Tag Archives: Week 8

NFL Week 8 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats favored by 7 at Chargers

John Morgan
October 19, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has published their latest NFL Advanced Betting Lines. These early odds are posted prior to the following week’s games, including the Thursday Night Football game. Also known as Look-Ahead lines, they give the adventurous sports fan an opportunity to wager on games up to twelve days away. In other words, these week 8 odds are published prior to the week 7 games being played. If you are in Vegas and have a good feeling about a matchup further down the road, the Westgate offers an opportunity to get a jump on odds that could be less favorable after this week’s games.

The early week 8 games don’t offer a whole lot worth watching. Best of the lot in the early Sunday time slot involve the AFC East versus AFC West. The AFCE is currently a home favorite in both games. Buffalo (-2½ point) hosts Oakland, and the Chargers visit New England (-7).

Week 8 kicks off with a couple of mediocre games. Miami is at Baltimore on Thursday night, and Minnesota plays Cleveland in a Sunday morning breakfast game from London. Things improve in the late afternoon slot with Houston at Seattle and Dallas at Washington. Sunday night features Pittsburgh at Detroit, with the Steelers favored by three. Then we have a good (!) Monday night game to finish the week. Denver is at Kansas City in the 115th meeting between these two original AFL rivals.

 

NFL Week 8 Early Odds

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens (-4½), Thursday October 26 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS

Minnesota Vikings (-7½) vs Cleveland Browns in London, Sunday October 29 at 9:30 am ET on NFLN

Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (-3½), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1½), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills (-2½), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (-7), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (-8½), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Atlanta Falcons (-7) at New York Jets, Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (-10½), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox

Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks (-6½), Sunday October 29 at 4:00 pm ET on CBS
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (-1), Sunday October 29 at 4:30 pm ET on Fox

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Detroit Lions, Sunday October 29 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-6½), Monday October 30 at 8:30 pm ET on espn

 

Reactions from Buffalo to New England Patriots 41-25 victory over Bills

John Morgan
October 31, 2016 at 9:00 pm ET

As one would expect, there was not much of any positive takeaways from Buffalo writers or fans in the aftermath of the Bills loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Optimism was high in western New York after a four-game winning streak. After losses to the Dolphins and Pats and a game at Seattle on tap next week the mood their has taken a 180-degree turn.

 

Bills turn in a dumb, dreary, depressing performance

The word that best describes the Patriots on Sunday was “surgical.” The words that spring immediately to mind for Rex Ryan’s Bills were “comical” and “dumb.”

The Bills, who had played with intelligence, poise and purpose during a four-game winning streak, turned in a sloppy and abysmal performance at New Era Field, losing to their longtime AFC nemesis, 41-25, at New Era Field.

The Pats’ superiority was evident almost from the start.

 

With Brady, gap between Bills and Patriots only gets wider

Every season, the Buffalo Bills try to scale this mountain.

Every season, they slip and fall, making the mountain seem that much higher.

With Tom Brady, the New England Patriots are far and away the best team in the NFL. With key injuries on offense, the Buffalo Bills are hard-pressed to even qualify as a wild-card-playoff contender.

And when the Bills’ defense reverts to its confused, miscommunicating ways of last season, it doesn’t even have a fighting chance against Brady and the rest of the Patriots’ offensive machine.

 

Three up, three down following Bills’ Week Eight loss to New England

The Buffalo Bills are stuck in neutral.

A year after going 8-8, the team is on the exact same pace through the first half of 2016. Sunday’s 41-25 loss to the New England Patriots at New Era Field was shockingly easy to predict — which makes it so troubling. Forget beating the Patriots — that’s not happening until Tom Brady finally retires — the Bills don’t appear any closer at all to ending a 16-year playoff drought.

They are an average team, with an average record, average coach and average players.

 

Same old Bills, dumb and defeated by the Pats

The problem with following the Bills through the long, painful playoff drought – and I’m sure Bills fans can understand – is that you start to feel like you’ve seen every game before.

Sunday’s 41-25 loss to the Patriots was a classic example of Drought Deja Vu. The score, the flow of the game, the familiar sight of Tom Brady torching the Buffalo secondary – it was all sadly reminiscent of last season’s 40-32 loss to the Pats here.

The only major difference was that it occurred in New Era Field this year, instead of what we used to know fondly as Ralph Wilson Stadium. But as far as the Bills-Patriots “rivalry” is concerned, we’re still a very long way from a new era.

But injuries aside, the distressing thing was that the Bills played the same dumb, boneheaded football they had played against the Pats here a year ago. They didn’t lose their cool this time, but they made just about every mistake imaginable in one 60-minute football game.

When it came to dumb and stupid, the Bills were the team that kept on giving Sunday.

 

Report Card: Brady Scores in Bunches and Lights Up Bills

Overall Grade: D

That wasn’t Jacoby Brissett out there Sunday afternoon, that was a guy you might have heard of, name of Tom Brady, playing quarterback for the Patriots. And that wasn’t Rob Gronkowski playing on one healthy hamstring like he did the last time these teams played, it was full-blown Gronk, the baddest man on the planet. This was the real Patriots, the dynastic Patriots, and the gap between Buffalo and New England has rarely been wider. There’s no end in sight to the Bills’ misery. Until No. 12 retires, and takes Bill Belichick with him, the Bills basically have no chance when the Patriots play their A-team.

 

The gap between Bills-Patriots is wide as ever

The chasm between the Bills and Patriots is as wide as ever, and that was once again so plainly obvious to see during New England’s barely-break-a-sweat 41-25 victory at New Era Field Sunday.

They’re here (I’m looking at the sky) and the Bills are down there (I’m looking at the ground) and it just never seems like it will ever change, at least not while Tom Brady is flinging footballs all over the place.

 

Tom Brady is back, and if possible he’s better than ever

There is no other way to describe Brady other than to say he’s incredible. While it’s hard to compare quarterbacks from different eras — how would Johnny Unitas or Otto Graham or Dan Marino or Joe Montana fare in today’s game? — it’s not hard to make the leap that no one has ever been better than Brady.

And what’s simply beyond explanation is that even at the age of 39, Brady remains at the very top of his game.

 

Flagging Bills for not giving Gronk his just due

The Buffalo Bills were flagged for a season-high 12 penalties in Sunday’s loss to New England, but we’re throwing a 13th hankie today.

The call? Sour grapes.

After watching Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski make five catches for 109 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown, Bills linebacker Zach Brown gave all the credit to quarterback Tom Brady, not the fact “Gronk’’ is the most difficult personnel matchup in the NFL.

 

 

Tom Brady’s TB Times: Gronk as Scientist/Chef

John Morgan
October 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm ET

As he has done every week this season, Tom Brady (or more likely an assistant) posted a TB Times faux newspaper headline story to his Facebook page.

In this edition TB12 honored Rob Gronkowski for setting a career franchise record 69th touchdown reception. I am not sure if Gronk is supposed to be a scientist, chef or both, but the score on the bottom of the picture says it all.

Rob Gronkowski set a franchise record with his 69th career touchdown reception.

 

The Patriots simply never get swept by an opponent in the Bill Belichick era. Since BB became the head coach of the Pats, New England is 29-5 versus the Buffalo Bills.

NFL Week 8 TV & Odds: Patriots at Bills gets primary early distribution on CBS

John Morgan
October 24, 2016 at 11:15 pm ET

The 6-1 New England Patriots and 4-3 Buffalo Bills renew their rivalry in Week 8. The AFC East clubs meet for the 114th time since the American Football League’s inception in 1960. The Patriots lead the series 69-43-1 and would love to avenge their sole loss on the 2016 season. The game kicks off at 1:00 pm eastern time at Ralph Wilson Stadium New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York.

On Monday the Patriots were listed as 6½ point road favorites.

CBS will broadcast the Pats’ game. I am hoping that CBS will send their top broadcasting crew of Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson to announce the contest, though that has not been officially announced. The reason I say ‘hope’ is because if they are given Sunday off since CBS only has the single game then that means it will once again be Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts.

The game is scheduled to air throughout almost all of the east coast, as well most of the southeast. As of Monday WBZ’s transmission problems have been fixed, so hopefully for Patriot fans that will not be an issue this weekend.

FOX owns the doubleheader tripleheader next weekend and two games dominate their distribution plans. Seattle at New Orleans will be broadcast by most all of the FOX affiliates in the early time slot. Green Bay at Atlanta is the only late game on FOX, and will be available everywhere except for Denver.

Originally the Packers-Falcons was to be an early game but ten days ago the league moved it to the late time slot. Part of that was due to the Falcons’ hot start, but the biggest reason was the underwhelming performances of two other teams. Arizona and Carolina were expected to be two of the best teams in the NFC, but right now they are a combined 4-8-1. As a result the Cardinals-Panthers game was demoted from the late time slot to an earlier kickoff.

The third and final London game of the 2016 season happens Sunday morning, with Washington taking on Cincinnati.

The prime time games are Jacksonville at Tennessee on Thursday, Philadelphia at Dallas on Sunday and Minnesota at Chicago on Monday. For Dallas this marks the seventh time in seven games that the Cowboys will receive nationwide or near-nationwide broadcast distribution this season.

The Dolphins, Ravens, Steelers, Rams, Giants, and Forty Niners are all off with a bye in Week 8. The Patriots will receive their bye next week, followed by games against Seattle and San Francisco.

As always, these broadcast listings are preliminary. Between now and Sunday there will be changes for some network affiliates.

 

NFL Week 8 Television Coverage and Odds

 

2-4 Jacksonville Jaguars at 3-4 Tennessee Titans
Thursday, October 27 at 8:30 pm ET on NFLN; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson
Titans -3½ . . . . over/under 44½
Broadcast in all markets.

 

★★★ 4-3 Washington Redskins ‘at’ 3-4 Cincinnati Bengals in London
Sunday, October 30 at 9:30 am ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, John Lynch and Pam Oliver
Bengals -3 . . . . over/under 46½
Broadcast in all markets.

 

★★★ 4-3 Detroit Lions at 4-3 Houston Texans
Sunday, October 30 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber and Jennifer Hale
Texans -3 . . . . over/under 45½
Broadcast in Illinois, Indiana (except Indianapolis), Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Jacksonville FL, Toledo OH and Nashville TN.

 

★★★★ 4-1-1 Seattle Seahawks at 2-4 New Orleans Saints
Sunday, October 30 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Justin Kutcher, Charles Davis and Chris Spielman
Seahawks -3 . . . . over/under 48
Broadcast in all markets with the following exceptions. Markets listed above for the Detroit-Houston game. Markets listed below for the Arizona-Carolina game. Buffalo, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Tampa will also not receive this game due to NFL/FCC rules.

 

★★★ 3-3-1 Arizona Cardinals at 1-5 Carolina Panthers
Sunday, October 30 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Sam Rosen, Daryl Johnston and Laura Okmin
Panthers -2½ . . . . over/under 48
Broadcast in Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee and western Virginia.

 

★★★★★ 6-1 New England Patriots at 4-3 Buffalo Bills
Sunday, October 30 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; announcers TBD; probably Ian Eagle/Dan Fouts
Patriots -6½ . . . . over/under 47½
Broadcast in New England, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, DC, Florida (except Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers), Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana (except Baton Rouge and New Orleans), Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York (except NYC), North Carolina (except Charlotte), Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin (except Green Bay), Chicago IL, Cincinnati OH and Las Vegas NV.

 

2-5 New York Jets at 0-7 Cleveland Browns
Sunday, October 30 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; announcers TBD; probably Andrew Catalon/Steve Beuerlein/Steve Tasker
Jets -4½ . . . . over/under n/a
Broadcast in Ohio and New York City. (The Albany station which nearly always airs Jet games thought this was such a dumpster fire they went with the Pats-Bills instead.)

 

★★ 5-2 Oakland Raiders at 3-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, October 30 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; announcers TBD; probably Kevin Harlan/Rich Gannon
Buccaneers -1 . . . . over/under 49½
Broadcast in northern California, central Florida (Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers), southern Oregon and Reno NV.

 

★★★ 4-2 Kansas City Chiefs at 3-4 Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, October 30 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots
Chiefs -2½ . . . . over/under 50
Broadcast in Illinois (except Chicago), Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee (except Memphis) and Fargo ND.

 

★★★★ 3-4 San Diego Chargers at 5-2 Denver Broncos
Sunday, October 30 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS; announcers TBD; probably Greg Gumbel/Trent Green
Broncos -6 . . . . over/under 44½
Broadcast in Arizona, southern California, Colorado, Idaho, southern Louisiana (Baton Rouge and New Orleans), Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Charlotte NC, Bismark ND, Portland OR, Houston TX and Green Bay WI.

 

★★★★★ 4-2 Green Bay Packers at 4-3 Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, October 30 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman and Erin Andrews
Falcons -3 . . . . over/under 52½
Broadcast in all markets except for Denver.

 

★★★★ 4-2 Philadelphia Eagles at 5-1 Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, October 30 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya
Cowboys -4½ . . . . over/under 43½
Broadcast in all markets.

 

★★ 5-1 Minnesota Vikings at 1-6 Chicago Bears
Monday, October 31 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters
Vikings -6 . . . . over/under 40½
Broadcast in all markets.

 

 

Early Week Eight Prediction:

2-4 Jacksonville Jaguars at 3-4 Tennessee Titans (-3) [NFLN]
Thursday, October 27 on NFLN; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson
Titans -3 . . . . over/under 43½ . . . . TEN -150, JAC +130
Broadcast in all markets.

This week we once again have a real clunker on Thursday night. Preseason predictions of Jacksonville progressing to become a playoff team look absurd right now. Tennessee has improved, but that is not saying anything. Last year the Titans were the worst team in the NFL. Jacksonville’s offensive line cannot open up any holes in the running game. Blake Bortles has thrown as many picks as touchdowns (nine) and has an abysmal 76.4 passer rating. To make matters worse the Jaguars have lost NT Roy Miller for the rest of the season due to a torn Achilles heel.

Prediction: Titans 23, Jaguars 13
Titans -3 (two units) . . . . under 43½ (one unit) . . . . Tennessee -150

 

NFL Week 8 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines – Patriots a 6-Point Favorite at Buffalo

John Morgan
October 19, 2016 at 11:00 pm ET

On Wednesday afternoon the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook released their advanced betting lines, also known as look-ahead lines. These early lines give some clairvoyant risk takers an opportunity to roll the dice on games that will not be played for another week and a half. There are times when public reaction to the most recent game clouds reality, and for a moment one can exploit the odds on an overrated or underrated team – or be done in by an unforeseen injury.

Week 8 features a rematch between New England and Buffalo. In the first game between these two original AFL rivals at Foxboro the Bills handed the Patriots their sole loss of the season. With rookie Jacoby Brisset under center Buffalo dominated, shutting the Pats out 16-0. Even though the Patriots are on the road against a 4-2, the handicappers at the Westgate have listed the Pats as the second biggest favorite of the week.

Another team seeking payback for an earlier loss is Denver. The Broncos were stunned in front of a national audience last Thursday at San Diego, overpowered by a feisty Charger team that once again attempted to give the game away in the final minutes. In the largest spread of the week the Broncos are favored by seven.

At the other end of the spectrum Oakland at Tampa Bay is listed as a pick’em. The next closest line belongs to a game between two teams that have not lived up to preseason expectations. 1-5 Carolina is a one-point home favorite versus Arizona. The Panthers are coming off a bye while the 3-3 Cardinals look to keep momentum going after demolishing the Jets 28-3.

The Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers are all off with a bye.

 

NFL Week 8 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines

 

Thursday October 27:

2-3 Jacksonville Jaguars at 3-3 Tennessee Titans (-3) [NFLN]

 

Sunday October 30 Early Games:

4-2 Washington Redskins ‘at’ 2-4 Cincinnati Bengals (-3) in London [FOX]

3-3 Detroit Lions at 4-2 Houston Texans (-3) [FOX]

4-1 Seattle Seahawks at 2-3 New Orleans Saints (-5½) [FOX]

5-1 New England Patriots (-6) at 4-2 Buffalo Bills [CBS]

1-5 New York Jets (-3) at 0-6 Cleveland Browns [CBS]

4-2 Oakland Raiders at 2-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PK) [CBS]

3-2 Kansas City Chiefs (-2½) at 2-4 Indianapolis Colts [CBS]

3-3 Arizona Cardinals at 1-5 Carolina Panthers (-1) [FOX]

Sunday October 30 Late Games:

2-4 San Diego Chargers at 4-2 Denver Broncos (-7) [CBS]

3-2 Green Bay Packers at 4-2 Atlanta Falcons (-2½) [FOX]

3-2 Philadelphia Eagles at 5-1 Dallas Cowboys (-4½) [NBC]

 

Monday October 31:

5-0 Minnesota Vikings (-5½) at 1-5 Chicago Bears [BSPN]

 

 

As for Thursday’s game, Green Bay should win at home easily. Something does seem off with the Packer offense, whether it be the play calling or Aaron Rodgers adjusting to footballs that are not over-inflated. Green Bay’s defense is improved over recent years however, and Chicago does not have the level of talent to keep up.

1-5 Chicago Bears at 3-2 Green Bay Packers
Thursday, October 20 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson
Packers -7½ . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . GNB -350, CHI +290

Prediction: Packers 27, Bears 13
Packers -7½ (one unit) . . . . . under 46½ . . . . . Green Bay -350

 

Colts at Panthers Preview, Odds, Stats, Prediction and Pick ATS

John Morgan
November 2, 2015 at 12:45 pm ET

NFL Week 8 wraps up tonight with the 6-0 Carolina Panthers hosting the 3-4 Indianapolis Colts. The game kicks off at 8:30 pm eastern time and will be broadcast on ESPN. After an off-season where many in the media predicted the Colts would play in (if not win) the Super Bowl, Indy has underachieved dramatically. The Colts have lost three games that they were favored to win and enter this game on a two-game losing streak. Things could actually be worse for Indy; they are fortunate that, despite their geographic location, they play in the AFC South. Indy is 3-0 within their division, barely (average of four points) beating three of the worst teams in the league. Outside the friendly confines of the AFC South the Colts are 0-4 this year; over the last two years Indy is 14-0 within the division and 6-10 against the rest of the NFL.

 

Odds: The betting line in this game has been all over the place. A week a go in advanced look-ahead lines, this game opened up 3½ point favorites. By Saturday the line was up to seven points, but on Monday it was back down to 5½ points at most venues, with a few down as low as five points. The over/under is 46 with a half point variance either way depending on where you shop, and a typical money line has Indy +200 and Carolina -240. Against the spread the Colts are 2-5, while the Panthers are 5-1.

 

Offensive Team Stats

Points per Game: Panthers 27.0 (4th), Colts 21.0 (21st)

Yards per Game: Panthers 344 (22nd), Colts 351 (16th)

Yards per Pass Attempt: Panthers 7.0 (20th), Colts 6.6 (28th)

Yards per Carry: Panthers 4.4 (10th), Colts 4.3 (15th)

Turnovers (giveaways) per Game: Panthers 1.3 (11th), Colts 2.1 (28th)

 

Defensive Team Stats

Points per Game: Panthers 18.3 (5th), Colts  24.9 (21st)

Yards per Game: Panthers 340 (29th), Colts 409 (31st)

Yards per Pass Attempt: Panthers 5.8 (2nd), Colts 7.6 (23rd)

Yards per Carry: Panthers 4.3 (21st), Colts 4.2 (18th)

Turnovers (takeaways) per Game: Panthers 2.0 (6th), Colts 1.0 (27th)

 

Penalties

Own Penalties per Game: Panthers 6.3 (7th), Colts 8.0 (24th)

Own Penalty Yards per Game: Panthers 52.5 (5th), Colts 65.6 (22nd)

Opponent Penalties per Game: Panthers 6.7 (24th), Colts 10.1 (1st)

Opponent Penalty Yards per Game: Panthers 48.7 (29th), Colts 92.4 (1st)

 

The Colts are going to go as far as Andrew Luck will carry them, and so far this season the results have not been pretty. Luck ranks at or near the bottom of the NFL among all starting quarterbacks in nearly every passing statistic, and now he has to face a very solid defense that excels in coverage, led by Josh Norman. The Defensive Player of the Month has four interceptions – including to pick-sixes – ten passes defensed, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two tackles for losses.

Carolina’s ground and pound offense should have no problem with Indy’s soft run defense, and in addition Indy’s man coverage should open up wide running lanes for Cam Newton to take off for big gains if the Panther receivers are covered. The Colts have benefited from undisciplined play of their opponents in their three wins, but that certainly will not be the case with the Carolina defense.

The only remaining question is who will Indianapolis G.M. Ryan Grigson get into a heated exchange with first: owner Jim Irsay or head coach Chuck Pagano?

 

Prediction: Panthers 31, Colts 17

Pick: Panthers  minus 5½ points (four units)

Over 46 points

Panthers -240 (three units)

 

 

 

 

 

NFL Week 8 Previews, TV Info, Odds, Predictions and Picks ATS

John Morgan
October 31, 2015 at 6:00 pm ET

Even though the Patriots are not playing, Sunday looks to be a very good day for watching the NFL. The early CBS game in Boston as well as most of the U.S. has Ben Roethlisberger returning to the field after being shelved for five weeks with a knee injury as the Steelers host the undefeated Bengals in a key AFC North game. Most of the country will get the Giants at New Orleans in the early FOX game, and then Seattle at Dallas gets virtually universal distribution as the late game on FOX. All that is just the preliminary for the Sunday night game, as Green Bay travels to Denver in a clash of undefeated teams. If that’s not enough football for you there is also a morning game from London, though I doubt a Lions-Chiefs contest will generate very many eyeballs outside of Michigan and Missouri.

Happy Birthday in memoriam to Brian Piccolo. Born on Halloween in 1943 in Pittsfield, the Chicago Bear running back passed away all too early at the age of 26 from testicular cancer. If you have never seen the original version of Brian’s Song, you should do so – even though you won’t be able to get through it with a dry eye.

Happy 56th birthday to Kenneth Sims., the defensive end out of Texas that was selected first overall in the 1982 draft by the Patriots. Questioned about his work ethic in practices, Sims responded that ‘I’ll be there on game day’. That resulted in the derisive nickname ‘Game Day’ after so many performances in which he did not live up to his draft status. Sims was beset by injuries (he played in only 74 games over eight seasons) before drug use ended his career. Just a few weeks after Sims signed a two-year contract with the Pats in 1990 he was pulled over for driving 85 miles per hour; while he was pulling out his driver’s license an envelope containing cocaine fell from his wallet, leading to an arrest for possession of coke. The Patriots released him soon afterwards, stating that Sims had not been in good enough physical condition during a mini-camp; when no other teams showed interest Sims retired from the NFL.

 

3-3 Miami Dolphins at 6-0 New England Patriots; Thursday October 29 on CBS
Patriots were favored by 7½ after opening as 10½ point favorites; over/under was 51½; money line was Patriots -400, Dolphins +320.

Prediction: Patriots 31, Dolphins 20
Pick: Patriots -7½ … over 50½ … Patriots -400
Final Score: Patriots 36, Dolphins 7

 

1-6 Detroit Lions vs 2-5 Kansas City Chiefs in London
9:30 am (ET) Sunday November 1 on FOX; Sam Rosen, John Lynch
Broadcast in all markets.

Chiefs -3½ (opened at -2½); over/under 45½; Lions +160, Chiefs -180

In the first game after Jamaal Charles suffered a season-ending torn ACL, Charcandrick West had an inauspicious debut. West gained just 33 yards rushing and lost a fumble as KC scored only ten points against Minnesota, and lost their fifth consecutive game. Last week West bounced back with 129 yards from scrimmage, two touchdowns and no turnovers as the Chiefs defeated Pittsburgh 23-13. Detroit is giving up 6.1 yards per play (29th in the NFL) and has a negative 1.0 turnover differential per game (also 29th). I see no reason why the Lions would not be expected to find a novel way to lose yet another winnable game.

Prediction: Chiefs 24, Lions 20
Pick: Chiefs -3½ … under 45½ … Lions +160

 

4-2 Minnesota Vikings at 2-4 Chicago Bears
Early (1:00 pm ET) game on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber
Broadcast in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Vikings -1 (opened at -2½); over/under 42½; Vikings -120, Bears +100

Many are still down on the Bears due to their horrible start to the season, but let’s not forget that was with Jimmy Clausen at QB throwing to a receiving corps that was without Alshon Jeffery. Minnesota’s 4-2 record is deceiving; they have defeated the one-win Lions twice and a pair of 2-5 teams (Chiefs, Chargers); on top of that they managed to lose badly to San Francisco.

Prediction: Bears 24, Vikings 20
Pick: Bears +1 … over 42½ … Bears +100

 

2-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 6-1 Atlanta Falcons
Early game on FOX; Justin Kutcher, Charles Davis
Broadcast in Alabama, Florida (except Miami/West Palm), Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, western Virginia and Knoxville TN.

Falcons -7 (opened at -8); over/under 48½; Bucs +280, Falcons -340

Tampa Bay continues to take dumb penalties (second worst in the NFL at 88.8 yards per game), their defense is dead last in the NFL with opponents needing to gain just 11.0 yards per point, and the end result is an NFL-worst 29.8 points allowed per game. Lovie Smith’s outdated Tampa-2 defense has no clue how to cover opposing tight ends, as they are far too vulnerable to quick slants. If Kirk Cousins and Washington’s mediocre offense can score 31, what will Atlanta’s far more potent offense do?

Prediction: Falcons 34, Bucs 20
Pick: Falcons -7 (two units) … over 48½ … Falcons -340

 

4-3 New York Giants at 3-4 New Orleans Saints
Early game on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston
Broadcast in Arkansas, southern California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania (except Pittsburgh), Rhode Island, Tennessee (except Knoxville), Texas (except Houston), Utah, Vermont, eastern Virginia, Wyoming, Las Vegas NV, Miami FL, West Palm Beach FL and Washington DC.

Saints -3 (opened at -2); over/under 49½; Giants +150, Saints -170

The Giants lead the NFL in turnover differential (+1.4 per game), and the New Orleans defense is 30th with 405 yards allowed per game. Take away the horrible week six Monday night game at Philadelphia, and the Giants are averaging 26.5 points per game; I don’t believe the Saints will be able to stop the G-Men or keep up with them.

Prediction: Giants 28, Saints 24
Pick: Giants +3 … over 49½ … Giants +150

 

2-5 San Francisco 49ers at 3-3 St. Louis Rams
Early game on FOX; Dick Stockton, David Diehl
Broadcast in northern California, southern Illinois and Missouri.

Rams -8 (opened at -6); over/under 39½; Niners +350, Rams -420

An awful San Francisco offense just got worse, with the new that RB Carlos Hyde is out with a foot injury. The St. Louis offense (18.0 ppg, 31st; 299 yards per game, 31st) is putrid as well, but it is still one up on the Niners. RB Todd Gurley and the Rams defense will be just enough to win this snooze-fest.

Prediction: Rams 20, Niners 10
Pick: Rams -8 … under 39½ … Rams -420

 

5-2 Arizona Cardinals at 2-5 Cleveland Browns
Early game on FOX; Matt Smith, Chris Cooley
Broadcast in Alaska, Arizona, Kentucky, Idaho, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia.

Cardinals -5½ (opened at -4); over/under 46½; Cardinals -240, Browns +200

Since starting the season with three wins Arizona has looked mortal, losing to the Rams and Steelers while barely hanging on to defeat one-win Baltimore last week. The Cleveland run defense (151 yards per game, 32nd; 5.1 yards per carry, 31st) is a joke; Chris Johnson (567 yards rushing, 2nd in NFL; 5.1 yards per carry, 1st for all players with at least 80 carries) and Andre Ellington (9.0 yards from scrimmage per touch, 7.6 yards per carry) should make for a long day for Cleveland’s defense. The only thing holding me back a bit is Arizona playing on the road on a short week; if this was still at four points I would have more confidence in the Cardinals.

Prediction: Cardinals 24, Browns 17
Pick: Cardinals -5½ … under 46½ … Cardinals -240

 

6-0 Cincinnati Bengals at 4-3 Pittsburgh Steelers
Early game on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Broadcast in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida (except Tampa), Georgia (except Atlanta), Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois (except Chicago), Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana (except New Orleans), Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri (except St. Louis), Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio (except Cleveland), Oklahoma, northern Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Las Vegas NV.

Pick’em (opened at Bengals -2½); over/under 48½; Bengals -110, Steelers -110

Pittsburgh gets not only a big emotional lift with a home game and the return of Big Ben, but also a huge boost in performance as well. Roethlisberger was completing over 75% of his passes for 10.3 yards per pass attempt before his knee injury – and that was for the most part without stud running back Le’Veon Bell on the field. Cincy is a solid, deep, well balanced team, but they are in a tough spot here and due for a loss. This should be a really great game for all NFL fans to watch.

Prediction: Steelers 24, Bengals 23
Pick: Steelers +0 … under 48½ … Steelers -110

 

2-5 San Diego Chargers at 1-6 Baltimore Ravens
Early game on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Broadcast in southern California, Maryland, northern Virginia, Washington DC and Yuma AZ.

Ravens -3½ (opened at -2); over/under 50½; Chargers +165, Ravens -185

Baltimore returns home after playing five of their first seven games on the road, though after playing in Arizona last Monday night they still have a short week to prepare and heal. At this point their season is virtually over; even though every game has been close, you have to wonder if or when they might start mailing it in. San Diego could be the perfect cure for the Ravens, as they are a team that continues to find ways to lose. With no running game thanks to a decimated offensive line the Chargers have become completely one dimensional and predictable on offense. San Diego is horribly inefficient on both sides of the ball, ranking 31st in offensive yards per point (18.3) and 29th in defensive yards per point (12.8). Baltimore’s once vaunted defense has become a shell of its former self , ranking 26th with 26.9 points per game allowed; this should be a high scoring game.

Prediction: Ravens 31, Chargers 28
Pick: Chargers +3½ … over 50½ … Chargers +165

 

1-5 Tennessee Titans at 2-5 Houston Texans;
Early game on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots
Broadcast in northern Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas (except Dallas).

Texans -4½ (opened at 4½); over/under 43½; Titans +170, Texans -200

Zach Mettenberger (5.81 yards per pass attempt) and an impotent Tennesse offense (19.8 points per game, 30th) versus a Houston defense that allows 28.4 points per game (28th)… Or, Brian Hoyer (58.9% completions) and a Houston offense that is now without Arian Foster versus a Tennessee team that is 25th in turnovers (-4 differential). Tough call, but I’ll go with the more experienced quarterback playing at home.

Prediction: Texans 20, Titans 17
Pick: Titans +4½ … under 43½ … Titans +170

 

4-2 New York Jets at 3-3 Oakland Raiders
Late (4:05 pm ET) game on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Broadcast in Arizona, northern California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, southern Oregon, Utah, Atlanta GA, Chicago IL, Cleveland OH, New Orleans LA, Reno NV, St. Louis MO and Tampa FL.

Jets -3 (opened at -3); over/under 44½; Jets -145, Raiders +125

As we saw last week with the favored Colts losing, teams that play the Patriots tend to have an emotional (and physical) letdown the following week. Factor in the coast-to-coast travel and you have a recipe for an upset. How the two clubs deal with injuries could play a large role in this game: Oakland LDE Justin Tuck is on IR and ILB Neiron Ball is out with a knee injury, while Jet center Nick Mangold is doubtful due to a neck injury.

Prediction: Raiders 24, Jets 20
Pick: Raiders +3 … under 44½ … Raiders +125

 

3-4 Seattle Seahawks at 2-4 Dallas Cowboys
Late (4:25 pm ET) game on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman
Broadcast in all markets except San Francisco/Oakland.

Seahawks -5½ (opened at 5½); over/under 41½; Seahawks -230, Cowboys +190

Dallas ranks dead last in the NFL with a negative 1.5 turnover differential per game, and has one of the most inefficient offenses in the league (18.2 yards per point. 30th) as well as one of the most inefficient defenses (12.9 yards per point, 28th). As much as Seattle has underwhelmed this season, that’s just far too much to overcome against a decent team with a good defense.

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Cowboys 17
Pick: Seahawks -5½ … under 41½ … Seahawks -230

 

6-0 Green Bay Packers at 6-0 Denver Broncos
Sunday night (8:30 pm ET) game on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Broadcast in all markets.

Packers -3 (opened at -3); over/under 45½; Packers -150, Broncos +130

Denver’s defense is very good, but let’s put things in context here. The Broncos have defeated one team with a winning record (Minnesota), and struggled in all but one game (a 12-point victory over the one-win Lions). Any and all of the five other games could have easily gone the other way, and in most cases they should have. Both defenses are good at taking the ball away (Denver first, 2.8 per game; Green Bay ninth, 1.7 per game) but the Packers don’t turn the ball over (four, second fewest in the NFL). The Broncos on the other hand have turned the ball over eleven times – including a league-high ten interceptions.

Prediction: Packers 24, Broncos 20
Pick: Packers -3 … under 45½ … Broncos +130

 

3-4 Indianapolis Colts at 6-0 Carolina Panthers
Monday night (8:30 pm ET) game on ESPN; Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden
Broadcast in all markets.

Panthers -7 (opened at -3½); over/under 46½; Colts +250, Panthers -300

Despite being the beneficiary of an NFL-high 92.4 opponent penalty yards per game, the off-season paper champion Colts continue to underachieve. The Carolina pass defense is very good: they rank 2nd in the NFL with just 5.8 yards per pass attempt, 5th in completions (58.8%), are first with an opponent passer rating of 67.0, and are tied with Denver for the best TD:INT ratio (five touchdowns allowed to nine picks). Indy’s soft run defense plays right into Carolina’s strength, and their man to man coverage scheme should open up running lanes for Cam Newton to take off for big gains.

Prediction: Panthers 31, Colts 17
Pick: Panthers -7 (three units) … over 46½ … Panthers -300 (one unit)

 

Bye Week:
3-4 Buffalo Bills
2-5 Jacksonville Jaguars
3-4 Philadelphia Eagles
3-4 Washington Redskins

 

 

NFL Week 8 Television: Cowboys again broadcast nationwide in late afternoon game

John Morgan
October 26, 2015 at 4:00 pm ET

For the second week in a row FOX will jam the Dallas Cowboys down the collective throats of NFL fans, broadcasting the ‘Boys in their exclusive late afternoon game in week 8. The 2-4 Cowboys (last in the NFC East) host the 3-4 Seattle Seahawks in a game that will be broadcast by every FOX affiliate in the U.S., with the exception of one station in the Bay area due to NFL television restrictions (i.e., Oakland is playing at home at the same time).

 

CBS will again broadcast only a single game this week. Most of the country (including the New England area) will get their best game available: 4-3 Pittsburgh at 6-0 Cincinnati. It is interesting to note that many markets will be airing this matchup rather than a game that involves the a division rival of the team from that area. In the Patriots’ home markets for example, the decision was made to go with the better teams (Steelers-Bengals) rather than a game involving another team in the AFC East (Jets-Raiders). It was not long ago that in a scenario such as this one that the decision would be to automatically opt for a game with a division rival over any other game. The reason for that change is probably due to the influence of fantasy football and daily fantasy gambling sites; many viewers have become far more interested in individual players than with rivals of their favorite team.

 

In the other early game Fox will broadcast the Giants at New Orleans in the New England area. Normally this would elicit a snarky remark from me about the fact that this is 2015 and not 1959, and the reality that New England residents who were Giant fans are all either in their nineties or six feet under; the notion that the Giants are the Boston area’s regional team is ludicrous. However, in this instance none of those other games are particularly compelling; this may be the best of five rather uninspiring matchups.

 

Happy 65th birthday to Chuck Foreman. The 12th overall selection of the 1973 draft by Minnesota finished his NFL career in 1980 with the 10-6 New England Patriots. Foreman didn’t see much action that season (23 carries and 14 receptions). By that time the wear from being hit after nearly 2,200 touches had taken its toll, and Foreman was buried on the depth chart behind Vagas Ferguson, Don Calhoun, Horace Ivory and Mosi Tatupu. His final NFL touchdown came in the 4th quarter of a week seven game at Baltimore. The one-yard plunge sealed the victory for New England and gave the Pats a 37-21 victory over the Colts as the Patriots advanced to 6-1. Foreman was named to five Pro Bowls in his eight-year career, and ranks 59th all-time with 53 career rushing touchdowns.

 

3-3 Miami Dolphins at 6-0 New England Patriots (-10½), Thursday October 29 on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms

Available in all U.S. television markets.

 

1-6 Detroit Lions vs 2-5 Kansas City Chiefs (-2½) in London, 9:30 am (ET) Sunday November 1 on FOX; Sam Rosen, John Lynch

Available in all U.S. television markets.

 

4-2 Minnesota Vikings (-2½) at 2-4 Chicago Bears, early (1:00 pm ET, Nov 1) game on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber

Scheduled to be broadcast in Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

 

2-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 6-1 Atlanta Falcons (-8), early game on FOX; Justin Kutcher, Charles Davis

Scheduled to be broadcast in Alabama, Florida (except Miami/West Palm Beach), Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee and western Virginia.

 

4-3 New York Giants at 3-4 New Orleans Saints (-2), early game on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston

Scheduled to be broadcast in Arkansas, southern California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania (except Pittsburgh), Rhode Island, western Tennessee, Texas (except Houston), Utah, Vermont, eastern Virginia, Wyoming, DC, Las Vegas, Miami and West Palm Beach.

 

2-5 San Francisco 49ers at 3-3 St. Louis Rams (-6), early game on FOX; announcers TBD

Scheduled to be broadcast in northern California, Idaho, southern Illinois, Missouri, Oregon, Washington and Reno.

 

4-2 Arizona Cardinals (-4) at 2-5 Cleveland Browns, early game on FOX; announcers TBD

Scheduled to be broadcast in Arizona, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

 

6-0 Cincinnati Bengals at 4-3 Pittsburgh Steelers, early game on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts

Scheduled to be broadcast in Alaska, Arizona, northern California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, southern Oregon, Utah, Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Reno, Springfield MA, St. Louis and Tampa.

 

2-5 San Diego Chargers at 1-5 Baltimore Ravens (-2), early game on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green

Scheduled to be broadcast in southern California, Maryland, northern Virginia, DC and Yuma AZ

 

1-5 Tennessee Titans at 2-5 Houston Texans, early game on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots

Scheduled to be broadcast in northern Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Bowling Green KY and Shreveport LA

 

4-2 New York Jets (-3) at 3-3 Oakland Raiders, late (4:05 pm ET) game on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

Scheduled to be broadcast in Arizona, northern California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, southern Oregon, Utah, Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Fargo, New Orleans, Springfield MA, St. Louis, Reno and Tampa

 

3-4 Seattle Seahawks (-5½) at 2-4 Dallas Cowboys, late (4:25 pm ET) game on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman

Available in all U.S. television markets except San Francisco/Oakland.

 

6-0 Green Bay Packers (-3) at 6-0 Denver Broncos, Sunday night (8:30 pm ET) game on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth

Available in all U.S. television markets.

 

3-4 Indianapolis Colts at 6-0 Carolina Panthers (-3½), Monday night (8:30 pm ET, Nov 2) game on ESPN; Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden

Available in all U.S. television markets.

 

Bye Week: 3-4 Buffalo Bills, 2-5 Jacksonville Jaguars, 3-4 Philadelphia Eagles, 3-4 Washington Redskins

 

 

 

 

Patriots open as 10.5 point favorites in NFL week 8 advanced lookahead lines

John Morgan
October 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm ET

The New England Patriots have opened up as 10½ point favorites at home versus Miami in early ‘look-ahead’ advanced lines posted by the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook for NFL week eight. The AFC East rivals will kick off next week’s league action next Thursday in Foxboro. This weekend in early afternoon action the 5-0 Pats host the 4-1 Jets, while 2-3 Miami hosts 2-4 Houston; both of those games start at 1:00 pm eastern time.

 

Other than the Pats-Fins of course, the best game should be between the undefeated Packers and Broncos on Sunday night; other good matchups include the Bengals at Steelers in an early afternoon game, and Indy at Carolina on Monday night.

 

Here is a look at the initial betting lines for all of the week eight NFL games:

 

2-3 Miami Dolphins at 5-0 New England Patriots (-10½); Thursday October 29 on CBS

>> Edit: as of 8:30 pm ET on Oct 26, most venues have brought the line down to 7½ points.

 

1-5 Detroit Lions vs 1-5 Kansas City Chiefs (-2½) in London; 9:30 am (ET) Sunday November 1 on FOX

 

3-2 Minnesota Vikings (-2½) at 2-4 Chicago Bears; early (1:00 pm ET, Nov 1) game on FOX

 

2-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 5-1 Atlanta Falcons (-8); early game on FOX

 

3-3 New York Giants at 2-4 New Orleans Saints (-2); early game on FOX

 

2-5 San Francisco 49ers at 2-3 St. Louis Rams (-6); early game on FOX

 

4-2 Arizona Cardinals (-4) at 2-4 Cleveland Browns; early game on FOX

 

6-0 Cincinnati Bengals at 4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers;

No advanced line due to unknown status of Ben Roethlisberger; early game on CBS

 

2-4 San Diego Chargers at 1-5 Baltimore Ravens (-2); early game on CBS

 

1-4 Tennessee Titans at 2-4 Houston Texans;

No advanced line due to unknown status of Marcus Mariota; early game on CBS

 

4-1 New York Jets (-3) at 2-3 Oakland Raiders; late (4:05 pm ET) game on CBS

 

3-4 Seattle Seahawks (-5½) at 2-3 Dallas Cowboys; late (4:25 pm ET) game on FOX

 

6-0 Green Bay Packers (-3) at 6-0 Denver Broncos; Sunday night (8:30 pm ET) game on NBC

 

3-3 Indianapolis Colts at 5-0 Carolina Panthers (-3½); Monday night (8:30 pm ET, Nov 2) game on ESPN

 

Bye Week: 3-3 Buffalo Bills, 1-5 Jacksonville Jaguars, 3-3 Philadelphia Eagles, 2-4 Washington Redskins