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NFL Bargain Bets: Week 14
December 6th 2007
by Old Man Winner

I've had an underdog week earlier this year. This week is Favorites week! Week's 13-15 are the weeks that truly determine the good teams from the bad. The better teams begin to pull away and the variance in margin of victory tends to grow. I see a great preponderance of favorites covering this week. Here are my favorites (pun intended):

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3 @ Houston Texans

Tampa Bay is on a roll. They have covered in their last four in a row and have held opponents to an average of only 13 pts. in those games. Houston, on the other hand, has struggled the last couple weeks, especially on defense. But, the biggest reason I love the Bucs this week is injuries. Houston lost two interior offensive lineman in last week's game. This will seriously impair Houston's already limited running game and should put much more pressure on their quarterback, Sage Rosenfels (who names their son Sage? - Houston should lose for that reason alone). What happened to Schuab, you ask? He was also injuried last week and is doubtful. If you are going to pick a road favorite, go with a team that plays conservatively and knows how to protect the football and take the crowd out of game. TB fits the bill perfectly. Gruden is quietly building a solid squad down south and could surprise come playoff time.

Jacksonville Jaguars -10.5 vs. Carolina Panthers

What do you think of when you think of the Jacksonville Jaguars? Traditionally they have been a very physical defense, that is especially tough against the run, right? They are all that, but Jack Del Rio has also found a way to bring that toughness to the offensive side of the ball and produce points. The Jags are scoring an average of 27 points in their last 5 games. They are doing it with a relentless rushing attack and an intelligent passing game that minimizes mistakes. David Garrard has only thrown one interception all year (in his last 238 attempts). That is amazing!

The Jaguars have surprisingly allowed an NFL-high 47 passes that went for 20 or more yards. Lucky for them, Vinny Testaverde can't throw the ball over 20 yards! Carolina's offense, run by the ageless Vinny, was averaging only 10 pts. a game in the five games prior to meeting the hapless 49'ers last week. You put those two together and it spells blowout. I'm sorry, but My Cousin Vinny can't "blend" with the "yutes" any longer. Did he say yutes?

Buffalo Bills -7 vs. Miami Dolphins

Stick a fork in the Dolphins. They're done! They gave it there all in the sod bowl at Pittsburgh two weeks ago. All their pride was buried on the field when the Steelers kicked for the only points of the game with only 17 seconds remaining. Last week they didn't even bother to show up for the game against the Jets, which was supposed to be their best opportunity to avoid a winless season. Instead they gave their jerseys to the high school boys from De La Salle and sent them out against the 2-9 Jets to get pounded 40-13. In contrast, Buffalo has won four of their last six, with the two losses coming to playoff teams New England and Jacksonville. Marshawn Lynch could be back, but Fred Jackson would be sufficient. It won't take much. Miami will be lucky to score 10 points in this one. You better get some more ice for the Champagne fellas. This ain't the week . . . .

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