Those that laid the wood took it up the poop chute as the dogs ruled the day in Week 9 of NFL play. In the upset of the day, and a blow to NBC’s upcoming Sunday night showdown, the Bears were throttled by the underachieving Dolphins 31-13, thus knocking Chicago from the ranks of the beaten and raising further questions as to Rex Grossman’s ability to maintain his status as the starting QB. Grossman finished 18 of 42 for 210 yards with three picks and had his second poor showing in three weeks. The Bears have become a public choice and this week was no different as the house cleaned up on the side as well as the onslaught of teasers that went down. Chicago takes on the Giants in primetime this week, the winner gaining an inside track to Super Bowl XVI
Other double digit favorites that could not make the number saw the Giants sleepwalk past the Texans 14-10 as 13 point choices, and the Chargers get by the Browns 32-25. San Diego backers looked home free as LaDainian Tomlinson scampered in from 8 yards to open up a 14 point spread covering bulge with 3:53 to go, but the Brownies dinked and doinked down the field for garbage score with just over a minute remaining, much to the delight of the house. Only the Jaguars under new starting QB David Garrard managed to hold serve as they picked off three of Vince Young passes and easily disposed of the Titans giving the chalk players a little relief.
Michael Vick was brought back to reality as the rejuvenated Lions scored a 30-14 win at home, and giving them their second win of the year. After throwing seven TD passes the last two weeks, Vick could mange only 17 completions on 32 tries, for a paltry 163 yards with two picks. The public was down on the surging Falcons and the over, while sharp action proved wise in siding with the Lions. The combined 44 points came up short of the closing number of 47, which was driven up off the opening total of 45. Also taking sharp action as a home dog were the 49ers who also got the money in a surprisingly low scoring game, a 9-3 outright victory over the punch less Vikings. Minnesota opened a six point choice prior to the Monday night fiasco versus the Patriots, and a steady rain of 49er money sent the closing number off at 4.5.
Both the Packers and the Steelers dominated total yardage over their opponents, but managed to fall by double digits. Green Bay racked up over 400 yards to Buffalo’s 184, yet fell by a score of 24-10 as turnovers undid the Packer’s attempt to square their record at four. While that contest was neutral for the house, Denver’s defeat of the now 2-6 Steelers was all about the house, as the squares and sharps came in hot and heavy on the defending Super Bowl Champions, and Pittsburgh fell behind 14-0 before you could say ‘home for New Years’ which seems a given for Coach Cowher’s team. The Steelers made a few runs and closed the gap to four on two occasions, but turnovers and defensive lapses provided led to the 31-20 final.
New Orleans overcame an injury to WR Joe Horn as Hofstra grad Marques Colston hauled in 11 Drew Brees’ passes and the Saints rolled to a 31-14 victory over the home standing Buccaneers as Tampa fell to 2-6. Books saw solid two-way action here, though the over/under action was decidedly to the low side as the number dropped from 40 to 38, providing a win for the house.
The books did take a hit as Baltimore staved off a late Bengal rally in holding on for a 26-20 victory and dealing Cincinnati their fourth loss in their last five games. The Bengals were down 14-0 less than five minutes in, and were unable to take advantage of Baltimore’s red zone breakdowns as the Ravens were forced into field goals on repeated trips inside Cincinnati’s 20. Dissension is starting to plague Cincinnati as Chad Johnson referred to himself as ‘nothing but a decoration’.
In the game that words cannot describe, the Redskins salvaged their sinking season with a last second 22-19 win over the Cowboys, who looked poised to end the game with field goal only seconds earlier. Mike Vanderjagt’s kick was blocked, and the ensuing Redskin runback led to a Nick Novak 47 yarder that won the game as time expired. Coach Parcells has left himself open to criticism by attempting a two-point conversion that failed after Dallas’ first touchdown, while Terrell Owens’ dropped a sure touchdown pass late in the game that would have extended the Cowboy’s lead to an insurmountable 26-12. Books had heavy action on the Cowboys laying three so the turn of events had the house dancing in the aisles.
The marquis match up of the week was reserved for Sunday night as the Pats took on the undefeated Colts, as books saw heavy action on New England and the over. The Pats opened a one-point choice only to see their Monday night victory in the Metrodome trigger a wave of support as the line closed at three minus 20 in most spots. The total, which opened at 47.5 and surged to 49, 50 in some spots, came up just short as missed kicks, dropped passes, and bad luck proved devastating to those that went over the number as the Colts came away with a 27-20 win. Four Tom Brady interceptions and one lost fumble allowed the Colts reach the halfway mark with an 8-0 record, and preventing the undefeated 72 Dolphins from popping the champagne on this Sunday when the other undefeated team (Bears) had already met their fate.
In the Monday night yawner, without a decided betting bias either way, the Raiders took to the road off their two game winning streak and put up little resistance in a 16-0 loss. Good riddance.
The books pounded it home once again. So much for last weeks’ momentum builder. Until next week.