Sunday NFL News and Notes

Sunday NFL News and Notes

NFL Preseason Preview - Buffalo (1-1) at Indianapolis (1-2)
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - In their next-to-last game of the preseason, generally held up as the dress rehearsal for the regular season opener, the Indianapolis Colts will be at less than 100 percent.

And, though face-of-the-franchise Peyton Manning will be missing when the Buffalo Bills help inaugurate Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday night, the Colts are undoubtedly getting healthier.

Defensive end Dwight Freeney (foot) and safety Bob Sanders (shoulder), both of whom have missed the entire preseason to date, have a chance to play against the Bills. If Freeney is able to see action, it will be his first appearance since suffering a season-ending foot injury in a loss to the Chargers last Nov. 11th. The oft-injured Sanders, meanwhile, had shoulder surgery in January and just recently returned to the practice field.

But the big personnel story for Indy will remain Manning, who had an infected bursa sac removed from his left knee on July 14th and appears unlikely to suit up in the preseason.

Backup Jim Sorgi, who helped lead Ton Dungy's squad to a 16-9 win at Atlanta last Saturday, will once again get the starting nod for the Colts. Sorgi was 7-of-12 for 67 yards in the victory, which was just Indianapolis' third triumph in its last 16 preseason contests.

Newcomers Quinn Gray and Jared Lorenzen, who are fighting for the No. 3 job behind Manning and Sorgi, will likely see time in the second half against the Bills.

While Indianapolis looks to maintain the health of its star defenders, the Bills will come into the Circle City trying to build on the positive momentum gleaned from last Thursday's 24-21 win over the Steelers.

Starting quarterback Trent Edwards shook off the rust of a weak outing in the preseason opener, completing 9-of-11 passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns before exiting. Tight end Robert Royal was the recipient of both Edwards TD passes.

The Bills also received a thrilling moment from rookie and first-round draft choice Leodis McKelvin, whose 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter helped lift Buffalo to the win.

Edwards is considered questionable for Sunday after colliding with running back Marshawn Lynch in practice earlier in the week. Edwards' injury is not believed to be serious, but he did sustain some knee soreness.

Linebacker Angelo Crowell (knee) and wideout James Hardy (hamstring) are other Bills notables who could be held out against Indianapolis. Left tackle Jason Peters (contract holdout) is not expected to be in attendance.

Whatever happens on the field Sunday night figures to be overshadowed by the venue itself. Lucas Oil Stadium, a 63,000-seat, retractable-roof facility that cost a reported $720 million to build, will be hosting a major event for the first time. The facility replaces the RCA Dome, which had been the Colts' home since their move from Baltimore in 1984, as the team's field.

Indianapolis has a 3-1 edge in its all-time preseason series with Buffalo, but was a 17-10 home loser to its former division rival in the last such meeting, prior to the 2005 season.

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Re: Sunday NFL News and Notes

BUFFALO (1 - 1) at INDIANAPOLIS (1 - 2) - 8/24/2008, 8:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
BUFFALO is 6-0 ATS (+6.0 Units) as an underdog over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.


Buffalo at Indianapolis, 8:00 ET NFL
Buffalo: 6-0 ATS as an underdog
Indianapolis: 3-0 Over as favorite

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Buffalo (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS) at Indianapolis (1-2, 2-1 ATS)

In a week when the starters normally see their most extensive action of the preseason, neither the Bills nor the Colts will have their top quarterback available when they clash in the first game at the sparkling new Lucas Oil Stadium.

Indianapolis held Atlanta to just three points over the last three quarters last week, winning 16-9 to cover as a three-point road underdog. The Colts barely won the yardage battle (325-318) and allowed Falcons RB Michael Turner to rip off 113 yards on just four carries, but they forced five turnovers while committing just one. Although Indy has covered in its last two preseason tilts, the Colts are still just 5-11 ATS in preseason play since 2005, including 1-5 ATS at home.

Buffalo fended off Pittsburgh 24-21 last week to cash as a one-point home pup, despite getting outgained by the Steelers, 338-263. QB Trent Edwards had a solid effort, playing just two possessions but capping both with touchdown passes in going 9 of 11 for 104 yards. The Bills have been a middle-of-the-road team in preseason play the past five-plus years, going 10-12 SU (5-6 on the highway). However, they are 13-8-1 ATS in that stretch, including 5-0 ATS in their last five August roadies and 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 as an underdog.

The Colts will again be without star QB Peyton Manning (knee), so Jim Sorgi will get the starting nod and is expected to play with the starters the entire first half and perhaps into the third quarter. Jared Lorenzen and Quinn Gray will come on in the second half, and Adam Tafarlis might see some action. Sorgi (7 of 12, 67 yards) led only one scoring drive last week (a field goal) before Gray (8 of 15, 100 yards) entered in the second quarter and also led a field-goal drive.

Edwards (knee) will also sit out this week for the Bills. Coach Dick Jauron said J.P. Losman will get the start and will likely be in with the starters the entire first half. Gilbran Hamdan and Matt Baker will relieve Losman, who mustered just 19 yards on 4 of 5 passing on three possessions last week.

Buffalo has lost four straight Week 3 preseason games (0-4 ATS), while the Colts are on a 4-1 SU and ATS roll in Week 3.

The over has cashed in four of Indianapolis’ last six preseason contests. On the flip side, Buffalo has stayed low in its last six August games, and since 2005, the under is on a 10-4 streak for the Bills.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER

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Bills at Colts
By Judd Hall

This dress rehearsal week of the NFL preseason has been more of an exercise of throwing your money than anything else.

Home favorites have been atrocious thus far by going 2-3 straight up and 1-4 against the spread. Surprisingly enough, the ‘over’ continues to be a winner as evidenced by the 4-1 mark it has at this point of Week 3. That could be a harbinger of bad things to come as the Colts are 5½-point home favorites when opening up the brand new Lucas Oil Stadium. On the flip side, it means a real possibility of seeing a high scoring affair that can soar above the current number of 38.

Then again, maybe it really as bad for Indy backers here with the news that safety Bob Sanders and defensive end Dwight Freeney will be making their first appearances on the field this preseason.

The return of both stars to the Colts’ defense can only help a unit that has given up 372 yards per game during the first three exhibition matches. Especially when you consider this group was third in the NFL last season by surrendering just 279.7 YPG.

On the offensive side of the ball, we’re not going to get a true feel for them because of All-World quarterback Peyton Manning still taking it easy with his surgically repaired knee. To put a positive swing on that, we’ll get to see the real Jim Sorgi.

The former Wisconsin standout and doppelganger for the Maytag repair man hasn’t been on the field for too much time, completing just 20 of 31 passes for 198 yards and an interception. Now we’re going to see him play with the first stringers for at least three quarters.

Buffalo fans will be treated to see how well their backup gun slinger will fare with the top talent on the road as Trent Edwards (quad) will be “out” if the lineup. Of course, they should be used to seeing J.P. Losman in the lineup as he was the starter for the better part of two seasons. And with that type of familiarity with the offense has shown on the field by completing 11 of 14 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Unfortunately for the Bills, they won’t be able to drive their new toy with rookie receiver James Hardy (hamstring) “out” of the lineup. Losman will also be without Roscoe Parrish (knee), leaving the receiving corp severely depleted.

Looking closer at the numbers of the game, we can make a few judgments as to where the bets should be made. Totals wise, the ‘under’ has gone 4-3 in the seven instances it has come up during the preseason.

Shifting our attention to the coaches, we can tell that Tony Dungy and Dick Jauron are polar opposites in this spot. Dungy isn’t known for taking the preseason seriously overall, but is big in the dress rehearsal game seeing as he’s 10-2 SU and ATS with the ‘over’ going 8-4. Jauron, on the other hand is 1-6 SU and ATS (losing his last six) with the totals soaring ‘over’ the closing number in six of seven Week 3 tilts.

You can watch this showdown on the NFL Network at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

vegasinsider.com

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Sunday's NFL Research
By Indiancowboy

Buffalo vs. Indianapolis

My buddy Wunderdog believs the Bills will underperorm this year, and he very well might be right, having said that, this team hits the road to Indianapolis, and note that Edwards will not be able to start today and the Colts have not won a preseaosn game which typically spells a way for the Colts to do well as they return home for this ballgame. This would explain why a line opened up at -3.5 now sits at -5.5 or -6. The total also sits at 38, Buffalo comes off the big win 24-21 at home against the Steelers, they lost to the Redskins by 3 in preseason game 1, but did cover, in fact, Buffalo has covered both times thus far, Indy finally won a road game vs. the Falcons, they return home here and lean on Indy to get it done against a Buffalo team that will feature Losman, Hamdan and Baker and note the Colts will feature Gray, Lorenzen and Sorgi.

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