Week 12 Breakdown
November 28, 2006
By Paul Bovi
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Lower scoring games dominated the Sunday matinee NFL card as 9 of 11 games failed to eclipse their closing totals, which came on the heels of two of the three Thursday contests which also stayed under the number.
Thanksgiving proved to be a coming out party for Cowboy QB Tony Romo, whose 5 TD passes led Dallas to a 38-10 victory, and validating the one sided action as the line surged from 10 to12 ½ by kickoff. The Cowboys spotted the Bucs the first touchdown but Tampa was not to see the end zone for the duration.
Not to be outdone, Joey Harrington led the Dolphins to a 4th consecutive win over the Lions, his former 4 year employer, by a score of 27-10 after spotting Detroit the first 10 points of the contest. The Miami victory proved beneficial to the house as the sharps were all over the Lions and the over as both numbers had decisive moves, the total moving from 38 to as high as 41, and the spread moving a point off the opening number of 3.
One QB that did not fare as well was Jake Plummer, who by virtue of Denver’s Thursday night loss to the Chiefs, 19-10, will be replaced by Jay Cutler, the Broncos first-round selection out of the University of Vanderbilt. The Chiefs moved from an underdog to a slight favorite as they amassed 223 yards on the ground and moved into a commanding position for one of the two AFC wild-card playoff spots.
On Sunday the players’ biggest scores came on the strength of the Bengals’ 30-0 whitewash of the Browns and the Niners’ spread covering loss to the Rams, 20-17, as San Fran stayed within the closing number of 4.5, which opened at 6 on Sunday night. The total on the Cincinnati Cleveland contest moved up 2 points on game day, from 42 to 44, thus allowing the house to soften the blow of the Bengals’ easy win.
The books scored big as two home team dogs pulled shockers. Buffalo defeated Jacksonville on the strength of a Ryan Lindell 42 field goal as time expired, and the Redskins sent Carolina to their 5th loss, 17-13. Both numbers moved up steadily throughout the course of the week.
Games that featured solid 2 way action saw the Ravens manhandle the Steelers, 27-0, the Jets down the Texans 26-11, the Falcons fall to the Saints 31-13, and the Cardinals lose 31-26 to the Vikings, as Arizona snuck in under the 6 point number with a late score.
The Chargers managed to get by the Raiders, 21-14, courtesy of LaDainian Tomlinson, who scored his 23rd and 24th touchdown of the season while throwing for another, and a ruling by referee Mike Carey that allowed San Diego to retain possession after receiver Vincent Jackson spiked the football in celebration, though he was never touched. The Chargers went on to score the tying touchdown in a game that enticed dog players with a fat 14 point number, as it offset those that supported the heavy chalk.
The mover of the day saw the Patriots defeat the Bears, 17-13 as the 4 point margin of victory proved devastating to those that laid the 5 points on game day, a number that moved up from 3 earlier in the week. Bear Coach Lovie Smith’s decision to kick a late field goal which narrowed the gap to 4 proved costly for many as a late Patriot march down the field was halted by a Corey Dillon fumble, when it appeared that the New England was poised to kick the spread covering field goal. The continued rise in the line did not slow down the Patriot backers, thus offsetting the early action and making the results quite favorable to the house.
In the game of the day, and arguably the collapse of the year, the Giants relinquished a 21-0 fourth quarter lead as the Titans erupted for 24 points in the final 9 minutes 35 seconds, capped off by a Rob Bironas’ 49 yard field goal with only a few ticks remaining. Giant money was steady and heavy leaving those that laid the number scratching their heads in disbelief, and leaving the always cheerful Tom Coughlin screaming obscenities on the sideline.
The G Men take on the resurgent Cowboys in the Meadowlands on Sunday, which could easily determine the fate of their season.
Sunday night action saw the now 10-1 Colts cover the inflated double digit number versus the McNabb less Eagles, 45-21, as the players managed to make up for some of the Sunday losses.
Monday also had a double digit favorite in Seattle, but the Packers went down gamely, 34-24, in a game played in frozen tundra like conditions. As the number hovered around the final margin of victory all week, it was largely a stalemate on the side though the total moved down from an opening line of 46 to as low as 40 in some spots, proving that once again weather is often overrated when it comes to suppressing scoring output for NFL offenses.
Once again, it was a very good week for the house as there were many surprises and the point totals stayed low. Week 13 will be lucky for somebody, and the days are counting down. Until that time.