10.01.2005
 
Sunday Football - Early Edition
    Note: Fourth post of the day.

    I'll probably be out until tomorrow after noon, so here's Sunday's material.

  • The Week 4 Mirls' picks from around the web are up here.
    After stumbling to a 9-5 record last week, I've lost my hold on first place, and am now three games out of the leader, Monsters of the Midway.
    Also ahead of the Beach, is Cold Hard Football Facts.
    When you take all the picks over the first three weeks that both CHFF and BBeach agree on, you get a success rate of 75.8% (22-7).
    This week, we agree on:
    JAX, TB, CIN, IND, NE, SEA, BAL, OAK, ATL, ARZ.
    When you take the posted best bets that we both agree will win, we are a combined 5-0.
    (In week two, I went against CHFF's best bet of NE over CAR)
    This week, we agree on both of our best bets: Jacksonville and Cincinnati.

  • Kenechi Udeze is out for the Vikings, and may need surgery.

  • Ravens' fullback Alan Ricard, a player who many thought would help bring back Baltimore's run game, reinjured his right calf and is questionable for Sunday.

  • Willie Roaf is again out for KC.

  • Ciatrick Fason will be active for the Vikings this week.

  • Jarrett Payton is ready to backup Titans' RB Chris Brown.

  • Trends:
    • Denver is 3-7-2 against the spread in its last 12 road games, including playoffs, and seven of its last 10 road contests, including the postseason, have gone over the total.
    • Jacksonville has covered six of its last eight games.
    • Detroit is 8-4 against the spread in its last 12 games as a dog. … The Lions have covered the last four meetings, and seven of the last nine matchups with Tampa Bay.
    • All three of the Buccaneers’ games have stayed under the total, but four of the last six meetings with the Lions have gone over the total.
    • Houston has failed to cover its last three contests and is 1-4 against the number in its last five games as a dog of between 7.5 and 10 points. … The Texans’ last seven games have all stayed under the total.
    • Cincinnati’s three games have stayed under the total, and eight of its last 10 home contests have stayed under.
    • Indy is 2-5 against the spread in their last seven regular-season games, and all three of its games this season have stayed under the total.
    • Tennessee has failed to cover the last four meetings, the last three of which have gone over the total.
    • Philadelphia is 1-6 against the number in its last seven regular-season games and has failed to cover its last five contests vs. AFC foes.… The Eagles’ last six games, including playoffs, have stayed under the total.
    • Kansas City’s last four games have stayed under the total, and it is 1-3 vs. the spread in its last four contests vs. NFC teams.
    • Seattle is 2-5 against the spread in its last seven road contests, and its last six regular-season games have all gone over the total.
    • Washington is 6-2 against the number in its last eight games and has covered the last three meetings with Seattle.
    • New York has covered its last four home games but has failed to cover its last three contests following a night game.
    • New York has failed to cover its last three regular-season road games and has failed to cover the last four meetings with Baltimore.
    • Baltimore has failed to cover its last five contests and seven of eight overall. … The Ravens have covered their last three games following a bye.
    • Dallas is 4-8 against the number in its last 12 road games, including playoffs. … The Cowboys’ last three road contests have gone over the total.
    • Oakland is 2-8 against the spread in its last 10 home contests but is 3-1-1 vs. the number in its last five games before a bye week.
    • Minnesota has failed to cover its last four regular-season road contests and is 1-3 against the spread in its last four games before a bye week
    • San Francisco is 1-5-2 vs. the spread in its last eight road games, six of which have stayed under the total.
    • Arizona has failed to cover the last three meetings, and six of the last eight overall, against San Francisco.
    • Green Bay is 12-5-1 against the spread in its last 18 night games.
    • Carolina is 1-3-1 against the spread at home vs. the Packers and 0-3-1 against the number in its last five regular-season night contests.
UPDATE: This week's ATS Picks are up.
Also, after the whole BC vs FSU disaster, I privately vowed to come up with five games on the year to make up for it. Game one goes on Sunday, with the Jags facing Denver. I really like this Jacksonville team, Denver's secondary is banged up, and it's still really hot in Florida. Take the Jags to win and look for game two of the BC comeback trail, whenever it comes up.

 
Saturday Football II
    ATL- This was a sloppy game for the Falcons but they had a good game plan and did what good teams do. Brian Finneran stepped up with a huge game (relative to Atlanta receivers). He finished with 4 catches on 7 targets and made some key grabs along the way to keep drives alive. Alge Crumpler also had 7 targets, but he pulled in only 3 for 35 yards. Michael Jenkins is the #1 wideout though. He went 4 for 5 with a score. For most of the game, however, the Falcons'd ground game gashed a suddenly soft Bills defensive front. This week the Falcons host Minnesota.

    BUF- The Bills opened this game with back to back deep throws down the left side; one to Eric Moulds and the other to Lee Evans. J.P. Losman wasn't even close on either of his throws. After seeing the Bills play three games now, I don't know what the Buffalo brass thought they had with Losman, but the second year QB is running plays that don't really seem to be suitable to his talents. He plays a lot like Michael Vick, but with less touch than Vick on the deeper throws, and should probably be learning how to get the ball out of his hands sooner.

    The Falcons spent a lot of this game with only 7 men in the box, in order to protect their banged up secondary. So Buffalo was able to run the ball a little better than one would normally expect. At the end of the third quarter, the Bills had 129 yards rushing and just 44 passing. Yet they trailed just 16-17.

    The pass patterns for the Bills this year has been consistent. Moulds has gone 7-7-8 in targets. Evans, 5-5-5. And Josh Reed, 4-7-3. With the offense unable to move the ball through the air, and now with Takeo Spikes out for the year, things are certainly not looking up in upstate New York.

    ---
    OAK- The Raiders aren't really playing bad football, they just can't come up with any plays when they need then. They played NE tight for three quarters, were 10 yards away from beating KC, and then last week Oakland stayed with Philly all the way up to the final play. Oakland has not, however, run the ball well yet this year. And against the Eagles, they picked up just 21 yards rushing (and just 2 of their 18 first downs via the ground). Courtney Anderson score 2 TDs in week one, got zero targets last week, and then picked up 5 catches on 9 passes for 100 yards. With all these perimeter types, Anderson's chances should continue to come. And without Ronald Curry, Jerry Porter saw a lot of throws. But he picked up just 5 catches on 11 targets. Randy Moss had 7 more targets. Tied for second on team in targets for the season is Lamont Jordan, who had 9 against the Eagles giving him 27 on the year.

    PHI- The Eagles'pass blocking has been tremendous this year and they're going to need that to continue with Donovan McNabb dealing with an abdominal tear. Greg Lewis is doing well as the team's #2. He caught 6 passes on 9 targets for 70 yards against the Raiders. T.O. went 9 for 14, and Westbrook went 6 for 11. L.J. Smith continues to produce, catching 5 of 8. In the red zone, TO got 5 looks, Westbrook had 3, Lewis and Smith each had one. The Eagles front seven dominated the Raiders' offensive line, and that bodes well for them with KC on the schedule next.

    ---
    TEN- The Titans are going to be trouble this year. Norm Chow is really doing some good things with this offense and Steve McNair has been sharp. Rookie Brandon Jones has played well, and against the Rams he caught 5 passes on 9 targets and a touchdown. Drew Bennett is still putting up good numbers too, he went 6 for 10. Erron Kinney is surprisingly getting more throws than Ben Troupe. In St Louis, Kinney picked up 7 catches on 7 targets while Troupe had just 3 balls go his way (but he does have two scores on the year).

    STL- Issac Bruce missed the second half of this game, and ended up with just 1 target. Torry Holt led the team with 11, and Kevin Curtis stepped into Bruce's role and picked up 5 catches on 5 passes for 56 yards and a score. Shaun McDonald, after getting 10 targets in week one, had just 2 last week and 1 against the Titans.

    ---
    DAL- One of the few games I didn't see from week three, the stats show that Drew Bledsoe is spreading the ball around well to Terry Glenn, KJ, Jason Witten, and Patrick Crayton. But in the red zone, Keyshaun was targeted 3 times against the Niners, and he has 6 RZ targets on the year. It's also nice to see Julius Jones involved in the passing game. He had 5 targets in week three and has picked up 16 passes his way for the season.

    SF- Arnaz Battle is still producing. 6 more catches for him on 9 targets and a score. With Eric Johnson out for the year, the tight end position is all but gone from the team's passing offense. Only three balls have gone to a 49ers TE all year. Seeing the highlights of Bradon Lloyd scoring twice against Dallas proves that the Cowboys are still vulnerable to the small, quick receiver (Moss).

 
Coin Flip Challenge - October

DISCLAIMER: I don't do basketball
History of the CFC: Here and here.
ARCHIVE: January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September


All games, $10.00. Ties and pushes removed from record.
BEACH $10 WIN LOSE MONEY    COIN
BASEBALL 261 213 +93.78    229-225
BASKETBALL 128 121 -46.36    125-124
NCAA HOCKEY 1 1 -1.67    1-1
FUTBOL 0 1 -10.00    0-1
CFL FOOTBALL 8 7 -0.71    11-4
NFL PRESEASON 12 10 +7.71    10-12
NFL 32 32 -49.55    30-34
NCAA FOOTBALL 25 32 -101.61    30-27
NHL 23 28 -12.52    22-29


DATE LEAGUE MATCH LINE PAY BEACH W/L CFC Pick CFC W/L
10.01.05 NCAA Virginia Tech at WVU +10 -110 WVU L VTU W
- NCAA Florida at Alabama ML -155 UF L UF L
- NCAA Utah at North Carolina -4 -110 UNC W UNC W
- NCAA USC at Arizona State +17 -130 ASU W ASU W
- NCAA USC at Arizona State o/u 72 -110 Over L Over L
- NCAA Temple at Bowling Green -29.5 -110 BGU W TU L
- NCAA USF at Miami +21 -110 USF W USF W
- NCAA Minnesota at Penn St. ML -130 MIN L PSU W
10.02.05 NFL DEN at JAX ML -185 JAX L JAX L
- NFL DEN at JAX -3 -140 JAX L DEN W
- NFL DET at TB +7 -120 DET W DET W
- NFL BUF at NO -1 -110 NO W NO W
- NFL SEA at WAS ML +115 SEA L WAS W
- NFL MIN at ATL -6 -110 ATL W MIN L
- NFL DAL at OAK -3 -125 OAK W DAL L
- NFL SF at ARZ -2.5 -110 ARZ W SF L
10.05.05 NHL NYI at BUF ML -105 NYI L NYI L
- NHL MON at BOS ML +135 MON W BOS L
- NHL CLM at WAS ML -130 CLM L CLM L
- NHL ATL at FLA ML +130 ATL L FLA W
- NHL CAR at TB -1.5 +120 TB W CAR L
- NHL OTT at TOR ML -140 OTT W OTT W
- NHL ANA at CHI ML +120 ANA W CHI L
- NHL CAL at MIN ML +120 MIN W CAL L
- NHL COL at EDM ML -140 EDM W COL L
10.07.05 NHL BOS at BUF ML -120 BOS L BUF W
- NHL SJ at CHI ML -120 SJ L SJ L
10.08.05 NCAA Wake Forest at FSU -21 -120 FSU L FSU L
- NCAA Kansas at Kansas St. +5.5 -110 Kan L Kan L
- NCAA Virginia at BC -7 -120 BC W UVA L
- NCAA Oklahoma at Texas -14 -120 Texas W Texas W
- NCAA Missouri at Oklahoma St. ML +165 OSU L Mizz W
- NCAA UNC at Louisville +14 -120 UNC L UNC L
- NCAA LSU at Vandy +15.5 -110 Vandy L LSU W
- NCAA Cal at UCLA -1 -110 UCLA W Cal L
- NHL BUF at OTT ML -250 OTT W OTT W
- NHL BUF at OTT -1.5 +115 OTT W BUF L
- NHL FLA at TB ML -190 TB W TB W
- NHL FLA at TB -1.5 +165 TB L FLA W
10.09.05 NFL BAL at DET -1 -110 DET W BAL L
- NFL MIA at BUF +3 -105 MIA L MIA L
- NFL NO at GB ML -150 GB W GB W
- NFL NE at ATL ML +120 ATL L ATL L
- NFL SEA at STL ML +125 SEA W STL L
- NFL TEN at HOU ML -150 HOU L TEN W
10.10.05 NHL FLA at NYI o/u 6 -110 Under W Under W
- NHL BOS at TB ML -155 TB L TB L
- NHL EDM at ANA ML -135 ANA L ANA L
10.11.05 NHL PHI at TOR ML +150 TOR W TOR W
- NHL OTT at MON ML -120 MON L MON L
- NHL EDM at LA ML -150 LA W EDM L
10.12.05 NHL NAS at COL ML +125 NAS W NAS W
- NHL CLM at SJ ML -210 SJ W CLM L
- NHL CLM at SJ -1.5 +150 SJ W CLM L
- NHL VAN at MIN ML +120 MIN W MIN W
10.14.05 NHL TOR at ATL ML -135 ATL L TOR W
- NHL DAL at EDM ML -155 EDM L EDM L
- NHL CLM at ANA -1.5 +150 ANA L CLM W
10.15.05 NCAA USF vs Pitt ML +100 USF L USF L
- NCAA Iowa St at Missouri +7 -125 ISU W ISU W
- NCAA UF at LSU ML +210 UF L UF L
- NCAA USC at Notre Dame +11.5 -110 ND W ND W
- NCAA UConn at Cincinnati -7 -135 UConn L Cin W
- NHL TOR at MON ML -165 MON L TOR W
- NHL TB at PIT ML -120 TB W TB W
- NHL NAS at STL ML +120 STL L STL L
10.16.05 NFL CIN at TEN -3 -110 CIN W CIN W
- NFL JAX at PIT +3.5 -110 JAX W PIT L
- NFL CAR at DET -1 -110 CAR push CAR push
- NFL CAR at DET ML -120 CAR W CAR W
- NFL NE at DEN +3 -110 NE L DEN W
- NFL NE at DEN ML +150 NE L DEN W
- NHL TB at WAS ML -210 TB L TB L
- NHL CLM at LA ML +180 CLM L LA W
- NHL DAL at VAN ML -150 VAN W DAL L
10.18.05 NHL PHX at EDM ML -200 EDM L EDM L
10.21.05 NFL KC at MIA +1.5 -105 KC W MIA L
- NHL SJ at CLM ML +135 CLM W CLM W
- NHL ANA at DET -1.5 +105 DET L ANA W
- NHL OTT at TB ML +110 TB L OTT W
- NHL OTT at TB o/u 6.5 -110 Under W Over L
- NHL COL at EDM ML -110 EDM L EDM L
10.22.05 NCAA Wyoming at Colorado St. +3.5 -110 UW L CSU W
- NCAA Miami (Oh) at East. Michigan +10.5 -110 EMU W UM L
- NCAA Texas Tech at Texas -17 -110 UT W TT L
- NCAA Oregon at Arizona -10 -110 Ore L Ore L
- NHL PIT at BOS ML +150 PIT L BOS W
- NHL DET at CLM ML +160 CLM L CLM L
- NHL SJ at NAS ML +150 SJ L SJ L
10.23.05 NFL NO at STL +3 -105 NO L STL W
- NFL SD at PHI -3 -135 PHI W PHI W
- NFL BUF at OAK -3 -105 OAK W OAK W
- NHL PHX at ANA ML +110 PHX L ANA W
- NHL CAL at LA ML -165 LA L LA L
- NFL NO at STL ML +130 NO L STL W
10.25.05 NHL EDM at COL ML +150 EDM L EDM L
10.26.05 NHL NAS at CLM o/u 5.5 -125 Over L Under W
- NHL WAS at BUF -1.5 -110 BUF L WAS W
- NHL TB at NJ ML -110 TB W NJ L
10.27.05 NHL TOR at BOS ML -110 BOS W BOS W
- NHL ATL at PIT ML -155 PIT W ATL L
10.30.05 NFL JAX at STL ML -190 JAX L STL W
- NFL JAX at STL -3 -130 JAX L JAX L
- NFL OAK at TEN ML +100 TEN L OAK W
- NFL OAK at TEN +1.5 -110 TEN L OAK W
- NFL KC at SD +6 -110 KC L KC L
- NFL KC at SD ML +200 KC L KC L
- NFL PHI at DEN ML -190 DEN W PHI L
- NFL PHI at DEN -3 -130 DEN W PHI L
-

 
Saturday Football
    Housekeeping:

  • The rest of the targets will be up later today.
  • The Beach guest capper went to breakfast, and is taking the week off.
  • Podolsky's Picks have the tally from last week's DDHD: 5-3, and 8-5-1 for the season.
    This week, WVU, Army, Mizzou, ASU, and Hawaii are all getting a lot of points at home.
  • Official Beach Picks are below, and a new October CFC page will be added later today.
    And buyer beware, we've been peeking at Wednesday's hockey games, and haven't had a lot of time to spend on these.

    West Virginia +10 (coin- VTU)
    Florida ML -155 (UF)
    North Carolina -4 (UNC)
    Arizona State +17 (ASU)
    -Over 72 USC/ASU (Over)
    Bowling Green -29.5 (Temple)
    South Florida +21 (USF)

9.29.2005
 
Thursday Football
    NO- This game was a battle of quarterbacks who don't know how to throw the ball on time. Devery Henderson took advantage of the Vikings' lack of depth at corner for 6 catches on 7 targets and 137 yards. Joe Horn had a hard time against Antoine Winfield. Horn had just 1 catch on 6 targets. Donte Stallworth was covered up pretty well too. He didn't catch any one of the four passes thrown his way. Stallworth did have a punt return TD called back on an illegal block. Ernie Conwell is still the most consistent receiver on this team. Aaron Brooks clearly trusts his tight end. Conwell picked up 8 more targets, but he dropped a few and ended up with just 3 catches. Also, Duece McCallister doesn't look as quick as I remember him being.

    MIN- Don't be fooled. The Vikings are not back yet. Daunte Culpepper is having problems in the pocket. He's playing like a first year QB, at times running with the ball way too much and at other times holding on to it too long. And I don't think it's so much that he can't read the defense during the play, but maybe he just doesn't have confidence in either the offense's design or his receivers or both. Bottom line, he's not confortable. The Vikings need to give him more check down options. A couple times they used Mewelde Moore as a swing out option, like how Norv Turner does in Oakland, and they need to do more of that. Mewelde isn't the best blocker anyhow, so they're better off getting him to chip on someone before flaring out as a safety valve. With the way the Saints were turning the ball over in their own territory, if Minnesota's offense was truly fixed, the Vikings would have made this game 28-0 after the first quarter.

    What big plays Minnesota did have were just as much at the fault of the Saints as they were to the credit of the Vikings. Minnesota's first and third touchdowns were simply a case of the receiver beating a corner in man coverage without much help from a safety. Dwight Smith, in particular, had a terrible day against the Vikings.

    Still, there are some areas where a little optimism isn't misguided. Moore looked like he can make a difference out there as this team's featured back, as long as he can stay healthy. The OLine did a good job blocking for him and despite the seven sacks the stat book shows, they weren't awful in pass protection. A lot of those should be put on Culpepper.

    Also, the Vikings' defense did a good job forcing the Saints into third and longs, and then brought a myriad of blitzes on third down.

    With Atlanta coming up for the Vikes, I'm not too confident that this team has turned the corner on their problems. They easily left around 20 points on the field in week three. They also threw for just 30 yards in the second half, and this wasn't a blow out either. At one point, the Saints were down by just 8.

    As for the targets, Jermaine Wiggins led the team with 7, with Travis Taylor right behind him with 6. Troy Williamson did some good with the four passes thrown his way, but Marcus Robinson was a non-factor, except for one long play down the sideline that Dwight Smith left him wide open for. This team has too many perimeter receivers and will miss Nate Burleson dearly for as long as he's out. And the bottom line is that Culpepper doesn't have too much confidence in anyone right now. He'll throw to them if they're running free, as they were against the Saints. But against the Falcons, I think they're going to continue to struggle.

    ---
    ARZ- Anquan Boldin led the team with 12 targets, and he has 30 on the year. Larry Fitzgerald had only 6 passes thrown his way, as he's clearly the guy opposing defenses want to stop first. Adam Bergen is the starting TE for this team right now, but his chances have been limited. Marcell Ship had another good game running the ball, but his playing time was again limited. This game was 10-9 Seahawks at the half and then 24-9 Seahawks 5 minutes into the third and 31-12 Seahawks after three quarters. The Cardinals defense is very vulnerable up the middle and the only thing they do well (rush the passer) can be partially negated when they play a team like Seattle who uses mostly three and five step drops. Kurt Warner's groin injury is a serious one, so look for Josh McCown to start more than just this week. I think the Cards are better off with him in there anyway. Arizona has been terrible inside their opponents thirty yard line this year.

    SEA- As I mentioned above, Seattle's strengths on offense really played well into Arizona's problems on defense. Bobby Engram again had a fine game, catching 5 balls on 8 targets. Darrell Jackson was the team leader with 13, as Arizona played their DBs 10 yards off the line for much of the game. Jerramy Stevens getting chances as the lone TE threat. He picked up 3 catches on 4 targets (including one in the red zone to set up a Alexander TD). Seneca Wallace and Peter Warrick hooked up on a nice 42 yard pass play. It was the first ball thrown to Warrick all season. PDub did a nice job returning punts as well.

    ---
    KC- Tony Gonzalez had a tough time against the Broncos' linebackers. He did get a season high 9 targets, but caught just 5 of them for a lowly 29 yards. As I expected, he is way behind last year's pace. Eddie Kennison is still the receiver leader. He picked up 8 catches on 11 targets. The Chiefs tried to get the ball to Sammy Parker too. He got 9 passes, but caught just two of them. KC gets the Eagles at home this week.

    DEN- With 17-0 first quarter lead, the Broncos ran the ball for much of the game. They are still a two WR team though, and Rod Smith led the team with 8 targets. After a couple of poor outings, the tight end has temporarily disappeared from this offense. Jeb Putzier did not get one pass his way and Stephen Alexander got only one. The Broncos' schedule doesn't get any easier on their short week. They travel to Jacksonville and I hope they saved some real good plays for the Jags. Actually, I'll be picking against them. So I hope the didn't.

    ---
    NYG- Depsite missing the first quarter, Plaxico Burress led the team in targets for the third straight week. He had 5 catches on 11 passes. David Tyree was active as well, with 5 catches on 6 targets. Amani Toomer had his biggest game of the year, with 8 targets, but clearly he's Eli Manning's third favorite receiver on this team. Jeremy Shockey went 6 for 9, but he didn't get any red zone chances. Those went to back up Visanthe Shiancoe (two).

    SD- The Chargers got back to doing what worked for them last year. Antonio Gates caught six more passes on six targets. And LT picked up 7 targets to go with his 21 carries and 1 pass attempt. Keenan McCardell saw his targets fall to just 4, but he made the most of them, catching each for a total of 80 yards and two scores.

9.28.2005
 
Wednesday Football
    It works better for me to do the Targets by game, as I'm now able to watch every play via Directv's Short Cuts.

    CAR- I talked last week about how Steve Smith wasn't the only receiver getting chances. Well, in week three, he was. Smith took in 15 targets and caught 11 of them for 170 yards and three scores. Two of those touchdowns came inside the five yard line, and the other came on a skinny post, with Smith showing that he's a top talent. Incidently, as if we needed more proof that Jake Delhomme has complete confidence in his top receiver, Smith's first touchdown came on an out route that wasn't particularly open. Kerry Colbert once again took the goose egg on catches, and the four balls he did have thrown his way were close to meaningless. And even though he played out of the slot for most of the game, Ricky Proehl looked like he was getting more looks than any receiver not named Smith. I only saw Rod Gardener on the field once, although I wasn't really ever looking for him. Inside the red zone, this is still Stephen Davis' team. He got three more RZ chances, giving him 10 on the year.

    MIA- Even though Chris Chambers is currently on pace for just 821 yards after three games, I really think he's going to have a fine season. He's been the target leader among the Miami WRs in every game so far and has 32 total targets on the year. With only 14 catches, the chances are there for him to improve his production. Chambers' 42 yard, one-handed touchdown catch made all the highlight reels. Marty Booker is still the #2 WR, and he picked up 6 more targets. But I'd say that Randy McMichael is the guy that Gus Ferrotte looks to after Chambers. McMichael only had one catch on 5 targets, but it was good for a score.

    ---
    CIN- Chris Henry is proving that he was more than worth the third round pick Cincinnati used on him. For the second week in a row, Henry caught 4 passes on 4 targets but this time out, he added a nice 38 yard touchdown catch. Henry is still the third option on this team, but he's clearly surpassed Kelley Washington on the depth chart and was a big reason the Bengals could let Peter Warrick go. CJ and TJ each picked up 5 targets, while Chris Perry had 4 and now has 14 on the season.

    CHI- Even though the Bears got blown out, they were able to move the ball a little bit against Cincinnati. And playing from behind early, Orton was forced to throw more often than he has in either of his other two games. To the Bears credit, however, they did not give up on the ground game even when down by two scores. For the third week in a row, Muhsin Muhammed was the leading target (12). Rookie Mark Bradley had a second best 8 targets. He's a great run after the catch guy that should get more looks as he grows accustomed to the NFL. Bobby Wade picked up 4 catches on 7 targets, playing as the team's #2 for much of the game.

    ---
    NYJ- They're obviously in trouble and should be on the phone offering Tennessee anything they want for Billy Volek. Chris Baker is still looking good as the #1 TE. He went 3 for 3, including a nice little mini-screen pass that went for 30 yards. Justin McCareins pulled in only 1 of the 7 passes thrown to him. Some were drops over the middle but there were a few poorly thrown balls in there as well. He really isn't the solid #2 receiver the Jets thought they were getting last year. Laveraneus Coles picked up just 17 yards on 4 catches and 6 targets. He was badly underthrown on a couple of occasions. Starting Brooks Bollinger isn't really the worse thing that could happen to this team. He's a third year guy now and Pennington was really limiting what they could execute on the field. If Bollinger can take control of the offense, he can be a decent game manager and still give this team a chance. If I were the Jets, I'd be more concerned with the way their defense has looked soft at the most inappropriate times.

    JAX- The Jags are doing a lot to get the ball in Matt Jones' hands. He led the team with 7 targets against the Jets, but Jones is still not yet a reliable receiver over the middle. Ernest Wilford is still making the most of limited opportunities. He caught two balls on 3 targets and is 4/6 on the year. Leftwich likes to go to the 6-4 receiver in tough situations. Wilford is very reliable over the middle and can be counted to to make every attempt to get the ball into his hands. Jimmy Smith was practically nonexistent for all of the game until he scored in OT to win it. Smith ended with 2 catches on 4 targets. Alvin Pearman is doing an ok job as a punt returner. He's good at keeping his shoulders square and upfield, no matter which direction he's going. Pearman has also looked very powerful and very elusive running the ball in limited time on offense. He's clearly the guy the Jags will go to if Taylor misses time.

    Jacksonville is going to finish around 12-4 this year. We know their defense is good, and the offense under new coordinator Carl Smith has proven it can come up with a big play when needed. But the Jags special teams are terrific. Their kickoffs go for touchbacks. Their punt are well covered, but they do need to figure out who can return kickoffs now that they've released Chad Owens.

    ---
    TB- I'll keep talking about how Carnell Williams is being overused until he's on the IR or sees his work load descreased. It's amazing to me that Jon Gruden would let Thomas Jones go in part because he didn't fit into the offensive scheme, and then go and change the identity of the team after drafting Williams. Anyhow, after a quiet week 2, Joey Galloway picked up 8 more targets. He caught 5 of them 53 yards and two scores, both inside the twenty. Michael Clayton took in 7 targets, and is as steady as they come (8 last week, 7 before that). Williams took 6 rushing chances inside the red zone.

    GB- I should probably include the Bucs' DBs on this list as well. Twenty percent of Favre's compeltions went to Tampa's secondary. Robert Ferguson is stepping up as the team's #2 threat. He went 4 for 8 with 68 yards and a score against the slow footed Juran Bolden. The Packers only held the ball for 3:29 in the fourth quarter, so that's part of the reason Favre only threw 24 passes while trailing for most of the game. Donald Driver was held to just 2 catches on 4 targets.


9.27.2005
 
Tuesday Football
  • Holy injury cows.
    All out for the season:
    Rodney Harrison - Chad Pennington - Takeo Spikes -
    Rashaun Woods - Fernando Bryant - Willie Offord - Jay Bellamy

    Then there's:
    Ahmed Plummer - Junior Seau - Aaron Stecker -
    Champ Bailey - Kurt Warner - Darwin Walker - Willie Anderson,
    all could be or are out for this week.

  • A few highlights from the quotes on Len Pasquarelli's Morning After column this week:
  • One reason that [Seattle quarterback] Matt Hasselbeck has been steadier this year is because they are starting [wide receiver] Bobby Engram now. He's always been a great slot receiver, but the guy is making plays on the outside, and he's a great double-move receiver. And he isn't nearly as schizophrenic as [deposed wide receiver] Koren Robinson was."
  • "The Browns need to keep [veteran wide receiver] Antonio Bryant away from the kid, [first-round wideout] Braylon Edwards. Bryant has become a good player but he's still immature and he and Edwards both drew [taunting] flags Sunday that really hurt the offense. If Bryant ever grows up, he could be a good player, but he does [stupid] stuff, and you don't want it rubbing off on Edwards, believe me."
  • There are a lot of tailbacks being shopped around the league right now. In addition to Michael Bennett (Minnesota) and Lee Suggs (Cleveland), Dallas would send Anthony Thomas somewhere for the right price and Houston might deal Tony Hollings if anyone is interested.
  • Jon Gruden on Carnell Williams:
    "We wouldn't be putting him in these situations if we didn't think he could do it,'' Coach Jon Gruden said today. ""It's not a coincidence that he's playing his best football late in games, so as long as he can take it, we'll continue to give him these opportunities."
    If Carnell's body looked anything like his uniform did on Sunday, he was pretty torn up. Williams is on pace for 2314.66 carries this year. Yes carries. I swear it.

  • The Texans are excited about new offensive coordinator Joe Pendry.

  • Trevor Pryce thinks Priest Holmes is playing injured.

  • Talk of the Raiders' stalled running game.

  • Pro Football Weekly's site is down for maintenance, so I will link the rest of the material I have when it comes back up.
UPDATE:
  • From PFW's The Way We Hear It:

    • MIA- The Dolphins also believe that the return of Ricky Williams, who will take over the starting role in Week Six, will bring out the best in both players (Ronnie Brown).
    • CLE- One of the biggest beneficiaries in offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon’s attack has been TE Steve Heiden, who caught nine passes in the first two weeks. With Aaron Shea out of the lineup for the time being, Heiden has become the team’s best target at the position... Expect Heiden to continue being a big part of the passing offense; Dilfer has stressed from the beginning that he’ll look for the tight end, according to Heiden.
    • BAL- Can FB Alan Ricard help the Ravens’ sagging rushing attack return to form? Expect Ricard to play a bigger role in the offense in the weeks to come. Ricard was demoted in the Ravens’ first two games, with the team electing to go away from the I-formation. The decision may have played a role in RB Jamal Lewis’ struggles in the first two games; without Ricard, an effective lead blocker for Lewis the previous three seasons, Lewis managed only 57 yards on 26 carries.
    • MIN- Much of Culpepper’s past routine that set him in a comfort zone — namely, four days of detailed film breakdown, play rehearsal and written tests on Saturday with Linehan — was shattered by the coach’s departure to Miami. By the same token, C Matt Birk was a constant in many of those meetings and had a special session with Culpepper after game-plan installation on Wednesdays. In an attempt to remedy the situation, head coach Mike Tice now sends play calls directly to Culpepper’s ear — as opposed to having the orders relayed from the coordinator through the backup quarterback to Culpepper, as they were last year and in the first two games of ’05. Tice also will take extra steps during the week to aid in the preparation of the quarterback. His new strategy paid off in Week Three, as Culpepper responded with a big game and the Vikings notched their first win of the year.
    • DET- Two changes on the offensive line — ORT Kelly Butler, who didn’t play a snap as a rookie, replaced Stockar McDougle, and OLG Rick DeMulling, a free-agent signee who left the Colts, is starting — have contributed to slowing down RB Kevin Jones. Jones averaged 4.7 yards per carry as a rookie, and that was with ORG Damien Woody carrying too much weight and C Dominic Raiola struggling. But Jones’ current average of 3.3 yards (33 carries for 109 yards) is poor, and the coaches expecting better. The return of FB Cory Schlesinger (broken leg) in October should help, but the Lions are preaching to their receivers and linemen about finishing blocks to create bigger gains.
    • NO- Once known only for his prima donna antics, including his infamous cell-phone celebration during a nationally televised game, Saints WR Joe Horn has become a team leader on and off the field as the Saints deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We hear that before the season began, Horn told media members that he would only be available for interviews on Fridays. But since the Gulf Coast tragedy, Horn has become the face of the team, respectfully handling media requests on an almost daily basis.

  • And from this week's 'Whispers':
    • Don’t be shocked if Tyson Thompson and Marion Barber move ahead of Anthony Thomas on the Cowboys’ RB pecking order. Bill Parcells likes Thompson’s special-teams impact and could reward him with more carries, and he thinks Barber can handle kickoff coverage after failing there in the preseason.
    • Our Seahawks sources said newly acquired WR Peter Warrick came up with three one-handed catches in practice leading up to the team’s game vs. Arizona that had to be seen to be believed.
    • There is a feeling among some close to the Ravens that the defense would be better-served using a simpler approach coming out of the bye. Word is the defense’s frequent pre-snap movement and adjustments could be more of a hindrance than a help at this point.
    • At least one veteran Baltimore observer claims to have never seen head coach Brian Billick as shaken as he was after the team’s Week Two loss at Tennessee.
    • Barring a series of poor outings, the Vikings plan to stick with Mewelde Moore as their No. 1 running back

    The first of the Targets stuff will be up later tonight

9.25.2005
 
Sunday Football
  • Trends:
    • Buffalo has covered six of its last seven games at home.
    • Carolina is 7-2-1 against the spread in its last 10 contests
    • Miami is 3-1 against the number in its last four games vs. NFC teams, and five of its last six home contests have gone over the total.
    • he Bengals are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games vs. NFC teams.
    • The Bears are 25-15 against the spread in their last 40 games as a home dog.
    • Indy has covered eight of its last 10 games as a favorite of more than 10 points.
    • Jacksonville has covered the last three meetings with the Jets, all of which have stayed under the total.
    • Minnesota has failed to cover its last seven regular-season games, and its last five games, including playoffs, have stayed under the total.
    • The Eagles are 8-2 vs. the spread in their last 10 games as a home favorite.
    • The Packers have covered their last three games as a home dog and are 13-6-1 against the number in their last 20 contests as a home dog, but they haven’t been a home dog since 2001.
    • Tennessee has failed to cover its last four road contests and is 4-8 against the spread in its last 12 road games
    • Of Arizona’s last nine road games, seven have gone over the total (18 of its last 25 road contests have gone over). The Cardinals covered both meetings with Seattle last season.
    • Dallas has covered its last two games as a road favorite and has covered three of its last four road contests overall.
    • New England is 6-0-1 vs. the number in its last seven games as a dog and 25-10-1 in the last 36 contests when getting points.
    • Of the Chargers’ last nine home games, seven have gone over the total, including their last three home games vs. NFC teams.
    • The last seven meetings between Denver and KC teams have gone over the total.

  • I can't believe the Bengals are only giving away three points today. Cincinnati is a 12-4 team while Chicago is still just an 8-8 group because of their offense. And remember what the Colts did to the Bears last year in Chicago? Sure the Bears defense is healthy, but still the final score was 41-10. How will Chicago's offense be able to keep up with Cincinnati's. It's just not going to happen. Against the Lions last week, the Bears had one drive on offense that was longer than 43 yards. One drive. I see a lot of people on the Bears today, but I think this one may get ugly for Chicago.

  • And Jacksonvile plus points at the Jets? What?

  • Carolina's defense was really impressive against the Pats last week. They were as physical as I've seen anyone be this year. I wonder if they can maintain that today in Miami, coming off such a big win. But because they're just 1-1 and not 2-0, I don't think they'll let down.

  • KC Star article on the emerging Sammy Parker.

  • Duce Staley will see limited action today. Bettis is out and anyone who watched last week's Pats game saw how important it was for Carolina to have Stephen Davis running in between the tackles.

  • Carnell Williams is playing, but I really don't see how he gets more than 20 carries.

  • Wow, J.J. Arrington lost seven pounds last week.

  • Picks have been up. Straight up picks are here. And the Beach's special guest went 0-2 yesterday, but he looks good with Cincy, Indy, and Tampa Bay today.
UPDATE: I've added Buffalo to win today.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ken Lucas and Will Witherspoon are inactive for Carolina. I suddenly don't like my pick of them now. Also with Albert Haynesworth not playing against St. Louis, the Rams will roll right over the Titans. I'm adding that pick.


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