Stephen Davis has been put on the IR. With Joey Harris questionable, it looks like Brad Hoover will get his 15 carries again this week.
It looks like Duce Staley may have to sit this week. He's still a game time decision though.
Ken Lucas plans to play through the pain after suffering a bruised lung last week. That's good news to the Seattle secondary that dearly needs him this week.
Chris Brown expects to start. He's been in the game plan all week, even though he's missed full practices. Coach Fisher seems to think the turf toe he has will subside as the season goes on. Either way, it is obvious that Brown can produce while battling minor injuries.
Deion Branch finally saw some real practice on Friday. He may not play this week, but is much closer to returning.
Onterrio Smith has some kind of neck stinger and will probably give way to Michael Bennett this week. Look out for Moe Williams sightings too.
Tulane (-6) vs Army - I like Tulane at home here largely because it's a night game (party, party, party). Army played Air Force tight last week at home, but lost 22-31. Now they have to travel south to face this 3-5 Green Wave team that is 3-1 at home this season. I saw Army play in person last month and to me it looked like they could be beaten by a quarterback who could stretch the field with any regular accuracy. So meet Tulane QB Lester Ricard who was 18-19 for 323 last week versus Navy and 36-49 for 417 in his previous home game against UAB. Army is probably not over losing to Air Force and still has the Navy game coming up in early December. Give me the 6 points. It's a lock... Tulane - Army
Ball St. (-3) vs UCF - Going against another team fresh off a tough loss here. Oddly enough, I'm also going against a team called the Knights (Army is the Black Knights, UCF is Golden). Central Florida lost in OT last week at home because of a missed extra point. Ouch. And they're 0-9. Ouch, Ouch. Now they're on the road again where they've given up 37 to Penn State (!!!!), 48 to Buffalo, 43 to Miami (Ohio), and 20 to Marshall. Ball State, meanwhile, seems to keep games close at home. And hey, at least they have a win this season (1-8). There's nothing worse than picking one of two terrible teams playing each other because so many things can happen to screw things up. That's why I'm going with the momentum in this one. Preview
Georgia (+4) at Auburn - The game of the day. All the game previews tell the story. Just tune in the tv on Saturday. I'm picking the Bulldogs because I just think Georgia is the better team. Even on the road. Yahoo - ESPN
Double digit home dogs are are now 40-15 since October 1st. Of those this week, I like Duke (vs Clemson), Western Michigan (vs Miami Ohio), Wyoming (vs (Utah), Washington (vs Cal), and maybe San Jose St (vs Boise St) too.
Arizona State will retire Pat Tillman's number on Saturday. There should be a lot of emotion there and I can't decide if that will help or hurt the Sun Devils this week. It's probably better to save karma by staying away from this game altogether.
People who are scared to pick Virginia this week because they don't think the 'Canes can lose three games in a row should remember what happened in 1999. They lost three in a row.
Having Michigan State upset Wisconsin should would make a lot of BCSer's happy. It could happen too.
UPDATE: So I can't do nothing with the big games (I was thinking both UVA and UGA would win) but in the little games I was 6-0-1. And that's not counting the MSU upset because I didn't really pick it. I wish there were NFL games like this that fly under the radar.
John Abraham missed practice for the second day in a row yesterday. He's still listed as probable but the real news surrounding the Jets is the possible loss of Chad Pennington for more than the projected two weeks. I've heard from more than one source that the injury Chad sustained may end up being more than a 'strain' or whatever they're calling it. I heard (I think on NFL Access this morning) that one doctor suggested that just by watching the play on tv, the injury may indeed be a torn rotator cuff. It's all speculation at this time, but still something to keep in mind.
11 of the 30 teams have a 3-5 record. Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Tennessee, KC, Dallas, Washington, Chicago, Tampa, New Orleans, and Arizona all have their seasons on the line this week. I think the Wild Card races have officially started.
I’d like to see [Larry Johnson] get more work... Any running back is a better running back if he gets to carry the ball more. It is almost impossible to come off the bench, carry it three times in different spots and play well. I don’t believe guys can do that. You can in the passing game, but not in the running game. You really have to get going... I’ve always been a one-back kind of guy because I’ve never had two great ones.
Dallas is eagerly awaiting the return on Julius Jones. They also may be using Randal Williams, Patrick Crayton, Terrance Copper as their top three WRs.
The Giants have gone back to basics this week to try to limit turnovers.
Mike Cloud hasn't been practicing, so look out for Ron Dayne this week. But then again, don't. Everyone should hate him by now.
Stephen Davis may be done for the season? Wasn't he just practicing last week? Who are these medical people?
Trey Wingo and the NFL Live team made a good point last night in criticizing the Vikings' handling of Randy Moss. Originally, Mike Tice said that he did not want the Moss injury to linger on for a month or two but that's exactly what has happened as a result of letting Moss play. No matter what the player says he's feels, you cannot take his word for absolute truth because competitors will always want to think they can still do more than they can, no matter how bad they're hurt. It took Chad Pennington more than 2 quarters last Sunday to realize that he wasn't healthy enough to give his team a chance to win. Priest Holmes knew it right away. It's tough to take yourself out of a game like that, but it's also very commendable to be able to put your team before your pride. Mike Tice, Randy Moss, and the entire Viking staff is to blame for the way this situation was handled and it would not surprise me at all if Moss isn't able to regain his form until next season.
The Ravens have in Charles Moore, Travis Taylor, and Kevin Johnson probably the best trio of WR they've had in many years. Taylor caught 7 of 10 passes in Week 9.
Roy Williams and Az Hakim were both sitting out of full team practice yesterday, but if you scroll down this story you'll find the Coach Mariucci plans to use Kevin Jones more down the stretch. Hakin has been very productive for the last few weeks.
Antonio Bryant is talking about holes in the Steelers secondary, and while they may be there, the question is if Garcia can hit them. Don't take the Browns too lightly this week, especially if Bettis is again the starter.
The Bills have been outscored 90-12 in their last three Sunday night games but I like that Coach Mularkey has addressed this issue by making changes to their schedule this week. The Bills +8 are intriguing but the Bills +15 with the Vikings +10.5 is even better.
Speaking of the Steelers defensive weaknesses, this Scout's View basically says the same thing. Bryant may be doing the talking, but look out for Andre Davis and Dennis Northcut...
The Texans were down early to the Broncos last week, and we got a good idea of what Houston intends to do when they have to consistently pass. David Carr threw 8 passes to Armstrong, 9 to Gaffney, and 9 to Johnson.
Somewhere near the bottom of this incrediblelist of achievments, you can find that Marshall Faulk holds the record for total yards from scrimmage in one NFL season.
...set a new NFL standard for total yards from scrimmage…combined for 2,429 yards, breaking the mark of 2,357 yards set by former Detroit Lions' running back Barry Sanders in 1997.
With 820 rushing and 411 receiving in eight games, Tiki Barber is on pace for 2462.
Briefly, looking ahead to the fantasy playoff weeks 15-17, I'm looking at two guys in particular: Michael Pittman and Drew Brees. Tampa faces New Orleans (15) and Carolina (16) at home and then Arizona (17) on the road. San Diego, meanwhile, goes to Cleveland (15), Indy (16), and then finishes at home against Kansas City (17). My only concern with those two are Earnest Graham and Phillip Rivers. But that just means I'm not too concerned. I also like Coles and Gardner out of Washington as they face San Fran (15), Dallas (16), and Minnesota (17). If Ramsey is starting by then, he could make a real impact on more than a few league's playoff races. Another guy worth buying low right now is Brian Westbrook. Assuming he gets healthy, Philly faces Dallas (15), St Louis (16), and Cincinnati (17), but you've also have to consider that the Eagles probably won't use him much if they have the first round bye locked up. There are a few other teams, like Carolina and Buffalo who have favorable weeks for running backs, but also some concern as to who that running back will be.
Mike Martz questioned his players earlier this week, and now is really starting to make or break his team with these comments. I suppose if they were to lose this week, bad things will happen.
The NFC South is still wide open. Each team has only played one divisional game. This week's Bucs - Falcons game will really give us an idea on who the front runner is though.
Steve was better. He is sore still. He is nowhere close to playing right now, but he ran around a little bit. He threw, he threw some one-on-one and threw some seven-on-seven. So, it is encouraging.
(on Chris Brown’s durability)
He made it back last week. The question is, is how is he going to be this week? He hasn’t practiced, he didn’t do anything last week, he didn’t practice today so he will definitely be a question mark going into this ball game. It is a concern of his, but it is something that is a little bit out of his control right now because what we want to do is try and put the toe injury behind him. We don’t want it to just keep lingering through the rest of the year.
[The Packers] reinvented themselves offensively during the bye last year. They were a west coast offense (opening week). When they came out and played us in the Metrodome (in week 8) they were a power running team, bootlegs. It kind of caught us off guard a little bit. It was a whole new feel, a whole new flavor. I'm sure they'll have something new. That's the ability of the bye to kind of tinker a little bit. I understand they're closing practices and all. They don't want anything leaking out. There'll be some things that they'll bring out. We all do that during the bye week.
There's a lot of question marks about this weeks Lions - Jags game. This Detriot story gives us a look into what they see in Jacksonville this week. They agree that QB Garrard has plenty of talent, but it sounds like they'll be coming after him due to his inexperience. To counter, the Jags will look to run the ball. The Lions have been beaten on the ground in their last two losses but mostly because teams have started to run the ball 35 and 40 times against them. If the Lions get the lead early, they should take the game.
That's all for now, looking forward to see what tonight's FSU - NC State game will bring.
I took yesterday off since there wasn't much new information around. In the meantime...
Sports Blah has a nice roundup of MLB free agents and where they could possibly end up. Here's a snipit:
There is a three-way debate going over which team is hurt by free agency most this year: the Red Sox, the Cubs, or the Cardinals. The Redbirds stand to lose relievers Cal Eldred (Red Sox) and Steve Kline (Yankees), shortstop Edgar Renteria (Cubs), starters Woody Williams (Giants) and Matt Morris (Phillies), catcher Mike Matheny (Oakland, if he's priced low enough; Boston, if they lose Varitek; otherwise Los Angeles), and second baseman Tony Womack (who cares). The likelihood is that they will retain at least two of the above players, but that would still leave some large holes on the NL Champions.
Mel Kiper is officially back at ESPN. I saw him talking about Maurice Clarett yesterday on Sportscenter and he'll be in Sportszone's Chat at 2pm today.
Off Wing has a quick roundup of what's going in with the DC Baseball situation.
A look back at what happened to everyone's NFL picks here. He's also got the early Week 10 lines posted.
The NHL website is officially taking it's anti-player stance too far. They should just put up a headline that reads something about how stupid they both are.
Think losing Eddie George was hard, the Titans are going to be forced with some more difficult choices after this season, including the future of Steve McNair.
If Steve Spurrier does take the Dolphins job as Chris Mortensen has been hinting at for weeks now, there still is that huge QB void that Spurrier will have to fix immediately. I just can't see Steve coming back to coach this Miami team. But maybe he will. Maybe he just misses Sage Rosenfels.
John Abraham has cleaned up his life and is really starting to become a dominant player on every down, in every game.
After reading this, I suspect that Plaxico has finally turned the corner in his career and should be a consistent performer for a while now.
The 2004 edition of Dominick Davis is what the sophomore slump is all about. Hopefully, he'll pick it up in the last few weeks and give us a nice sleeper for 2005.
I think I saw this morning that New England was favored by 8 points this week versus Buffalo? What? Here, Yahoo has them opening at 9? Who are these crazy people.
I'm starting to run a little bearish on Rudi Johnson. I just don't see the offensive line making progress and now that Warrick is out, the overall versatility of their offense is hindered too. He's a good back, and still seems to be good for 75-90 yards a game, but hoping for any consistent touchdown production is a bit of a stretch.
Very interesting interview about NFL scouting from the Vikings' director of college scouting.
EA Sports has announced that they have lowered the price of their NFL, NHL, and NBA games to 30$. Pity to all those who paid full price.
Don't count out the Bucs down the stretch. Their remaining schedule isn't a very difficult one and they are getting healthy on offense. Obviously, Brian Griese looks comfortable in this offense, but the real guy to have right now is Michael Pittman. Especially in those week 15-17 playoff weeks.
Priest officially has a sprained MCL. His return has yet to be determined by Coach Vermeil has said that they will prepare for Week 10 as if Priest won't be there.
Byron Leftwich is scheduled to miss 2 games. I renew my support for David Garrard. He's a completely different kind of quarterback than Byron, sort of a poor man's poor man's Michael Vick. It looks like Fred Taylor will play.
Michael Strahan's pectoral is torn, he will miss the rest of the season. So will DE Keith Washington. That's both of the Giants starting ends, by the way.
Chad Pennington out 2-4 weeks. His shoulder is only strained, but I'm interested to see what Quincy brings to this offense. He's such a different athlete compared to Chad.
Niners offense is really picking up with Tim Rattay. This guy had huge numbers in college, and San Fran is finally learning how to use him. The only bad thing is that he'll be fighting a sore forearm all season.
Looking to tonight's game, people must be hammering the Colts minus 7 cause the line is flying against the Vikes. While it's hard to see Indy losing three in a row, I still have doubts about giving this Minnesota offense 7 points to start with. I expect them to come out and play the Colts like the Jags have twice this season. Run the ball, run the ball and try to keep Payton off the field as much as possible.
On September 23rd I posted this regarding teams who play on Monday Night. Basically, by looking at the results of two season of Monday Night games, I determined that there was no predictive nature that could be applied towards teams who play the week following a MNF contest. I did not include into my stats, the outcome of teams who were scheduled with a bye week following MNF, as the whole idea behind tracking this trend would be the variable that playing on Monday Night incurs.
It boggles me that people were concerned that Duce was not in there, and what were we going to do. I have been getting it done for a long time. I am not on the all time list because I look like this. I am on that list because I have been getting it done for a long time.
You're right Jerome. Many panicked on the Duce thing. You're right. I'm sorry. You're right.
As much as I'd like to see Travis Minor get a shot at becoming Miami's starting running back, this doesn't sound like he's physically ready:
I haven't even started my career yet. How many carries did I have? Ninety yards is nothing. I expect it of myself. What I don't expect is losing. I hadn't lost eight games in my life before this.
I'm getting better, slowly but surely. It's just one of those lingering type of injuries.
Steelers cornerback Willie Williams on Philly's offense after yesterday's game:
He's a great player and, honestly, we had a couple of special things planned for him. But you know what? We never had to use them. Never.
Most of the game stats for the New England/St. Louis game were pretty close. But the Rams gave up 5 sacks to go with their 9 penalties for a total of 106 lost yards.
It will be better. It’s just a matter of it tightening back up. It will take about five to six days. Whether I play with a brace next Sunday will be determined at the end of this weekend. Usually these types of injuries take anywhere from one to two weeks to tighten up when you are out of the brace.
Chad Pennington apparently injured his shoulder when he fumbled in the first quarter, but he says he told coach Edwards that his injury was hurting the team.
It just felt like I was hurting the team more than helping the team. It's a fine line that you have to call. Are you going to stand there and try and suck it up and hurt the team? It's one of those deals.
Chad expects to play next week.
UPDATE: Injury review, as I've noticed:
Jay Fielder was replaced by AJ Feeley after injuring his shoulder. Miami is on bye next week and the Wannstadt watch is officially on.
Chad Pennignton, as noted above, was pulled for Quincy Carter, but he intends to play next week.
Stephen Davis missed another game. No one really stepped up in his absence. The Panthers look nothing like the control the clock team that made the super bowl last season. Dan Morgan also sat out, still suffering from concussion problems.
Priest Holmes, also noted above, did not return to Sunday's game because of a stiff right knee. He's seems confident five days of rest will be enough. Don't expect him to practice this week, but Kansas City is now 3-5 so every remaining game is big for them.
Brian Westbrook played, well I suppose that was Brian. He hadn't really seen contact since suffering the injury two weeks ago.
Duce Staley sat out with a hamstring injury.
Roy Williams caught 3 passes, including a nice one-handed reception.
Darrell Jackson was questionable all week, but looked great in the Seahawks shootout win over the 49ers. His touchdown catch was made after an especially nice adjustment to a ball thrown wide and over his head. Not the kind of play you'd expect from someone on crutches all week.
Joey Galloway was in and out of the lineup on Sunday. He's clearly not 100% yet.
Todd Heap sat out yet another game due to his ankle problems.
Matt Bryant, who was subbing for Olindo Mare, sat out on Sunday and was replaced by Bill Gramatica. Billy was signed off the street a few days ago and missed an early extra point in the Dolphins 23-24 loss to Arizona.
Buffalo lost former first rounder and starting right tackle Mike Williams to a neck injury that resulted in him being carted off the field in an abulance. Reportedly, he was walking around later with a neck brace.
The Giants lost Michael Strahan in the third quarter to a strained pec. They also last De Keith Washington, and LT Luke Petitgout in their home loss.
The Patriots lost CB Asante Samuel with a right shoulder injury yesterday. How bad is Mike Martz at making adjustments mid game?
Seahawks CB Ken Lucas landed funny on a football. It was listed as a bruise chest and he spent the night in the hospital.
Pittsburgh held the ball for 17 of the first 19 minutes in its game against Philadelphia. During a timeout, all seven players on the Eagles' defensive front dropped to one knee to catch their breath.
"We did notice that," Steelers guard Alan Faneca said. "And we were ready for the timeout to be over with."
***UPDATE: Chad Pennington is out for this week's game versus Baltimore, Herman Edwards just reported in his press conference.
Lions (-3) vs Redskins - I've been riding Detroit's win one, lose one streak for the last few weeks. The Lions rank fifth in the league (71%) in red zone touchdown percentage (a key reason that Jason Hanson has had six FG attemps all season long) and they're getting Roy Williams and Corey Slurpingger back. I don't really have much to say about the Skins. They're not very good? Is that enough? Yahoo - ESPN
Rams (-1.5) vs Patriots - This line has been falling in the Rams' favor all week. I think it started at even. Regardless, Marc Bulger is 15-1 as a starter at home. That's a stat that just can't get enough press. On top of that, St Louis has won their last six games off a bye week. Considering the obvious problems the Patriots have (CBs, Dillon), I just don't see any way they can cover all four of the Rams receivers. Mike Martz has probably been smiling all week as he prepared the game plan for this one. They are going to throw and throw and throw until the refs tell them there isn't any more time left on the clock. Yahoo - ESPN
Seahawks (-7) at 49ers - Only a touchdown? Who thinks the 49ers are ready to play a hungry football team? I ceratinly don't. Of course, they could come and take it all out on Seattle, but I just don't think that's likely. Sure the Hawks don't have many healthy receivers, but they won't need but two if Shaun Alexander runs for 200 yards. This is the beginning of a big stretch for Seattle, as four of their next five games are against teams with losing records. Yahoo - ESPN
Saints (+7) at Chargers - Why? Because Dallas won for me last week and this one just feels right. The Saints are 3-1 off their last four bye weeks and have beaten San Diego in two of their last three visits to California. Sure, that probably dates back to 1976, but the one thing I think this New Orleans team needed was a fresh start and I'm banking peanuts on their bye week providing just that. Yahoo - ESPN
Eagles (-1) at Steelers - One more because I'm feeling good about myself. I've come full circle on this game and it has provided me with further proof that no matter how good you feel about a game on Monday, wait for the week to play out before you lock in your pick. With Duce Staley out and Brian Westbrook in, I think the table has turned completely around on this game. Duce plays with so much heart, I just saw him having a huge day against the team that pretty much said they didn't need him anymore. On the Eagles side, TO's mouth has continually kept a ton of pressure off the NFL's lone undefeated team. The Eagles have taken the last five of six against Pittsburgh, but most of those games have been close ones. Yahoo - ESPN
UPDATE: Wow, okay, sometimes the hamburger eats you. Detroit, the Rams, the Saints, and I all suck. All three of those teams just looked real, real bad. The Bears, meanwhile, really showed a lot picking up their second win in a row. Their defense is both small and physical and that proved to be the perfect matchup against the Giants' offensive line. Tiki Barber still looks like one of the best backs in the league, but I was also impressed with Krenzel's pocket sense. He's always been a gamer, but now he's proving he can win games in the pros. I missed the night game last week cause of halloween, so I am a bit surprised (and a little disappointed I missed out on this week's big upset).