tim the Patriots are playing the Rams Philadelphia hosts unbeaten Atlanta, Seattle is at Detroit, and of interest to Pats fans the Jets are at home against Miami. The Giants at Dallas is the late game and then New Orleans is at Denver Sunday night; San Francisco visits Arizona on Monday Night Football. Four AFC teams (Houston, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Buffalo) have byes this week so there is a notable absence of conference games today.
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4-3 New England Patriots “at” 3-4 St. Louis Rams
For more on this game check out my scouting report on the Rams’ defense, scouting report on the Rams’ offense, and preview, keys and prediction for the game. On one hand I think both the media and fans are overreacting to the last two games by the Pats: a close loss on the road to a team with one of the league’s best defenses, and a win that apparently was not by enough points. On the other hand the offense is not as efficient without Aaron Hernandez and an already mediocre secondary is down two starters.
Patriots 24, Rams 20
Rams +7, under 47 (1 unit)
– final score: Patriots 45, Rams 7
3-3 Miami Dolphins at 3-4 New Jersey Jets
I thought the Jets might be in for a letdown after losing to the Patriots last week but apparently they’re pumped up by the moral victory; personally I have found all the talk between these two teams this week rather amusing. The Jets exploded for 83 points in victories over the Colts and Bills but this Miami defense is far superior to the D on those two clubs. I think Miami comes away with their fourth road win against the Jets in the last five years.
Dolphins 20, Jets 16
Dolphins +2½, under 40½
– final score: Dolphins 30, Jets 9
6-0 Atlanta Falcons at 3-3 Philadelphia Eagles
The last undefeated NFL team attempts to advance to 7-0 as Atlanta heads to Philadelphia. The Eagles have won ten straight coming off a bye and will try to bounce back after throwing away a 10-point lead in an overtime defeat to Detroit two weeks ago. Atlanta survived second-half deficits in each of their last victories over Carolina, Washington, and Oakland, while putting together the best start in franchise history at 6-0. The Eagles are better than those teams but their offense has scored 19 points or less in four of their last six games.
Falcons 24, Eagles 20
Falcons +3, under 46½
– final score: Falcons 30, Eagles 17
3-4 Washington Redskins at 3-3 Pittsburgh Steelers
I like the matchup of Alfred Morris and the Redskins #1 rushing offense (178 yards per game) against a Steelers defense that is without Troy Polamalu to at least keep this one close, if not win this game.
Redskins 24, Steelers 21
Redskins +4½, under 47½
– final score: Steelers 27, Redskins 12
4-3 Seattle Seahawks at 2-4 Detroit Lions
Seattle is undefeated at home but is just 1-3 this year on the road. This is their third long trip in five weeks but Detroit is working on a short week after losing to Chicago Monday night. Seattle is 5-0 ATS as an underdog this year while Detroit has failed to cover in three games as the favorite.
Seahawks 20, Lions 16
Seahawks +2½, under 43 (2 units)
– final score: Lions 28, Seahawks 24
1-5 Carolina Panthers at 5-1 Chicago Bears
The Bears have the NFL’s best defense; Carolina is not particularly proficient on either side of the ball. Chicago’s defense forces a couple turnovers to turn this into a double-digit win.
Bears 24, Panthers 10
Bears -7½ (2 units), under 45 (2 units)
– final score: Bears 23, Panthers 22
3-3 San Diego Chargers at 1-6 Cleveland Browns
A meaningless early or mid season game? That sounds like it’s right up Norv Turner and San Diego’s alley.
Chargers 24, Browns 17
Chargers -2½, under 45½ (1 unit)
– final score: Browns 7, Chargers 6
3-3 Indianapolis Colts at 3-4 Tennessee Titans
After a dismal start to the season Tennessee has back to back wins over Buffalo and Pittsburgh, and is favored for the first time this year. The Colts have lost ten consecutive road games and the Titans should be able to run on them.
Titans 31, Colts 21
Titans -3, over 47
– final score: Colts 19, Titans 13 in OT
1-5 Jacksonville Jaguars at 4-3 Green Bay Packers
Normally I would almost automatically take the underdog and the points when the line goes over two touchdowns, but not in this case. The Packers seem to be on a mission after being robbed in Seattle and are at home against a Jacksonville team that has lost its one and only good player (Maurice Jones-Drew), and their quarterback is hurting.
Packers 35, Jaguars 10
Packers -14½, under 45½
– final score: Packers 24, Jaguars 15
2-4 Oakland Raiders at 1-5 Kansas City Chiefs (late)
Since beating the Saints the Chiefs have scored an average of 12 points in the last three games. Oakland’s offense isn’t doing much either, averaging 13 points in their three road losses. However since 2009 the Raiders are 8-2 on the road against division rivals.
Raider 20, Chiefs 13
Raiders +1½, under 42½ (1 unit)
– final score: Raiders 26, Chiefs 16
5-2 New York Giants at 3-3 Dallas Cowboys (late)
The Cowboys were able to get pressure on Eli Manning in the first game of the season, sacking him three times and forcing bad throws. Since then he has had better protection and has been sacked just twice in the last six games. Without Sean Lee the Dallas defense is less effective on all levels.
Giants 31, Cowboys 21
Giants -2½ (1 unit), over 47 (2 units)
– final score: Giants 29, Cowboys 24
2-4 New Orleans Saints at 3-3 Denver Broncos (SNF)
People have written off the Saints but their offense is starting to click, scoring 66 points in the last two games. Denver wins in a close one.
Broncos 31, Saints 28
Saints +6½, under 55½
– final score: Broncos 34, Saints 14
5-2 San Francisco 49ers at 4-3 Arizona Cardinals (MNF)
The Cardinals offensive line will get run over by the San Francisco front seven, but Arizona is strong enough defensively to slow down the 49ers running game and keep this game close.
49ers 20, Cardinals 14
Cardinals +7, under 38½
– final score: 49ers 24, Cardinals 3
Three-Team Teaser (9 points, one unit): Jaguars-Packers under 54½, Raiders-Chiefs under 51, Giants-Cowboys over 38
– final totals: 39, 42, 53
Tale of the Tape
Last week I hit the teaser once again (Giants +½ over Redskins and Saints at Bucs over 43 points) and a 3 unit play on that Saints-Bucs game going over 49, as well as another 3 unit play (barely) with the 49ers (-6½) beating Seattle 13-6. Biggest miss was thinking the Ravens (+7) would keep it close at Houston but fortunately that was only a one unit play.
Results for Week 7 (and the season):
Straight Up: 11-2 last week, 71-33 for the season
Against The Spread: 7-6 / 49-54-1
Over/Under: 7-6 / 60-42-2
1 Unit Plays: 6-2 (+380) / 18-14
2 Unit Plays: 1-0 (+200) / 20-17-1
3 Unit Plays: 2-1 (+270) / 15-8-2
4 Unit Plays: 0-0 / 0-1
5 Unit Plays: 0-0 / 2-1
Weekly Total: 9-2 regular; 1-0 teasers
All Confidence Picks: 10-2 / 61-29-3
Week 7 Total: +850
Season Total: +6490
With Sandy on it’s way perhaps “Riders On The Storm” would be appropriate.
This Day In Patriots History
October 28, 1960:
Walter Beach scored on a 51-yard pass from Butch Songin for the only touchdown reception of his pro football career in one of the only highlights of the day as the Pats lost to the Los Angeles Chargers 45-16 at Nickerson Field. The Chargers scored two defensive touchdowns and literally ran over the Patriots, rushing for 219 yards while holding the Pats to 46 yards on the ground.
October 28, 1973:
In what would have been an upset of epic proportions the Patriots lead at halftime but can’t hold on, losing to Miami 30-14. The Dolphins were coming off their undefeated Super Bowl championship season and entered the game 5-1; the Pats were 2-4 and coming off a 3-win season. Sam Cunningham scored twice, on a 34-yard pass from Jim Plunkett and then on a 6-yard run for the first half lead. However the Miami defense forced the Pats to punt nine times and their ground game, led by Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris, controlled the clock and the tempo. Three Garo Yepremian field goals finally gave the Dolphins a two-point lead, and then Morris and Csonka each scored a touchdown late to complete the scoring for the day. Cunningham finished with 132 yards from scrimmage (70 rushing, 62 receiving) and Daryl Stingley had three receptions for 53 yards for the Pats.
October 28, 1979:
Stanley Morgan scores on 56 and 27 yard touchdowns but the Colts upset the Patriots 31-26 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. For the second year in a row Joe Washington singlehandedly beat the Patriots, this time scoring three touchdowns, including the game winning 12-yard run in the 4th quarter.
A year before on a miserable rainy night Washington caught a 23-yard touchdown pass early in the 4th quarter, then took a pitchout and threw a perfect spiral for a 53-yard touchdown, and capped things off with a 90-yard touchdown on a kickoff return with 1:17 remaining after the Pats had just tied the score. Between the alcohol, weather, result of the game and frustration from the last couple of seasons an already nasty crowd turned into an unruly mob with hundreds of fans arrested; Foxboro selectmen put a ban on Monday Night Football games that lasted more than fifteen years after that game.
October 28, 1984:
In Raymond Berry‘s first game as head coach the Patriots knock off the Jets 30-20 at Sullivan Stadium. Berry had just replaced the fired Ron Meyer in a controversial move, as the Pats had a winning (5-3) record at the time. The Pats were down 20-3 late in the first half but came storming back, scoring 27 unanswered points. Momentum shifted when Luke Prestridge booted a punt about 40 yards for the Pats. The punt coverage team surrounded the Jets’ Kirk Springs and the ball bounced and rolled about another 40 more yards, with the Pats downing what turned out to be an 82-yard punt on the Jets 1-yard line. Tony Franklin hit on his second and third field goals of the day and then Craig James rushed for a 25-yard touchdown to pull the Pats within four at the end of three quarters. Tony Eason hit Stephen Starring on a five-yard pass to give the Pats the lead and then Tony Collins scored on a four yard run to cap off the comeback. Roland James and Steve Nelson both had interceptions and Dennis Owens had two of the Patriots four sacks to help shut down the Jets. Berry’s team finished in second place with a winning record but missed the playoffs; the following year they mad it to the franchise’s first Super Bowl.
October 28, 1990:
In the midst of the most forgettable season in team history the Patriots lose 27-10 to the Bills at Foxboro Stadium. John Stephens ran for 93 yards on 19 carries and Sammy Martin scored one of the two touchdowns of his NFL career on a 19-yard pass from Steve Grogan. The Pats were done in by three turnovers and Thurman Thomas, who rushed for 136 yards for the Bills.
October 28, 2001:
The Patriots fall to 3-4 after a 31-20 loss to Denver at Invesco Field. Tom Brady had started off his NFL career with 162 passes without an interception, but then he threw four in a span of ten pass attempts, all in the 4th quarter. For Denver Denard Walker and Deltha O’Neal both had two picks and Rod Smith had six catches for 159 yards and a touchdown. Troy Brown had nine receptions for 86 yards and a 31-yard run for the Pats in a game that was noteworthy for featuring two starting quarterbacks who were college teammates: Brady and the player he backed up at Michigan, Brian Griese. After this loss the Patriots would go on to win eleven of their next twelve games en route to their first championship.
October 28, 2007:
The Patriots faced the statistically best defense they had seen all season and proceeded to obliterate the Washington Redskins 52-7 for their eighth straight win. The victory set up a much anticipated game the following week between two unbeaten teams, the 7-0 Colts and the 8-0 Patriots.
Washington played almost exclusively in a nickel defense with their linebackers dropping back in an attempt to thwart the long pass, so the Patriots ran for 152 yards and took the open passes underneath.
This is the game that some people most pointed to the Pats running up the score, as they twice went for it on 4th down in the 4th quarter when they were leading by 38 and 45 points. Tom Brady also had a touchdown pass to Randy Moss on a fake spike play with 17 seconds left in the half to put the Pats up 24-0 as well as a TD pass to Mike Vrabel that gave the Pats a 14-0 lead, with the trickery apparently rubbing some the wrong way.
Brady went 29 for 38 for 306 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions before being replaced by Matt Cassel; Wes Welker had nine receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown and Laurence Maroney averaged 5.4 yards per carry with 75 yards on 14 attempts. The Patriots held the ball for 37:49 and more than doubled up on Washington for total yardage, 486 yards to 224. On defense Roosevelt Colvin ran a fumble back 11 yards for a touchdown, Asante Samuel had an interception, and Vrabel had three sacks and 13 tackles as they limited the Redskins to just two third down conversions in twelve attempts.
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October 28, 1936:
Charlie Daniels was born in Leland, North Carolina
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