Sunday Re-cap & Monday Preview
Sunday's NFL Monster Upset-Blowout comes through with Titans (+3) dominating the Giants 29-10! Touchdown Club 2-1 with Total of the Week winning with Bengals/Panthers UNDER & Seahawks outright over the Chargers.
THE NFL WEEK #3 IN REVIEW - COWBOYS GET THEIR "MUST-WIN" WHILE STUNNED SAINTS LOSE O.T. GUT-WRENCHER PLUS PHILLY'S VICK & INDY'S MANNING LEAD ROAD ROUTES AND THE J-E-T-S CAP A WILD WEEK WITH NIGHT WIN IN SOUTH BEACH ...
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREVIEW: PACKERS-BEARS SLUG IT OUT AT SOLDIER FIELD IN ULTRA-IMPORTANT NFC NORTH DUEL
By Jim Hurley:
Here's something that made us sit up and take notice following Sunday's NFL Week #3 action:
Both the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets -the picks by all-too-many "experts" to be playing in Super Bowl XLV in February -actually won as road underdogs on the final weekend in September and we wonder how many folks parlayed them into a cha-ching type of a day/night.
The fact of the matter is the Cowboys won their most important regular-season game in years while the Jets won following one of the franchise's most tumultuous off-the-field weeks in memory and so maybe there is hope for a Cowboys-Jets bash in February 2011 ... we'll see.
Obviously, that's a long way down the road but one here-and-now item is that NFL Underdogs continue to "clean up".
Last week NFL pups registered a 10-5-1 ATS (against the spread) mark and the Sunday Week #3 results showed that Underdogs were 10-5 spreadwise with the Monday Night Football game this evening between Green Bay at Chicago the lone remaining result to be calculated before we flip the NFL calendar page to October.
In all, there were an astounding seven outright underdog winners on Sunday: The roll call included Tennessee, Atlanta Kansas City, Dallas, St. Louis, Seattle and the NY Jets all won "the whole game" while gobbling up points and so, if anything, that tells us that the level of competition is even closer than you would have thought entering this 2010 campaign -it also tells you that a few "Cinderella" teams such as the Chiefs and the Seahawks could be playoff contenders when most folks thought they needed to learn how to crawl before they learned how to run!
NFL WEEK #3 RE-CAPS
DALLAS 27, HOUSTON 13 -Just when you thought it might be safe to stick a dagger into the heart of Cowboy Nation, here comes "America's Team" with an old-fashioned win. Defense. A well-balanced offense. And no bonehead moves by the coaching staff.
Heck, it was practically perfect as Dallas surrendered the first points of the game -a 24-yard FG by Texans' PK Neil Rackers in the second quarter -and then put a complete stranglehold on this Lone Star State Showdown with a fierce pass rush starring DE DeMarcus Ware (three sacks) and an offense that shined as QB Tony Romo threw for 284 yards with two TDs and 0 INTs.
Maybe a back-to-the-wall game in your state rival's backyard is what it took for the 'Boys to put their best foot forward but everything clicked on this afternoon at sold-out Reliant Stadium and -who would have guessed it -but WR Roy Williams (5 catches for 117 yards and two scores) actually played his best game in a Dallas uniform and completely overshadowed Houston's Pro Bowl WR Andre Johnson (just four catches for 64 yards) in the process.
No doubt it helped the Cowboys' cause that Houston LT Duane Brown was suspended by the NFL earlier in the week for violating the league's banned substance policy as backup-turned-starter Rashad Butler was exposed badly but the fact of the matter is nobody in the NFL needed a Week #3 win more than Wade Phillips' crew and so we'll forgive those jolly post-game moments in the locker room when it appeared owner Jerry Jones' smiling face was ready to crack!
ATLANTA 27, NEW ORLEANS 24 (OT) -What happened to all that great karma that surrounded last year's Super Bowl champion Saints? The script in 2009 never would have included a missed chippie field goal in overtime -never would have included the other team than making a pressure-packed 46-yard field goal (after originally missing the first when New Orleans called timeout).
Hey, that's life in the NFL where fates/fortunes change in a hurry and so post-season hero PK Garrett Hartley will be staying away from Bourbon Street this week after badly hooking a 29-yard FG try in OT -and than watching on as Falcons' PK Matt Bryant showed major guts with his winning kick.
No doubt that there were other big moments in this NFC South clash inside the Louisiana Superdome but what's gonna have the Saints kicking themselves besides the Hartley miss was the fact the defense never did come up with an answer to stopping TE Tony Gonzalez (8 catches for 110 yards including a 13-yard scoring grab of a QB Matt Ryan strike) and New Orleans' newfound ground game turned in a clunker (see 16 carries for 42 yards or 2.7 yards a rush).
PHILADELPHIA 28, JACKSONVILLE 3 -Okay, so the Eagles' walkover win here was hardly jaw-dropping stuff when you consider that six of Sunday's NFL games were decided by 8 points or less but think for a moment about this statement:
Three weeks into the 2010 NFL season and QB Michael Vick is "in the conversation" for league MVP.
We know, we know. It's way too early for that kind of talk regarding individual awards but you have to admit that this one-time jailed megastar has energized the fortunes of this Philly team and here his three touchdown passes and electrifying 17-yard TD run had this NFC East crew all giddy on the sidelines.
Vick's final stat line -17-of-31 passing for 291 yards and another 30 yards rushing -might have been commonplace back in the early-to-mid 2000s but until last week's win in Detroit he hadn't started a pro football game since 2006 and now there's MVP-like buzz ... and this Sunday there's the ultimate showdown between former Philly-turned-Washington QB Donovan McNabb and Vick.
Gee, think any of the TV networks will discuss that showdown in their pre-game shows?
INDIANAPOLIS 27, DENVER 13 -There was no real mystery to why the host Broncos didn't get this win:
The Denver offense made five trips into the Indianapolis red zone and came away with only two field goals -the Broncos turned it over on downs the other three times and so the hot/sweaty crowd in the Mile High City had nothing to get excited about despite some eye-popping stats such as QB Kyle Orton throwing for 476 yards or WR Brandon Lloyd finishing with 169 yards on his six catches.
The Colts were their usual methodical selves: QB Peyton Manning threw three TD passes even though he operated with a short deck (no WRs Anthony Gonzalez or Pierre Garcon) and now the world knows about WR Austin Collie who caught 12 passes for 171 yards and two TDs and made himself a major pain to a Denver secondary that was heretofore considered a team strength.
The Broncos did play with heavy hearts following the earlier-week death of injured WR Kenny McKinley -and now life for Denver gets no easier on the field with road games at Tennessee and Baltimore on deck for the 1-2 squad. Gulp!
On Sunday Night, it was ...
NEW YORK JETS 31, MIAMI 23 -If you happened to stumble upon New York City sports talk radio this past week, than it's quite likely you heard the opinions of all 8,000,000 New Yorkers regarding what they should/shouldn't do with WR Braylon Edwards.
The troubled wide-out was arrested for drunk driving in the early morning hours last Tuesday and the court of public opinion believed he should get suspended for the game -instead the Jets merely sat him out for the first quarter and wouldn't you know it that he had a major starring role in this critical divisional road win for the Hard Knocks gang?
Edwards scored on a 67-yard catch-and-run play in the third quarter, made a monumental catch on a big third-and-10 play in the final quarter and than even later drew a pass interference penalty on the Dolphins to help set up RB LaDainian Tomlinson's game-sealing one-yard scoring run.
Okay, so you know the cocky Jets are gonna tell everyone that the decision to sit Edwards for one quarter was the right one -whether it was or wasn't there's little doubt he was needed in a game that was far from the close-to-the-vest type tilt that many so-called experts predicted in the days leading up to this Week #3 bash in South Beach.
If the Dolphins wish to beat themselves up over their home-opening loss, than it's fair to take some shots at veteran offensive coordinator Dan Henning who called a great game plan until he didn't dial up a pass play for WR Brandon Marshall (10 catches for 166 yards and one score) on either third or fourth down in the closing moments when the Fish needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion to knot things up -was Marshall that gassed that he couldn't get a quick strike thrown his way?
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREVIEW
GREEN BAY (2-0) at CHICAGO (2-0) -8:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
It's the 180th all-time meeting between these two teams -know anyone that's been to 'em all? -but the new twist when these clubs renew hostilities here is that the Bears might actually be able to match the Packers passing yard-for-passing yard.
Chicago's gone through more mediocre quarterbacks than anyone could count in the past 25 years but now QB Jay Cutler (649 yards passing with 5 TDs and only 1 INT this year) seems here to stay and new offensive coordinator Mike Martz is getting max performance from last year's NFL interception leader (26). In fact, so far this season Cutler is averaging a haughty 10.1 yards per completion (an NFL-best) while Green Bay slinger Aaron Rodgers merely has led the Pack to a pair of early-season wins while GB averages 30.5 points a game.
Rodgers (443 yards passing with 4 TDs and 2 INTs so far) even rushed for a score in last weekend's 34-7 home win against Buffalo -just don't ask how he fared when attempting a "Lambeau Leap" -and it's safe to say here that Rodgers' legs could be the difference should he move the chains with some scramble runs.
Want something to watch that doesn't have to do with these two signal-callers?
Check out how many tackles/sacks Green Bay LB Clay Matthews gets here. Matthews has collected six sacks so far this year and he's run down more than a few running backs too -and just think that he changed the whole football future in Philadelphia when he tackled QB Kevin Kolb and gave him a concussion in Week #1. Remember?
Spread Notes -Chicago has failed to cover the last four consecutive head-to-head showdowns against Green Bay and the Bears are a rotten 5-11-1 ATS as underdogs since the start of the 2008 season. Meanwhile, Green Bay's a healthy 9-1-1 spreadwise in its last 11 games overall dating back to the middle of last year and the Packers are 17-7 vig-wise in divisional duels the past four-plus seasons.
NOTE: Get our College Football Mid-Week Report in the next edition of Jim Sez -we'll discuss Alabama's big win against Arkansas and the Texas tumble versus UCLA -plus look ahead at a great weekend card.
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