NFL Week 6 Previews

Closed Circuit Completes A 4-0 Weekend Sweep!
Redskins (+3.5) Colts 24-27 WON
Dolphins (+3) Packers 23-20 WON!
San Diego State (+1) Air Force 27-25 WON
Texas (+10) Nebraska 20-13 WON


THE NFL WEEK 6 REPORT- IT'S GRUDGE MATCH SUNDAY AS COWBOYS-VIKINGS AND RAVENS-PATRIOTS "RENEW ACQUAINTANCES" AFTER LAST YEAR'S PLAYOFF BATTLES PLUS TRACKING A COUPLE OF DIVISIONAL DUELS IN PITTSBURGH AND TAMPA BAY ...GET OUR WEEKLY SPREAD TIDBITS TOO!

By Jim Hurley:

So, the Dallas Cowboys- hold that, the 1-3 Dallas Cowboys- are talking smack this week about their feeling that the Minnesota Vikings ran up the score in last year's NFC Divisional Playoff game inside the Metrodome.

Perhaps you'll recall that the Vikes slammed the 'Boys 34-3 en route to dominating each/every phase of the game and you might remember late in that lopsided affair when emotional Dallas LB Keith Brooking took exception to Minny's over-the-top celebratory ways.

Welcome to Grudge Sunday, guys!

Not only are the Cowboys- desperate as they may be to salvage their 2010 season- dredging up reminders of last winter's post-season disaster in the Twin Cities but talk has been ramped-up in/around Foxboro where the always-proud New England Patriots this past week have been forced to re-live last year's no-contest 33-14 home loss against the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC Wild Card Playoff Game.

The Pats (3-1) have been typically buttoned-down in their comments regarding revenge- New England's stodgy head coach Bill Belichick did tell reporters earlier this week that, "Any time your season ends, you remember that game" but not Belichick nor QB and team leader Tom Brady have stoked any real fires regarding the Ravens' trip into town.

Hey, maybe that's simply because the Pats have been answering all kinds of questions about why WR Randy Moss was shipped off to Minnesota following the team's 41-14 Monday Night Football win back on Oct. 4th (New England had a bye last week) and why WR Deion Branch was retrieved from Seattle all these years later.

It all makes for a series of interesting twists in these two NFC Week #6 games- both the Cowboys and the Patriots are out to get their "pound of flesh" but it's not as if each team is coming into these games with a clear focus as the aforementioned personnel moves in New England and the collapsing kingdom in Dallas have been moved center stage here.

More about these "grudge matches" and lots of other NFL Week #6 goodies straight ahead in this weekend edition of Jim Sez but first this important reminder:

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you the NFL and all Major-League Baseball Playoff Winners when you either call us at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else when you simply log online right here online. Here's an important note: We've got college action almost every weeknight and the MLB Playoffs go all week, and we'll have all the action - go ahead and win a bunch of greenbacks with America's #1 Handicapper!

MORE NFL WEEK #6 NEWS/NOTES

Okay, so let's put a wrap on Cowboys-Vikings and Ravens-Patriots right here/right now:

The 'Boys- just about everyone's pick to get to Super Bowl XLV in their own backyard in Arlington- have been their own worst enemies this season whether it be silly celebration penalties (see last week's 34-27 home loss against Tennessee) or whether it be silly play-calling at the end of a half (see season-opening 13-7 loss in Washington where QB Tony Romo's flare pass to RB Tashard Choice was yanked loose and returned for a 32-yard touchdown by CB DeAngelo Hall) and now they're busy chatting up a storm about Minny running up the score- maybe Wade Phillips and Company should be making all the right preparations here amidst talk that Vikings' QB Brett Favre (right elbow) won't play here.

Folks, we'll believe that one when we see it but if the Cowboys really/truly wish to get revenge in this grudge match game that ESPN's Mike Tirico neatly called "The Panic Button Bowl" than maybe they ought to be channeling their energies to sacking Favre and/or Tarvaris Jackson here and keeping a handle on hard-charging RB Adrian Peterson who- word has it- isn't too happy about the fact he rushed the ball only 18 times (for 88 yards) in that 29-20 loss at the New York Jets last Monday night.

Meanwhile, back to the revenge-seeking Patriots:

They do indeed come off a bye week where film study was intense and where the offensive line was given a little time to regroup- remember that New England's blocking wall for Mr. Brady has been somewhat spotty in terms of continuity plus now you have some defined roles with Branch (the one-time Super Bowl MVP) back on board and looking to be a stretch-the-field type while Brady looks to his rookie TEs Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski to be the type of pass-catchers to make hay here against the defensively-sound Ravens. Note that Baltimore, obviously, didn't have to defend them last year and didn't really have to defend much against any tight end threat and so at least the Pats head into this AFC clash with more weapons on their side.

Folks, Cowboys-Vikings and Ravens-Patriots may well represent the juiciest matchups on this NFL Week #6 Sunday card- but how about a few words here on the only two divisional duels on this third Sunday in October:
 
Cleveland at Pittsburgh- Talk about your multiple storylines:

Not only is the return of Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger getting major media play following his four-game league-imposed suspension (try to stay clean for a while, now "Big Ben"!) but don't forget that this AFC North battle represents a major revenge spot for Mike Tomlin's team.

Last December the Steelers went into Cleveland on a cold and raw Thursday night with a 6-6 SU (straightup) mark but still very much alive to capture a playoff berth one year after snagging the franchise's sixth Super Bowl crown- instead of seizing the moment the Steelers went belly-up in a 13-6 loss and even a three-game winning streak that closed out the '09 campaign couldn't save Pittsburgh.

No playoffs. No opportunity to defend that Super Bowl title.

Think task-master Tomlin has reminded his guys about that a time or two these past two weeks (yes, the Steelers had their bye last Sunday too)?

The Steelers remember well last year's prime-time loss in Cleveland- Roethlisberger himself just said this past week that, "Point blank, we just couldn't do anything on offense (that evening)" and that just so happened to snap a 10-game SU winning streak that Roethlisberger held over the Browns.
    
New Orleans at Tampa Bay- Want to know one of the biggest questions everyone's asking in the NFL these days?

What's wrong with the defending Super Bowl champion N'Orleans Saints?

Forget for a moment that the Saints are the only team in the league without a pointspread win this year- the NFC South crew is 0-4-1 against the odds and entering this divisional clash on a four-game spread losing skein- and the 3-2 SU mark has folks scratching their heads and wondering if this is a "pass-the-torch" game against the suddenly-improved TB Bucs.

The Saints rank 31st- or next-to-last- in the NFL in rushing offense at 75.6 yards per game and they've scored only 10 offensive touchdowns through the season's first five weeks. Compare that to a year ago when the Saints registered 22 TDs in the same time frame and the picture gets a little clearer as to why New Orleans has been nothing more than a middle-of-the-road NFL team so far in this 2010 season.

Now, maybe this matchup at Raymond James Stadium will help to spice things up for the Saints- remember that Tampa Bay went into the Louisiana Superdome on the next-to-last weekend of the regular season last year and knocked off the two-TD favored home folks 20-17- and so maybe you wish to throw the "grudge match" phase into the mix here. You'll recall that the Saints owned a 17-point lead in that clash but blew it with Bucs PK Connor Barth nailing a 47-yard field goal in overtime.

All we can tell you is that the Bucs' defense has been superb for much of this 3-1 start:

Tampa Bay has forced 12 enemy turnovers in all (including nine interceptions) and, on the flip side, kid QB Josh Freeman has been keeping his mistakes to a bare minimum with just 3 INTs so far to go along with his 824 aerial yards and five scores.
      
In other NFL Week #6 News & Notes ...

Folks, everyone wants to know whether or not this slew of upsets and underdog winners is gonna continue this weekend:

Remember the spread stat we quoted you the other day here in Jim Sez that NFL Betting Favorites are 26-46-3 ATS this year (a .361 winning rate) and the crazy thing is that so many of the dog winners have been outright winners- like Tampa Bay's 24-21 triumph at 6 ½-point fav Cincinnati and Oakland's 35-27 triumph over 6 ½-point favorite San Diego in games played last weekend.

Odds are that things will "even out" as the NFL 2010 season plays out- we've been big-time believers that the Favorites vs. Underdogs record usually winds up right around .500 when all the dust finally settles on a typical NFL season but here's the possible switch this time:

Could it be that the teams with "reputations" such as New Orleans, San Diego and Dallas just ain't what they used to be while maybe the Las Vegas folks have been slow to react to the improvement of teams such as Tampa Bay, Kansas City and St. Louis.

If you believe that- for argument's sake- these six teams we just mentioned will be in a switcheroo mode (meaning, for example, that the Chargers might go 4-12 against the odds this year and/or that the Rams will be 10- or 11-game spread winners) than you could see a scenario where the underdogs continue to rise to the occasion right through early January. Stay tuned ...

Okay, let's get some quick-hitters comments your way regarding some of the other NFL Week #6 games ...

The Detroit Lions have not won a road game since actress Betty White was a teenager but the Motowners could be dangerous in Sunday's tilt against the New York Giants at the New Meadowlands Stadium in Jersey. The Lions are averaging an NFL-best 25.2 points a game since second-string QB Shaun Hill took command for an injured Matthew Stafford and it might be letdown city for the Jints following on the heels of those big wins against Chicago and Houston ...

Finally, all eyes will be on the Miami Dolphins special teams this week in Green Bay. The Fish axed special teams coach John Bonamego following that horrible showing in the aforementioned 27-point home loss to New England two weeks ago and so don't be surprised here if Miami utilizes more position player starters to fill special teams roles and expect some trickery on the return game too as Miami's said to be hatching up some new twists just in time for this game at Lambeau Field.


NFL WEEK #6 POINTSPREAD TIDBITS

Let's go 'round the league and get you our NFL Week #6 Pointspread Tidbits with all figures below against the spread:

  • The Atlanta Falcons have notched spread wins in six of their last nine games as underdogs;
  • The Chicago Bears are just 5-9-1 in non-NFC North games;
  • The Cleveland Browns are 4-9 in their last baker's dozen games against Pittsburgh;
  • The Denver Broncos are 5-12-1 as hosts since the start of 2008;
  • The Houston Texans are 4-8-2 as betting favorites since the start of last year;
  • The Miami Dolphins have covered 13 of their last 18 away games;
  • The New England Patriots have covered eight of their last 12 non-AFC East games;
  • The New Orleans Saints are a rotten 1-7 versus the NFC South;
  • The New York Jets are 9-4 in their last 13 road games;
  • The St. Louis Rams are 10-17 at home the past three-plus seasons;
  • The Seattle Seahawks are 1-9 awa
  • And the Washington Redskins are 8-3-2 overall since the middle of last season.
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