NFL News and Notes Week 4

Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

49ers sign Lewis

Santa Clara, CA (Sports Network) - The San Francisco 49ers signed return specialist Michael Lewis on Tuesday.

Lewis had spent the previous six seasons with the New Orleans Saints before the team released him this past June.

During his six seasons in New Orleans, he returned 243 kickoffs for a 24.3- yard average with three touchdowns. In addition, he had 142 punt returns for a 10.4-yard average with one touchdown and 28 receptions for 553 yards and a score.

He made it to the Pro Bowl in 2002 after setting a team single-season record for kickoff return yards (11,807) and punt return yards (625). His 2,432 combined yards that season set a team record.

Also on Tuesday, the team waived wide receiver/punt returner Brandon Williams and signed linebacker Tyson Smith to the practice squad.

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Ferringo Examines Early Line Moves
by Robert Ferringo

Being able to properly read and assess the opening line in college and professional football seems like one of the most basic and simple components of football betting. However, analyzing the opening line and initial movements off of it is a skill that takes years to master. In fact, even handicappers that have been in the game for decades still have difficulty explaining why a certain line may move a certain way during the week - and even more trouble still deciphering what that movement portends.

Basically, the opening lines are created by institutions like the Las Vegas Sports Consultants and then passed on to their clients, the sportsbooks. The books then open their lines to sharp bettors and players who wager tens of thousands of dollars. Those players get their initial action on certain sides and totals, and the books then adjust the lines before releasing them to the general public in an attempt to balance out the action. It's a constant shadow dance between the books and the betting public.

Each week we're going to analyze the opening lines with the greatest variance from their original release from the LVSC. These "steam" moves are indicative of where the "smart money" began and is usually a predictor of where the money will continue to roll. Our goal is to make sense of exactly where the value is on some of these situations for either the underdog or the favorite. Again, this is a delicate science and I'm not going to presume to have all the answers. But together we'll try to sift through the games that the sharp action is on and see if we can't uncover some useful trends as the season progresses.

To this point, sharp action has gone 10-11 against the spread in college movements and 10-6 ATS in the NFL movements. That's 20-17 ATS (54.1 percent) overall. Here are some of the most noticeable and significant early steam movements in both the college and pro football opening lines:

PRO FOOTBALL

New England at Cincinnati (8 p.m., Monday, Oct. 1)

Open: New England -6.0.
Current: New England -7.5.

The Patriots are 3-0 ATS and none of their games have even been close. Home dogs on Monday Night Football are usually a strong play, but considering that the Bengals have absolutely no defense to speak of there's a strong possibility that they could get hit for 50 again. Yet, the Bengals are 7-1-1 ATS against the Patriots and 5-1 ATS against them at home. With an offense that still works, the back door could be left open for the Bengals to sneak in.

Green Bay at Minnesota (1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30)
Open: Green Bay -3.0.
Current: Green Bay -1.5.

The Favre Effect is going to start seeing the Packers as thicker favorites than they should be. That may or may not be the case here, considering that Favre has typically struggled in domes and is just 1-4 ATS in his last four against the Vikings. But then again, while we still have no idea who the Vikings will be putting under center we can be pretty sure that whoever it is won't be an NFL-caliber signal caller.

Oakland at Miami (1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30)
Open: 38.0.
Current: 41.5.

These were two of the top four total defenses from just a year ago, but now it appears that the books are expecting a shootout. Miami is No. 20 in the league in defense this year while the Raiders are coming in at No. 26, and these teams have combined to go 5-1 against the total on the season. I think this might be an overreaction by the books, pushing the total through several key totals numbers, but we'll see if the bettors bite.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Bears:  Archuleta to play with broken hand

Adam Archuleta has a broken right hand but plans to play Sunday at Detroit, an NFL source told the Chicago Tribune.

Texans:  Johnson won't return this week


Andre Johnson will not return this week, the Houston Chronicle reports. Sunday was the first time he was allowed to bend his knee since suffering the sprain Sept. 16 against the Panthers. Johnson sprained the posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee, and must wait until they both heal. "It's like I'm learning to walk normally again," Johnson said. "I've been in a brace for the whole week. Now, I have slack in my brace where I can bend my knee."

Bengals:  Rudi's status up in the air

Rudi Johnson (hamstring) appears to be very questionable for Monday's game with New England, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. There was no official injury report from the Bengals Tuesday, but during a news conference Marvin Lewis said, "the guys who were banged up in the Seattle game who we're unsure about would be Caleb Miller and Rudi Johnson." For insurance, the club signed DeDe Dorsey earlier in the week.

Giants:  Jacobs probably needs another week

Brandon Jacobs probably won't be able to play at least until Week 5 due to his sore knee. Derrick Ward, who's been surprisingly solid through the first three weeks, figures to start Sunday with Reuben Droughns once again getting the short-yardage work.

Vikings:  Jackson questionable again

It's too soon to say whether Tarvaris Jackson will be healthy enough to play in Week 4. However, head coach Brad Childress has already stated that Kelly Holcomb would get the start if Jackson's tender groin prevents him from playing against the Packers.

Lions:  Backus' streak in jeopardy

Jeff Backus' streak of 99 consecutive starts at left tackle could come to an end on Sunday. He is nursing a strained muscle in his rib cage and is considered questionable for the Week 4 game against the Bears.

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Bills place OL Whittle on IR; sign LB Harrison
September 26, 2007

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -Another day, another Buffalo Bills player placed on injured reserve. On Wednesday, it was backup offensive lineman Jason Whittle, whose season is over because of a hamstring injury.

Whittle became the seventh Bills player placed on IR after he was hurt during a 38-7 loss at New England last weekend. Whittle is a nine-year veteran and versatile lineman who signed with Buffalo on the first day of free agency in March.

The injury further depletes a banged-up roster that has lost three defensive starters, the latest linebacker Paul Posluszny (broken forearm), to season-ending injuries, and will be without starting quarterback J.P. Losman (sprained knee) when the Bills (0-3) host the New York Jets on Sunday.

The Bills filled Whittle's roster spot by signing linebacker Kevin Harrison, who was cut by Buffalo before this season. Harrison spent most of last season on Buffalo's practice squad after being cut by Denver in 2006.

Besides Posluszny, Buffalo's linebacking corps is further depleted with Keith Ellison (high ankle sprain) expected to miss another two weeks and Coy Wire out indefinitely with a sprained knee.

In another move Wednesday, the Bills signed quarterback Gibran Hamdan to their practice squad and released quarterback Kevin Eakin.

Hamdan has bounced around the NFL since being drafted in the seventh round by Washington in 2003. Most recently, he was released by Miami before this season, and spent part of last year on San Francisco's practice squad.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Bears sign CB Jimoh
September 26th, 2007

Lake Forest, IL (Sports Network) - The Chicago Bears signed cornerback Ade Jimoh to their 53-man roster on Wednesday. The team also signed safety Josh Gattis to the practice squad and terminated the contracts of veteran punter Dirk Johnson and wide receiver David Ball.

Jimoh, an undrafted free agent out of Utah State, spent the last four seasons in Washington, where he recorded 65 special teams tackles and 28 defensive stops in 63 regular season games.

Johnson, filling in for the injured Brad Maynard, punted four times for a 49.8-yard average in Chicago's 20-10 win in Week 2 against Kansas City.

Gattis was a fifth-round selection of Jacksonville in the 2007 NFL draft, while Ball signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent out of the University of New Hampshire and had six receptions for 64 yards in the preseason.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Winslow partially dislocates left shoulder
PlainDealer.com

Browns tight end Kellen Winslow has suffered a "mild subluxation" of his left shoulder, which is defined in medical journals as a partial dislocation.

Coach Romeo Crennel sat Winslow out of Wednesday's practice and it's not known if he'll be ready to face the Ravens on Sunday. Winslow suffered the injury when he landed on his shoulder following a 23-yard reception on the Browns' final drive in Oakland.

Winslow made an appearance in the locker room Wednesday but declined to talk to the media. On his way out, he was asked if he'll play. "Of course I am," he said.

Said Braylon Edwards: "You think he'd miss a game?"

Winslow has been using an electrical stimulation device on the shoulder to try to get ready.

In other Browns news:

* Linebacker Willie McGinest, who underwent back surgery in the preseason, returned to practice Wednesday on a limited basis. He'll probably be questionable for Sunday.

* Defensive end Orpheus Roye sat out with swelling in his knee but said he'll play.

* Receiver Tim Carter was also idle with swelling in his knee.

* Linebacker Antwan Peek rested his sprained foot and was in a walking boot again.

* Crennel made no major lineup changes on defense, but said he'll rotate guys in more to keep everyone fresh and increase the competitive edge. Some players figuring to get more time include defensive end Shaun Smith and tackle Ethan Kelley.

* Crennel said he won't demote rookie corner Eric Wright, but will try to get him to play better.

* Running back Jamal Lewis said he left Baltimore with no resentment because "I wanted to leave the year before."

Ravens coach Brian Billick disagreed with Lewis' statement to USA Today that the two didn't get along. "We got along great," said Billick.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Report: Falcons' Hall fined, won't start against Texans
September 26th, 2007

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - The Atlanta Falcons have reportedly fined DeAngelo Hall at least $100,000 and informed the Pro Bowl cornerback he will not start against Houston on Sunday.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the fine was levied for Hall's tirade in this past Sunday's game against Carolina.

The report also stated Hall plans to file a grievance with the NFL Players Association.

Hall was called for three penalties totaling 67 yards on one possession against the Panthers. Two were personal fouls, which led Hall to engage in a shouting match with head coach Bobby Petrino and assistant coach Joe Whitt Jr. before teammates had to restrain him.

The penalties led to a Carolina touchdown that tied the game at 17 in the third quarter, and the Panthers went on to win, 27-20.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Bucs' Piscitelli placed on injured reserve with foot injury
September 26, 2007

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed rookie safety Sabby Piscitelli on injured reserve and promoted receiver Chad Lucas from the practice squad to the active roster Wednesday.

The team also made three other moves involving the practice squad, signing tackle Jason Capizzi and receiver Michael Spurlock and releasing offensive lineman Enoka Lucas.

Piscitelli, a second-round draft choice, suffered a foot injury during the first half of last Sunday's 24-3 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

LB Donte Curry back with Lions, and RB Aveion Cason is cut
September 26, 2007

Associated Press

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Lions signed linebacker Donte Curry, bringing back a player who was cut just before the season after spending five years with the team.

"He's a veteran, well loved by this team, and he brings something special," Detroit coach Rod Marinelli said Wednesday. "He's an excellent special teams player."

The Lions cut running back Aveion Cason to make room for Curry. The team also put tight end Rudy Sylvan on the practice squad and took running back Anthony Sherrell off it.

Curry made his NFL debut with the Washington Redskins in 2001, then spent the next five seasons with the Lions and contributed mostly on special teams.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Bengals sign CB Adams, waive Ratliff
September 26, 2007

Associated Press

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Cincinnati Bengals signed free agent cornerback Blue Adams to a two-year contract on Wednesday and waived fourth-year cornerback Keiwan Ratliff.

Adams is a fourth-year NFL player who originally signed with the Bengals as a free agent on May 7.

Adams missed the first three preseason games after injuring his neck in the team's minicamp, but he played in Cincinnati's preseason finale. He was waived by the Bengals on Sept. 2.

Adams played for Jacksonville as a rookie in 2003, did not play in 2004, and played for Tampa Bay in 2005-06. He played in every game for the Buccaneers in 2006, ranking third on the team with 19 special teams tackles.

Ratliff, the Bengals' second-round draft choice in 2004, played in the first three games of this season. He leaves the team with 51 career games played and eight starts.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

49ers TE Davis out with MCL sprain
September 26th, 2007

Santa Clara, CA (Sports Network) - San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis will miss at least two weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee.

Davis suffered the injury in the 49ers' 37-16 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Davis, the sixth overall pick of the 2006 draft out of Maryland, has eight catches for 83 yards so far this season.

Billy Bajeman and Delanie Walker will fill in for Davis against Seattle.

"It's got be one or the other at times." said San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan. "We have to make the tight end position work this week however we do it."

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

McCown's injury might mean Culpepper starts against Miami
September 26th, 2007

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Oakland Raiders quarterback Josh McCown did not participate in practice on Wednesday with a broken big left toe.

McCown suffered the injury in Sunday's 26-24 win over Cleveland, as he left for one play in the first half with the injury and didn't return for the second half.

Daunte Culpepper took over for McCown and completed 8-of-14 passes for 118 yards. McCown threw for 108 yards and a touchdown in the first half on 6-of-12 passing.

Should McCown remain sidelined, Culpepper would likely start on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, who released Culpepper in July.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Week 4 NFL Power Rankings
by Robert Ferringo

"Revenge is a confession of pain."
- Latin Proverb

It's Revenge Weekend in the NFL as players, coaches, and Daunte Culpepper (he gets his own subcategory) gear up to take on former teams and organizations that, at one point or another, inflicted the type of physical or emotional damage that would make a 240-pound beast recoil in agony. Jobs, glory, money - whatever was pilfered will be paid for in blood on the field, and it should make for some intriguing wagering.

First, Pittsburgh and its new front man head to the desert to take on two scorned former assistants - two men who were once competitors for the sacred Steelers coaching succession but are now a pair seeking retribution. Next, discarded former backup quarterback Matt Schaub returns to Atlanta playing the role of the formerly dorky, 130-pound high school dweeb who went away to college and is now a hulking stud making six figures and with a wife that looks like Ali Landry. And finally, Disastrous Daunte retuns to the scene of some of his most heinous crimes as his new enablers (Oakland) square off with his former crew (Miami).

Things seem to be shaking out across the ol' NFL, but you can never underestimate the Forces of desperation and urgency that will be at work this week. Be careful how you handicap emotion, and remember that nothing in this league is ever what it seems. Without further ado, here's Doc's Sports Week 4 NFL Power Rankings:

1) New England Patriots (3-0) - Tom Brady is on pace to throw 53 touchdown passes. Oh, and they're doing all of this without arguably their two best defensive players. Right now the Pats are doing anything they want, but now they're heading into a place (Cincinnati) where they are just 1-5 ATS.

2) Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) - Fortunately, Hines Ward's knee injury isn't serious. However, I doubt he'll be in the lineup on Sunday. Pittsburgh is 51-4 ATS when they win on the road off a nondivisional game and Arizona is 19-81 ATS when it loses straight up. So if you think Pitt is going to win this weekend, feel free to lay the points.

3) Indianapolis Colts (3-0) - September has been a playground for the Colts. They've won 11 straight in this month and they've gone 3-1 ATS at home against Denver and 5-2 ATS in the series. For the second week in a row they're facing a team that has some safety issues. John Lynch may be out with a groin injury this Sunday and the Broncos don't have near a suitable backup.

4) Dallas Cowboys
(3-0) - The Cowboys are still a bit too soft in the front seven for my taste, even if Chicago wasn't able to exploit it. The Best Case Scenario here is that Dallas beats up on St. Louis and Buffalo so the number on New England will be low on Oct. 14. I think the Pats will fill Dallas up.

5) Baltimore Ravens (2-1) - Over the past three-plus years the Ravens are just 6-14 ATS on the road. They are also 0-3 ATS in their last three trips to Cleveland. This team is not going to be a consistent earner this year, due in large part to a feeble passing game and a quarterback carousel.

6) Tennessee Titans (2-1) - Wow, was I wrong about this team. They are tough, physical, and well coached in all aspects. It's going to be a dogfight to get out of the AFC South this year, but the team that does will be well equipped for January ball. And, as I mentioned last week in the Ferringo Report, Vince Young is an automatic play as an underdog (13-2 ATS).

7) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) - Two nice, respectable bounce back wins for the Jags after that opening game stunner. Look for Matt Jones to be out of work within the next month. I said in the preseason that his body language told me he wasn't trying and didn't care about football. Good news for the Jags: John Henderson will be waiting for them on the other side of the bye week.

8) San Diego Chargers (1-2) - And falling fast. I said before the season started that I don't see how a team can lose both coordinators and its coach and improve the next season. Unfortunately, even I was drinking the Kool Aid last week in Lambeau. The home team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings, K.C. is just 2-5 ATS against San Diego, and the Chiefs are 0-4 in their last four trips to SoCal.

9) Green Bay Packers (3-0) - Remember: Brett Favre's Kryptonite is playing in domes. He is 5-10 in his career in the Metrodome and the Pack could be due for a letdown on the road this week. Troubling Sign Of Things To Come: Green Bay has dropped back to pass on 69.1 percent of its offensive snaps.

10) Washington Redskins (2-1) - That fourth quarter against the Giants is going to come back to haunt this team in a big way. Joe Gibbs' clock management also makes you wonder how this guy ever bagged multiple Super Bowl rings. This bye week couldn't have come at a better time for the Redskins though, as injuries were starting to mount on this veteran team.

11) Chicago Bears (1-2) - I know that it's still early, but the move to Brian Griese may have come too late. The defense is now in shambles with Chicago losing Tommie Harris, Nate Vasher and Lance Briggs last week. On top of that, several other key cogs - Fred Miller, Ruben Brown, Wale Ogunleye and Chuck Tillman - are nicked up going into Detroit.

12) Houston Texans (2-1) - This weekend's three-point line at Atlanta is the largest that Houston has ever been installed as in its franchise history on the road. The Texans have only been a road favorite one other time and they have lost 14 of their past 17 road games straight up.

13) Philadelphia Eagles
(1-2) - That's answering the bell. Now the Eagles will have to scrape and claw against a wounded Giants team. This is still "must-win" territory for Philly. They have won four of their last five trips into the Meadowlands. I think that Brian Westbrook will suit up, but the guy is sputtering until his inevitable four-game stint in street clothes.

14) Seattle Seahawks (2-1) - Here we are again with the Seahawks. They are just 6-13 ATS on the road since the start of 2005 and they've struggled all over the globe on grass. Shaun Alexander's cracked wrist is troubling, but not as disconcerting as Matt Hasselbeck's penchant for forcing balls and pressing late in games.

15) Denver Broncos (2-1) - Pathetic. That's what the Broncos have been against the spread. They are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 overall games and 0-8 ATS in their last eight games against the AFC.

16) San Francisco 49ers (2-1) - This is the Curious Line Of The Week: San Fran +2. It's hard to understand why a team that swept the series last year and has covered in three of four games is posted as a home dog. The 49ers will be without tight end Vernon Davis for at least two games, which isn't going to help their anemic pass offense.

17) Carolina Panthers (2-1) - Great game out of Deshaun Foster last week, but you should expect a lot of uneven performances out of the running game this year as they still adjust to the zone-blocking scheme. Carolina is just 3-8 ATS in its last 11 home games and the Panthers are just 9-18-1 ATS as a home favorite.

18) New York Jets (1-2) - The Jets are just 1-3 ATS in their last four trips to Orchard Park, but if they can't take advantage of a decimated Bills team they're even worse off than I thought. New York got its first sack and first takeaway on Sunday, but showed that its linebackers are not very adept at defending a screen pass. Miami scored twice on them.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) - I will be the first to admit that I may have been wrong about this team. However, they are just 3-9 ATS against the Panthers and 1-5 in Carolina recently. One thing that has to improve is their third down efficiency. They've converted just 13 of 33 opportunities this year.

20) Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) - It's tough to win when you're pulling guys off the street and plugging them into the starting lineup on defense. Cincy can make all the excuses it can think of, but they just aren't a very good team. There are just too many details that are left unattended and the margin of error in this league is too thin to get away with it.

21) Detroit Lions (2-1) - Chicago has covered four of five in Motown, but Detroit won three straight from 2002-04 before an OT loss in 2005 and a tight loss last December. Those five games were decided by an average of 4.3 points, and seven of the past eight meetings have been decided by six points or less. Also, the nine sacks and numerous hits that Jon Kitna took on Sunday just showed once again the trouble of Mike Martz's offense.

22) Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) - You saw last week how important All-Pro end Jared Allen is to this team, as his two sacks and forced fumble helped turn the tide. Also, I think Dwayne Bowe has amazing upside. He's got some trouble handling balls in traffic over the middle, but he is an animal going after 50-50 balls and lobs. The Chiefs are 7-2 ATS in their last nine divisional games.

23) New Orleans Saints (0-3) - This is the quintessential example of being able to spot a sagging team in the preseason. Just like Matt Jones, you could just tell that something was off with the Saints this season. They're not a dead stick yet, but I don't see how this team can turn it around. Look to fade them at home over the rest of the season.

24) Oakland Raiders (1-2) - The Raiders are now 21-44-2 ATS since their Super Bowl loss in 2002 and are 1-11 SU in their last 12 overall. And once again Oaktown is unsure of its quarterback heading into this weekend's game at Miami. But it looks like Culpepper will be taking the snaps.

25) New York Giants (1-2) - There are signs of life in the Meadowlands, but lets not get all warm and fuzzy about the G-Men just yet. Their secondary is still a wreck, and that's not where you want it to be facing a club that just hung 56 on the board. Tom Coughlin is 4-1 ATS at home off a straight up victory.

26) Miami Dolphins (0-3) - Don't underestimate Cam Cameron's familiarity scheming for the Raiders. Miami is 6-1 ATS versus the Silver and Black, including cashing in three of the past four at home in the series.

27) Cleveland Browns (1-2) - Three opposing running backs, three cats running for over 100 yards. If Cleveland can't figure out how to stop the run they need to think about abandoning the 3-4. The Browns are 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 conference games and 4-10 as a home underdog. However, they have covered in six straight against a team with a winning record.

28) Arizona Cardinals (1-2) - You know that Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm have had this game circled on their calendar for months, but do they have the horses to compete with one of the best teams in the NFL? The Cardinals are 7-18 ATS in September home games.

29) Minnesota Vikings (1-2) - Beware: after two straight road losses the Vikings have the necessary sense of urgency and desperation heading into this matchup with the Pack. The trouble is that they still don't have a quarterback or NFL-caliber wideouts, which means their offense is only slightly more potent than Northwestern's right now.

Are you enjoying this column? Check out Doc's NFL Team Win Predictions page. When it comes to betting NFL our /Suicide Pool feature is a must for any NFL fan. Our understanding odds page is also must read when studding the NFL. For 35+ years the team at Doc's Sports Service has provided and insight on NFL handicapping.

30) St. Louis Rams (0-3) - Wait, does this mean that Steven Jackson isn't going to reach 2,500? What a disaster this team is. Marc Bulger has broken ribs. Jackson has a torn groin. They don't have a front line on offense or defense. And now they're facing the top team in the NFC. Wow. St. Louis is 9-19 ATS as a road dog and 1-9 ATS as a double-digit dog.

31) Atlanta Falcons (0-3) - DeAngelo Hall picked a bad time for a meltdown, both on and off the field. His three penalties helped let the Panthers take control of Sunday's game and his tirade against coach Bobby Petrino comes at a time when the entire organization wants to show Who's In Control. If Hall does get suspended for this week's game I think it could crush any hope this team had at springing the upset.

32) Buffalo Bills (0-3) - It's just unbelievable. I mean, I've never seen anything like it. Is there a more hard luck franchise than Buffalo? Now Paul Posluszny is down for the count, and the only real reason to watch this team is Marshawn Lynch. That kid runs HARD.

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Thomas back at practice after missing game with concussion
September 26, 2007

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -Miami linebacker Zach Thomas was back on the Dolphins' practice field on a ``limited'' basis Wednesday. It's unknown if he'll play this weekend against the Oakland Raiders.

Thomas missed last week's game at the Jets because of a concussion he suffered in Week 2 against the Cowboys. The loss to the Jets was only the 14th game that the seven-time Pro Bowler was sidelined in his 12-year career.

``He went through all the walkthrough stuff and all the stuff at the beginning of practice and was there the entire practice,'' Miami coach Cam Cameron said Wednesday. ``We're going to list him as limited. But it's a positive.''

Cameron said Thomas' status would remain listed the same way ``until almost game time.'' The winless Dolphins (0-3) host the Raiders (1-2) on Sunday.

Thomas participated in some non-contact drills with other linebackers in the first portion of Wednesday's workout, and teammate Channing Crowder - who replaced him at middle linebacker last week - said Thomas wanted to do more during practice than the Dolphins would allow.

``He's been hit in the head a bunch. He's probably always concussed, concussed 24-7,'' Crowder said. ``He'll be back when he can.''

Thomas played every snap in Miami's loss to Dallas on Sept. 16, but said he felt lightheaded in the locker room after that game. He complained of migraines last week and the team decided to keep him from the field.

But Thomas is lobbying for a different fate this week, Cameron said.

``It's not about that,'' Cameron said. ``It's about the medical people just making sure to let it run its course. They felt awfully good about things so far. They wouldn't put him out there in pads ready to practice and going through a significant amount of practice if they didn't feel good about it.''

Thomas has started 165 games for the Dolphins, more than any defensive player in team history, and led Miami in tackles 10 times in his first 11 seasons.

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Panthers QB Delhomme misses practice again
September 27, 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -Jake Delhomme missed practice again Thursday with a strained right elbow, making it more likely backup David Carr will start at quarterback for Carolina on Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Panthers coach John Fox, always secretive with injuries, sidestepped a question on whether Delhomme tried to throw.

``He did not participate (in practice),'' Fox said. ``That's all of I've got to say and that's all I'm going to say. You know that.''

Carr, signed by Carolina in the offseason after being a five-year starter in Houston, led Carolina on two scoring drives in relief against Atlanta after Delhomme left the game late in the third quarter.

Linebackers Dan Morgan (ankle) and Adam Seward (calf) and guard Jeremy Bridges (toe) also missed practice for a second straight day.

Tackle Travelle Wharton and defensive end Mike Rucker returned to practice after being limited in Wednesday's workout with toe injuries.

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Cowboys' Ellis might play vs. Rams
dallasnews.com

IRVING – Greg Ellis' return from a torn Achilles' tendon has been slower than he would have liked, but the veteran linebacker is starting to see real progress.

Ellis took part in individual drills, worked with the scout team and did some pass rush work Wednesday. Coach Wade Phillips is hopeful Ellis might be able to make his 2007 debut Sunday against St. Louis.
Cowboys/NFL

"From what I saw today, there's some outside shot right now," Phillips said.

Ellis worked with the scout team last Friday and, "it went pretty good." On Wednesday, Ellis worked against blockers for the first time since the opening day of training camp. In San Antonio, Ellis was unable to make it through the individual portion of practice because of bursitis in his heel.

He has since been working with associate athletic trainer Britt Brown on resistance training and has not had a setback. Rookie Anthony Spencer will likely continue to start until Ellis works his way back into the lineup.

"Part of today was doing a little more and seeing what he could do, and he did quite a bit more," Phillips said. "We'll see how he feels, see how he gets through this practice, and practice and see what he does."

Injury report: The availability of special teams' captain Keith Davis for Sunday's game is in serious question because of a partially torn right pectoral muscle.

Davis, who suffered the injury Sunday night after forcing a Devin Hester fumble on a fourth-quarter kickoff return, did not practice Wednesday.

"It's going to be real difficult for him to get back this week, but we'll see how he feels," Phillips said.

Making matters worse, rookie Courtney Brown, who was expected to take at least some of Davis' special teams plays vs. the Rams, left Wednesday's practice with an arm injury.

If Brown is out, the Cowboys would have only three healthy safeties for Sunday's game, although cornerback Nate Jones has played that position in the past.

Also, linebacker Bobby Carpenter, who is tied for the team lead with six special teams tackles, did not practice Wednesday because of a quadriceps strain.

Concussion problems: Running back Julius Jones said he is looking into using a new helmet after suffering what he called two concussions in the first three games.

Jones said he suffered the first concussion in the opener against the New York Giants and the second last week vs. Chicago after he had a 22-yard run called back. He was able to return both times.

"Any player that gets banged up a little bit, you're highly sensitive to," Phillips said. "But ... our guys are monitoring all that. They haven't told me it's been a problem."

Briefly: Suspended defensive tackle Tank Johnson is expected to return to Irving later in the week to begin working out at the team's practice facility. Under league rules, Johnson will not be able to work out with the team during his suspension. He is expected to petition the league to shorten his eight-game suspension to six games.

Fullback Oliver Hoyte, who did not play Sunday vs. Chicago because of a neck injury, was limited in practice Wednesday. ... Practice squad defensive end Marcus Smith returned to the practice field for the first time since suffering a knee injury after the preseason finale vs. Minnesota.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Bills CB McGee expected to return to play against Jets
September 27, 2007

Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Bills cornerback Terrence McGee worked out fully for a second straight practice Thursday and is expected to play Sunday, when Buffalo hosts the New York Jets.

McGee missed last week's 38-7 loss at New England because of sore ribs, and his return is the first positive news for a banged-up defense that's lost numerous players to injury, including three starters on season-ending injured reserve.

With McGee out and fellow starting cornerback Jason Webster (broken forearm) on IR, Buffalo was forced to start backups Ashton Youboty and Jabari Greer against the Patriots last weekend.

The Bills (0-3) list five players out for Sunday's game, including linebacker Paul Posluszny (broken forearm) and reserve offensive lineman Jason Whittle (hamstring), who were both placed on IR this week.

Also out are linebackers Keith Ellison (high ankle sprain) and Coy Wire (sprained knee), and defensive end Ryan Denney (broken foot).

Quarterback J.P. Losman missed his second straight practice and is expected to miss up to two weeks after spraining his left knee last weekend. Third-round draft pick Trent Edwards will make his first career start Sunday.

Wire on Thursday said he's progressing to the point where he could return for Buffalo's game against Baltimore on Oct. 21, a week following the Bills' bye.

Denney, who had a protective boot removed from his foot last week, and Ellison, who has begun jogging on his own, could also be back against Baltimore.

The Bills will welcome back defensive end Anthony Hargrove next week after he completes a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Giants WR Burress to play in Week 4
September 27, 2007

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress got some good news about his badly sprained right ankle.

The second opinion on the ankle showed it was nothing more than a bad sprain, and that Burress can continue his current course of treatment.

Burress will continue practicing on a limited basis about one day a week and intends to play Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles at Giants Stadium.

"When I feel good enough to go and practice, I'll practice," Burress said after watching Thursday's workout. "If I am sore, I'll have limited practice. I'll just gauge my soreness and manage it that way."

Burress was examined on Wednesday by Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C. His diagnosis of a serious sprain agreed with the diagnosis of Dr. Russ Warren, the Giants orthopedic surgeon.

Burress sprained the ankle in early August in training camp and reinjured it against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 16.

Ronnie Barnes, Giants vice president of medical services, said Burress will continue to receive electric stimulation on the ankle. The team also will explore other options, including changing his shoes or adding orthotics and braces.

"My goal is to get to the point where it is bearable on Sunday," said Burress, whose five touchdown catches leads the NFL along with Randy Moss of New England.

Burress has been a crucial part of the Giants' offense against the Eagles the past two years.

In the three games last season, he had 17 catches for 323 yards -- a 19-yard average -- and three touchdowns, including a winner in overtime in the second week of the season and two TDs in the wild-card playoff game. Since joining the Giants in 2005, the 6-foot-5 speedster has 25 catches for 473 yards and four TDs in the five games against Philadelphia.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Ravens' CB Rolle remains out with illness
September 27th, 2007

Owings Mills, MD (Sports Network) - Baltimore cornerback Samari Rolle will miss his second straight game Sunday when the Ravens visit the Cleveland Browns.

Rolle continues to be hampered by an undisclosed illness, and the medication the former Florida State star is taking has made him lethargic.

Cornerback Corey Ivy will replace Rolle in the starting lineup.

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Re: NFL News and Notes Week 4

Panthers QB Delhomme misses practice again
ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jake Delhomme missed practice again Thursday with a strained right elbow, making it more likely backup David Carr will start at quarterback for Carolina on Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Panthers coach John Fox, always secretive with injuries, sidestepped a question on whether Delhomme tried to throw.

''He did not participate (in practice),'' Fox said. ''That's all of I've got to say and that's all I'm going to say. You know that.''

Carr, signed by Carolina in the offseason after being a five-year starter in Houston, led Carolina on two scoring drives in relief against Atlanta after Delhomme left the game late in the third quarter.

Linebackers Dan Morgan (ankle) and Adam Seward (calf) and guard Jeremy Bridges (toe) also missed practice for a second straight day.

Tackle Travelle Wharton and defensive end Mike Rucker returned to practice after being limited in Wednesday's workout with toe injuries.

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