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
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 . . . .