Underdogs won straight up almost as often (6 games) as favorites did (8 games) last week, which has been a season long trend in the NFL this year; we’ll see if that continues this weekend.
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I don’t know how long he can keep this up, but 33-year old Reggie Wayne is leading the league with 757 yards receiving. To put that in perspective that projects to 1,730 yards and 123 receptions over the full season.
4-3 Miami Dolphins at 4-3 Indianapolis Colts
early game on CBS and DirecTV ch 711
Everyone that thought both the Colts and Dolphins would have a winning record in November, take a step forward. All of you in the front row, you are pathological liars. I knew that the Dolphins had a good defense before the season began; now I am totally sold on their D. Miami is allowing a league-low 3.4 yards per rush which will make the Colts one dimensional. Look for Cameron Wake to have a big game, possibly creating some turnovers. On the other side of the ball the Colts have been terrible against the run, but they do get some relief with the return of Robert Mathis and Fili Moala.
Dolphins 20, Colts 16
Dolphins -2 (1 unit), under 43 (2 units)
– final score: Colts 23, Dolphins 20
My thoughts go out to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Hopefully all of you made it through safe and sound.
3-4 Buffalo Bills at 6-1 Houston Texans
early game on CBS and DirecTV ch 710
The way I see it either Houston is going to play up to their potential like they did against Baltimore and win in a blowout, or they’ll take the Bills lightly and win by a touchdown or less. I can’t help but wonder how the Bills’ offensive players respond to the idiotic comment from Buffalo’s general manager this week that they were going to acquire a franchise quarterback very soon. I’m going to guess that Buffalo circles the wagons while the Texans snooze, but I won’t put any money on that.
Texans 27, Bills 20
Bills +10½, under 48 (1 unit)
– final score: Texans 21, Bills 9
What a fantastic day for college football. There were at least a half dozen thoroughly exciting games that were great to watch, culminating with the Alabama-LSU game that managed to not only live up to the hype, but exceed it with the game decided on a last minute touchdown. Hopefully today’s NFL games can come close to replicating that drama.
5-2 Baltimore Ravens at 2-6 Cleveland Browns
early game on CBS and DirecTV ch 709
The Ravens have been bad against the run, so Trent Richardson should have a big day. Fortunately for Baltimore the Browns are 29th against the run, so Ray Rice should have an even bigger day. Joe Flacco is due for a big game and threw for 356 yards when these two teams met five weeks ago.
Ravens 24, Bengals 17
Ravens -3½, under 43
– final score: Ravens 25, Browns 15
Wow, Hannah Storm looks great this morning in a tight dress and knee high boots. I wouldn’t pay attention if she wasn’t an intelligent sports reporter as well, so if that thought makes me a sexist pig, so be it.
4-3 Denver Broncos at 3-4 Cincinnati Bengals
early game on CBS and DirecTV ch 708
The Bengals are 26th against the run. Once Willis McGahee softens them up that sets up play action passes, though it’s not as if Denver will need to wait. In the last four games Peyton Manning has thrown 12 touchdowns and one interception, completing over 75% of his passes and averaging 9.1 yards per pass. The best weapon the Bengals have is Andy Dalton to A.J. Green, but Champ Bailey should keep him from having enough off a game for Cincy to contend.
Broncos 34, Bengals 17
Broncos -3½ (2 units), over 47½
– final score: Broncos 31, Bengals 23
Congrats to Peyton Manning on his return to the NFL. Manning leads the league with a 109.0 passer rating, 8.22 yards per pass attempt, and is 2nd with 302 yards per game. Even if you don’t like the Big Forehead, the NFL is better when he is part of it.
4-4 Arizona Cardinals at 5-3 Green Bay Packers
early game on FOX and DirecTV ch 704
The Cardinals are reeling and now they have to play on the road (against a good team no less) on a short week after playing Monday night. Even without Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson I think Aaron Rodgers should be fine; after all, Alex Smith did just complete 19 out of 20 passes against the Arizona defense.
Packers 31, Cardinals 13
Packers -10 (1 unit), under 44½
-final score: Packers 31, Cardinals 17
If you don’t have the Sunday Ticket and are unsure what games are on in your area, check out the506.com. Hats off to J.P. Kirby on putting these television maps together for us football fans every week.
1-6 Carolina Panthers at 3-5 Washington Redskins
early game on FOX and DirecTV ch 707
I suppose this is a big game for people that latch on to the latest flavor of the month, but in reality it’s two blah teams that have not looked good recently. Casual fans will fall for the Cam vs RGIII hype, but as an NFL fan this game does not appeal to me at all. Carolina’s offensive line does not look good and I think Alfred Morris will bounce back with a good game.
Redskins 28, Panthers 24
Redskins -3, over 46½ (2 units)
– final score: Panthers 21, Redskins 13
The Bears are 6-1 yet nobody seems to be talking about them. It’s not as if they are a small market team, which makes it even more odd. Maybe it has something to do with having a head coach named Lovie.
6-1 Chicago Bears at 3-5 Tennessee Titans
early game on FOX and DirecTV ch 706
The Tennessee defense showed signs of life despite its loss to Indianapolis, allowing just six points in the first 57 minutes of regulation. The Bears defense keeps coming through with big plays; they have now returned six interceptions for touchdowns. That’s actually a trend throughout the whole league: there have been 60 defensive or special teams touchdowns thus far, which puts the NFL on pace for 27 more than there were in 2011. I think Chicago was rusty coming off a bye last week and will be more in sync for this game.
Bears 24, Titans 13
Bears -3½, under 43½ (2 units)
– final score: Bears 51, Titans 20
Depressing stat of the day: more people voted in the last American Idol contest than voted in the last presidential election.
3-4 Detroit Lions at 1-6 Jacksonville Jaguars
early game on FOX and DirecTV ch 705
The last time Detroit was a favorite on the road they allowed five touchdowns of sixty yards or more in a loss at Tennessee. The Jaguars on the other hand have lost all three home games by at least 17 points and are once again without Maurice Jones-Drew. The Lions are so inconsistent though; I’m guessing they look ahead to games against the Vikings and Packers and gag.
Jaguars 24, Lions 20
Jaguars +5½, under 44½
– final score: Lions 31, Jaguars 14
Regardless of what happens for the rest of the season, hats off to Adrian Peterson. I was extremely skeptical about how productive he would be this year after tearing up his knee late last season, but here he is leading the entire NFL with 775 yards rushing.
5-3 Minnesota Vikings at 4-4 Seattle Seahawks
late game on FOX and DirecTV ch 713
The Vikings started the season strong but now is unravelling and beginning to show its true colors. The Minnesota defense has been gashed in the last few games and now they have to visit the NFL’s house of horrors in Seattle.
Seahawks 27, Vikings 13
Seahawks -4, over 38½
– final score: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20
Is it just me or did it seem like this year’s baseball playoffs went by really quickly? On the other hand it’s nice to see MLB not playing any games in November.
3-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 3-4 Oakland Raiders
late game on FOX and DirecTV ch 712
This isn’t exactly a rematch of Super Bowl 37 as everyone except for Ronde Barber are long gone from those two rosters. Both teams won on the road last week though the Bucs were more convincing with their win at Minnesota. The Raiders are looking for their first three-game winning streak since last November, but when you consider their opposition (Jags and Chiefs) the streak becomes less impressive.
Bucs 27, Raiders 24
Bucs +2 (2 units), over 47 (1 unit)
– final score: Bucs 42, Raiders 32
Justin Tuck publicly declares that the Steelers get away with holding. Smart move to make the refs more conscious about the holds, or bitter whining?
4-3 Pittsburgh Steelers at 6-2 New York Giants
late game on CBS and DirecTV ch 714
People are making a big deal about Pittsburgh flying into New Jersey the morning of the game due to Hurricane Sandy, but I don’t see it as a negative as that gives them one extra day at home to prepare. The Giants are 5-0 outside of the NFC East but have been pushed to the limit in all four home games. While the Steelers’ record historically has not been good when Troy Polamalu is out, the defense has been okay without him this year, holding four of the previous six opponents to 17 points or less. I think Pittsburgh can run on the Giants and Ben Roethlisberger can scramble long enough to exploit the Giants secondary, even if it does result in a couple of sacks
Steelers 28, Giants 24
Steelers +3½, over 47½
– final score: Steelers 24, Giants 20
When was the last time there was less of a buzz in regards to the last team in the league to remain undefeated than this year’s Atlanta Falcons?
3-4 Dallas Cowboys at 7-0 Atlanta Falcons
Sunday Night Football on NBC
Everything says the Falcons should romp, but I say the Cowboys are overdue for a good game while Atlanta is overdue to have some balls not bounce their way. If Dallas doesn’t win they at least keep it close before screwing up at the end of the game.
Falcons 27, Cowboys 24
Cowboys +4½, over 46½
– final score: Falcons 19, Cowboys 13
So due to a clause in his contract regarding GM Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton is free to sign a new contract with any team after the end of this season. How much do you want to bet Jerry Jones has already contacted Payton’s agent, if not Payton himself about becoming the next head coach of the Cowboys?
3-4 Philadelphia Eagles at 2-5 New Orleans Saints
Monday Night Football on espn
Thinking back to the Juan Castillo firing it occurred to me that the decision to promote him to defensive coordinator actually weakened the Eagles just as much on offense and their offensive line than it did on their defense. Darren Sproles is out with a broken hand, which really makes me back off from the Saints in this game, though it is still really tough to go against New Orleans at home.
Eagles 28, Saints 27
Eagles +3, over 51½
– final score: Saints 28, Eagles 13
Two-Team Teaser (6 points, 2 Units):
Bucs +8 at Oakland, Packers -4 vs Cardinals
– final scores: Bucs won by 10, Packers won by 14
Three-Team Teaser (9 Points, 2 Units):
Panthers-Redskins over 37½; Vikings-Seahawks under 47½; Eagles-Saints over 42½
– final totals: Panthers-Redskins 34, Vikings-Seahawks 50, Eagles-Saints 41
Tale of the Tape
Last week I got off to a rough start, losing my top pick of the week when Minnesota was beaten at home by Tampa Bay on Thursday. It didn’t get much better on Sunday and I was actually fortunate to come close to breaking even. On the bright side I hit another three-team teaser, this one with ease on Jaguars-Packers under 54½, Raiders-Chiefs under 51, Giants-Cowboys over 38; those games were on the right side by 15½, 9 and 15 points respectively. Underdogs went 6-8 straight up but against the spread it was an even 7-7 in all 14 NFL games for the week.
Results for Week 8 (and the season):
Straight Up: 9-5 (64%) last week, 80-38 (68%) for the season
Against The Spread: 4-10 (29%) / 53-64-1 (45%)
Over/Under: 8-5-1 (61%) / 68-47-3 (59%)
1 Unit Plays: 4-2 (+180) / 22-16
2 Unit Plays: 1-2-1 (-260) / 21-19-2
3 Unit Plays: 0-0 / 15-8-2
4 Unit Plays: 0-1 (-440) / 0-2
5 Unit Plays: 0-0 / 2-1
Weekly Total: 4-5-1 regular; 1-0 teasers
All Confidence Picks: 5-5-1 (50%) / 66-34-4 (65%)
Week 8 Total: -520
Season Total: +5970
For the first time this season I ventured into the land of college football, and as it turned out I did much better in that venue. A week ago Friday I went up two units on Air Force-Nevada going over 68 points (Air Force won 48-31), and then had a pretty good Saturday:
+1 unit on Vanderbilt -33 vs UMass (won 49-7)
+1 unit on Texas A&M-Auburn over 53½ (84 points)
+2 units on Texas A&M -7 (won 63-21)
-1 unit on Florida-Georgia over 45½ (26 points)
-1 unit on Florida -6 vs Georgia (lost 9-17)
+1 unit on Syracuse +7½ at South Florida (won 37-36)
+1 unit on Notre Dame +13 at Oklahoma (won 30-13)
Overall that adds up to 6-2 (75%) on college games for +5 units, a total of +480 on the weekend.
Adding those NCAA games to my NFL games brought the week up to -40 for the week and +6450 on the year, more than salvaging the weekend for me.
This Day In Patriots History
November 4, 1960:
The Patriots beat the Raiders 34-28 at Nickerson Field
Butch Songin threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns as the Pats jumped out to a 20-7 halftime lead and held on for their third win of the year. TE Thomas Stephens got things started with a 19-yard TD and then Dick Christy, who finished with 124 yards receiving and another 60 yards on the ground, caught a 28 yard pass to put the Pats up 14-0 at the end of the fisrt quarter. After the Raiders pulled within six on a Tom Flores touchdown, Christy ran for another TD and then Songin hit Jim Colclough on a 38-yard touchdown pass to put the Pats up 34-14 in the 4th quarter. The Pats defense forced four turnovers, including interceptions by Chuck Shonta and Fred Bruney.
November 4, 1973:
Pats lose to the Eagles 24-23 on a Tom Dempsey field goal at Veterans Stadium
The Patriots jumped out to a 17-0 lead early in the third quarter on the second Jim Plunkett to Darryl Stingley touchdown pass but Philadelphia came back when old pro Roman Gabriel threw a pair of touchdowns to Charlie Young. The Eagles returned a fumble 24 yards for a touchdown to take the lead but the Pats came back in the 4th quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Sam Cunningham, before Dempsey’s winning kick. Cunningham finished with 61 yards rushing and Josh Ashton had another 60 on the ground; Stingley had 45 yards receiving, TE Bob Windsor had 3 catches for 48 yards and WR Reggie Rucker had 7 receptions for 43 yards; Ron Bolton chipped in defensively with two interceptions for 56 yards.
November 4, 1979:
New England Patriots 26, Buffalo Bills 6 at Rich Stadium
The Pats scored 26 unanswered points to improve to 7-3. The first quarter ended with Buffalo up 6-0 on a pair of field goals but it was all New England in the second half. Steve Grogan hit Horace Ivory with a 6-yard pass to tie the score at halftime and then connected with Stanley Morgan on a 63-yard TD after a John Smith field goal to put the Pats up by ten entering the 4th quarter. Grogan then hit Morgan again on a 34 yard touchdown before Smith kicked another field goal for the final score. The Pats defense was immense, finishing with seven sacks and forcing five turnovers on the day; the Pats finished with 438 total yards to just 264 for Buffalo.
Grogan finished the game 19/35 for 350 yards and three touchdown passes and Morgan had 158 yards receiving, the fifth highest total of his career. On defense Raymond Clayborn and Rod Shoate both had an interception.
November 4, 1981:
Vince Wilfork was born in Boynton Beach, Florida
November 4, 1996:
Denver Broncos 26, New England Patriots 19 at Mile High Stadium
Bronco S Dennis Smith recovered a fumble by Mosi Tatupu with 1:45 to go and ran 64 yards for a touchdown, giving Denver a 26-19 victory; the Pats had led all the way until Denver LB Stever Busick stripped the ball away from Tatupu. Smith scooped it up on the run and went untouched down the right sideline for Denver’s 8th straight win, and the 7th score of the year by their defense.
The Patriots defense had stopped Denver cold on the ground, limiting them to just 28 yards rushing on 18 carries. However the Pats, who ran for 195 yards and had 484 total yards of offense, settled for four field goals while scoring only one touchdown and also turned the ball over three times. Stanley Morgan had 8 receptions for 122 yards and Craig James ran for 120 yards on 20 carries; Clarence Weathers scored the Pats only TD on a 15-yard pass from Tony Eason.
November 4, 1990:
Philadelphia Eagles 48, New England Patriots 20 at Veterans Stadium
Randall Cunningham passed for four touchdowns and ran for another as the Pats fell to 1-7. Cunningham also rushed for a career-high 124 yards, including a 52-yard touchdown on a broken play as the Pats defense forced the Eagles to punt just twice. Irving Fryar led the Patriots with 115 yards receiving and had a 36-yard touchdown from Marc Wilson; Wilson also hit TE Marv Cook with a 14-yard touchdown.
November 4, 2001:
New England Patriots 24, Atlanta Falcons 10 at the Georgia Dome
A week after throwing four interceptions Tom Brady bounced back with a 3-touchdown, no interception game to get the Pats back to .500 with a 4-4 record. After former Patriot Shawn Jefferson scored on a 19-yard pass from Chris Chandler the Pats scored 24 unanswered points. In the 2nd quarter Kevin Faulk scored on a 4-yard pass from Brady and then after a 48-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal Brady hit Marc Edwards on a 15-yard score to put the Pats up 17-7 at halftime. With a minute to go in the 3rd quarter Brady threw a pass to David Patten which bounced off an Atlanta defender and into the hands of Troy Brown, who ran it in for a 44-yard touchdown.
The Pats defense was relentless, sacking Chandler six times before he was sidelined with a rib injury. Rookie Michael Vick replaced him and the Pats sacked him three times, including one devastating hit by Lawyer Milloy on a last gasp 4th down play in the 4th quarter.
November 4, 2007:
New England Patriots 24, Indianapolis Colts 20 at the RCA Dome
The battle of late-season undefeated teams lived up to the hype with the Pats coming out on top and improving to 9-0. The Colts led 20-10 with 9:42 remaining but Tom Brady hit Randy Moss on a 55-yard post pattern, setting up a 3-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker. After the defense forced a punt Brady completed a 33-yard pass to Donte’ Stallworth to the Colts’ 13, and then connected with Kevin Faulk on a 13-yard pass over the middle for the go-ahead score with 3:15 left. On the next series Jarvis Green knocked the ball out of Peyton Manning‘s hands and Roosevelt Colvin recovered the fumble to secure the victory.
Moss finished with nine receptions for 145 yards to offset a huge game by Joseph Addai, who had 112 yards rushing on 12 carries and 114 yards receiving on 5 catches, including a highlight reel 73-yard touchdown.
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November 4, 1977:
Martin Scorsese‘s The Last Waltz, a movie based on The Band‘s final concert premiered.
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