November 2007

Ricky Williams: One and Done

For a while there, it looked like the Miami Dolphins had a chance. But the longer Monday night’s soggy matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers went, the more you could tell nothing was going to happen with Patrick Cobbs carrying the ball.

The Dolphins desperately needed someone to carry the ball through the mud, so they activated both Ricky Williams and Jesse Chatman for Monday night. And both were knocked out of the game; worse, Williams is already on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.

Miami just took a huge step down the road to 0-16 by losing Williams for the rest of the year. But will Ricky be around in 2008? There was talk the Dolphins were showcasing Williams for a potential trade; now that his showcase is over prematurely, the Fish may keep Williams during his contract year and sign him on the cheap should he perform well. The legend continues.

Top 10 NFL Betting Blogs

It takes a village to raise a good NFL handicapper. Whatever level of betting prowess you possess, you need sources of advice and information you can trust.

Here are my Top 10 NFL blogs (outside the Bodog family, that is), in no particular order.

Football Outsiders: The premier place for advanced football statistical analysis.

Two Minute Warning: Stats from a gambling perspective.
Pro Football Talk: Gaining a reputation for its news collating and opinion.

Bam’s NFL Rumors: A news/rumor aggregate with weekly picks.

Deadspin: Hugely popular sports site includes insightful NFL picks and commentary.

Larry Brown Sports: Comprehensive blog with lots of linkage (and thongage).

Fanhouse: Sure, it’s AOL, but they do a good job of getting to the point.
Kissing Suzy Kolber: Which we’ve all thought about from time to time.

Hashmarks: Not quite as good as True Hoop, but at least ESPN is getting there.

Dave’s Football Blog: Every kind of football there is, with sharp analysis.

Super Bowl Bets: Steelers, Colts or Patriots?

The last couple of weeks have shaken up the top of the NFL standings. The New England Patriots are still humming along, undefeated at 9-0 (8-1 ATS), but the Indianapolis Colts have dropped two in a row to fall even with the Pittsburgh Steelers at 7-2.

If you can’t stand the thought of eating chalk on the Super Bowl futures market, then you need to figure out which team has the best chance to knock off the Patriots. We’re going to leave 8-1 Dallas and Green Bay out of the equation, since they play in the lesser NFC.

The Colts came very close to beating New England in Week 9, and that was without LT Tony Ugoh and WR Marvin Harrison, but even more offensive players (plus DL Dwight Freeney) have been hurt since then. That might leave it up to Pittsburgh’s No. 2-ranked defense to upset New England for the AFC championship. It could happen.

NFL Week 10 Wrap-UP Report

This week’s NFL Week 10 wrap-up report looks a little like this: we take a look at the happenings of this past weekend in the NFL; we ask a bookmanager about Peyton Manning’s worst day ever, Adrian Peterson’s injury as well who he thinks the second best team in the league is now that the Colts are suffering through a mini-slump.

The Colts lost their second game in a row after Peyton Manning threw a career high six interceptions, what can we make of this? Are the Colts still the second-best team in the NFL right now?

This game had the same feel as the Cowboys-Bills game earlier this year.  Tony Romo turned the ball over at every opportunity but he was saved by rookie Nick Folk’s 53-yard, game-winning field goal.

In the Colts/Chargers game, Manning threw the ball away six times but the Indianapolis D kept San Diego from scoring over the final 36:13 to set up what should have been another chance at redemption for Manning and the Colts. Manning drove Indy deep into San Diego territory giving Adam Vinatieri’s a chance at a gimme 29 yard game winner, except he pushed the ball right, and the Colts lost the game 23-21.

Can we say that Manning and the Colts are on the decline? If you look at Manning’s interceptions, or more accurately his targets in that contest, you’ll have the answer: Pro-Bowler Reggie Wayne and then Aaron Moorehead – who had 27 career catches in 34 games going into Sunday’s game – and Craphonso Thorpe, who came from the Colts practice roster and had yet to catch an NFL pass. Wayne did his part, catching 10 for 140 yards and a TD but Moorehead and Thorpe showed why they aren’t ready for primetime. I predict more of the same until Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark and hot rookie Anthony Gonzalez come back from injury.

Toss in Vinateri’s miscues and it’s hard to say if we saw the real Colts on Sunday. If the Colts can get all their players healthy again they are a lock as the number two team in the league but they are missing three of Manning’s top four targets on offense, and Dwight Freeney on defense – their number one pass rusher. With these guys they’re the definite No. 2 team in football. Without ‘em? Who knows?

The Dallas Cowboys beat the NY Giants in convincing fashion Sunday can anyone stop this team from winning the NFC?

The Cowboys are clearly the team to beat in the NFC. They exposed the Giants as pretenders for the NFC title. The Giants’ six wins this year are against teams with a combined record of 15-39, and their three losses came against the NFC’s elite teams, losing twice to the Cowboys and once to the Packers.

The Green Bay Packers are the only other NFC team with a chance to beat the Cowboys; Favre continued his renaissance with 351 passing yards and three TDs versus the Vikings at Lambeau.  The Packers will probably be the last squad in the NFC to pose a challenge to the Cowboys.

Adrian Peterson was on his way to smashing the rookie rushing record and winning the overall rushing title until he was injured versus Green Bay, how will he come back?
Peterson’s final two college seasons were cut short due to injuries, so this has to be a scary moment for the Minnesota Vikings and their fans. The reports are saying he tore a knee ligament, Coach Brad Childress says Peterson will be out of the next game but with his history of injuries and the Vikings season all but lost it would be ludicrous to rush him back before he’s ready.  It may be bad news for some Bodog Fantasy teams but it would make the most sense for the Vikings and their star.

And then there was one. The St. Louis Rams put up 37 points this weekend and beat the New Orleans Saints, leaving the Miami Dolphins as the lone winless team. Will the Dolphins win a game this season? If so who will they beat?

Miami will be in tough to pick up a win before the end of the season, but they have a chance in Week 13 when they face an equally horrible New York Jets. The Jets lone win came at home in Week 3 when they beat the Dolphins by three.

Is there anything else that we can take away from this weekend?

Ben Roethlisberger is playing like an elite quarterback. The Steelers will earn a bye in the playoffs. Steve McNair’s career is coming to an end. Brett Favre’s is not. Albert Haynesworth is more valuable to the Titans than Vince Young. Tony Romo was worth the money

Alex Smith is a bust.

NFL Football a Favorite Among Women?

The NFL may be the biggest thing going in North American pro sports, but there are always new markets for the league to invade. How about the biggest market of all – women?

According to the Kansas City Star, NFL research shows that 15 million of their 50 million “avid” fans are female. And a Harris Poll shows 30 percent of women respondents, when asked their favorite spectator sport, said football. The NFL itself is hiring more and more women, and after an unfortunate dalliance with cheesecake, broadcasters are wisely sticking with the likes of Pam Oliver and Suzy Kolber.

Which is why you can now buy women’s apparel and jewellery for every NFL team. Check out that hot pink Tom Brady uniform. “You will look cute,” according to the product info blurb. Maybe so, but do they have a Steve Hutchinson-sized Vikings Confetti Dot Pajama Set? Nope: Small, Medium and Large only.

Posted in NFL

How Great was Patriots vs. Colts Game?

The Patriots dropped the cash!

That’s the main storyline (as far as we’re concerned) about Sunday’s Patriots-Colts game. Sure, the Pats went 9-0 straight up and will now carry the 1972 Miami Dolphins on their backs for the rest of the season – or until they lose, whichever comes first. But it was easily the toughest game of the year for both teams, and New England escaped by the skin of its teeth.

It took two fourth-quarter TD drives (keyed by two Tom Brady bombs) for New England to win 24-20 as 6.5-point road faves. Indy’s offense did well in the first three quarters, but the absence of Marvin Harrison was problematic for Peyton Manning, especially once Anthony Gonzalez was knocked out in the first half with a finger injury.

Even if you had given the Colts a full complement, Sunday’s game would have been a close one. Perhaps they will meet again in the AFC Championship (fingers crossed).

Now here’s a highlite video of the Colts/Patriots game from Sunday. Enjoy.

Colts vs. Patriots: Super Bowl 41.5

Never before have two undefeated teams met this late in an NFL season. Call it Super Bowl 41 1/2. Admit it, you’ve been waiting for this game since Week 1. Whichever team wins Sunday’s epic showdown between the Colts (7-0) and Patriots (8-0) will be anointed the king of the NFL, the clear favorite to win the Super Bowl.
By beating the Patriots, the Colts can prove they’re still the boss. The winner of this game will be the last unbeaten team, with a chance for a perfect season. The game also has huge implications for the playoffs because the winner will have a leg up on securing home-field advantage. How important is that? All three times these teams have met in the playoffs, the home team has won.