November 28, 2011

Week 10: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs

Vegas Line: Broncos + 3

Rob’s Line: Broncos + 3.5

I have a confession. Before last Sunday, looking ahead to Week 10, there were a couple of games that didn’t hold my attention for longer than a microsecond and this was one of them. Kansas City had knocked off the Chargers on Monday Night Football to blow open the AFC West and Denver had been beaten, and badly, at home to Detroit.

Week 10: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

Vegas Line: Bengals + 3

Rob’s Line: Steelers + 0.5

For the second week in succession, the Cincinnati Bengals have cause for myself and Vegas to differ quite dramatically on our view of the spread. Dramatically may read a little, er…dramatic, being that our opposing view on the spread amounts to as little as 3.5 points, but in any NFL game, a 3.5 point difference in opinion is massive and especially in a game as close as this one promises to be.

Week 10: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears

Vegas Line: Lions + 3

Rob’s Line: Lions + 3.5

Chicago last lost a game to this very same Detroit Lions team on Monday Night Football five weeks ago. However, since then there ain’t been no stopping them. In fact, they even led at half time on that Monday, 10-7, but succumbed 24-13.

Week 10: Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers

Vegas Line: Raiders + 7

Rob’s Line: Raiders + 7.5

Thursday Night Football is back! An elongated NFL week…it really doesn’t get any better for us football fans, but it gives the teams chosen to showcase their talents on primetime the shortest of short weeks; or the quickest opportunity to put a bad performance behind them by getting it out of their system and making amends. And these two would like to make amends.

November 08, 2011

Week 10 Power Rankings

Hi NFLers
Welcome to my weekly NFL Power Rankings – a look at how I rank the 32 NFL teams after the Monday Night Football fallout. The figures to the right of the logo denote each team’s current record while the number to the left in brackets is where I had them placed last week.

Big love for: Ravens, Giants, Broncos, Dolphins

No love for: Steelers, Bills, Eagles

1. (1) 8-0 The almost flawless Packers have one glaring weakness – their secondary, but that secondary still managed to return two interceptions for touchdowns on Sunday. Not a bad weakness to have as you march towards the Super Bowl.
2. (5) 6-3 Surprised to see the Saints so high? Yes, I take them above the Ravens and 49ers. The loss to the Rams was a jolt they needed and they possess the talent to push the Packers in the playoffs.

November 07, 2011

Week 9: St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals

Vegas Line: Rams + 3

Rob’s Line: Rams + 3.5

It’s difficult to call this and not just because it’s one of the most uninspiring games on the schedule…and I mean over the whole season, not just in Week 9. The reason is because both teams have injury doubts at quarterback and even as late as Saturday evening, it’s unclear who will start the game. From what I can tell though, the Rams’ Sam Bradford looks a lot more likely to start than the Cardinals’ Kevin Kolb so I’m writing this from the perspective of Bradford starting while Arizona will call upon backup John Skelton.

Week 9: Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts

Vegas Line: Colts + 7

Rob’s Line: Colts + 7.5

Having lost at home to Green Bay in Week 5, many prognosticators were writing off Atlanta’s chances of making the postseason and any thoughts of reaching the Super Bowl were deemed best put on hold for another season and not least because the road to Super Sunday in Indianapolis on February 6 is destined to go right through Lambeau Field.

Week 9: Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans

Vegas Line: Browns + 11

Rob’s Line: Browns + 11.5*

My initial thought on this was to offer Cleveland 12.5 on the handicap, but I haven’t because it looks as though running back Peyton Hillis will suit up for the Browns for the first time in three weeks. However, this line opened in Vegas with Cleveland + 10.5 so they must have seen some early money for Houston. The Hillis factor shouldn’t really have played any part in my decision based on his form this season, but it’s one of those intangilbles that I’m taking into consideration and the fact that he’s practiced this week without bothering his hamstring** nags away at me.

Week 9: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

Vegas Line: Buccaneers + 8

Rob’s Line: Buccaneers + 8.5

A crucial NFC South matchup to finally give these two teams some focus! What is going on in Tampa and New Orleans? They can’t seem to agree between themselves who should do the most (the least, even?) to allow the Atlanta Falcons back in to the division race and now that that’s happened, Atlanta is looking hot all of a sudden.

Week 9: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills

Vegas Line: Jets + 2

Rob’s Line: Jets + 4.5

This is a great matchup in the east with a semi-resurgent New York Jets looking to peg back a mightily impressive Buffalo Bills. And not only are the Bills looking impressive on offense (defense needs some work), but can those new ‘old’ uniforms they’ve (thankfully) reverted to this season be a contributory factor in this franchise looking like it’s reborn? Surely not, but I’m a believer.

Week 9: Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs

Vegas Line: Dolphins + 4

Rob’s Line: Dolphins + 4.5

The record books will show that Kansas City beat the San Diego Chargers last week on Monday Night Football, but it could have been a whole lot different. To speak about the Chargers and their mental inadequacies here would be very easy, but I think it’s important we focus on what the Chiefs have achieved.

Week 9: San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins

Vegas Line: Redskins + 3.5

Rob’s Line: Redskins + 5.5

All the signs point to this being something of a no contest and it’s all down to Washington being decimated by injuries. The list is slightly ridiculous and, sadly, the Redskins don’t have anywhere near the depth of, say, Green Bay a year ago, who overcame a similar crippling of their roster to win the Super Bowl.

Week 9: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys

Vegas Line: Seahawks + 11.5

Rob’s Line: Seahawks + 10.5

I liked Philadelphia’s chances before they played host to Dallas last week and had them to cover the spread, but I didn’t expect anything like the 34-7 scoreline the Cowboys found themselves on the wrong end of. Seattle, on the other hand, welcomed Cincinnati and that fearsome defense and lost nearly as badly, 34-12. Both results were shockers for their own reasons and it begs the question of which team will bounce back the strongest.

Week 9: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders

Vegas Line: Broncos + 7

Rob’s Line: Broncos + 7.5

I would have given Denver an 8.5 start on the handicap, but with running back Darren McFadden not suiting up for Oakland this week, I’ve had to keep it down to a fraction over a touchdown. McFadden went down early in that 28-0 home shocker to the Chiefs and despite being able to rest during their bye last week, his sprained right foot hasn’t sufficiently recovered so Michael Bush will be carrying the load.

Week 9: Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans

Vegas Line: Bengals + 3

Rob’s Line: Titans + 0.5

I love matchups like these. When handicapping a game featuring a heavily favoured team, it’s sometimes not too difficult to have a figure in your head where you see that team favoured perhaps by a touchdown or ten points and, generally, I find myself not differing too much from the Vegas sportsbooks. Like I say, that isn’t the most difficult part. It’s games like these, where the margin of victory purports to be smaller, where you can find real value and where I do sometimes find myself seeing things very differently to Vegas and this occasion, I’m delighted to report, is one of them.

Week 9: New York Giants at New England Patriots

Vegas Line: Giants + 9

Rob’s Line: Giants + 8.5

This is a Hollywood matchup and a repeat of Super Bowl XLII, the last time these two met. That was the night when New England were hoping to repeat the undefeated season of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, but 18-0 became 18-1 and, if you’ve never seen it before, look up David Tyree’s catch in the fourth quarter. Supporting my own teams aside, I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve actually been compelled to leap out of my chair when watching sport. Tyree’s catch was one of those moments.
Despite the line on this game, it’s an intriguing matchup and I have a small theory on the Giants based on their form since Week 3 and it does bode well for them coming into this one.

Week 9: San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins

Vegas Line: Redskins + 3.5

Rob’s Line: Redskins + 5.5

All the signs point to this being something of a no contest and it’s all down to Washington being decimated by injuries. The list is slightly ridiculous and, sadly, the Redskins don’t have anywhere near the depth of, say, Green Bay a year ago, who overcame a similar crippling of their roster to win the Super Bowl. I wrote last week of those that are missing and as if that wasn’t bad enough, tight end Fred Davis, the team’s leading receiver, is questionable for Sunday with an ankle injury.

November 06, 2011

Week 9: Green Bay Packers at San Diego Chargers


Vegas Line: Chargers + 5.5

Rob’s Line: Chargers + 4.5

Would you trust quarterback Philip Rivers to win a game against this Green Bay Packers team? The San Diego Chargers may find that’s their only course of action this week as, apart from the Packers ranking only 24th in the league when running the ball, their one major flaw is defending the pass and they rank next to last in the league in that category.

Week 9: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers


Vegas Line: Ravens + 3

Rob’s Line: Ravens + 4.5

Anybody who reads these posts on a regular basis will know that I’ve had my eye on this one for at least a couple of weeks, but I always had in mind that Pittsburgh would enter it a game behind and that only avenging that 35-7 mauling they received in Baltimore on opening Sunday would bring these two most hated of rivals back on level terms in the division. However, all that changed after the Ravens’ 12-7 shocker in Jacksonville on Monday Night Football two weeks ago and it’s winner takes all on Sunday night. What a prospect and what a can’t miss, won’t miss game this one truly is.