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Cnotes 2017 NFL Trends/Stats/News/Picks Thru The Super Bowl

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  • #61
    Packers Notebook: Bennett supports brother
    September 11, 2017

    GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers' defense was sieve-like in 2016 and the biggest reason the Packers didn't reach the Super Bowl. On Sunday, though, Green Bay's defense looked like a strength, not a weakness.

    Sunday marked the first time since Oct. 4, 2015, that Green Bay held a team without a touchdown. The last time that happened came during a 17-3 win over San Francisco.

    And Sunday was the fewest number of points Green Bay allowed in a season opener since 2001, when they defeated Detroit, 20-6.

    "Everybody from the D-line to the 'backers to the secondary, I think we collectively put a full game together from start to finish," Packers outside linebacker Nick Perry said. "Obviously, there's things we need to improve on, but at the end of the day, I think we had a good first step today and we're going to continue to stack our successes off of this one."

    Green Bay finished 22nd in total defense last year and No. 31 against the pass. The Packers also allowed 44 points in their loss to Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game.

    But the 2017 Packers look much different - at least after one game.

    "Personally, I don't pay any attention to outside noise outside of this locker room," Packers safety Morgan Burnett said. "Each year, you've got to find a way to come in and get better. That's our job.

    "At the end of the day, nobody goes out there individually. We go out there together, so we have each other's back. This is the first game for the 2017 Packers to show everybody what we have in front of our home crowd. We're off to a good start, but it's just one game. There's some things we can clean up and we're going to do that."

    --Right tackle Bryan Bulaga missed the game against Seattle with a sprained ankle that's lingered for nearly three weeks. That marked the 33rd game Bulaga has missed in a career that started in 2010.

    In his stead, the Packers turned to second-year man Kyle Murphy, who was active just three games a year ago. And while Murphy had his share of trouble against the elite Seahawks' defense, he held up well in Green Bay's huge early-season win.

    "It's his first start, but he doesn't blink," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said of Murphy. "His personality is perfect for this situation. So, we went five-man protection a bunch. So, it isn't like we parked someone behind him all day in there. He had to play and he played big today."

    Murphy was at least partially responsible for two of the four first-half sacks allowed to quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But Murphy, a former sixth-round draft choice, seemed to get better as the game went on and helped the Packers' offense get rolling after a scoreless first half.

    "I thought Kyle did a really nice job at right tackle," Rodgers said. "This is a good building block for us moving forward."

    --Tight end Martellus Bennett had an eventful day, and most of his action didn't even involve pass-catching.

    First, Bennett raised his fist during the national anthem. Why exactly, he was asked?

    "That's a sign of unity with my brother," Bennett said, referring to his brother Michael, a defensive end who plays for Seattle. "That's something I've done in the past, when I was with the Patriots last year. For me, it's a sign of unity to let the world know that I see what's going on and it's not going unnoticed.

    "I'm doing what I can to help too, just letting people know that hey, I'm behind you, I'm behind my brother. There's a lot of stuff going on in the world and the community and that I do support and I am working things to make it better. Not much more than that, just a statement to say, hey I'm with you."

    Late in the game, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers scrambled for a first down, dived head first, and Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright went low and hit Rodgers in the back on the tackle attempt.

    Bennett didn't like how Wright tried hitting his quarterback, and shoved an unsuspecting Wright to the ground. Bennett was then given a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.

    "I think this early in the season, it kind of sets the tone," Bennett said of the penalty. "It lets guys know this is what we've got, this is who we are. Other people around the league will see it and we've got to set the tone.

    "You take shots on my quarterback, we'll take shots on you. It's the same thing if someone takes a shot on Ty (Montgomery) or Tae (Davante Adams) or Randall (Cobb). All those guys are my boys, my brothers. A lot of my teammates came and said we'll take that one every single time. That made me feel good."

    Roster notes:

    --OLB Ahmad Brooks, signed on Aug. 30, left the game with a concussion. Brooks will enter the concussion protocol and his availability for the Packers' game at Atlanta Sunday won't be known until later this week.

    --QB Aaron Rodgers appeared to be limping at times against Seattle. It was nothing serious, though, as Rodgers had both feet stepped on and was kicked in the shins.

    "The adult soccer players who don't wear shin guards can probably relate," Rodgers said. "It's very painful. You kind of forget about those things when you don't play a whole lot in preseason. But, yeah, it was mostly that - just kicked a couple times, stepped on a couple times."

    --WR Jordy Nelson eclipsed 500 career receptions, becoming just the fourth Packers player in team history to do so. Nelson, who now has 504 career catches, joined Donald Driver, Sterling Sharpe and James Lofton in that exclusive club.


    --PASSING OFFENSE: C - Aaron Rodgers threw for 311 yards and a touchdown against arguably the best passing defense in the NFL. Rodgers did have his streak of consecutive passing attempts without an interception snapped at 251. That was the second-longest streak in franchise history, behind Bart Starr's 294 in 1964-65. Rodgers was also just 1-for-8 with a 40.6 passer rating when under duress.

    --RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus - Ty Montgomery's 2.8 yards per carry certainly won't wow anybody. But Montgomery ran extremely hard against the Seahawks' sensational defensive front. And Montgomery's 6-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter gave Green Bay a lead it wouldn't relinquish.

    Green Bay ranked 31st in the NFL a year ago in pass defense. But the Packers held Seattle's Russell Wilson to just 158 passing yards and a passer rating of 69.7.

    --RUSH DEFENSE: A-minus -
    The Seahawks missed running back Thomas Rawls (ankle) and the drop to backups Eddie Lacy and Chris Carson was noticeable. Seattle had 90 rushing yards, but Wilson accounted for 40 of those on two scrambles. The running backs combined for just 50 yards on 16 carries (3.1).

    --SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus - Seattle has one of the NFL's most dangerous return men in Tyler Lockett. But aside from one 43-yard kickoff return, the Packers largely held Lockett in check. Packers rookie punter Justin Vogel had a solid debut, with a net average of 42.4.

    --COACHING: B - Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers was the star of this game, outdueling Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy found a play-calling rhythm in the second half. But McCarthy's decision to use timeouts late in the first half was a boost for Seattle's offense and led to a Seahawks field goal.


    • #62
      NFL notebook: Cardinals RB Johnson likely headed to IR
      September 11, 2017

      Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson has a dislocated wrist and is likely headed to injured reserve, coach Bruce Arians said Monday.

      Johnson's injury could require surgery, Arians said.

      The coach added that the initial prognosis for Johnson is the same as it was for rookie running back T.J. Logan, who was expected to miss 12 weeks after suffering a dislocated wrist in early August.

      If the 25-year-old Johnson goes on injured reserve, he would be required to miss eight weeks.

      Johnson exited Sunday's 35-23 loss at the Detroit Lions in the third quarter and underwent an X-ray. He was diagnosed with a sprained wrist and underwent further testing Monday.

      --Ezekiel Elliott
      and the NFL are not finished fighting over his six-game suspension.

      The NFL filed an appeal of the Fifth Circuit Court injunction of Elliott's suspension that permitted Elliott to take the field Sunday night for the Dallas Cowboys. The running back was found to be in violation of the personal conduct policy by the NFL and his appeal through league arbitration channels was denied by Harold Henderson.

      But just over 48 hours before kickoff, Elliott and the NFLPA scored a temporary victory when a Fifth Circuit judge in Texas granted a temporary injunction.

      The NFL quickly indicated it would review all legal options, and officially filed the appeal.

      --Structural engineers are expected to inspect the Miami Dolphins' stadium after a possible tornado was reported in the area during Hurricane Irma, the Miami Herald reported.

      "All we have is a visual inspection by camera right now," a team source told the newspaper. "We think the stadium may have experienced some tornado activity based on radar tracking."

      The stadium recently underwent a $500 million renovation and a brand new canopy was added to withstand a Category 4 storm. Irma was not considered a Category 4 when it reached South Florida.

      Tornados did reach the area, and the Herald reported that Marlins Park appears to have sustained some exterior damage from the storm.

      --Indianapolis Colts
      quarterback Andrew Luck was ruled out for Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals, coach Chuck Pagano announced.

      Luck has been sidelined while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. He was placed on the physically unable to perform list in July and missed all of training camp.

      Although he was removed from the PUP list on Sept. 2, Scott Tolzien started in Sunday's 46-9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Tolzien completed 9 of 18 passes for 128 yards and two interceptions before being benched in favor of Jacoby Brissett.

      Pagano said Monday that the team is still evaluating its immediate options at the quarterback position moving forward. The first overall pick in the 2012 draft, Luck threw for 4,240 yards and 31 touchdowns last season.

      --The NFL announced that a decision on where Sunday's game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans will be played is pending after Hurricane Irma hit Jacksonville, Fla., over the weekend.

      The game is scheduled to be played at EverBank Field but, according to reports, the city is dealing with "record storm surge and immense flooding." Additionally, many downtown areas, including streets near the stadium, are under feet of water.

      After Sunday's 29-7 win over the Houston Texans, the Jaguars remained in Houston and worked out at a local YMCA on Monday.

      On Monday afternoon, the Jaguars announced they are returning to Jacksonville on Tuesday morning.

      --New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said the three extra days off made it worse for the defending Super Bowl champions to get over their season-opening loss.

      Brady said it was harder to move on after last Thursday night's 42-27 setback to the Kansas City Chiefs to kick off the NFL season at Gillette Stadium.

      "It's probably easier when you're getting right back to work," Brady said during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI in Boston. "It actually kind of (stunk) having three extra days to think about it and rewatch the game.

      --Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick suffered a broken hand in Sunday night's 19-3 win against the New York Giants.

      Scandrick will have a plate put in his left hand to stabilize a broken third metacarpal, according to ESPN.

      Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said after the game that he is optimistic Scandrick can return "sooner rather than later" but will not play in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos.

      --A broken collarbone for Kevin White is leading to a broken-record feeling for the Chicago Bears.

      Bears head coach John Fox said that White is headed to injured reserve with a fractured scapula.

      White is likely to miss three months and could be sidelined the rest of the 2017. White, projected to be the No. 1 receiver in a new-look offense that subtracted Alshon Jeffery, would be victim of a staggering third season-ending injury in three seasons since he was drafted seventh overall in 2015 out of West Virginia.

      --Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby dislocated his right ankle in Sunday's season opener but reportedly will not require surgery.

      A team source confirmed the news to ESPN's Chris Mortensen after an MRI exam. Surgery would have cost Darby the rest of the season.

      Darby, 23, avoided major ligament damage but will miss four to six weeks, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

      --Detroit Lions punter Kasey Redfern suffered three torn ligaments in his knee in Sunday's win over the Arizona Cardinals, according to multiple reports.

      Redfern was carted to the locker room late in the first quarter of the 35-23 win when he tried scrambling for a first down after dropping a punt in his own end zone.

      The 25-year-old Redfern was diagnosed Monday with a torn ACL and MCL, a partial tear of the patellar tendon and a bone bruise, according to the Detroit Free Press.

      --Philadelphia Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis suffered a strained quadriceps in his plant leg in Sunday's win over the Washington Redskins and is expected to miss several weeks, according to the NFL Network.

      Sturgis was injured early in Sunday's 30-17 win over the Washington Redskins but was able to stay in the game.

      After the game, coach Doug Pederson said it was why the Eagles went for a two-point conversion following their last touchdown.

      --Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt is considered week-to-week with a biceps injury, according to a report by the NFL Network.

      Tuitt signed a five-year, $60 million extension Saturday and was injured in Pittsburgh's 21-18 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

      The Steelers did not announce how long Tuitt will be out, but it's possible he might miss the next two games against the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears.

      -- Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus agreed to a three-year, $11.2 million deal before the season kicks off Monday night against the Los Angeles Chargers.

      Team president and general manager John Elway broke the news on the Broncos' Twitter feed.

      McManus becomes the fourth-highest paid kicker in the NFL.

      --The Houston Texans may be without five players for Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals because they are in the concussion protocol.

      Following Sunday's 29-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, inside linebacker Brian Cushing, wide receiver Bruce Ellington and all three tight ends on the active roster -- C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson -- were getting examined for possible concussions.

      Texans coach Bill O'Brien acknowledged it would tough for those players to play because of the short turnaround.

      --The Arizona Cardinals re-signed veteran linebacker Philip Wheeler.

      The Cardinals originally signed Wheeler to a one-year contract on July 27, but he was released Friday.

      Wheeler's original contract called for his $695,000 salary to be guaranteed if he made Arizona's opening day roster. If he stays on the team for the rest of the season, the Cardinals would only pay him for the weeks he is on the roster.


      • #63
        Dolphins make home in California, for now
        September 11, 2017

        OXNARD, Calif. -- The Miami Dolphins are awaiting arrival of their players as the team prepares for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers in what has become the Dolphins' season opener.

        The Dolphins will use the Dallas Cowboys' training camp facility in Oxnard, Calif.

        Hurricane Irma postponed Sunday's scheduled game against Tampa Bay at Hard Rock Stadium to Nov. 19, the bye week for both teams.

        Dolphins owner Steve Ross flew a group of players, coaches, staff and their families to Southern California on Friday to escape the hurricane. He flew another group out on Saturday.

        The families will return home, at Ross' expense, when it's deemed safe.

        Many players left for destinations all around the nation, with the team's permission, after the Tampa Bay game was postponed.

        They'll use all available airports -- Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Beach, Orange County, etc. -- to get back in time for Tuesday's 10 a.m. team meeting and Wednesday's practice.

        The Dolphins hoped all players would arrive by Monday night.

        The Los Angeles Rams also offered their facility to the Dolphins.

        --Miami is awaiting a post Hurricane Irma inspection of Hard Rock Stadium and its training facility in Davie, Fla., to determine whether either sustained damage.

        Hard Rock Stadium recently completed the last phase of a $500 million renovation project and was built to withstand a category 4 hurricane. The Dolphins' next home game is scheduled for Oct. 8 against Tennessee.

        If the Dolphins have damage to their training facility, they have a plan to practice next week at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia in preparation for their Sept. 24 game at the New York Jets.

        NOTES: QB Jay Cutler is coming off a good preseason, but must keep his turnovers under control. He lost a fumble on a strip-sack during preseason. Other than that, the strong-armed Cutler appears ready. His knack for finding WR DeVante Parker on deep routes should be something to watch. ... K Cody Parkey, who was 20 of 25 on field goals last season for Cleveland, was 0 of 3 against Miami in an early-season game at Hard Rock Stadium. That could be good or bad. Parkey was 20 of 22 for the rest of the season, but he struggled at Hard Rock Stadium, his new home. ... MLB Rey Maualuga had an extra week to lose weight and get in shape with the postponement of the Tampa Bay game. Maualuga said last week he was ready to play a full game, but head coach Adam Gase wasn't so sure. ... C Mike Pouncey, who has been managing a hip injury, could be affected by not having a bye week. Pouncey, who likely will only practice once a week, might have needed the bye more than anyone. But that possibility is gone because last week's opener against Tampa Bay has been rescheduled for Nov. 19, previously the bye week. It will be interesting to see if Pouncey is on a snap count, at least early in the season. ... WR Jarvis Landry remains in a holding pattern regarding possible disciplinary action from the league in relation to his domestic violence allegation. The Broward County (Fort Lauderdale) State's Attorney office is deciding whether to file charges against Landry for an incident earlier this year. But the NFL is also looking into the matter.


        • #64
          Opening Line Report - Week 2
          September 11, 2017

          We saw some impressive performances in Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season (Rams, Lions, Jags, Chiefs, even the Bears in a loss), and we saw some ugly ones, too (Bengals, Texans, Colts, Cardinals, Patriots). But what are we to make of just one game? Should we write it off as too small a sample, or should we expect more of the same from these teams?

          We asked a pair of prominent Las Vegas bookmakers – the Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook’s Ed Salmons and the Wynn’s John Avello – for their thoughts on what they saw in Week1, as well as on the week ahead.

          Lines below are from the Westgate as of about 2 p.m. ET on Monday, with early moves and differences among books noted.

          Thursday, Sept. 14

          Houston at Cincinnati (-3.5, 38.5)

          This matchup of two of Week 1’s most disappointing teams saw the line move in the home favorite’s direction from its opening number of Cincy -3 at the Westgate.

          The Bengals were blanked at home by Baltimore, 20-0, thanks largely to Andy Dalton’s five turnovers. Salmons isn’t necessarily high on Cincy this season, but he’s hesitant to put too much stock into Sunday’s performance.

          “They’re not as bad as they showed,” Salmons said. “To me, they’re a .500 team. They obviously played atrociously.”

          The Texans suffered their own embarrassment at home, losing to Jacksonville, 29-7.

          “I don’t know what they are on offense, other than not very good,” Salmons said of the Texans.

          Perhaps a move from Tom Savage to Deshaun Watson can help change that.

          Sunday, Sept. 17

          Tennessee (-1.5, 43.5) at Jacksonville

          The wiseguys may finally get paid off on the Jaguars.

          “Their season wins (6.5) is a battle of public vs. sharps. Sharps like them ‘over’, the public was pounding them ‘under,’” Salmons said of the Jags.

          With Jacksonville’s win on the road Sunday, those ‘over’ bets are off to a good start.

          The win didn’t surprise Salmons, who’s become a believer in the Jags.

          “For years now they’ve been drafting high in the first round and drafting a ton of SEC-type players,” Salmons said. “…. I said early (in Sunday’s game), ‘Houston’s got no chance, Jacksonville’s just killing them everywhere on defense.’

          “And with (Doug) Marrone coaching the team now, it’s essentially like a Tom Coughlin-coached team that’s going to run the ball, ball control and let their defense win games and not turn the ball over, and that’s exactly what they did (Sunday). Jacksonville I buy into. They’re going to have a chance at winning that division (AFC South) this year.”

          Despite the Jags winning and the Titans losing at home to Oakland, Tennessee was bet up from -1 to -1.5 in early wagering.

          Said Salmons, “Tennessee is the most talented team in the division, but the coach (Mike Mularkey) is really bad. I don’t like the Tennessee coach at all.”

          Cleveland at Baltimore (-7.5, 41)

          Browns rookie QB Deshone Kizer was solid at home against the Steelers on Sunday, but gets his first test on the road next week. While the point spread stayed put from the Westgate’s opening number through the first 18 hours of wagering, the Wynn is dealing Baltimore -8.

          Buffalo at Carolina (-7.5, 42.5)

          The slightest of moves toward the dog on this inter-conference affair from the Westgate’s opening number of Carolina -8.

          New England (-4.5, 53.5) at New Orleans

          Early action went against the Patriots, who opened -4.5 at the Westgate, after their uninspiring opening week performance against the Chiefs.

          “It’s probably one of the worst game I’ve seen them play since they lost that Monday night game in Kansas City (41-14 in Week 4 of the 2014 season) when everyone wrote them off,” Salmons said of the Pats.

          (The Pats, of course, went on to win the Super Bowl that season.)

          “I’d never write the Patriots off,” Salmons added. “I would expect them to bounce back, but it’s always tough to play in New Orleans, so if they were to lose that game it wouldn’t surprise me. But I still think they’ll bounce back and win that division (AFC East). That division is just so bad.”

          Arizona (-7.5, 44) at Indianapolis

          This line jumped past the key number from the Westgate’s opener of Arizona -6.5.

          Neither team looked good in Week 1 – the Cards losing 35-23 at Detroit, the Colts getting rolled 46-9 at the Rams.

          Both teams have fundamental issues working against them – for Indy, it’s coach and quarterback; for Arizona, it’s age.

          “I can’t understand the Colts bringing (coach Chuck) Pagano back for another year. It just doesn’t make sense,” Salmons said. “And going with (Scott) Tolzien (in place of the injured Andrew Luck), who proved last year he can’t play – it’s just a disaster. If Luck doesn’t play, you’re looking at a team that’s in Jets territory.”

          Perhaps Jacoby Brissett, who replaced Tolzien in the fourth quarter in L.A., will get a chance next week to prove that statement wrong.

          As for the Cardinals, Salmons said, “Carson Palmer is getting old and older and older, and David Johnson got hurt. ... There’s a lot of people who thought the Cardinals would bounce back this year, but they sure looked like an old team (Sunday).”

          Philadelphia at Kansas City (-4.5, 48)

          The Westgate opened K.C. -4, the Wynn posted -5.5, and the line settled somewhere in the middle, between -4.5 and -5, after early bets were booked.

          Ironically, our conversation with Salmons turned to the Chiefs’ suddenly-potent offense that features weapons like Tyreek Hill and rookie Kareem Hunt.

          “Kansas City’s got some pretty good speed and could give any team troubles the way they can stretch the field,” Salmons said. “They present some problems.”

          But they have a problem of their own.

          “Losing (Eric) Berry is a killer – you’re talking about one of the best safeties in the game,” Salmons said. “I think Kansas City can still win that division (AFC West). I think their defense is better than the Raiders defense, but you just don’t know how much of loss (Berry) is going to be.”’

          Minnesota at Pittsburgh (-7, 45)

          This line stuck at a touchdown during the first few days of wagering, as the betting market waited to see what the Vikes look like Monday night.

          Chicago at Tampa Bay (-6.5, 43)

          While the Bucs were adjusted from -6 to -6.5 Monday at the Westgate, Salmons expects the Bears to take a step forward under John Fox this season.

          Chicago nearly beat the defending NFC champion Falcons on Sunday, but, down 23-17 in the closing minute, failed to get into the endzone with four chances from the 5-yard line.

          “The Bears I buy,” Salmons said. “I think they’re going to be dramatically improved this year. You can see how strong they were on both the offensive and defensive lines (Sunday).”

          Miami at Chargers (-4, 44.5)

          LAC -3.5 was posted on the Statosphere’s board Sunday night but was snapped up quickly, and the book joined the rest of the crowd at -4.

          Jets at Oakland (-14, 43.5)

          The Westgate removed the hook from its opener of Raiders -14.5 less than an hour after posting Week 2 lines. The Wynn was dealing -13.5.

          Washington at Rams (-2.5, 46)

          Some shops are dealing Rams -3 (even).

          Salmons expects the Rams to improve under first-year coach Sean McVay but cautions against buying too much into them until they start to proving themselves against better teams. With an Andrew Luck-less Colts team followed by the Redskins – both at home – there’s only so much to be gleaned from the first two weeks of the season.

          “The Rams are going to be better this year. We thought that going in, just with the coaching change,” Salmons said. “Jeff Fisher was so outdated it was a joke, and how he lasted as long as he did was mind-boggling.”

          But, he added, “It’s hard to judge the Rams until they play someone we think is a playoff team.”

          Dallas (-2.5) at Denver

          While the Westgate has held steady at Dallas -2.5, some shops are dealing -2, and the line at CG Technology has been as low as -1.

          San Francisco at Seattle (-12.5, 43.5)

          The Niners were available on Monday for +13.5 for those interested in the dog here.

          The Wynn’s Avello sees a dropoff in Seattle, but thinks the Seahawks will still win their division.

          “The Seahawk defense, on a scale from 1 to 10, they’re still an 8, but they’re not a 10 like they once were,” Avello said. “But they’re going to win their share of games.”

          Green Bay at Atlanta (-2.5, 53.5)

          Some shops are dealing Atlanta -3 (even), but based on the number for last season’s NFC Championship game, the Falcons price looks cheap in this spot. As 6.5-point faves, the Falcons trounced the Packers 44-21 last January.

          Next week’s Sunday nighter marks the Falcons’ regular-season debut in their new digs, Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

          Monday, Sept. 18

          Detroit at Giants (-5.5)

          Sunday night was one to forget for Giants fans, as they watched their team gain a paltry 233 yards in a 19-3 loss at Dallas.

          “Eli Manning can look as bad as he can look good,” Avello said. “Not having Odell Beckham certainly hurts, but I expected the Giants defensive line to shut down the run game, which they didn’t, so it was just a bad game for the Giants all around.”

          The Lions, meanwhile, were resilient in their win at home against Arizona, but Salmons is reserving judgement.

          “We’ve seen this from Detroit in the past, that they can rise up and play well at home against not the top teams but the borderline playoff teams,” Salmons said. “But whenever they play Green Bay or any of the really good teams, they never seem to be able to play up with those teams. Until I see Detroit can beat the top-flight teams, I think nothing more of Detroit than what I thought before the year.”

          We’re not sure the Giants provide the sort of benchmark Salmons is looking for.


          • #65
            MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11


            NO at MIN 07:10 PM

            NO +3.0

            O 47.5

            LAC at DEN 10:20 PM

            LAC +3.0

            O 42.0


            • #66
              Vikings cruise past Saints 29-19 in opener
              September 11, 2017

              MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Sam Bradford set the NFL record for completion percentage for Minnesota last season, his accuracy aided by the volume of short passes under heavy pressure.

              With protection from the rush, he showed Monday night he can throw the ball down the field with the best of them.

              Bradford started his second year with Minnesota in style, passing for 346 yards and three touchdowns to help the Vikings beat New Orleans 29-19 and spoil Adrian Peterson's first game with the Saints.

              ''When I've got time to sit back there and kind of evaluate things, I've got all the confidence in the world that our guys outside are going to win,'' Bradford said.

              Stefon Diggs had seven receptions for 93 yards, two for scores and all in the first half, and Adam Thielen racked up 157 yards on nine catches as Bradford carved up a Saints defense that looked again like one of the worst in the league despite a major renovation. Rookie Dalvin Cook rushed for 127 yards on 22 carries in the formal takeover from Peterson.

              Peterson was limited to 18 yards on six carries, in a time share with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara and an afterthought once the Saints fell behind. Drew Brees was quiet, too, with 291 yards on 27-for-37 passing padded by the late push to catch up.

              ''We didn't do anything different or try to out-trick them,'' Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr said. ''You know, line up and play, do your job.''

              Coby Fleener caught the only touchdown toss, after the 2-minute warning. Will Lutz made four field goals, three under 25 yards.

              ''The bottom line,'' Brees said, ''is you've got to score touchdowns.''

              Brees and Bradford are both in the final year of their contracts, with the same agent, Tom Condon, who is sure to cash in on both clients. Brees has by far the better resume, nine seasons further into his career, but Bradford stole the show on this prime-time stage.

              Behind mostly clean pockets created by a remade offensive line, Bradford completed 27 of 32 passes without a turnover. With three rookies and three free agents in the starting lineup, the Saints tried hard to better a defense that has held Brees and company back since the Super Bowl title eight years ago. The first performance left a lot to be desired, with Diggs and Thielen consistently finding favorable matchups underneath and along the sideline.

              ''I just try to run a route, catch the pass, but Sam, you know, he's a slinger,'' Diggs said.

              FLAGS FLY

              The Saints had three unnecessary roughness calls in the first half. Two of the personal fouls extended a drive that ended with one of three field goals by Kai Forbath. The other 15-yarder was on safety Kenny Vaccaro for head-hunting Diggs during an acrobatic catch in the closing seconds of the first half. Diggs came right back with another highlight-reel grab to give the Vikings a 16-6 lead at the break after a 10-play, 95-yard drive.

              Cameron Jordan and A.J. Klein each had their hands on a tipped pass in the end zone that fluttered off Cook's hands, missing a critical opportunity to thwart that drive and keep the deficit at four points.

              DECENT DEBUT

              Cook became the first Vikings running back to start a season opener since Michael Bennett in 2001. Despite trouble hanging onto a couple of passes thrown his way, he helped salt away the game in the second half. Bradford and Cook were the primary beneficiaries of the work done by an offensive line with four new starters and plenty of old external skepticism after a lackluster 2016 performance.

              ''In the building, we felt great about those guys,'' Bradford said. ''We've seen what we're capable of doing.''

              BACK AGAIN

              Ten years and two days after Peterson made his NFL debut in purple with 103 yards rushing and a 60-yard touchdown reception on this same block of downtown Minneapolis, albeit in a different stadium, he returned in black, white and gold as a part-time player for the pass-first Saints.

              The crowd was really fired up for the reunion with another former Vikings great. Former wide receiver Randy Moss, already on site as an analyst for ESPN, became the 22nd member of the team's Ring of Honor in a halftime ceremony punctuated by a passionate speech and shout-out to the fans.

              TACKLE TROUBLE

              With Terron Armstead still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, rookie Ryan Ramczyk started at left tackle for the Saints. Then right tackle Zach Strief injured his left leg in the second quarter, forcing Senio Kelemete into action. Vikings defensive ends Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter caused havoc.

              UP NEXT

              The Saints play Sunday against New England, their only home game in the season's first five weeks.

              The Vikings visit Pittsburgh on Sunday, their only road game over the first four weeks of the schedule.


              • #67
                Saints' Peterson plays sparingly in return to Minnesota
                September 12, 2017

                MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson envisioned a triumphant return to Minnesota. The four-time All-Pro and 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player always pictures the most optimistic view possible.

                In his first season with the New Orleans Saints, Peterson made his debut Monday against his former team, the Vikings. He is Minnesota's career rushing leader with 11,747 yards, and he scored 102 touchdowns in 10 seasons.

                The proud Peterson might have hoped for a hero's welcome but would have been satisfied with an opening-night win for his new team.

                His New Orleans debut did not go the way Anderson or the Saints hoped.

                Peterson was held to 18 yards on six carries in the Vikings' 29-19 victory.

                "It was a little different, but once I got out there, it was more fun," Peterson said. "I wish I could have gotten more snaps, but it was and interesting going up against those guys."

                He took the field for the opening snap to a strong chorus of boos from the Minnesota faithful. Peterson then proceeded to rip off a 9-yard run on his first carry, pushing the pile forward with perhaps a little more force behind his churning legs.

                Peterson got a carry on the second play, too, and picked up just enough for a first down. He received just four carries and gained just 8 yards the rest of the way.

                "We stopped him and didn't let him get going," said Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen, who spent seven seasons going up against Peterson in practice.

                Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes talked during the week about his eagerness to line up against Peterson, but he was more complimentary of the former face of Minnesota's franchise.

                "It's a game, you have fun with it," Rhodes said. "We love Adrian and still love him to death. He's done a lot for Minnesota, so we still have respect for him."

                Peterson split rushing duties with Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara as was expected. However, New Orleans averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. Kamara led the way with seven carries for just 18 yards. Ingram ran the ball six times for 17 yards.

                "Of course it's tough," Peterson said about losing and getting just six attempts. "I'm an ultimate competitor. It's tough. I knew the type of situation I was coming into. At the end of the day, we have to figure out how we can do better.

                "With that being said, three of the first four drives ended up in the red zone. The red-zone efficiency wasn't good."

                Peterson was even off the field a few times in the red zone. The frustration might have set in as cameras saw him walking after coach Sean Payton and saying something to Payton with a stern look on his face. Both of them said there was no issue.

                "Listen, I'd tell you if we were in a heated exchange, so why don't you ask him," Payton responded. "I think he was into it. We were all into it. There was not one (exchange) that I could recall, and I'm being honest."

                Peterson said he advised Payton they should run some inside zone at one point, but he couldn't recall the instance caught on TV. He said he just as easily could have said, "I love you."

                "There's no conflict," Peterson said. "Let's not try and spin it. There's no conflict. I have a lot of respect for Coach Payton and his offense. He's a great mind."

                Meanwhile, Peterson's replacement was enjoying his NFL debut. Dalvin Cook, who was drafted out of Florida State in the second round, had 22 carries for 127 yards.

                "He just told me to keep balling, and I told him that I'm just following the GOAT's footsteps," Cook said of his chat with Peterson after the game. "That's what I'm doing. I'm learning, but there's a lot to learn and there's a lot to learn from him. He did some great things with this organization that he put on tape that I like to watch."

                Peterson likely will return one day to Minnesota to receive the welcome he deserves, possibly with a spot in the team's Ring of Honor that former receiver Randy Moss joined on Monday night. Peterson didn't get that warm welcome on Monday.


                • #68
                  [B]NFL Record For Sept......




                  Totals...................18 - 11 - 1...........62.06%.........+2950

                  Best Bets or POD....Will be Denoted as *****



                  • #69
                    Broncos block late FG, top Chargers 24-21 in Joseph's debut
                    September 11, 2017

                    DENVER (AP) Shelby Harris got a hand on Younghoe Koo's 44-yard field goal attempt with a second left, and the Broncos began the Vance Joseph era with a 24-21 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night.

                    Koo nailed the kick moments earlier, but Joseph had called a timeout to ice the kicker.

                    ''I had two timeouts and I wasn't going to leave with those in my pocket,'' Joseph said. ''So, just ice the kid and see how he reacted.''

                    On the re-do, Harris - who made the team largely because of a rash of injuries along the D-line - sliced through and got his right hand on the kick.

                    It was reminiscent of last year's opener, when the Broncos escaped with a 21-20 win over the Carolina Panthers when Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal with 4 seconds left.

                    Denver took a 24-7 lead into the fourth quarter but had two turnovers that were converted into touchdowns, a missed field goal and a punt.

                    ''The game was in firm control for about three quarters there and we felt good but you turn the ball over twice on the short side of the 50, it's going to be a problem with Philip Rivers,'' Joseph said.

                    Von Miller presented Joseph with a game ball in the jubilant locker room.

                    ''It wasn't clean, but it's good to win,'' Joseph said. ''It's a hard league. Every week is going to be a challenge, so a win's a win. We'll take it.''

                    Before those fourth-quarter foibles, Trevor Siemian threw two TD passes to Bennie Fowler and ran for another score.

                    The Broncos held Philip Rivers to 115 yards passing through three quarters but let him engineer a comeback when Siemian threw an interception and Jamaal Charles fumbled on plays that were upheld despite video evidence that had the crowd of 76,324 convinced they should have been overturned.

                    Safety Adrian Phillips intercepted a pass that went off cornerback Desmond King's leg as King was tackling Fowler while the ball was still in the air. A review upheld the turnover and L.A. pulled to 24-14 on Keenan Allen's 5-yard TD catch with eight minutes left.

                    Less than a minute later, Charles fumbled - although replays showed his left elbow was down before the ball was ripped away by Korey Toomer. Cornerback Casey Hayward recovered. One play later, Rivers hit Travis Benjamin for a 38-yard touchdown that made it 24-21 and safety Darian Stewart hobbled off with a strained groin.

                    Back-to-back sacks of Siemian set up a 50-yard field goal try that McManus pushed wide right, giving L.A. the ball at its 40-yard line.

                    But Koo's miss loomed larger in the final seconds.

                    The Broncos led 14-7 at halftime after Siemian threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Fowler and scored on a 1-yard keeper .

                    Los Angeles' only touchdown drive was aided by a 40-yard pass interference call on cornerback Bradley Roby before Rivers hit running back Melvin Gordon for an 11-yard touchdown toss. Safety Justin Simmons hit Gordon at the 2, but he just somersaulted across the goal line.

                    Rivers stayed away from the All-Pro tandem of Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., instead targeting Roby and safeties Stewart and Simmons.

                    Roby atoned for his crucial penalty with an interception in the third quarter on a pass intended for Allen. That led to Siemian's 6-yard TD toss to Fowler that made it 21-7.

                    McManus kicked a 20-yard field goal on the last play of the third quarter, capping a 78-yard drive that ate up 8 minutes, 16 seconds.

                    The game presented landmarks on the football field , along the sidelines and in the broadcast booth .

                    Not since 1960 had the Chargers represented L.A., where they played their inaugural season before bolting to San Diego.

                    Beth Mowins became the first woman to call an NFL regular season game since NBC's Gayle Sierens in 1987 when she handled play-by-play on the doubleheader nightcap alongside Rex Ryan, who made his debut as an ESPN analyst.

                    With Anthony Lynn also making his head coaching debut, this marked the first time two black head coaches worked their first NFL game against each other in the same game.

                    Lynn burned one of his timeouts with a curious throw of his red flag to challenge a rather inconsequential incompletion in the first quarter.

                    MCMANUS'S MILLIONS : McManus was the last restricted free agent to sign his tender this summer, waiting until June 15 to put his signature on a one-year, $2.75 million deal after making $600,000 last season. He did it in hopes of getting a long-term deal, which he finally got Monday just hours before kickoff when he agreed to a three-year extension worth $11.25 million.

                    A first-time team captain, McManus approached coach Joseph before the final preseason game and talked him into allowing the special teams players to participate in pregame introductions: ''First time at any level, high school, college or NFL,'' explained McManus. ''It's a huge dream of mine to come out to 70,000 fans cheering.''

                    BEEFY BRONCOS : The Broncos beefed up their depleted defensive line before kickoff by promoting rookie nose tackle Tyrique ''Pot Roast Jr.'' Jarrett to their active roster and waiving Kyle Peko.

                    The undrafted pro from the University of Pittsburgh is generously listed as packing 335 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame. His teammates gave him his nickname because he reminds them of former Broncos run-stuffer Terrance ''Pot Roast'' Knighton.

                    INJURY UPDATES: Chargers backup SS Rayshawn Jenkins left in the second half with a concussion. So did Broncos starting right guard Ronald Leary, who was replaced by second-year pro Connor McGovern. Leary will be in concussion protocol during the week as the Broncos prepare to face his former team, the Dallas Cowboys. Broncos rookie CB Brandon Langley left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury.

                    UP NEXT: The Chargers host the Miami Dolphins, whose opener was scrubbed by Hurricane Irma. The Broncos are home again to take on the Cowboys.


                    • #70
                      Tuesday’s six-pack

                      — Missouri fired its defensive coordinator….two games into the season.

                      — Cardinals’ RB David Johnson dislocated his wrist, needs an operation.

                      — FIU/Indiana, Georgia Tech/UCF football games for Saturday were called off.

                      — Indians 11, Tigers 0— Cleveland has now won 19 games in a row.

                      — Rams signed P Johnny Hekker to a contract thru 2022.

                      — Random fact: In terms of area, Jacksonville is the biggest city in the continental 48 states.


                      Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but………

                      13) Watching these news stations put reporters in harm’s way during these storms, it bugs me. Why it is so important to put a human being out there in dangerous storms?

                      We know it is horrible weather; showing some poor soul trying to brave the elements to try and enhance their career is just plain stupid. Safety should matter for reporters, too.

                      12) Last baseball team to go thru a 1-12 stretch and win the World Series that year? The 1914 Boston Braves, whose 1-12 skid was from April 24-May 16.

                      Dodgers are 1-15 in their last 16 games.

                      11) Washington State’s quarterbacks Saturday:
                      — Luke Falk was 24-34 for 194 yards
                      — Tyler Hilinski was 25-33 for 240 yards and three TD’s.

                      That has to be the first time a team had two QB’s throw 30+ passes in the same game.

                      10) Georgia’s game in South Bend Saturday was the furthest north they’ve played since a game at Michigan in 1965. Georgia fans travelled; Doug Flutie said on TV that the crowd was 50-50 split between Georgia fans and the home team.

                      9) Friday night’s game with Milwaukee was first Cubs’ Friday home game ever played at nite.

                      8) Indians’ winning streak has vaulted them ahead of Houston for top seed in the American League; if playoffs started today, Cleveland would play the Wild Card winner, Astros-Red Sox would be the other AL playoff series.

                      7) Stephen Strasburg has now thrown 34 consecutive scoreless innings; I watched his start on Tuesday— looked like something was bothering him physically, but no one can score on him, and he gutted out his start and helped Washington win.

                      6) For whatever reason, a high school football team from Miami played at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas this past Friday night, but they couldn’t get home because of the storm. Now they’re stuck in Las Vegas, which is a good place to be stuck. Bishop Gorman helped out with getting them a place to stay until they can go home.

                      5) Kent State football coach Paul Haynes is back this week from medical leave he had taken to deal with prostate cancer. Hope he is feeling better.

                      4) People on social media were going nuts because Beth Mowins was doing play-by-play of the Chargers’ game. So what? She’s been doing games on ESPN for years, usually the noon college game on ESPN2. She does a fine job, nothing surprising about it.

                      3) Vikings 29, Saints 19— New Orleans was poor in the red zone; they kicked three FG’s that were shorter than 25 yards. Saints started the last three seasons 0-2/0-3/0-3— now they’re 0-1 and they’re playing New England on a short week Sunday.

                      2) Broncos 24, Chargers 21— Chargers roared back from 24-7 deficit, but missed FG on last play of game that would’ve sent game to OT. Rex Ryan was disappointing as an ESPN analyst.

                      Philip Rivers hasn’t missed a game since 2006, which means that he is on the downside of his career. If the Chargers aren’t any good with him, what will they be like when he leaves? There is no decent young QB on the Charger roster. You say Cardale Jones? I say Buffalo didn’t want him, which immediately makes him a suspect.

                      1) I’d much prefer having a Monday night NFL doubleheader every week to having a Thursday night game every week. Football wasn’t meant to be played on three days’ rest.


                      • #71
                        Close Calls - Week 1
                        September 12, 2017

                        Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in Week 1 of the NFL regular season.

                        Buffalo Bills (-7) 21, New York Jets 12 (42): This AFC East opener featured limited offense as expected but the underdog Jets hung around, actually a failed two-point conversion away from tying the game late in the third quarter after a 75-yard drive was capped off with a Josh McCown rush. The Bills answered with their own touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter to lead by nine, past the spread though +9 was momentarily available on the Jets during the week. New York had four more drives in the final 12 minutes but wound up with a pair of punts and a pair of interceptions as the Bills held on.

                        Atlanta Falcons (-6½) 23, Chicago Bears 17 (48): The Falcons and Bears were tied at halftime but Atlanta connected for an 88-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to go up 20-10. The Bears managed to answer with a touchdown to get back to within three and then held the Falcons to a short field goal to put the margin at six, enough for most Chicago backers to cover although the spread did sit at -6 for a few stretches. A fumble on the kickoff return was a near disaster but the Bears retained possession and Mike Glennon led a drive to the red zone however they reached 1st and goal from the 5-yard-line with no timeouts left and only 21 seconds to go. On 1st and 2nd down Glennon’s targets let him down with catchable balls near the goal line but another incomplete pass followed and on 4th down Glennon was sacked to end the game, leaving the margin right at six.

                        Philadelphia Eagles (-2) 30, Washington Redskins 17 (49):
                        The spread on this game bounced around tremendously over the course of the week and through three quarters the margin matched the closing spread with a 19-17 edge for the Eagles with only two field goals in the third quarter after 30 points in the first half. Early in the final frame Kirk Cousins was intercepted near the goal line for a huge turn of events for both the spread and total results and after trading punts the Eagles were in position to add points. Facing 4th-and-1 at the Washington 20-yard-line Doug Pederson took a timeout to deliberate but eventually kicked the field goal to put the Eagles up by five, past the spread but still at risk. On 2nd down on Washington’s possession just after the two-minute-warning the ball was hit out of the hand of Kirk Cousins in an attempted pass and recovered for a touchdown return. Replay made a strong case for an incomplete pass ruling but the fumble return stood as called. The Eagles added a two-point conversion for a 13-point final margin with the game staying just barely ‘under’ the total.

                        Detroit Lions (+2) 35, Arizona Cardinals 23 (48½): Arizona led 17-9 late in the third quarter but a David Johnson fumble handed the Lions the ball at the Arizona 10-yard line. Detroit capitalized with a touchdown but the two-point conversion attempt fell incomplete. Detroit’s defense held while Matthew Stafford’s late game heroics from last season carried over to the 2017 opener with back-to-back touchdown drives. That put Detroit comfortably past the slight underdog spread up by 11 with about four minutes to go while also sitting just past the common total. Miles Killebrew would return a Carson Palmer interception for a touchdown on Arizona’s next offensive play for the Lions to seal the game in a fourth quarter that featured 26 points.

                        Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) 21, Cleveland Browns 18 (47½):
                        The Steelers scored early on a blocked punt return and led 21-10 through three quarters despite limited offensive production. A Browns drive into Pittsburgh territory ended up with DeShone Kizer’s first interception on the 17-yard-line but the Steelers couldn’t put the game away as Ben Roethlisberger was picked off near the end zone as well in a big boost to the chances for the ‘under’. After a pair of fourth quarter punts Cleveland hit a few big pass plays and scored a touchdown with just over three minutes to go, also netting the two-point-conversion to make it a three-point game while also bringing overtime into the realm of realistic possibilities. Pittsburgh managed to pick up a few first downs to burn the remaining clock but the Browns wound up with the underdog cover.

                        Minnesota Vikings (-3) 29, New Orleans Saints 19 (47½):
                        The Vikings were in relative command after scoring two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the first half. The ‘under’ pace held with two third quarter field goals for only 28 points entering the fourth quarter. The Vikings put the game away with a field goal with four minutes to go for a 29-12 lead but the Saints pushed the total just ‘over’ with a touchdown just after the two-minute warning, though 48 was a common number before a Monday afternoon slide to 47½.

                        Denver Broncos (-3) 24, Los Angeles Chargers 21 (41½):
                        Denver took control in the second half leading 24-7 at the end of the third quarter. As has been the case in the past, the Chargers made a great late rally sparked by an interception. With good field position the Chargers drove 43 yards for a score to get within 10 and the Broncos had a fumble two plays later to give Los Angeles another great opportunity. On first down Philip Rivers hit Travis Benjamin for a 38-yard touchdown to push the total ‘over’ and sit the Denver lead right on the closing spread. The Broncos missed a 50-yard field goal but the Chargers failed to take advantage and punted. Denver was pinned deep and couldn’t pick up a first down. Getting the ball back at the 38-yard line the Chargers had a great opportunity and they drove to field goal range in the final seconds. Icing the kicker with a timeout worked as Younghoe Koo’s 44-yard attempt to force overtime was blocked.


                        • #72
                          Wednesday’s six-pack

                          NFL trends for Week 2:

                          — Houston is 1-8 in last nine games as a non-divisional road dog.

                          — Indianapolis covered 10 of last 12 tries as a home underdog.

                          — Cleveland is 6-19 vs spread in last 25 games as an underdog.

                          — Arizona is 3-9 vs spread in its last 12 games.

                          — Falcons are 4-13 vs spread in last 17 games as a home favorite.

                          — Detroit is 4-9 in last 13 games as a non-divisional road dog.


                          • #73
                            Tech Trends - Week 2
                            September 12, 2017

                            THURSDAY, SEP. 14

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            HOUSTON at CINCINNATI (NFL, 8:30 p.m. ET)
                            Last four “under” in series including 2012 playoffs. Texans just 6-11 vs. line away past two seasons, and Houston 2-7 as dog in 2016. But Marvin Lewis just 5-13-1 vs. line last 18 in reg season. Bengals “under” 20-8 last 28 since mid 2015.
                            Tech Edge: “Under,” based on “totals” trends.

                            SUNDAY, SEP. 17

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            TENNESSEE at JACKSONVILLE (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
                            Jags “over” 15-8 since late 2015. Both vs. Titans “over” LY. Jags “over” 10-4 last 14 at home. Jags have won and covered last three at home vs. Titans. Tennessee "under" in opener but “over” 13-6-1 since late 2015.
                            Tech Edge: “Over,” based on “totals” trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            CLEVELAND at BALTIMORE (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
                            Edge lately to Ravens, though not as overwhelming as it would seem (covered last 3 and 4 of last 6). Cleveland covered opener but 10-22-1 vs. line since 2015, 6-10 on road.
                            Tech Edge: Slight to Ravens, based on series trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            BUFFALO at CAROLINA (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
                            Bills were “over” 12-4 last season. Panthers 3-7-1 as chalk LY.
                            Tech Edge: Slight to “over” and Bills, based on “totals” and team trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            NEW ENGLAND at NEW ORLEANS (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
                            Saints 9-2 last 11 as dog and are 5-0 as home dog since 2015. Also “over” 11-5 at Superdome since 2015. Pats 6-1 as road chalk LY but things broke well; Belichick was 4-12 in role previous three years. NE 9-2 vs. line after last 11 reg.-season losses, though just 3-2 last five.
                            Tech Edge: Saints and “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            ARIZONA at INDIANAPOLIS (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
                            Arians was 17-7 vs. line away his first three seasons with Cards but 3-6 since LY. Arizona “over” last 7 since 2016 and “over” last nine away LY.
                            Tech Edge: Cards and “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            PHILADELPHIA at KANSAS CITY (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
                            Birds only 2-6 vs. line away LY, and dropped both vs. line in second of back-to-backs away. Reid only 6-10 as Arrowhead chalk past two seasons, also “under” 8-16 last three seasons at home.
                            Tech Edge: Slight to “under,” based on team trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            MINNESOTA at PITTSBURGH (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
                            Vikes were 1-5 vs. line last six away LY, also dipped to 3-3 as dog after 7-1 mark in role previous year. Tomlin 23-16 as chalk since 2014. Steel “over” 6-4 last 10 at home.
                            Tech Edge: Slight to Steelers and “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            CHICAGO at TAMPA BAY (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
                            Bears 2-6 vs. line away LY after 5-2-1 for Fox in 2015, though Fox only 6-9-1 vs. line each of past two seasons. Bucs only 6-10 vs. line at home since 2015 and 2-8 as Raymond James chalk since 2014.
                            Tech Edge: Slight to Bears, based on extended Buc home chalk woes.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            MIAMI at L.A. CHARGERS (CBS, 4:05 p.m. ET)
                            At Qualcomm, Bolts were just 8-16 vs. spread past three seasons and lost at home vs. Dolphins LY, 31-24. If Bolts chalk note 7-12 mark in role since 2014. Miami closed reg. season on 7-3-1 spread run for Gase LY, when Dolphins also “over” 12-4.
                            Tech Edge: Dolphins, and “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            N.Y. JETS at OAKLAND (CBS, 4:05 p.m. ET)
                            Jets 4-8-2 vs. spread last 13 away. Also “under” 10-2 last 11 away.
                            Tech Edge: Raiders and "under," based on team and "totals" trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            WASHINGTON at L.A. RAMS (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET)
                            Skins 9-2 vs. line last 11 on road, also “over” 17-4 last 21 since late 2015. Rams 1-10-1 last 12 vs. line to close 2016, but opened big TY with romp past Colts.
                            Tech Edge: Redskins and “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            DALLAS at DENVER (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET)
                            Dallas “under” 6-2 away LY and “under” 16-8-1 last 25 reg.-season games.
                            Tech Edge: “Under,” based on “totals” trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            SAN FRANCISCO at SEATTLE (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET)
                            Seattle has won last seven SU in series (6-1 vs. line) and has won and covered six straight at home vs. Niners. SF “over” 7-2 last nine away.
                            Tech Edge: Seahawks and “over,” based on series and “totals” trends.

                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            GREEN BAY at ATLANTA (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET)
                            Pack 4-2 as dog LY but just 1-8 in role previous three years. Falcs only 2-5 as reg season home chalk LY (2-0 in playoffs) but Atlanta now 6-16 as home chalk in reg season since 2013. Falcs also “over’ 16-3 LY including both games vs. Pack!
                            Tech Edge: “Over” and slight to Pack, based on “totals” and team trends.

                            MONDAY, SEP. 18
                            NFL Matchups NFL Matchups
                            DETROIT at N.Y. GIANTS (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET)
                            Eli 8-3 vs. line last 11 in 2016, though lost opener, and Giants now “under” 13-4 in reg season since LY (5-3 at home LY). G-Men, however, just 2-9-1 vs. line in game immediately following Dallas.
                            Tech Edge: “Under,” based on “totals” trends.


                            • #74
                              NFL notebook: Bucs-Bears to play Sunday in Tampa
                              September 12, 2017

                              Officials approved Raymond James Stadium for Week 2 and the NFL agreed the game between the Buccaneers and Chicago Bears will be played as scheduled Sunday in Tampa, Fla.

                              The Bucs were still working through a bunch of logistical problems Monday.

                              First, they had to wait to see what damage to the infrastructure was done in Tampa by Hurricane Irma. However, it appears much of the area avoided what could have been a worse wallop.

                              "We have been working tirelessly with the Tampa Sports Authority, as well as the NFL league office, to ensure that Raymond James Stadium would be available to host our season opener against the Chicago Bears this Sunday." Buccaneers chief operating officer Brian Ford said.

                              "Hosting the game is important to us, as Tampa Bay has been through a lot over the past few days. We look forward to providing our fans and the entire region an opportunity to come together this Sunday to kick off our 2017 season."

                              -- Arizona Cardinals
                              running back David Johnson will have surgery on his left wrist and is expected to be sidelined two to three months, multiple outlets reported on Tuesday.

                              The Cardinals placed Johnson on injured reserve, but with a chance to return this season.

                              Johnson sought a second opinion after an early prognosis that he sustained a dislocated wrist in Sunday's 35-23 loss to the Detroit Lions.

                              The 25-year-old Johnson was initially injured while making a 24-yard reception in the third quarter, coach Bruce Arians said. Johnson returned on Arizona's next possession but fumbled on his next carry, which was recovered by the Lions.

                              The Cardinals re-signed Chris Johnson to help fill the void just 10 days after releasing him.

                              -- Houston Texans
                              defensive end J.J. Watt isn't going to let a little thing like a finger injury slow him down, even if that injury reportedly dealt with a bone breaking through the skin.

                              When asked about his condition, Watt told the team's website on Tuesday that he was fine.

                              "It's inside my body, so it's still attached," the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year said.

                              -- The Los Angeles Rams
                              signed punter Johnny Hekker to a two-year contract extension, the team announced.

                              Hekker, who initially signed a six-year extension in 2014, will remain with the team through the 2022 season. The deal gives the 27-year-old $10 million guaranteed, the most ever for a punter, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.

                              Hekker has led the league in punting yards the last two seasons, and his average of 46.9 yards per punt ranks third all-time in NFL history. He has been named a first-team All-Pro in three of the last four seasons.

                              -- New Orleans
                              right tackle Zach Strief is expected to be sidelined a few weeks after sustaining an MCL sprain in his left knee during Monday's 29-19 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, according to multiple reports.

                              An MCL sprain typically is a four-week injury, which means Strief could be sidelined through the team's Week 5 bye.

                              Backup Senio Kelemete replaced Strief on Monday for New Orleans, which struggled to ignite its offense versus Minnesota. The 33-year-old Strief had missed just two games since 2013.

                              --The Philadelphia Eagles will sign rookie Jake Elliott off the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad to replace fellow kicker Caleb Sturgis, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport on Tuesday.

                              Rapoport reported that Sturgis will be placed on injured reserve/designation to return after the kicker sustained a hip flexor injury in Philadelphia's season-opening 30-17 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

                              Elliott, who lost a competition to Randy Bullock this summer, was selected by Cincinnati with a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft. He made 21 of 26 field goal attempts last season with Memphis, including two of three from outside of 50 yards.

                              --The Detroit Lions signed Jeff Locke on Tuesday to replace fellow punter Kasey Redfern, who was placed on injured reserve.

                              Locke averaged 43.2 yards per punt during four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings before being signed to a two-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason. The Colts, however, released Locke last month.

                              Locke took part in workouts with the Lions on Monday after Redfern tore his ACL, MCL and part of the patellar tendon in his kicking leg in Sunday's season-opening 35-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.


                              • #75
                                Watson reportedly will start Thursday
                                September 13, 2017

                                HOUSTON -- Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson is expected to start his first NFL game Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to The Houston Chronicle.

                                The Chronicle reported that Watson's injured right ankle held up fine during practice Tuesday, removing the only potential obstacle to having the first-round draft pick make his starting debut at Paul Brown Stadium as the replacement for veteran Tom Savage.

                                During the portion of practice open to reporters, Watson took every snap.

                                The Texans are going with Watson for multiple reasons, including his superior mobility and elusiveness while operating behind a porous offensive line.

                                Although Watson was sacked four times during a 29-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and experienced some rough fundamental moments where he threw off his back foot, he did throw one touchdown pass and displayed an ability to escape pursuit.

                                Although the 0-1 AFC South franchise is poised to launch the Watson era, Texans head coach Bill O'Brien played it close to the vest Tuesday and declined to make it official and name a starting quarterback.

                                "I don't think there's a rule that says I have to publicly announce it," O'Brien said when asked if this was a potential game-time decision.

                                Unless Watson suffers a setback between now and kickoff, he's scheduled to start his first game since manufacturing a BCS national championship victory over Alabama with a game-winning touchdown pass.

                                "The health of any player is the first determinant in whether they play or not," O'Brien said of Watson, who didn't speak with reporters Tuesday.

                                After replacing Savage at halftime Sunday, Watson completed 12 of 23 passes for 102 yards, one touchdown and one interception for a 60.4 passer rating.

                                Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is already convinced his defense will be competing against Watson.

                                "We're kind of planning on it being Deshaun," Lewis said during a conference call with Houston reporters. "Because if they made the change like they did at halftime, I would imagine it would be him coming forward here, at least this week."

                                The first-round draft pick, consensus All-America and national championship game-winner from Clemson completed 52.2 percent of his throws against Jacksonville and had a second interception nullified by a penalty. He rushed for 12 yards on two carries.

                                "He's a playmaker with good instincts and he's young," Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan said. "He's going to make some mistakes, and it's on us to keep working with him and minimize his mistakes and get rid of them, not repeat them, and keep moving forward with him."

                                The Texans have started Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates, Case Keenum, Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler and Savage in O'Brien's time as head coach. Watson becomes the ninth different starting quarterback over the past four seasons.

                                O'Brien is hoping he won't continue to have a revolving door under center.

                                "I can tell you that we're pretty close to making a decision as to who's going to play," O'Brien said. "In this case, a lot of different factors go into it that aren't really in our control, maybe. I think that we'll make a good decision for the team.

                                "I try not to look too far into the future. It's definitely, obviously, for Thursday, but you're also saying you're going to try your best to stick with the decision."