Sunday Service Picks and Consensus Reports

Sunday Service Picks and Consensus Reports

THE GOLD SHEET

*******KEY RELEASES*******
JACKSONVILLE by 21 over Carolina

TENNESSEE by 10 over San Diego

OVER THE TOTAL in the Oakland-Green Bay game


SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9
***JACKSONVILLE 27 - Carolina 6—Carolina apparently better off with
44-year-old Vinny Testaverde at QB than either alternative (punchy David Carr
or rookie Matt Moore) at John Fox’s disposal. But upon closer inspection,
Panthers’ only shining moments last 7 weeks have been against the QB-shy
Cardinals (mostly Tim Rattay in that game) and the offense-poor 49ers. The
resurrection of dormant Carolina pass rush last week (6 sacks) more an
indictment of S.F. OL woes than anything else. Jax QB David Garrard (only one
pick TY) mostly mistake-free and Jags still on wild card trajectory, so ground
game should roll.


(03-CAROLINA -4 24-23...SR: Jacksonville 2-1)
Dallas 31 - DETROIT 13—Amazingly, Detroit’s debilitating 4-game skid
hasn’t eliminated it from wide-open NFC wild card chase. But allowing NFLworst
50 sacks (revolving door at RT not helping; ex-Bronco George Foster has
been a huge bust) and gaining a few inches per carry in some recent outings will
scotch Lions’ playoff hopes and Jon Kitna’s promise of 10 wins soon enough.
Meanwhile, Dallas’ main concern is honing its edge for playoffs. And with Romo
(33 TDP) & T.O. (14 TDC) red hot, Detroit’s fading defense should oblige.
(06-Det. 39-DA. 31...De.22-19 De.25/85 Da.21/58 Da.23/32/1/307 De.28/42/1/277 De.0 Da.3)
(06-Detroit +13' 39-31...SR: Dallas 11-10)


BUFFALO 13 - Miami 9—It’s nervous time for the 0-14 1976 Tampa Bay
Bucs after what seemed to be 0-12 Miami’s best chance at a win went down the
drain vs. the lowly Jets. Will Cam Cameron be tempted to give QB Cleo Lemon
another look (how’s that for an alternative?) after Dolphins’ “O” went its third
straight game without scoring a TD with rookie John Beck (3 ints. 2 fumbles vs. Jets) at the controls? Still, Miami has often come close TY, losing by 3 points
SIX times! Punchless Buffalo bunch has cracked the 20-point barrier just twice TY.
(07-Buf. 13-MIAMI 10...15-15 M.38/143 B.25/63 B.12/23/1/151 M.16/29/0/126 B.0 M.0)
(06-Buf. 16-MIAMI 6...M.15-12 B.32/105 M.20/92 M.23/32/1/190 B.11/18/0/66 B.0 M.0)
(06-BUF. 21-Miami 0...B.13-12 M.28/112 B.37/100 B.13/19/0/186 M.14/33/2/100 B.2 M.0)
(07-Buffalo -2' 13-10; 06-Buffalo +6' 16-6, BUFFALO -1 21-0...SR: Miami 50-36-1)


N.Y. Giants 20 - PHILADELPHIA 17—For a while last week, Eli Manning (2
ints., 1 fumble) looked like the “Rex of the East.” But he later led the Giants on
two, gritty, fourth-Q TD drives to beat the Bears in Chicago. Meanwhile, will the
fickle Philly fans still be calling for Feeley after his 4 ints. (now 7 in two games) last
week? Either way, would rather have the points in battle of two capable but erratic
offenses and hard-rushing but often vulnerable defenses. (What in the “wide, wide
world of sports” has happened to the Eagles’ tackling?)
(07-NYG 16-Phil. 3...16-16 P.23/114 N.27/83 N.14/26/1/129 P.15/31/0/76 N.0 P.1)
(06-Nyg 30-PHIL. 24 (OT)...N.24-23 P.30/107 N.26/86 P.27/45/0/344 N.31/43/1/318 N.0 P.1)
(06-Phil. 36-NYG 22...N.22-21 P.30/161 N.22/88 N.28/40/2/270 P.19/28/1/221 P.1 N.2)
(06-PHIL. 23-Nyg 20...P.19-17 P.31/185 N.31/151 N.16/27/1/154 P.17/31/0/138 P.0 N.0)
(07-GIA +2' 16-3; 06-Gia +3 30-24 (OT), Phil. +5' 36-22, PHI. -7 23-20 (P)...SR: NY 79-67-2)


***OVER THE TOTAL GREEN BAY 37 - Oakland 16—Early indications
are that the remarkable Brett Favre’s starting streak of 269 games (including
playoffs) is likely to continue despite last week’s right arm and left shoulder
injuries at Dallas. And CB Charles Woodson (former Raider) & DE Kabeer
Gbaja-Biamila might return as well. The Raider run defense often vaporizes on
the road (198 ypg last 4!). If Ryan Grant (588 YR) gets it going in Lambeau,
Favre & WRs have a fun day. Pack 12-3-1 vs. spread last 16 games; 8-4 “over” TY.
(03-Green Bay -5 41-7...SR: EVEN 5-5)


NEW ENGLAND 35 - Pittsburgh 27—When the Patriots reached 8-0 by
winning at Indianapolis, many pundits pointed to this week’s game as the
biggest hurdle on their way to a 16-0 regular season. But the Steelers, only 2-
3 SU on the road TY despite the league’s top-rated defense, have plenty to
prove in their own right. However, Philly’s 336 YP at N.E. show the Pats’
defense is vulnerable at times (which might why Bill Belichick appeared to be
“courting” Baltimore S Ed Reed last week for future free agency). Pittsburgh 12-
6 last 18 as dog. Pats “over” 9 of first 11 TY (prior to Monday night in Baltimore).
(05-New England +3 23-20...SR: Pittsburgh 13-9)


***TENNESSEE 27 - San Diego 17—Are back-to-back wins over the
troubled Ravens & Chiefs an indicator that beleaguered Norv Turner finally has
San Diego back on track? Perhaps, especially since L.T. getting 25-30 touches
per game lately. But Philip Rivers (once coached at NC State by current Tenn.
o.c. Norm Chow) still blowing hot and cold, and Bolts’ only success TY vs. a
winning team was its fluke-fest vs. Indy (Peyton six ints.!). Key DT Albert
Haynesworth back in action last week. And ex-Bear Justin Gage (22 catches
last 4 games) emerging as reliable target for Vince Young.
(06-S. DIEGO 40-Tenn. 7...S.26-14 S.37/241 T.19/55 S.25/36/0/235 T.13/38/2/163 S.0 T.0)
(06-SAN DIEGO -11 40-7...SR: San Diego 21-16-1)


CINCINNATI 24 - St. Louis 23—Improving Rams just one bobbled goal-line
snap vs. Seattle from being 4-0 SU last four games! Steven Jackson (354 YR,
16 recs.) close to his 2006 self in those four, with St. Louis scoring 24 ppg.
While Cincy potent on offense, injuries & flaws on defense have recently kept the
Bengals under .500 as a home favorite (7-9-1 L2+Ys). With Cincy’s playoff hopes
flickering none too brightly, wouldn’t count on host in this one.
(03-ST. LOUIS -7 27-10...SR: EVEN 5-5)


HOUSTON 23 - Tampa Bay 17—Buccaneers rule the NFC South, where
they’re 4-0 SU & vs. the spread. But they’re just 4-4 vs. the rest of the league.
And Houston’s young defenders (Mario Williams 8½ sacks; Amobe Okoye 5)
rarely make things easy for foes. T.B. QB Luke McCown surprised New Orleans for 313 YR and 34 YR in his first start in three years. Sage Rosenfels
has proven to be a capable backup QB for Houston.
(2007 Preseason: Tampa Bay -3 beat Houston 31-24 at Tampa Bay)
(03-TAMPA BAY -11 16-3...SR: Tampa Bay 1-0)


SEATTLE 31 - Arizona 19—Cardinals, with the development of their top-notch
receiving corps, have become a righteous underdog (10-2-1) in recent years. But,
like most teams, they’ve had their problems (1-3 last 4) covering in noisy Seattle.
Don’t see Arizona (defense down 4 starters) keeping pace with Seattle now that
Shaun Alexander back, RB Maurice Morris improved, and WR Nate Burleson
helping at wideout and on returns. Hawks’ attacking defense (MLB Lofa Tatupu 3
ints. last week!) setting up some easy scores. Series “over” 6 of last 7.
(07-ARIZ. 23-Sea. 20...A.20-18 A.26/132 S.24/92 A.23/37/1/299 S.22/36/0/278 A.0 S.1)
(06-SEA. 21-Ariz. 10...S.20-17 S.36/146 A.20/65 S.12/27/2/195 A.24/38/1/191 S.0 A.1)
(06-ARIZ. 27-Sea. 21...S.21-20 S.29/120 A.33/113 A.21/34/1/232 S.20/28/0/213 A.0 S.3)
(07-ARIZONA +3 23-20; 06-SEATTLE -7 21-10, ARIZONA +3 27-21...SR: Arizona 9-8)


Minnesota 27 - SAN FRANCISCO 13—Minnesota (6-6) back in thick of NFC
wild card chase. With Adrian Peterson back (116 YR and 2 TDs in romp past
Lions), o. c. Darrell Bevell can effectively pick spots for second-year QB T.
Jackson to look downfield. Rookie WR Sidney Rice (4 TDC) and WR/KR
Aundrae Allison (103-yard return last week; 2 for 52 receiving) joining with
Peterson & Jackson to provide Vikes (33 ppg last 3) with a promising young
nucleus. Meanwhile, S.F. returned to its customary ways at Carolina,
producing only 195 yards, with Trent Dilfer yielding 6 sacks & 4 picks.
(06-S. FRAN. 9-Minn. 3...M.17-8 M.33/135 S.26/42 M.21/31/1/103 S.13/21/1/91 S.0 M.2)
(06-SAN FRANCISCO +4 9-3...SR: San Francisco 22-19-1)


Cleveland 27 - NY JETS 20—Browns (3 giveaways) got sloppy with the ball
last week at Arizona. But they’re still the go-with team in this pairing, likely to
bring much more offense to bear, especially with the Jets’ defense ranking way
down the list (which is “held up” by Cleveland’s, of course). But Browns’ young
offense (rebuilt OL has held together well) has the type receiver group (Braylon
Edwards now 12 TDC) that Jets are seeking. Will note that N.Y. won two as a
home dog in OT.
(06-CLE. 20-Jets 13...C.16-12 C.39/147 N.27/88 C.15/22/1/120 N.11/28/2/105 C.0 N.1)
(06-CLEVELAND -2 20-13...SR: Cleveland 12-7)


DENVER 19 - Kansas City 16—Denver has not been a worthy favorite TY (1-
6 in role), while K.C.’s offense (12 ppg last 4) has been besieged by backfield
injuries. Chiefs might get a boost if Larry Johnson (out the last 4 games; check
status) returns, even though rookie RB Kolby Smith (233 YR last 2 games)
hasn’t been the main problem. But Herm Edwards’ defense still playing hard
and has revenge in mind. Broncs (3-11 vs. spread last 1+seasons at home)
can’t be trusted.
(07-Denver 27-K. CITY 11...K.19-18 D.29/141 K.22/67 K.23/45/3/217 D.17/31/1/186 D.0 K.1)
(06-DENVER 9-K. City 6 (OT)...D.18-16 D.36/145 K.34/145 D.16/30/1/173 K.17/23/0/131 D.0 K.2)
(06-K. CITY 19-Denver 10...K.22-16 K.41/223 D.16/38 D.25/39/1/206 K.13/22/1/159 K.0 D.0)
(07-Denver +3 27-11; 06-DENVER -10' 9-6 (OT), KANSAS CITY -1' 19-10...SR: Kansas City 52-43)


*Indianapolis 31 - BALTIMORE 14—The wistful among the M&T Bank
Stadium faithful can be excused for looking at playoff-bound Indy and recalling
the glory days of Johnny Unitas & Co. when the Colts played in town. They’re
sure not going down memory lane with the current Ravens team that is
collectively past its sell-by date and had covered just once all year heading into
last Monday’s game vs. Patriots. Baltimore can no longer rely on its aging
defense (32 points or more 3 of last 4) to compensate for its woes on offense.
TV—NBC
(06-Indy 15-BALT. 6...I.15-13 I.35/100 B.20/83 I.15/30/2/161 B.18/29/2/161 I.0 B.2)
(06-Indianapolis +4 15-6 (Playoffs)...SR: Indianapolis 5-2)


MONDAY, DECEMBER 10
*New Orleans 23 - ATLANTA 13—N.O. (5-7) missed a chance last week to
win the game it had to win to get to .500, fumbling on a risky play near the 50 and
a 23-20 lead with less than four minutes to play. But the Saints have proven to
be a mentally-resilient team TY, with good leadership from coaches and QB
Brees. Meanwhile, fragile Falcons a risky proposition, with top three OTs lost
for the year and all losses by 6 points of more. CABLE TV—ESPN
(07-N. ORL. 22-Atl. 16...A.18-14 N.22/91 A.24/75 A.27/41/0/259 N.22/34/1/219 N.0 A.0)
(06-N. ORL. 23-Atl. 3...N.19-10 N.34/146 A.23/117 N.20/28/0/180 A.12/31/0/112 N.0 A.0)
(06-N. Orl. 31-ATL. 13...A.21-20 A.45/281 N.25/95 N.21/30/0/332 A.9/24/0/52 N.0 A.0)
(07-N. ORLEANS -8 22-16; 06-NEW ORLEANS +3' 23-3, New Orleans +3 31-13...SR:
Atlanta 44-33)

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GOLD SHEET -CONFIDENTIAL KICK OFF

11 *GREEN BAY over Oakland

*GREEN BAY 38 - OAKLAND 16
With early reports indicating Brett Favre will be ready to start after being felled at Dallas, and with other G.B. walking wounded (including former Raider CB Charles Woodson) benefitting from extra time off, must lay the lumber.Raiders don’t stop the run on the road (198 ypg the last 4), and RB Ryan Grant (588 YR; only four starts) a godsend for G.B. G.B. has covered 12 of its last 16 games.


10 ST. LOUIS over *CINCINNATI

ST. LOUIS 27 - *Cincinnati 22
St. Louis won’t make the playoffs after its 0-8 start, but the Rams have regained their confidence with 3 wins in their last 4 games, as RB Steven Jackson again healthy, setting up the Rams’ explosive WRs. While Cincy still has scary names on offense, CKO insiders report many in the Bengal locker room have become dispirited after the team’s many disappointments TY.


TOTALS: UNDER (36) in the Miami-Buffalo game—Dolphins scoring 8 ppg their last 5; Bills play it ultra-conservative when rookie QB Trent Edwards is at
the controls...OVER (45) in the Arizona-Seattle game—Seattle defense setting up easy points for the offense; Cards’ defense down four starters.


HONORABLE MENTION (Nine-rated games): DALLAS (-11½) at Detroit—Cowboys’ healthy OL, attacking defense, and fine chemistry keep them rolling
despite the 10-day layoff from previous game.


CONFIDENTIAL TIP-OFF BASKETBALL

Sunday,December 9

*VIRGINIA TECH over George Washington (Day Game)...With rebuilding GW desperately looking for a creator on offense now that promising soph PG T. King is out for year with knee injury, support athletic VT squad getting ever-improving play at that critical position from explosive, speed-changing frosh PG Thorns (nearly 4 apg) & 6-3 combo G Delaney (8 ppg, 3 apg). And with prized 6-7 frosh F J. Allen (13 ppg, 7 rpg) complementing vet Fs Vassallo (16 ppg, 44% from arc) & D. Washington (13 ppg, 6 rpg) to give Hokies their best forecourt since joining ACC 4 years ago, mistake-prone Colonials (40 TOs vs. last 2 major foes) fall in Blacksburg.
*VIRGINIA TECH 82 - George Washington 69 RATING - 11

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THE SPORTS MEMO

MARTY OTTO
BEST BET

Dallas at Detroit +10.5 O/U 51.5
Recommendation: Detroit
The free falling Lions are playing themselves out of a playoff spot as
losers of four straight. Detroit was manhandled at the line of scrimmage
last week as the Vikings tallied 440 yards (200-plus on the
ground and through the air) and scored TDs on their first six possessions.
The Lions offense is sputtering as Kitna’s TD rate goes down
and the INT rate increases, a seven to seven ratio in his last five
games while the defense has been torched for 30 points or more
in three of the last four losses. They now face a Dallas team that is
ranked as the NFL’s second best total and scoring offense, led by
Tony Romo and Terrell Owens. Romo has earned every penny of his
new contract thus far as he completes 66% of his pass attempts
having racked up 3,352 yards with 33 TDs against just 14 INTs. He
has 15 multi-TD games and only one game in which he threw multiple
INTs. But where Dallas excels and keeps foes guessing is with
their ability to mix in Marion Barber and Julius Jones behind a massive
offensive line. But while they will hold very real advantages in
multiple areas this week, the Cowboys shouldn’t take your money
this week. No, they are coming off the biggest hyped game they
have played this year, and they won in convincing fashion. They are
fat and happy and comfortable after three straight home wins, and
may be caught looking ahead to another showdown with rival Philly
next week. We’ll back the Lions in an inflated range as everyone
else bails ship to give us a nice double digit spread to work with.



TEDDY COVERS
BEST BET
NY Giants +3 at Philadelphia O/U 42.5
Recommendation: New York
The Eagles saw their last realistic chance at a longshot playoff
berth go down in flames this past Sunday, as AJ Feeley threw
four interceptions in yet another ugly home loss. Philly hasn’t
enjoyed a tremendous edge at Lincoln Financial Field this season.
Their only two home wins have come against the Lions and
Dolphins -- not exactly a who’s who of quality NFL teams. We’ve
seen Philly lose straight up as a favorite on this field on three
separate occasions, along with their shellacking at home to division
rival Dallas, for a 2-4 SU and ATS mark in Philadelphia. But
this is nothing new. Philly is a .500 team at home dating back to
the start of the 2005 season; well under .500 against the spread.
They lost here at home to the Giants last year, and the year before.
And there’s little reason to expect the Eagles collective
fortunes to change in this meeting against the G-men. After all,
Andy Reid’s squad was pretty much dominated in the first meeting
between these two teams this year, managing only a single
field goal on less than 200 yards of offense. The Giants, too, are
not a team to support at home, but we certainly like their track record
in this road underdog situation. Following their come-frombehind
win at Chicago this past Sunday, Eli Manning and company
have now won and covered each of their last five road games
since their Week 1 loss at Dallas. I’m quite comfortable recommending
a play getting the better team as a full field goal underdog
in a ‘hostile’ road venue that really isn’t very hostile at all.



TIM TRUSHEL
BEST BET
Oakland +10 at Green Bay O/U 41.5
Recommendation: Oakland
The Packers are hurting as they try to keep pace with Dallas
for the possibility of securing home field advantage in
the playoffs. Obviously last week’s loss to the Cowboys was
disheartening but it may also have long term implications as
Brett Favre was knocked out with a separated shoulder and
injured elbow. He is expected to play Sunday, but the injury
will likely keep him from playing at full strength. With that, the
Packers’ game plan this week should include a healthy dose
of Ryan Grant, who has racked up a team-high 561 yards on
the ground in the last six weeks while adding four TDs. The
Raiders do rank 30th against the run, giving up an average of
over 130 yards per game and although last week’s stifling of
Denver looks impressive we aren’t buying a wholesale transition
into a solid stop unit up front. Oakland’s strength comes
from its ball hawking secondary and good cover LBs, which
should force a turnover or two from Favre. The Raiders also
have gotten a boost from running back Justin Fargas who has
put up 285 yards and two TDs the last two weeks. His performance
was a direct result of the Raiders finally showing
some clout with the pass, completing 33-of-50 passes and no
INTs during that span. The last two weeks have show Oakland
is not a that bad of a team when they get moderate contributions
from the running and passing game. We look for
them to get that again this weekend as we grab to 10 points.



DAVID JONES
BEST BET
Pittsburgh +14.5 at New England O/U NL
Recommendation: Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to upend New England’s dream of
a perfect season in the headline matchup of week 14’s NFL slate.
Through 11 games, the Steelers boasted the league’s top defense.
Pittsburgh is able to stop the run or pass in a well balanced defensive
scheme. The Steelers are also a solid offensive team as well.
With one of the league’s best rushing attacks behind RB Willie Parker,
Pittsburgh has the ability to keep the Patriots high powered offense
on the sideline. The passing game can strike with QB Ben Roethlisberger
and WR Hines Ward when foes try to focus on stopping
the run. While there is no doubt that the Pats are the clear favorite
to win the Super Bowl, the perceived difference between these
two squads is not the reality based on this pointspread. In their
only game this season against a top caliber defense, the Patriots
managed only 24 points in a narrow win at Indianapolis. The Steelers
defense will present an even bigger challenge. Also, the winter
weather should help an underdog team with a solid defense like the
Steelers. Ultimately, the goal for New England is to win. Even if it
is by one point, the mind set is to stay perfect. So, Pittsburgh just
needs to be competitive to cash a ticket. The Steelers will not be
intimated by facing the Patriots on the road. Most of the title club
from 2005 is still intact. Pittsburgh won three road games in the
postseason to capture the AFC title en route to their Super Bowl
crown. New England stays perfect but the Steelers keep this one in
single digits in a game that will have plenty of playoff type intensity.


ERIN RYNNING
BEST BET
San Diego at Tennessee +1 O/U 41
Recommendation: Tennessee
The Chargers will make the cross-country voyage this Sunday with
a trip to Nashville to face the Titans. This will serve as the second
straight ‘early Sunday game for the West Coast men of San Diego.
Of course, last week they’re victorious against division rival Kansas
City as the Chiefs are struggling mightily in the second half of the
campaign. The Chargers really found the middle of the line worth
attacking with star running back LaDainian Tomlinson, while they
garnered 191 yards on the ground. However, against this Titan’s defensive
front with the return of Albert Haynesworth it will be much
tougher sledding. With Haynesworth in game there’s no question
the Titans have proven they’re as good as any run defense in the
NFL this season. Now, when you can at least slow down the run of
the Chargers, the onus falls on quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers
still has difficulty carrying this football team offensively. Note, the
Chargers have been fortunate of late in the turnover department.
In fact, they’re +16 in turnovers during their 6-2 run. I just don’t
believe this team is still as overwhelming as they were at times last
year. Meanwhile, the Titans ‘woke up’ out of their three game slumber
in the second half of last week’s Houston game. The offense finally
clicked once again, while the same can be said of the defense.
The Chargers simply won’t be able to bully this Titans team, while
the Titans remember last year’s debacle in San Diego losing 40-7.



JARED KLEIN
BEST BET
San Diego at Tennessee +1 O/U 41
Recommendation: Tennessee
The Tennessee Titans host the San Diego Chargers this week
after finally getting back on track last weekend against the
Houston Texans. The big difference against the Texans was the
return of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Haynesworth
consistently drew double and even triple teams that freed up
defensive ends Antwan Odom and Kyle Vanden Bosch to make
plays and consistently pressure both Matt Schaub and Sage
Rosenfels. It’s also no coincidence that the Titans didn’t give
up over 100 yards rushing through the first eight games of the
season. Haynesworth is the key and while he and the Tennessee
Titans’ defense will have their hands full against LaDainian
Tomlinson and the Chargers’ offense, the Titans will be up to
the task as they have the sixth-best total defense in the NFL
and are seventh in stopping the run, giving up just 93.9 yards
per game. The Chargers have won three out of their last four
games, but when you take a closer look at how they’ve beaten
teams it’s been due to turnover margin just like last week where
they forced four turnovers against an inept Kansas City offense.
The Titans’ offense is much more of a threat with Vince Young,
who had a great game against Houston last week completing
21-of-31 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns, and the Titans’
fifth-best rushing attack. The Titans should be able to take
advantage of San Diego who makes the cross country trip to
Nashville after beating division foe Kansas City last weekend.



ED CASH
BEST BET
San Diego at Tennessee +1 O/U 41
Recommendation: Tennessee
The Chargers are back in control of the AFC West at 7-5, but only
because everyone else in the division is so bad. They have won
their last two games over Baltimore and Kansas City only because
those offenses are so bad, even worse than what the San
Diego offense has become. Phillip Rivers looks like he is back at
NC State during his freshman year and has just one 300-yard
game all year. LT is also having a down year, his only three good
games have been against Denver, Oakland and KC, three poor
run defenses. Somehow, the Chargers are 7-5, with only one win
over a winning team, and that came only because Peyton Manning
threw six picks with half of his offense on the sidelines. Tennessee
is also 7-5, breaking a three-game skid last week with a win over
Houston. The Titan defense has been banged up, but with Albert
Haynesworth back in the lineup, they were better last week against
Houston and should be in even better shape this week. Also, Vince
Young has played four pretty good games in a row very quietly
and seems to be maturing as a passer. Too bad he doesn’t get any
help from his receivers or he would be even better. Bottom line:
Tennessee is the better team here, they are at home, and they
are getting a point. Count me in on that deal anytime. Take the
Titans to hand Rivers and the Chargers their sixth loss of the year



DONNIE BLACK
BEST BET
Tampa Bay at Houston +1 O/U 40
Recommendation: Houston
Tampa Bay got a near flawless performance from backup QB Luke
McCown last week as he relieved Jeff Garcia and Bruce Gradkowski
(who was largely ineffective in relief himself two weeks ago). Mc-
Cown completed 29-of-37 passes for 313 yards and led the team to
three TDs including the game winner with 14 seconds left to all but
cash their ticket as NFC South Champions. The Bucs, behind their
second ranked scoring defense, outgained the Saints last week by
over 220 yards, but they should feel fortunate to have come away
with a win after recovering a fumble on an ill-advised reverse play
late in the fourth quarter, and converting on fourth down later in
the ensuing game winning drive. But they can’t possibly expect
another performance like that from their QB, even if Jeff Garcia
returns (at less than 100%) and they certainly can’t expect a
gift wrapped win on the road once again. Houston may be without
Matt Schaub but Sage Rosenfels has shown good chemistry with
his wideouts in spot duty thus far, and has actually posted numbers
comparable to Schaub (83.9 QB rating vs. 87.2). Look for
the Texans to come up big after back-to-back road losses as Tampa
takes a breather with their playoff berth all but guaranteed.



ROB VENO
BEST BET
Arizona at Seattle -7 O/U 45
Recommendation: Seattle
The Cardinals’ pass defense, which has been dissected at will by
their last four opponents, is in for a methodical torching here.
The 237 yards allowed through the air by Arizona to the pathetic
49ers passing attack a couple weeks ago put the ultimate red
flag on this recent month long span which has now seen the Cards
allow 1,119 aerial yards or 280 per game. With Seahawks QB Matt
Hasselbeck distributing the wealth among his three and four wide
receiver sets, Arizona’s depth shy defensive backfield figures to
have trouble matching up. Adding to the Cardinals woes here will
be the fact that ‘Hawks RB Shaun Alexander returned last week
and looked very good teaming with backfield mate Maurice Morris
to register a combined 129 rushing yards on a very wet field.
Seattle’s diversity will keep the Cardinals off balance all game
correlating into solid point production. Defensively, Seattle’s relentless
and speedy pass rush (second in the NFL with 36 sacks)
is likely to overwhelm the Cardinals porous offensive line (29
sacks allowed) and make things difficult for QB Kurt Warner. The
game carries importance for each of these divisional rivals but
favor the Seahawks in this situation whose 5-1 home record includes
a current 3-0 straight up and pointspread run. There’s also
a revenge factor here as Seattle endured a heartbreaking 23-20
loss to the Cardinals back on September 16 when Neil Rackers
hit a field goal with 1 second remaining. A victory here clinches
the NFC West for Seattle and expect them to get it by 14+.



BRENT CROW
BEST BET
Minnesota at San Francisco +7.5 O/U 45
Recommendation: San Francisco
The Vikings come into this game on a roll, winning three straight
over Oakland, New York and Detroit. Whereas they were a 4.5-
point home favorite over the Raiders three weeks ago, they
are now a full touchdown chalk over the 49ers on the road.
They have won their past two games by scores of 41-17 and
42-10 and super rookie running back Adrian Peterson is back
in the fold as well. On the other hand, San Francisco is 3-9 on
the year and is coming off a 31-14 loss to the Panthers. San
Francisco has the worst offense in the league and has scored
more than 17 points just twice all year, both times against Arizona.
Despite all of that, I like the underdog 49ers at home this
week. Minnesota now finds themselves in position to get into
the playoff race after their three-game win streak, which adds
pressure to their young quarterback. The 49ers have nothing
to play for but pride, and they have played with pride on defense
all year, especially at home. San Francisco has had a difficult
stretch lately, playing four of their last five games on the
road. Getting back to their place should ensure another good
effort from the defense, and if they can force a turnover or
two, they can win this game. The 49ers are 3-0 this year, (all
three of their wins) when they have a positive turnover ratio.


FAIRWAY JAY
BEST BET
Cleveland at NY Jets +3.5 O/U 47.5
Recommendation: New York
No, that wasn’t a misprint last week. The winless Dolphins (0-12)
were favored. And they got beat. Again. The Jets fit a very solid
late-season situation last week playing against a NFL home favorite
(Dolphins) of 3 or less when both teams are off a loss. Now, New
York returns to home turf off an underdog win as a disrespected
‘Dog of a touchdown or less. This is a solid long-term winning
situation. Regular Fairway Followers know we cashed our NFL
Game-of-the-Year winner last week on Arizona over Cleveland.
The Browns defense is still a problem, dead last in the NFL allowing
390 ypg. Another area of concern is penalties, as the Browns
are the second most penalized team in the NFL (95 for 716 yards)
while the Jets have the second fewest penalties in the league (46
for 360 yards). The Browns mighty offense has ‘only’ produced 21
and 27 points the past two weeks against sub-par defenses. Meanwhile,
the Jets running game came to life last week with Thomas
Jones and Leon Washington rushing for over 140 yards. The offense
and quarterback Kellen Clemens is gaining confidence and
should use last week’s performance to ‘Jet’ them to continued
success against this poor Browns defense. The last time New York
played on this field, we cashed a big ‘Dog winner with the Jets outright
victory over Pittsburgh. New York’s pass defense is an area
of concern in this match-up, but look for the Jets to continue their
move towards respectability against a Browns team that could
be feeling the ‘Dawg collar around their neck down the stretch.




SONNY PALERMO
BEST BET
Kansas City +6.5 at Denver O/U 37.5
Recommendation: Kansas City
Missed using Denver last week, and I’m switching sides and going
against them this week. The loss to the Raiders knocked Denver
out of the hunt for the division title, maybe not mathematically,
but certainly realistically as they sit two games behind San Diego
with only four left to play. And the Oakland loss also leaves them
with no hope for a Wild Card spot either, as the Jags, Cleveland
and Buffalo all sit ahead of them - and all three won’t collapse
over the final weeks. What this leaves us with is a great spot to
play against a team who will be in quit mode and full of loathing
over the realization that their season is over. In this spot, the
Broncos return home, not as heroes but as goats, and no amount
of optimism can convince them they did not blow any chance for
the postseason with the two road losses to the Bears and Raiders
-- two games they should have won. The Chiefs’ offense is not
much worse than Denver’s, while their defense is a whole lot better,
surrendering 100 points less on the season. Denver couldn’t
cover as a small favorite at Oakland, they’re now 1-4 as favorite
in ‘07, and are in that role again, giving almost a TD here. Take
the Chiefs, in a game where we get a team that is 4-1 ATS on
the road in ’07, seeking revenge for an earlier loss at KC. Keep
in mind, they may not need ‘em as they can win this one SU.

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WINNING POINTS

NFL

****BEST BET

Carolina over *Jacksonville by 10
There’s one thing the Panthers can do and that’s win away from home.
Carolina has knocked off Arizona,Atlanta,New Orleans and St. Louis on the
road this year.The Panthers are at their best as a road underdog, especially
in December where they have covered 13 of the past 15 times in this role.
Consequently, Jacksonville is at its worst laying a big price.The Jaguars have
been double-digit chalk four times during the last three years.They’ve failed
to cover every time, including laying 10 this season to the Falcons.
Jacksonville managed only to beat Atlanta, 13-7.The Jaguars are a conservative
team that wins playing good defense, running the ball and limiting mistakes.
That means taking few shots downfield.This philosophy fits their personnel,
but is not necessarily good for covering a large pointspread. The
Panthers are not devoid of talent. Julius Peppers is an elite defensive end.
Linebacker Jon Beason is a candidate for defensive rookie of the year. Steve
Smith remains a dangerous playmaker. After fiddling around with totally
ineffective David Carr, Panthers coach John Fox fully realizes 44-year-old
Vinny Testaverde gives his team the best opportunity to win.The Panthers
had no confidence when the battered Carr was under center.They have a
much better attitude and downfield threat with Testaverde. Smith plays better.
So do running backs DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams. One reason
why the Panthers play better on the road is less pressure.The onus is
on Jacksonville. Don’t be surprised if the Jaguars don’t respond well this
week. Jacksonville played well at Indianapolis last Sunday, but still lost.That
defeat, in all probability, ended the Jaguars’AFC South Division title hopes.
The Jaguars have a key road tilt next week at Pittsburgh.This interconference
matchup isn’t big on their radar screen. CAROLINA 24-14.


***BEST BET

*Green Bay over Oakland by 27
The combination of Green Bay having four extra days to game-plan and get
healthy, the Raiders coming into cold weather and drawing an early start
time puts us in the Packers’ corner. Brett Favre should be fine to start, but
even if he isn’t the Packers have enough to cover this spread with Aaron
Rodgers.The Raiders entered Week 13 with the worst run defense in the
league.The Packers are particularly tough when they can get their ground
attack going, which makes their play-action passes and frequent slant patterns
even more effective. The Raiders have a decent secondary, but not
nearly enough depth to cover Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and rookie
James Jones. Green Bay is 3-0 SU and ATS versus AFC West teams this season.
Favre played his worst game of the season last Thursday against Dallas.
So did the Packers’ defense. Some of this, of course,was because of Dallas,
the class of the NFC so far. But some also was injury-related.More than likely
the Packers will get back their two key defensive players that didn’t play
against the Cowboys, cornerback Charles Woodson and pass rusher Kabeer
Gbaja-Biamila. Justin Fargas has been running well for the Raiders, but the
team still turns the ball over too much (26 giveaways) and commits too
many penalties to hang with an elite team like the Packers at such a tough
road venue. The Raiders’ quarterback situation consists of Daunte
Culpepper,who isn’t 100 percent and still doesn’t have a full grasp of the
offense, perennial backup Josh McCown and rookie JaMarcus Russell, who
is just beginning to get his feet wet. The Packers are out for redemption
after a rare poor showing. They are a well-coached, fundamentally sound
team with plenty of big-play ability.The Raiders have yet to exhibit any of
these traits. GREEN BAY 37-10.


**PREFERRED

*Tennessee over San Diego by 10
The Chargers have seized control of the weak AFC West, but have yet to
establish a consistent passing attack and have covered just two of their last
eight away contests. Vince Young is the kind of quarterback San Diego’s
speed pass rushers can’t catch up to. Young’s passing is getting sharper
every week.The Titans have an inside-outside rushing tandem of LenDale
White and Chris Brown to keep the Chargers on their heels. Star defensive
lineman Albert Haynesworth returned last Sunday for Tennessee after missing
three games with a groin injury.The difference was amazing when he
wasn’t in the lineup.The Titans surrendered 97 points in the three games
Haynesworth missed. Their run defense is top-notch when Haynesworth
plays, which is crucial in bottling up LaDainian Tomlinson. Philip Rivers
isn’t enough of a playmaker to lead San Diego to a road victory unless he’s
getting a major contribution from Tomlinson. Flying from the West Coast to
Nashville for an early start time is a major negative for the Chargers.The last
time they had to do that was three weeks ago at Jacksonville and they were
flat in a 24-17 loss. The Titans also have a huge coaching edge with Jeff
Fisher going against Norv Turner.TENNESSEE 20-10.

*San Francisco over Minnesota by 4
Unlike most seasons, there is more of a gap in the NFL this season between
the haves and the have-nots.The 49ers definitely are a have-not.They’ve lost
nine of their past 10 games. Frank Gore has rushed for 100 yards once this
season. San Francisco has broken the 20-point barrier only one time. But
the Vikings are not a “have” team yet.Yes, they have won four of their past
five. Adrian Peterson is a dominating running back. Even Tarvaris Jackson
has picked up his play, completing 45-of-58 passes for 504 yards and three
touchdowns during the past three games. However, Minnesota is traveling
to the West Coast in the rare spot of being a road favorite.The game is on
grass. The Vikings are used to playing indoors on carpet. Their pass rush
isn’t going to be as effective because of this. The Vikings, under Brad
Childress, aren’t used to playing under this kind of pressure.They are shooting
for a wild-card spot and expected to win. It’s a division sandwich, too,
for Minnesota.The Vikings just hosted the Lions and are home to the Bears
the following Sunday.The 49ers have nothing to lose.They can play loose.
Veteran quarterback Trent Dilfer has decent receiving targets.The Vikings
went into last week ranked last in pass defense. SAN FRANCISCO 21-17.

NBA

***BEST BET
New Jersey over *Washington by 7
The Nets have owned the Wizards defeating them six consecutive times. Jason Kidd
could post another triple-down operating against Wizards’ second-string point guard
Antonio Daniels. Richard Jefferson is having an All-Star type of first half for New
Jersey and Vince Carter is getting his shot back. Washington ranked just 24th in
defense. NEW JERSEY 112-105.

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THE SPORTS REPORTER

SUPER BEST BET

*HOUSTON over TAMPA BAY by 21
How do you beat the Tampa Bay defense? With a bowling ball between the tackles that circumvents their pass rush and avoids their zone coverage. Rise up, Ron Dayne, fromthe NFL living dead of running back options. Dayne actually had 86 yards on 18 carries in last week’s loss by Houston at Tennessee, so a productive game by the former Heisman winner would not be completely out of left field. The Bucs are off a hard-fought win against division-rival New Orleans. With four games remaining on the schedule, they now lead the NFC South by three games over Carolina, a team that died weeks ago, and New Orleans, against whom the Bucs are 2-0 in 2007. Tampa Bay is a commanding 4-0 within its division and 7-2 in NFC play, and this non-conference game affects neither of those potential tie-breaking records. To sum it all up, this is the least important game on the Bucs’ schedule. When a team invests as much time and energy on the division as the Bucs have, and their investment has paid off as well as it has to date, the team has earned the right to take a week off – or, so the team thinks. The schedule, however, says they have to play a game on artificial turf in Houston with a third-string running back and possibly Luke McCown starting at quarterback. They got away with it last Sunday but will very surprising if they get away with it here. HOUSTON, 31-10.

BEST BET

*JACKSONVILLE over CAROLINA by 24
The pitiful Panthers showed some signs of life last week against an even worse 49er
team, but travel to face a talented and angry Jaguars team. Carolina has actually managed
an impressive 4-2 record on the road this season, but all four of those wins came
in the first six weeks of the year. Lots of things have gone south for the Panthers since
week six. The Jags, once again, came this close to dethroning the Colts for the AFC South
title but fell three points short. They’ll take little solace in the effort and look to work out
their frustrations against the non-conference opponent visiting this weekend. The
Jacksonville running attack should find plenty of room to run against a Panthers defense
that gives up an average of 112 yards on the ground. Carolina has not fared well against
the AFC South this season, losing games to Houston, Indianapolis and Tennessee without
putting up much of a fight. This week’s scenario does them no favors by matching
them up with a Jaguars team gearing into playoff mode and intent on proving themselves
after losing a big game last week. Vinny Testaverde won the dinosaur match-up vs. Trent
Dilfer last Sunday. Good for him. JACKSONVILLE 34-10.


BEST BET

MINNESOTA over *SAN FRANCISCO by 18
Only in the bad, bad NFC could it have happened this soon and yes, a 6-6 SU record after
12 games is only one game better than at this point a year ago -- but Minnesota is the
latest in a long line of Year Two teams to move up after terrible Year Ones. Injuries and
the transition to a new head coach held them back after Brad Childress and staff
replaced Tice and staff in 2006. The quarterback position has held them back from making
a quantum leap in 2007, but it’s not like the Vikings have a quarterback that can outduel
Tarvaris Jackson. Trent “What, Me Care?” Dilfer tossed four interceptions last
Sunday and if you’re a 49ers players, it can’t be too exciting to be 3-9 in December, waking
up to practice with this sour-pussed, accidental Super Bowl ring wearer as your
leader. Vikings players must bond together behind the baby carriage like Pittsburgh
Steelers players rallied in support of Ben Roethisberger in 2004 and 2005. As noted before with the Vikings, they usually run the ball well and do a good job of containing or
stopping the other team’s running game. They play like those Steelers played.
Sometimes, their defense even rises up and gets turnovers. They ran away from Atlanta
and the New York Giants by getting defensive touchdowns. When you do something once
or twice, sometimes you can do it again. The Vikings played here off a short week last
season, very, very injured, and lost 9-6. They remember. MINNESOTA, 24-6.

RECOMMENDED

DALLAS over *DETROIT by 21
The proverbial goose looks positively cooked in Detroit, where the early season hopes
brewed by a 6-2 start have vanished in the smoke of a smoldering four-game slide. The
Detroit offense was dealt another blow when leading receiver Roy Williams was felled by
a knee injury that makes him questionable for this week’s contest. In actuality, it’s debatable
as to whether his presence would matter in the final outcome anyway. Dallas has
looked nearly unbeatable for most of the season, taking on all comers – except for the
New England Patriots, of course. The Cowboys formula is simple: throw early and often
then close out games with the strong running of Marion Barber. The Dallas defense has
also played exceptionally well this year, relying on their bevy of pass rushers to consistently
harass opposing quarterbacks while limiting running backs to an average of 84
yards per game – fourth best in the NFL. Greg Ellis and DeMarcus Ware have already
notched 10+ sacks each and facing a Mike Martz-coached offense should see these
hybrid DE/LBs finding plenty of opportunities to rush the passer. Martz is notorious for
flooding the field with receivers to the detriment of the pass protection, but never seems
to adjust regardless of how many hits his QB ends up taking. For the record, Jon Kitna
has been sacked a league-leading 44 times. Dallas will add several to that tally in this road victory. DALLAS 35-14.

RECOMMENDED

*TENNESSEE over SAN DIEGO by 8
Norv Stram now has most of the NFL right where he wants it: looking away from him and
San Diego’s 7-5 record – the worst record among the four AFC division-leaders, but still
two games and a head-to-head win better than nearest pursuer, 5-7 SU Denver.
However, the one guy staring at him is also 7-5 SU and is not in a position to win his division.
Therefore, Titans’ head coach Jeff Fisher can sell this game as the biggest of the
season to his players, who can get to 8-5 SU and legitimate Wild Card contention status
with Jacksonville and Cleveland by protecting home field against a visitor that is 0-4 SU
and ATS in non-division road games this season. "We just kept applying pressure the
whole game and we didn't let up," said Chargers’ Shawne Merriman about the win in
Kansas City last week, accomplished against sub-par statue quarterbacks, a lousy offensive
line and back-up running backs. Tennessee’s offensive line is solid and Vince Young
is a wild card player at the quarterback position. Tennessee’s offense is up from 16 first
downs per game to 17 this season, while San Diego’s is down from 20 to 18. Young can
do more with his legs than Phillip Rivers can. TENNESSEE, 29-21.

RECOMMENDED

ARIZONA over *SEATTLE by 3
Huge game for the 6-6 SU Cardinals, who are 1-0 in the season series with Seattle but two games behind the 8-4 SU Seahawks in the NFC West. Do they have what it takes to make the next three games after this one a sprint to the wire? The Seahawks had a Feeley-good day at Philadelphia last Sunday when running back Shaun Alexander returned to action for the stretch run while the defense picked the Eagles’ #2 quarterback four times. Despite the apparent disadvantage of having Matt (Dink-and-Dunk) Leinart at quarterback for the first meeting, the Cardinals were able to gain 431 offensive yards to 370 and won the game 23-20 despite being only even in Turnover Ratio.Mercifully, Leinart’s attitude and injuries have moved him out of the picture. Kurt Warner will quarterback Arizona this time around – for better or worse, as it always is with Warner. The Cardinals are on a 0-2 SU and ATS run in Seattle.Warner fumbled four times in last season’s 21-10 defeat, and the team melted down immediately after he was knocked out the 37-12 defeat in 2005 with an injury. Hold onto the damn ball and don’t
get hurt, you…ARIZONA, 23-20.


RECOMMENDED
*TENNESSEE over SAN DIEGO by 8
Norv Stram now has most of the NFL right where he wants it: looking away from him and San Diego’s 7-5 record – the worst record among the four AFC division-leaders, but still two games and a head-to-head win better than nearest pursuer, 5-7 SU Denver.However, the one guy staring at him is also 7-5 SU and is not in a position to win his division.Therefore, Titans’ head coach Jeff Fisher can sell this game as the biggest of the season to his players, who can get to 8-5 SU and legitimate Wild Card contention status with Jacksonville and Cleveland by protecting home field against a visitor that is 0-4 SU and ATS in non-division road games this season. "We just kept applying pressure the whole game and we didn't let up," said Chargers’ Shawne Merriman about the win in Kansas City last week, accomplished against sub-par statue quarterbacks, a lousy offensive line and back-up running backs. Tennessee’s offensive line is solid and Vince Young is a wild card player at the quarterback position. Tennessee’s offense is up from 16 first downs per game to 17 this season, while San Diego’s is down from 20 to 18. Young can do more with his legs than Phillip Rivers can. TENNESSEE, 29-21.

THE SPORTS REPORTER - NBA

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9

BEST BET

*TORONTO over HOUSTON by 13
It’s a Sunday afternoon game in Toronto, a formula that usually spells trouble for the visiting team. Houston has looked shaky on the road all season and are running into a Raptors team that probably took it to the chin in Boston a couple nights back. Meanwhile, the Rockets are playing three road games in four days, and today is their most vulnerablesituation – one day after playing in New Jersey / New York and most likely having spent a nice Saturday night enjoying themselves in either New York or Toronto, just in time for the 12:30 PM start time. TORONTO 111-98

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Marc Lawrence

INCREDIBLE STAT OF THE WEEK
Carolina head coach John Fox is 18-1 ATS in his career as a road dog vs. a < .777 foe that scored 14 > points in its last game.

Sunday, December 9th
5&#9733; BEST BET
Jags return home off close-call loss against Indianapolis while
Panthers take to the road after romping past the 49ers last
Sunday. The major challenge at hand for Jack Del Rio’s club
will be in attempting to become the fi rst Jacksonville squad
in team history to bring home the bacon as a favorite in
games after taking on the mighty Colts (0-6 ATS). Meanwhile,
Carolina dresses up as a dog knowing they are 14-2-1 ATS as
road dogs against a foe off a loss. They are also 13-2 ATS as
road dogs in December. Toss in our INCREDIBLE STAT OF THE
WEEK (page 2) and you have the makings of a live dog taking
on a dead favorite. We’ll take live over dead, every time.
Carolina over JACKSONVILLE by 3

4*Rematch of two division rivals that found the Eagles dropping
a 16-3 verdict earlier this season in New York as -2.5 point
favorites. In that loss Philly held the Giants to a season-low 212
yards, yet lost when they managed a season-low 190 yards of
offense in the contest. Andy Reid has been solid in revenge in
his NFL career, especially in division games (18-7-1). And he’s at
his best in revengers when taking on a sub .700 division foe as
his 17-5-1 ATS mark confi rms. Toss in the ‘Black-n-Blue Factor’
(winning teams on the road the game after facing the Bears
are 1-7 ATS these past two seasons) and suddenly the Giants
look like a rotten apple ready to be tossed, especially off last
week’s dramatic comeback win over Chicago.
PHILADELPHIA over NY Giants by 13

3* BEST BET
Rather quietly the Seahawks have strung together a 4-0
SUATS streak and are suddenly riding high atop the NFC West
division. They can salt the Cardinals away with a win here
today, on a home fi eld where they’ve won 21 of their last 25
games. Added incentive comes from a 3-point loss at Arizona
on Week Two this season. Before you think about putting your
hard earned cabbage on Seattle, we suggest you take a long
look at the rest of the salad bar. For openers Arizona is 5-0
SUATS as a dog against an opponent off a SUATS win. They’re
also 9-0 ATS as dogs versus a division foe off a SUATS win. Toss
in Seattle’s 1-7 ATS mark at home in games off a double-digit
SU dog win and you now have a bountiful plate full of fi xins’
that will likely require a doggie bag to go!
Arizona over SEATTLE by 6

Totals
5* Lions Over
4*Philly Over
3*Pack Under

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EROCKMONEY


(1.) Houston (+3.5) v. Tampa Bay

I'm really impressed with the Bucs this season, as well as, the Texans. I expected the Texans to be a terrible team this season and despite their numerous injuries they have played pretty well. The Bucs are on a roll and could have easily won two of the games they lost. However, the Bucs are due for a loss and I expect the Texans to play a strong game at home.

Pick: Texans by 3

(2.) Carolina (+10.5) at Jacksonville

I love this Jacksonville team and feel they could really make some noise come playoff time. The Jags are built to play stong defense and run the ball, which rarely leads to blowouts. Carolina has been terrible of late, but I think they will hang around in this one. The Jags will get the job done and are never really be in jeopary of the loss, but the Panthers cover the number.

Pick: Jaguars by 7

(3.) Buffalo (-7) v. Miami

The Dolphins are terrible as evident by their performance last week versus the Jets. I still the Dolphins will win a game this season, but it will probably be a game that comes out nowhere. Some "experts" are giving the Dolphins a shot this week, so this won't be the one. I like the Bills to add to the horrid season of the Dolphins.

Pick: Bills by 10

(Blowout of the Week) Dallas (-10.5) at Detroit

The Lions have officially folded this season. Dallas still remebers blowing a shot at the NFC East during the last week of the season versus Detroit last year. The Cowboys will roll in this one and add to the abysmal finish of the Lions season .

Pick: Cowboys by 17

(Upset Special) Pittsburgh (+10.5) at New England

The Patriots have come back to Earth over the past few weeks. The Patriots have a lot of holes on defense and struggle to run the ball, however they may be the best passing offense the NFL have ever seen. I'm expecting the Steelers to play a great game in this one and end the Pats dream of an unbeaten season.

Pick: Steelers by 6

(Over 38) Carolina at Jacksonville

As stated above I think Carolina will show up and put a few points on the board, while the Jags will play yet another strong game at home. This combination will push the score over for the game.

(Over 35.5) Miami at Buffalo

Miami can't seem to stop anyone and the Bills are playing solid ball at this point in the season. This is a big rivalry so the Dolphins won't roll over easily and should have some fight to them. The Bills should close it out late covering the side and the total.

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Allen Eastmen

SEA -7 -102............................$2500.00
CLEV-3 ..................................$2400.00
MINN -8 1/2.............................$2100.00
OAK +10 1/2..........................$2000.00
KC+6 1/2.................................$200.00
3 TEAM TEASER
KC +16.5
OAK+20.5
MIN +1.....................................$200.00

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Robert Ferringo


5-Unit Play. Take #122 Seattle (-7) over Arizona (4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9)

4.5-Unit Play. Take #113 Pittsburgh (+11) over New England (4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9)

4-Unit Play. Take #110 Philadelphia (-2.5) over New York Giants (1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9)

3-Unit Play. Take #115 San Diego (Pk) over Tennessee (1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9)

3-Unit Play. Take #103 Carolina (+11) over Jacksonville (1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9)

2.5-Unit Play. Take ‘Over’ 37.0 Kansas City at Denver (4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9)

Take #126 New York Jets (+3.5) over Cleveland (4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9)
Everyone and their sister is on the Browns in this game – so we’re going the other way. This is Cleveland’s fourth road game in the last five weeks and its fifth in the last seven weeks. I think they come out a bit flat here against a Jets squad that is 2-1 and playing better since its bye week.

Take #131 New Orleans (-4.5) over Atlanta (8:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 10)
The Falcons are simply not capable of competing along the offensive and defensive lines. They have been decimated at the point of attack and shouldn’t be able to hold up against a Saints team still clinging to postseason hopes. Atlanta has turned to Chris Redman as the starter, and something tells me that isn’t going to help. I expect a weak crowd at the Georgia Dome and I’m looking for another primetime beat down for the Falcons.

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Alex Smart
Buffalo Bills -7.0
Sun Dec 9 '07 1:00p

Miamis offense behind rookie QB Josh Beck has looked extremely in cohesive, which has in turn put a lot of pressure on the defense that has been forced to stay on the field for long stretches. Their inefficiencies, became, very evident last week against the NY Jets at home , in an embarrassing 40-13 beat down, in a contest a lot of pundits thought might end their winless drought. Now the downtrodden Fins go on the road to cold hostile environment of Orchard Park against a Buffalo Bills team riding an emotional high off a 17-16 upset win as an underdog last week, vs the Washington Redskins. Bottom line: This maybe the Fins worst team of all time, and at a TD or less underdog, they make great fade material. Final notes & Key Trends: Buffalo is 17-6 ATS off a upset win as a Dog. Bills beat Dolphins 13-10 in their last visit to South Florida, on Nov 11 of this season, which does not bode well for a Miami team that is 4-14 ATS revenging home loss. Play on the Bills

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Docs

3 Unit Play. #3 Take Miami +7 over Buffalo (Sunday 1:00 pm CBS) The Dolphins laid an egg last week against the Jets, but have played better in the two proceeding weeks, covering both of those games. The Bills do not do anything exceptionally well and thus will not be able to light-up the scoreboard against a decent Dolphins defense. They did not score a touchdown last week against Washington. If the Dolphins do not beat themselves with turnovers, they will stay in the game throughout and keep it within a field goal. Buffalo 20, Miami 17.

6 Unit Play. #15 Take Pittsburgh +10 ½ over New England (Sunday 4:15 pm CBS) Pro Game of the Year. Many have pointed to this game as the one where the Patriots will finally stumble and suffer their first loss of the season. After the way New England played the last two weeks against average teams (Philly, Baltimore) I am now starting to believe that might be the case. New England has not come close to covering the spread in the last two weeks and this line has already moved a field goal since it opened. Pittsburgh plays the style of offense that features a strong running game to keep the powerful New England offense off of the field. Pittsburgh needs this game more if they have any thoughts of catching Indianapolis for 2nd place in the conference and will go all out to try and win it. They play with the Pats for 60 minutes, losing by just a field goal. New England 27, Pittsburgh 24.

4 Unit Play. #22 Take San Francisco +8 ½ over Minnesota (Sunday 4:05 pm Fox) The 49ers will be ready for some home cooking, after playing four of their last five games on the road. During that span, they did post an impressive road victory against the Arizona Cardinals, a team with a similar record to that of Minnesota. The Vikings have a stud running back in Peterson, but QB Jackson has yet to impress me and you can be sure the 49ers will make him beat them with his arm. Just too many points to be laying on the road, since the Vikings are not an elite team. Minnesota 21, San Francisco 20.

4 Unit Play. #30 Take Baltimore +9 ½ over Indianapolis (Sunday 8:15 pm NBC) The Ravens find themselves in primetime yet again after nearly shocking the world by handing the Patriots their first loss of the year last Monday. That did not happen, but they outplayed New England and now face a banged up Indy team, just trying to tread water before getting healthy once the playoffs start. Expect another low scoring game similar to that in the playoffs last year when the Ravens held Manning to just 161 passing yards. Baltimore regroups after that meltdown and wins this game straight-up. Baltimore 24, Indianapolis 23.

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Wild Bill

Carolina +10 1/2 (1 unit)
Miami +7 (1 unit)
Eagles -2 1/2 (4 units)
Pittsburgh +10 1/2 (1 unit)
San Fran +9 1/2 (3 units)
Kansas City +6 1/2 (1 unit)

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Gator Report (Cajun-Sports)

Game: San Diego Chargers vs. Tennessee Titans

Technical Set: SAN DIEGO is 17-7 Over when playing with 6 or less days rest over the last 2 seasons, 6-0 Over after having won 3 out of their last 4 games over the last 2 seasons, 10-2 Over in all games where the total is between 35.5 and 42 pointss over the last 2 seasons, 10-2 Over playing with 6 or less days rest on the road, 7-0 Over on the road after a game in which their completion percentage was at least ten pointss lower than their season to date average. TENNESSEE is 12-3 Over as a home underdog of 3 pointss or less since 1992, 15-5 Over in all games where the total is between 35.5 and 42 pointss over the last 2 seasons, 11-2 Over in home games after failing to cover the spread in 3 out of their last 4 games since 1992, 9-0 Over within 3 of pick at home versus a non-divisional opponent before playing on the road against a non-divisional opponent, 6-0 Over when facing a team that benefited from an average of at least 2.25 turnovers per game season to date. Game 13 or later non-division road favorites have gone 45-23 Over since 1999 and the last three seasons has seen that record improve to 15-3 Over.

Selection: San Diego / Tennessee OVER 41


Gator Report NFL System Play of the Week:

Game: Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions

System:

In Games 2-14, play ON a non-Monday home underdog of 7+ s with points a TOTAL of 33+ points off a turnover margin of -3 or worse last week, 22-0 ATS since 1996.

Selection: Detroit Lions + 11

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MATT FARGO

NFL:

Miami 5 units;

San Diego 2.5 units

Green Bay 2 Units

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Burns NFL

TITANS (-3 or better)

Game: San Diego Chargers vs. Tennessee Titans Game Time: 12/9/2007 1:00:00 PM Prediction: Tennessee Titans Reason: I'm playing on TENNESSEE. The Chargers managed a win at KC last week. However, they've still been poor when playing Eastern games at 1:00 pm. Both their 2006 regular season losses cane when playing an "early" game. Prior to last week, the Chargers had lost all three games in that situation, losing at Green Bay, Minnesota and Jacksonville. Playing their second straight early game, facing what should be an extremely motivated Tennessee squad, I expect the Chargers to stumble here. In addition to having homefield advantage, I feel this game means more to the Titans. The Chargers obviously want to win. However, they can afford to lose and they'd still be in first place in the West, regardless of what the Broncos do. On the other hand, although they have the same record (7-5) as the Chargers, the Titans know they can't win their division (Colts are 10-2) and they're currently in a "dawg fight" with the Browns for the Wildcard spot, meaning that every game is extremely important. Not that they need any additional motivation, but the Titans won't have forgotten last season's embarrassing 40-7 loss, as nobody has beaten them that badly since. Note that while the Chargers' defense has allowed 23.5 points and 369.2 yards per game on the road, the Titans' defense has allowed only 16.5 points per game and a mere 263.7 yards per game. They should have star defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth in the lineup and that makes the defense and team significantly better. In fact, the Titans are 7-2 with Haynesworth in the lineup this season and 13-3 the past 16. The Titans are coming off an important win over Houston and they've fared well in that situation, going 17-6 ATS the last 23 times they were coming off a home win over a divisional opponent and 32-17 the last 49 times they were coming off a division win overall. Behind another big defensive effort, look for the Titans to earn the important victory. *Personal Favorite


EAGLES (-3 or better)

Game: New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles Game Time: 12/9/2007 1:00:00 PM Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles Reason: I'm laying the points with PHILADELPHIA. The Giants know they can't win the division. However, they're pretty comfortable for the Wild Card. Conversely, this is truly a "must win" game for the Eagles as a loss will kill any remaining hope that they might have. They're also playing with "revenge" from a 16-3 loss at New York earlier this season. That's noteworthy as we find the Eagles at a terrific 44-22-3 ATS the last 69 times they faced a team which defeated them in the previous meeting, including 8-3 ATS since 2005. The Eagles have actually been playing very well the last four weeks. They beat Washington and Miami before losing very close games vs. the Seahawks and Patriots. Both those games could have been won if not for critical interceptions by A.J. Feeley. With McNabb expected to return, I expect the entire team to receive a boost. Note that the Eagles also expect to get back defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley and safety Quintin Mikell, both of whom missed the Seattle game with knee injuries. This is a well-coached and experienced Philadelphia team which has gone to the Super Bowl and which knows how to win at this time of year. Despite last week's loss, the Eagles remain a healthy 13-7 SU and 11-7-2 ATS their last 20 home games played in the month of December. Playing with "revenge," playing a "must win game", playing their second straight home game vs. a Giants team playing its second straight on the road, I feel the situation calls for a convincing win and cover for the Eagles. *Situational Blowout GOW


UNDER 49ers/vikings (37 or better)

Game: Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers Game Time: 12/9/2007 4:05:00 PM Prediction: under Reason: I'm playing on Minnesota and San Francisco to finish UNDER the total. I lost with the Vikings "under" the total last week. However, I'm willing to give it a shot again here. Despite a really poor game from the Lions' defense, that game still would have stayed below the number if not for a 100 yard Minnesota kick-return touchdown. Despite that result, the UNDER remains a profitable 9-1 the last 10 times that the Vikings were coming off a double-digit victory and 6-1-1 the past eight times they were coming off consecutive victories. The Vikings have an excellent run defense as they are limiting teams to a league-low 70.5 rushing yards per game, having held the Lions to 23 last week. That causes many teams to abandon the run. However, the 49ers have such a conservative offense and rely so heavily on Frank Gore (one of the reason's for their struggles) that they'll continue to pound the ball on the ground, regardless of how ineffective it is. Note that the 49ers have seen the UNDER go 4-1 at home this season with those games averaging a mere 28.4 points. While the defense has been solid, San Francisco has averaged only 209 yards of offense in those games. I also played on the UNDER when the Vikings traveled here last season. That game produced a mere 12 points as the 49ers won by a score of 9-3. With a heavy dose of the run from both teams helping to chew up the clock, I'm expecting another low-scoring affair which falls below the number. *December Total of the Month


3 game exec report

JETS (+3 or better)

Game: Cleveland Browns vs. New York Jets Game Time: 12/9/2007 4:15:00 PM Prediction: New York Jets Reason: I'm taking the points with the NEW YORK JETS. The Jets are starting to play their best football of the season with two wins in their past three games. Those victories were rather impressive too as one came vs. Pittsburgh and the other was a 41-13 blowout of Miami. It has been an excellent season for the Browns. However, the reality is that they've struggled on the road all season as they've gone just 2-4 while giving up 28 points per game. The two wins came at Baltimore and St. Louis and both were very fortunate. The victory at Baltimore came in overtime after the Browns hit a field goal off the upright to tie the game at the end of regulation. The win at St. Louis came vs. a severely banged up Rams team and Cleveland had to rally from a 14 point deficit and then hang on until the final seconds. With last week's loss at Arizona, the Browns are now 5-15 their last 20 road games. NONE of those five victories came by more than a touchdown and four of them came by four points or less. The point that I am trying to make is that I don't feel the Browns deserve to be favored by a field goal (or more) on the road vs. anyone, let alone an improving and revenge-minded New York team. Note that the Browns have just one win in their last eight December road games and that win came by two points at Oakland back in 2005. Meanwhile, the Jets are 4-0 ATS their last four December games and 13-7 ATS their last 20. Coming off arguably his best game as a pro, I expect Kellen Clemens to fare well against a porous Cleveland secondary which ranks 30th in the league. With the Browns playing their second straight on the road, I feel that situation favors the home underdog.


PANTHERS (+10 or better)

Game: Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Game Time: 12/9/2007 1:00:00 PM Prediction: Carolina Panthers Reason: I'm taking the points with CAROLINA. The Panthers finally got the monkey off their back with a big home win last week. Conversely, the Jaguars come off a close loss to defending champion and division leader Indianapolis. The Panthers have played well on the road all season, going 4-2 SU/ATS. That brings them to a profitable 62-43-3 ATS on the road since they came into the league in 1995. During the same stretch, they've also gone a profitable 32-18 ATS in the month of December and 70-44-2 (61.4%) ATS when listed as underdogs. On the other hand, the Jaguars haven't been very profitable when listed as large favorites. In fact, they're just 7-13 ATS the last 20 times they were favored by more than eight points. A game vs. their division rivals (Colts) seems to take a toll on the Jaguars. Looking at the last few times that they were coming off a game vs. Indianapolis and we find that the Jaguars have lost by six points, lost by seven points and, most recently, won by a single point. These teams have faced each other three times since coming into the league at the same time. All three games were decided by 10 points or less and the most recent two games saw scores of 24-23 and 22-20. I feel that the Panthers are better than their record indicates and I'm expecting another close game which comes down to the wire.


LIONS (+10 or better)

Game: Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions Game Time: 12/9/2007 1:00:00 PM Prediction: Detroit Lions Reason: I'm taking the points with DETROIT. I successfully played on the Cowboys in their win over Green Bay. Off that monumental victory, and with rival Philadelphia (Owens' old team) on deck, I expect them to find it difficult to get emotionally "fired up" for the lowly Lions. Conversely, I expect a passionate effort from the Lions, as they've been embarrassed one too many times and are in danger of falling below the 500 mark and out of the wildcard race. Note that the Lions are a perfect 4-0 ATS the last four times they were listed as double-digit underdogs, winning two of those games outright. The most recent of those victories came against these same Cowboys last season, 39-31 at Dallas. That result should give the Lions confidence that they can compete with and beat this year's team. The Lions have only been beaten by more than 10 points once in their last 11 December home games. Look for them to give their guests all they can handle here, improving to 19-7 ATS the last 26 times they were coming off three or more consecutive losses.

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Pointwise Phones

4* Carolina
3* Pitt, Minn, Tampa, Tenn,
2* New Orleans, Buff, Green Bay

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LARRY NESS ' LEGEND Play-NFL

My LEGEND Play is on the Sea Seahawks at 4:05 ET. The 6-6 Cards are tied with the Lions and Vikings for the final wild card spot in the NFC. That's heady territory considering the team has made the postseason just ONCE (in 1998) since moving to the desert in 1988. Meanwhile, with a win here, the Seahawks (who have won four straight games), can clinch their FOURTH straight NFC West title. Seattle is playing well, as Hasselbeck has thrown two TD passes in SIX of his last seven games, while averaging 275 YPG through the air. In the four-game winning streak, he's completed 62.2% with a 7-3 ratio. RB Morris averaged 84.3 YPG on the ground in the three games Alexander missed and added 5-for-64 LW, as Alexander returned (Shaun had 20-65). Arizona escaped LW with just a 27-21 win (almost lost it!), despite forcing four Cleveland TOs and enters this game with a 'ton' of key injuries. QB Warner is always a "hit away" from the sidelines, while his starting WRs are questionable. Boldin (likely to miss with a toe problem) and Fitzgerald (will be a game-time decision with a groin injury The Seattle pass D is 2nd in sacks with 36 (Warner better be careful), plus has allowed a league-low seven TDs (15 INTs). The Arizona D is without its best player in safety Adrian Wilson, starting CB Green and its best pass rusher (Berry). Seattle fell behind Arizona (Week 2) on the road 17-0 but took a 20-17 lead before losing 23-20. The Seahawks have been an excellent home team while making the playoffs these past four seasons and have won three straight at home coming in, outscoring opponents, 87-29. Seattle "smells blood" here. LEGEND on the Sea Seahawks.
Good Luck...


LARRY NESS' Las Vegas Insider-NFL Week 14

My Las Vegas Insider is on the Ten Titans at 1:00 ET. Head coach Norv Turner was on the "hot seat" at SD after a 1-3 start but is now expected to be offered a multi-year deal with the Chargers at 7-5. I'm NOT sold on the 7-5 Chargers "being back" just yet, as the team's lone quality win came against the Colts (23-21), a game in which SD had two kick return TDs, Peyton threw six INTs plus Indy's Vinatieri missed a 29-yard game-winning FG at the end! The team's other six wins have come against teams with a combined record of 28-44 (.389) entering Week 14! Rivers has thrown for less than 200 yards in FIVE of his last seven games and is nowhere near LY's form. Tomlinson's averaging 26 YPG less, has just 12 TDs through 12 games (had 29 LY) and his YPC is down from 5.2 to 4.4! Overall, the offense is averaging just 23.8 PPG, after averaging a league-best 30.8 LY! For the Titans, Vince Young is really coming on at QB, averaging 264 YPG through the air the last four games, after averaging a pathetic 122.1 through his first seven starts. He's also added 176 rushing yards (6.8 per) the last four weeks. The Titans broke a three-game losing streak LW, as DT Albert Haynesworth returned. In his absence, the team allowed 97 points (32.3 per) and 160 YPG rushing, going 0-3. With him, the Titans are 7-2 in '07, allowing 16.0 PPG and 71.9 YPG rushing (which would rank them 2nd in the NFL!). SD is just 2-4 SU on the road, losing at NE, GB, Min and Jax. The defense has allowed 32 PPG in those losses and like the offense, has not played anywhere near its '06 form. SD has some "wiggle room" in the weak AFC West, a luxury the 7-5 Titans don't have in the AFC South, where the Colts are 10-2 and the Jags are 8-4. On the sidelines, Fisher vs Turner is a complete mismatch. SD is also not helped by traveling again for the second straight week, while the Titans play their second straight at home. Las Vegas Insider on the Ten Titans.

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Spritzer's 2007 **NFL Game of the Year!

My GOY is a play on the Colts, minus points over Baltimore. The Ravens' players themselves, basically billed last week's game against New England as their Super Bowl. The meltdown at the end of the game, following a chain of numerous bad breaks was all I needed to see to lift the level of this game to the highest it could be. I was set to wager on the Colts, whether the Ravens won or lost that game. But the manner that they lost in should have this team's already fractured psyche in the dumper. It's pretty safe to say that the current roster couldn't be any more frustrated with their coaching staff than they already are. No one seems to see eye-to-eye with Billick any longer. The defense is not aging well and the secondary is a shell of what it was last season. The defense as a whole, is no longer intimidating. Peyton Manning, with TE Dallas Clark bringing back another dimension to this offense, will drill this once-proud stop-unit. Clark grabbed seven Manning passes last week and really opened things up for Reggie Wayne who finished with 158 receiving yards. Defensively, the Colts rank in the top-5 in points allowed, passing yardage allowed, and total yards allowed (277 per game). The Ravens got a huge game out of McGahee last week, yet still couldn't get over the top. They're 23rd in the league in total offense, and still don't have a true starting QB on the roster. Baltimore is averaging just 16 PPG during their current 6-game losing skid, and have been held to 14 points or less in four of those games. Off a physically and emotionally draining Monday night loss...and a draining season for that matter, I believe Baltimore will be as flat as they've been in seasons. I believe the Colts will cruise throughout on Sunday night with an easy win and cover. Colts 31 Ravens 9. The Colts are my NFL Game of the Year.

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ASHN Comp

NFL Angle for Sunday December 9th

PLAY OVER when a double digit home favorite is off consecutive SU wins but ATS losses of 10 or more points if they are playing a greater than .500 team. This angle is 11-1 OVER since 1989.

PLAY OVER Pittsburgh/New England

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GAFFNEY ( 43-19-1 ) :

CAROLINA
NY GIANTS
MINNESOTA
KANSAS CITY

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