Saturday NFL News and Notes
Saturday NFL News and Notes
Buffalo at Washington
The Redskins look to build on their blowout win over the Colts in Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game when they host the Bills at FedEx Field.
Washington cruised to a 30-16 win at Canton, Ohio, on Sunday as a five-point favorite, making a winner of new coach Jim Zorn in his debut. Despite that victory, the Redskins are still just 3-9 SU and 4-8 ATS in August since the start of the 2005 exhibition season, including 0-3 at home (1-2 ATS) the last two years.
Buffalo went 3-5 SU and 4-4 ATS in the first two summers under coach Dick Jauron, but 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS on the road, all as an underdog. Going back to 2003, Buffalo is 8-2-1 ATS as a preseason ‘dog.
Starting quarterback Jason Campbell, who went 5-for-5 and threw a touchdown pass on his one and only drive against the Colts on Sunday, will start tonight and play the first quarter. Rookie Colt Brennan will take over for Campbell and finish the first half, with veteran Todd Collins playing the third quarter and rookie Sam Hollenbach possibly finishing up. Also, RB Clinton Portis, who sat out the Hall of Fame game against Indy, will be on the field for about 10 plays tonight.
Second-year starter Trent Edwards will begin the game under center for Buffalo, but likely will only see limited action before handing off to former No. 1 QB J.P. Losman and third-stringer Gilbran Hamdan. Jauron did not unveil specifics with regard to playing time for his quarterbacks.
The under is 9-3 in Buffalo’s last 12 preseason games since 2003, including 6-0 on the road, while Washington has stayed low in three of its last four August home games.
ATS ADVANTAGE: BUFFALO and UNDER
Indianapolis at Carolina
The Colts once again will take the field without star quarterback Peyton Manning when they travel to Carolina for a clash with the Panthers.
Indianapolis’ preseason woes continued in Sunday’s 30-16 loss to Washington in the Hall of Fame Game. The Colts have now dropped 12 of their last 14 exhibition contests since 2005, going 3-11 ATS during this stretch, including 2-5 ATS on the road (1-6 SU) and 1-7 ATS as an underdog.
Carolina went 14-2 SU and 11-5 ATS in the preseason from 2003-2006, including 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS at home. However, the Panthers slipped to 1-3 SU and ATS last year, including 0-2 SU and ATS at home. John Fox’s club is just 3-7 ATS as a preseason chalk since 2005.
Jim Sorgi is scheduled to start in place of Manning for the second straight game, with Jared Lorenzen backing up, followed by Quinn Gray. All three passers are battling it out to be Manning’s backup.
Panthers starting quarterback Jake Delhomme, who had reconstructive elbow surgery last year, is expected to start tonight but said he has no idea how long he’ll be on the field. Once Delhomme departs, backup Matt Moore figures to take over, followed by Brett Basanez and possibly Lester Ricard. Meanwhile, former Pro Bowl WR Steve Smith is eligible to play despite being suspended for the first two regular-season games for punching a teammate in practice.
The under is 5-0 in the Colts’ last five non-neutral site preseason road outings, though last week’s game at Canton flew over the total. Meanwhile, the under is 4-2 in Carolina’s last six in August, including 4-0 at home.
ATS ADVANTAGE: CAROLINA and UNDER
Atlanta at Jacksonville
The Mike Smith era kicks off in northern Florida tonight, as the rookie coach leads his Falcons against the Jaguars.
Atlanta struggled through a miserable 2007 season without disgraced quarterback Michael Vick, but did manage to go 3-1 SU and ATS in the one and only preseason under then-coach Bobby Petrino. Over the past three summers, the Falcons are 4-2 SU and ATS on the road and 6-2 ATS as an underdog.
Jacksonville preceded its run to last year’s AFC divisional playoffs with its second consecutive 3-1 SU and ATS preseason, all as a favorite. Since coach Jack Del Rio took over the Jags in 2003, the team has dominated summer games, going 14-6 (13-7 ATS), including 8-2 at home (6-5 ATS).
Chris Redman gets the starting nod at quarterback for Atlanta. Once Redman departs tonight, rookie Matt Ryan is slated to take over and get an extended look, with D.J. Shockley and Joey Harrington – who are battling for the No. 3 job – also slated to see action. Smith said his desire is for all four of his QBs to get a relatively equal number of snaps tonight.
Del Rio was noncommittal in terms of playing time for his starters tonight. It’s expected that QB David Garrard will take the field with the first unit and play no more than one quarter, followed by veteran backups Cleo Lemon and Todd Bauman, both newcomers to Jacksonville.
The total has alternated in Atlanta’s last seven preseason contests, but the over is 3-1 in each of Jacksonville’s last three exhibition campaigns.
ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE
Tampa Bay at Miami
The Dolphins begin the process of putting a nightmarish 2007 season behind them when they host the Buccaneers in South Beach.
After a 1-15 season, Miami fired coach Cam Cameron after just one season and hired former Cowboys offensive line coach Tony Sparano, who has never been an NFL head coach. Sparano takes over a squad that has split its four preseason games (both SU and ATS) the last two years and four of the last five. The Dolphins have also been mediocre at home in August, splitting their two preseason contests at Dolphin Stadium each of the last five years (4-5-1 ATS). Miami is also 3-6-1 ATS as an exhibition chalk going back to 2003.
Tampa Bay, which went from worst to first in the NFC South last year, begins its seventh season under coach John Gruden. Last year, the Bucs went 3-1 SU and ATS in August, and they’ve had just one losing preseason in the last five years, going 13-8 SU and 12-7-2 ATS during this stretch.
These instate rivals meet each preseason, with Tampa Bay going 4-2 SU (4-1-1 ATS) in the last six clashes, including last year’s 31-28 victory as a 2½-point home favorite.
Bucs starting quarterback Jeff Garcia will sit this one out while nursing an injury, which means Luke McCown will begin under center and play the first quarter. Brian Griese is slated to play the second quarter, with Chris Simms and rookie Josh Johnson also expected to get some snaps.
Sparano has informed his three quarterbacks – veteran Josh McCown (Luke’s brother), second-year pro John Beck and rookie Chad Henne – of his plans for playing time tonight, but did not reveal it publicly, though all are expected to play. Each QB has struggled throughout camp, and each has spent time working with the first-string offense, though McCown is listed No. 1 on the depth chart. Meanwhile, RB Ronnie Brown, who is coming off a season-ending knee injury, will be a game-time decision.
The over is 5-0 in Miami’s last five exhibition home games, 3-1 in Tampa’s last four August games overall and 3-1 in its last four on the highway.
ATS ADVANTAGE: TAMPA BAY and OVER
St. Louis at Tennessee
The Rams, minus holdout running back Stephen Jackson, head to Tennessee to take on the Titans as these two squads cap a week of testy intrasquad scrimmages with one final battle against each other in Nashville.
St. Louis, which endured an injury-plagued 3-13 season last year, is 3-5 (2-6 ATS) in two preseasons under coach Scott Linehan, including 1-3 SU and ATS on the road. In fact, going back to 2003, the Rams are just 2-8 (3-7 ATS) in preseason road games and 3-7 ATS as an underdog.
Tennessee went 3-1 SU and ATS last summer after going 2-6 SU and ATS the previous two Augusts. However, since winning and covering four straight preseason home games from 2003-04, the Titans are mired in a 1-5 SU and ATS funk in Nashville in the summer. They’re also 1-5 ATS as a favorite during this stretch.
Marc Bulger figures to get the start for the Rams, though Linehan didn’t say how long his starters will be on the field. Trent Green is listed as Bulger’s backup, with Brock Berlin and Bruce Gradkowski battling for the third-string job. Meanwhile, with Jackson holding out, the RB chores fall to veteran backup Michael Pittman.
Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said starting QB Vince Young and the first-stringers are slated to play into the second quarter. Veteran Kerry Collins will replace Young before giving way to Ingle Martin.
The Titans topped the total in each of their last three preseason games in 2007, but the under is 3-1 in their last four August home games. The under is also 3-1 in St. Louis’ last four exhibition contests on the highway.
ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER
Denver at Houston
Fresh off their first non-losing season in franchise history, the Texans hit the field for the first time in 2008 when they host the Broncos.
Houston is 5-3 (5-2-1 ATS) in two preseasons under coach Gary Kubiak after going 2-10 SU and ATS in the previous three summers. The Texans are 3-1 (2-1-1 ATS) at home in the summer under Kubiak, but just 1-3-1 ATS as a chalk since 2003.
Denver, which is hoping to rebound from a disappointing 7-9 regular season, has been a strong preseason club over the past six years, going 17-8 (15-10 ATS), including 9-3 SU and ATS on the road. They’re also 4-2 ATS as an underdog during this stretch. Last year, though, Mike Shanahan’s club split its two home and two road exhibition battles, both SU and ATS.
These teams met every year in August from 2003-06, with the Broncos winning all four games (3-1 ATS). However, in the regular season last year, the Texans earned big-time revenge in a 31-13 rout as a 2½-point home underdog.
Shanahan kept his plans for playing time tonight under wraps, but expect QB Jay Cutler to start and play anywhere from two series to the first quarter. Patrick Ramsey is the backup, while Darrell Hackney is third on the depth chart.
Matt Schaub, entering his second year as the Texans top quarterback, will start tonight, but it’s believed that backup Sage Rosenfels, who played in five games in relief of Schaub last year, will see more action. Shane Boyd will take over for Rosenfels, with rookie Alex Brink possibly seeing mop-up duty. However, none of the QBs figure to be throwing to top WR Andre Johnson, who is expected to miss the game because of injury.
The under was 3-1 for Denver last summer and the under is 3-1 in the last four preseason meetings between these clubs. However, Houston topped the total in all four of its preseason games in 2007, and the over is 3-1 in its last four in August at home.
ATS ADVANTAGE: DENVER
Dallas at San Diego
The Chargers return to the playing field for the first time since losing in the AFC Championship game at New England in January when they host the Cowboys, the odds-on favorite to win the NFC.
After four straight 2-2 SU and ATS preseasons under then-coach Marty Schottenheimer, San Diego finally enjoyed a winning summer last year, going 3-1 for first-year coach Norv Turner. However, the Chargers once again went 2-2 ATS. On the bright side, San Diego is 5-1 the last three Augusts at Qualcomm Stadium (4-2 ATS).
Dallas went 2-2 SU and ATS in Wade Phillips’ first year as head coach last summer, but 0-2 SU and ATS on the road. However, dating to 2002, the Cowboys are an impressive 16-7-1 in preseason action (16-8 ATS). They’re also 5-2 ATS as an underdog during this stretch.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who is coming back from offseason knee surgery, will start and play two series. Backup Billy Volek will take over and play until the end of the third quarter, with third-stringer Charlie Whitehurst finishing up. As is the case every preseason, San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson will not play in August. Also, All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates will be held out because of injury.
The Cowboys’ starters on both sides of the ball – including QB Tony Romo and WR Terrell Owens – are expected to play about a quarter, Phillips said, adding that he has a predetermined play count for the first-string. Once Romo departs, veteran Brad Johnson will take over under center, followed by Richard Bartel.
The over is 5-1 in San Diego’s last six exhibition outings, while the Cowboys topped the total in their final preseason three games in 2007.
ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER
Re: Saturday NFL News and Notes
Buffalo vs. Washington
Note the Ravens came to play at New England as the Ravens head coach Brian B is on the hot seat this year considering last year's performance, but he does have a Super Bowl ring so he gets the benefit of the doubt there, many home teams have been beat outright this year, this Buffalo line has come down steadily despite the public backing Washington, this is something to look at and of course, Buffalo looks to make a statement this year and you get them at over a field goal dog here and the total has risen here. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bills win this game outright.
Atlanta vs. Jacksonville
Under new head coach Smith against his old team, Atlanta looks to do well on the road and why not, the line started off at -5.5 and this too has come down as a new dawn has come through in Atlanta and they hit the road as Smith faces off against Jacksonville who he is familiar with, this very well might be the biggest surprise of the day, but Atlanta could very well win this game outright.
Indy vs. Carolina
I think Indy might very well lose every single preseason game given that Dungy could care less, Manning is not a 100%, and all Indy tries to do is work out the kinks, I still have my doubts about the Panthers but if Delhomme can stay healthy they can do well, but keep in mind they have their problems with the receiving core, the last Indy game went over but I would not be surprised to see this game dip under here, regardless, lean on Carolina but likely staying away.
Tampa Bay vs. Miami
Note that despite over 60% are on TB, Miami is getting a lot of love here, Bill Parcells looks to help his new team get on the right foot and of course the new coach wants to impress, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Dolphins win by a field goal or better here as Gruden will sport many quarterbacks and it looks Miami might be in a bit more sync here, lean on the Dolphins at home.
St. Louis vs. Tennessee
This is a game that the Rams could win outright as remember they had a dismal season last fall, their back up did very well and had the offense rolling as it was their defense that fell short last year, this team can put up points in a hurry regardless of who is on the field, I question Tennessee's offensive prowess here, as I don't know if they did enough in the off-season here, this is game that the Rams can win outright imo and I think the ML might be an option here .
Denver vs. Houston
I tell you what, normally the home teams have been getting burned thus far in preseason but given that the public is even on this game, the ex-coach for Denver is heading the Texans, the dislike these 2 teams have with each other and the Texans have 2 quarterbacks who can straight up ball, I like the Texans to get it done here as I still question Denver's offensive and defensive prowess, lean on the Texans here.
Dallas vs. San Diego
I wouldn't touch this game with a ten foot pole as Jerry Jones loves to win regardless of preseason or regular season, Romo wants to get that bad taste out of the mouth, San Diego is a tough place to play, this team wants to desperately win at home regardless if it doesn't count or who they play, just simply staying away