Just bet New England rest of season

November 20, 2007 6:55 AM
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LAST WK SEASON PCT
6-8-1 73-80-5 47.7

If there were any questions concerning the mindset of the New England Patriots coming off of their bye week which followed their "Close Encounter of a Colts Kind" they were quickly put to rest on Sunday night.

The Patriots picked up right where they left off prior to their 24-20 win in Indianapolis by thrashing improved Division rival Buffalo 56-10 on Sunday night.

There’s just no sense in going against the Patriots the rest of the season. They seem intent upon scoring on almost every offensive play, if not every possession. And trying to go UNDER totals in their games is seemingly almost as foolish. New England is more than capable and apparently willing to go OVER the posted total all by themselves.

Folks, we are seeing the kind of dominance not seen before in the NFL and quite likely never to be seen again. That’s assuming New England completes it’s mission of a perfect season and the 19-0 record achieved by capturing Super Bowl XLII in February.

They seem intent upon obliterating the record books in terms of overall team achievements and have already tallied 411 points through 10 games. The Pats need just 146 more to set an all time record (Minnesota scored 556 in 1998). New England is on a pace to set the record in Game 14!

Speaking of amazing performances, how about the Cleveland Browns posting 10 straight OVERs to start the season. Even last week against the supposedly strong defense and weak offense of Baltimore (the highest total ever posted in the 18 all time meetings between the current and former Browns) the game still sailed beyond the posted total by nearly three touchdowns.

In an effort to catch up with this incredible phenomena, the lines maker has posted 52 as the total for this week’s game between Houston and Cleveland. At some point the line SHOULD (but does not have to) catch up with the Browns. For the time being, however, you either play the game OVER or just pass on playing the total. The Browns have exceeded 52 points in half of their 10 games with three that fell short totaling 47, 50 and 51 total points.

The six-week holiday season gets underway with three games on Thursday to kick off the long weekend. With college football being played much of the day on Friday, if you don’t get your fill of turkey and stuffing over the next week you’ll certainly get your fill of football.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Here’s a look this week’s serving of 16 games.

THURSDAY

Green Bay -3½ at Detroit (48½): Detroit is clearly struggling after a pair of poor efforts including its first home loss to the Giants in which the offense could never quite find its rhythm and cash in on scoring opportunities. Packers QB Brett Favre is having an MYP-type season and the defense continues to play at a high level. The situation does favor the Lions, but the fundamentals favor Green Bay in this storied rivalry. The Pack continues to play at a high level and dating back to last season have now won 13 of their last 14 games. But what tilts the scales is Green Bay’s big game next week in Dallas. DETROIT.

NY Jets +14 at Dallas (47½): The Jets pulled the surprise upset of last week by defeating Pittsburgh in overtime. That should enable Dallas coach Wade Phillips to have his team’s attention for this short practice week. Dallas is the much more talented team with many more weapons on offense to attack a porous Jets defense. The lack of normal practice time will work against New York. The Jets are also playing their first road game in more than a month. Expect the Cowboys to play aggressively against a team they outclass, forcing the Jets to play from behind. DALLAS.

Indy -12 at Atlanta (41½): The NFL Network joins the fun with their debut telecast of the season. Indianapolis has been hit with significant injuries over the past few weeks which have caused a sharp decline in the efficiency of the offense. Atlanta is a shambles as first year coach Bobby Petrino has found the transition from college to pro ball rougher than expected. Even with several receivers out, the Colts have too much talent and their defense has played at a high level all season. Atlanta is limited on offense but the defense has actually been respectable. UNDER.

SUNDAY

Denver +3 at Chicago: At 4-6 Chicago is likely to miss the playoffs barring its running the table. The Bears have performed poorly on both sides of the ball since Week 1. They have just played two games on the West Coast and seek to end a rare three game home losing streak. Both teams have shown more weaknesses than strengths this season and both offenses have struggled to maintain consistency, especially running the football. Weather is always a factor at this time of the season and both are cold weather teams. UNDER.

Tennessee PK at Cincy: The Bengals failed to capitalize on momentum gained from their win a week earlier at Division rival Baltimore with their loss last week at home to poor traveling Arizona. Despite outgaining the Cardinals 394-247 the Bengals never threatened to take control of the game. Four Carson Palmer interceptions did not help (two were returned for touchdowns). Tennessee remains a well coached, well prepared team. On paper, the Bengals appear to be the more talented team. On the field it’s the Titans that are playing the far better football this season. TENNESSEE.

Buffalo +8 at Jax (36): The status of Buffalo RB Marshawn Lynch is up in the air. The Bills got a second dose of New England last week. While Jacksonville is not New England, the task will be just as tough. Aside from their encounters with the Pats, Buffalo’s defense has performed well and largely why they won five of six prior to last week. Jacksonville also has a top flight defense and an offense that relies more on the run than the pass. UNDER.

Oakland +6 at KC (34½): Kansas City won the earlier meeting a month ago 12-10 in Oakland in a game that was statistically even. That game was the eighth in the last nine between the teams decided by a TD or less. The Chiefs are the more talented team and having the better season, but the closeness of this series suggests the first look should be towards the underdog. RB Larry Johnson is likely out once again for the Chiefs while it is still not certain that Daunte Culpepper will get start this week at QB for the Raiders. UNDER.

Houston +3½ at Cleveland (52): Both teams are playing far better than expected when the season began. Cleveland’s 6-4 record has them in control of an AFC Wild Card. Houston is just a game back. The Browns continue to be potent on offense but weak on defense. Houston is off of an impressive win against New Orleans last week but this situation does favor the host. CLEVELAND.

Seattle -3 at St. Louis (45): In the earlier meeting Seattle routed the Rams 33-6, but St. Louis was shorthanded. The Rams are healthier now and despite their ugly stats in last week’s 13-9 win in San Francisco the offense should continue to improve over the balance of the season. There’s just too much talent at skill positions. Seattle leads the weak NFC West and has been statistically better than the record. The running game has struggled with nagging injuries to star RB Shaun Alexander but the offense ranks in the top 10. OVER.

Minn +7 at NY Giants (41): The Giants are out to erase memories of recent collapses in the second half of the season. They got off to a good start with their win in Detroit. The defense continues to excel, putting great pressure on opposing QBs while the offense continues to feature a solid running game. Minnesota leads the league, rushing for 178 yards per game. The defense also leads the NFL, allowing just 74 ypg. The Giants rush game is also top 10 on both sides of the ball. The road team has won each of the last four meetings. UNDER.

N.Orleans -3 at Carolina (41): Carolina won the earlier meeting 16-13 despite being outgained by nearly 100 yards. Still, the Panthers are 0-4 at home this season and have lost four in a row overall. The Saints appeared on the verge of making a run after starting 0-4, but suffered losses the past two weeks. The Saints have the better overall offense but the Panthers do run the football better. Carolina also has by far the better defense, a good reason to play a home underdog. CAROLINA.

Wash +3 at Tampa Bay (37): Washington drops a bit in class after facing two NFC East rivals. The Skins played well in defeat although their defense let them down in both games. Tampa Bay leads the NFC South largely due to a defense which ranks fifth best in the league. Both offenses are above average at running the football, even with Tampa’s depleted corps of running backs. Both passing offenses are pretty close to the league average. Aside from their lopsided loss to New England, the Redskins have been competitive in the other games they’ve played this year. WASHINGTON.

SF +10 at Arizona (38): The date was October 10, 1993. Then known as the Phoenix Cardinals, the New England Patriots came to town as 11 point underdogs. The Patriots left a 23-21 winner in the last game (and only the second since 1986) in which the Cardinals were double digit favorites. In fact, this marks just the fifteenth time since 1982 that the Cardinals (whether in St Louis or Arizona) have been favored by a TD or more. They did open last season favored by 9 over these 49ers and the Cards won, 34-27. This line says more about the 49ers than it does the Cardinals. 49ERS.

Balt +9½ at San Diego (38½): Were it allowed, Baltimore coach Brian Billick might just throw in the white towel on the 2007 season. Last week’s home loss to Cleveland was tough, but exposed an aging defense. This is a terrible spot for Baltimore as this is its only road game in a six week stretch. San Diego outgained Jacksonville in the loss last week, but still controls its fate as leaders of the AFC West. The Ravens are a poor offensive team so look for the Chargers to put forth one of their better efforts. SAN DIEGO.

. Philly +17 at N.England: The status of Philly QB Donovan McNabb is up in the air. It’s clear that New England has the mindset to just overwhelm opponents from start to finish. The Eagles have been too inconsistent on both sides of the ball to suggest they can hang in with the Patriots for a full 60 minutes. Still, turnovers can happen which can make it hazardous to lay such a huge number. With New England looking to get off to fast starts, the best play is to consider New England and the OVER for a first half play. For the game, either look to the Pats or OVER. We’ll opt for the total. OVER.

MONDAY

Miami +16 at Pittsburgh (43): This one could get ugly. Steelers are off a loss on the road at the NY Jets in which they allowed an opposing runner to gain more than 100 yards for the first time in nearly 36 games. We all remember what the Steelers did in the first half when they hosted Baltimore a few weeks ago and Miami’s offense is statistically similar to the Ravens. Under new coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have been more wide open on offense. Six of the 11 Monday night games have been decided by at least 17 points.PITTSBURGH.