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NFL Week 14: Winter weather becomes primary story line across league
Blowing snow made traction and visibility difficult for Lions at Eagles, Vikings at Redskins, Chiefs at Redskins, and Dolphins at Steelers. Detroit running back Reggie Bush injured himself on the slippery field at the Linc in warmups and was not playing.
The snow so obscured the yard markers it was nearly impossible for fans to tell exactly where the ball was at all four stadiums. Televising networks superimposed the yard lines and numbers for viewers at home.
Small tractors with plows, and workers with shovels tried to clear the snow in Baltimore, to no avail. Workers used handheld snow blowers in Philadelphia, with little effect.
Conditions were at their worst in Philly, where predictions had been for a bit of snow later in the day, not a full-scale squall.
Referee Ed Hochuli told the teams during the pregame coin toss he would improvise if the coin landed on an angle. There was no need for that.
But there was need to bundle up. Lions and Eagles both huddled around portable sideline heaters. Even the cheerleaders wore winter vests.
The Lions fumbled four times, losing one, in the first quarter alone. But after scoring in the second period, they went for a 2-point conversion and made it because trying a placement kick was too treacherous.
But Detroit called a timeout after going ahead 20-14 to attempt an extra point kick by David Akers, a former Eagles kicker. The Lions had been penalized 5 yards for a false start before trying a 2-point conversion, so opted for the kick. It was blocked.
The fans that stuck this one out appeared to be having fun and no, they werent throwing snowballs. But with temperatures in the 20s, there were some huge gaps in the second level and upper deck.
In Baltimore, Vikings holder Jeff Locke wiped down the spot he planned to place the ball, clearing a path for kicker Blair Walsh on a field-goal try. The preparation paid off with a 39-yarder that got Minnesota within 7-3.
Swirling snow turned the field into a veritable ice rink. The players had difficulty running, passing and catching the football. The first play from scrimmage was a dropped pass by Jacoby Jones.
With fans covered with snow, the conditions seemed more appropriate for outdoors in Minnesota than Maryland. Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson, the 2012 NFL MVP, hurt his ankle on the slick turf in the second quarter.
A short drive away in the Washington suburb of Landover, the Redskins had a snow game for the first time since FedEx Field opened in 1997.
Players were slipping and sliding: Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers took a big-time slide trying to keep up when Pierre Garcon made a cut on a passing route. But Robert Griffin III missed making the throw.
When Kansas City had the ball deep in Redskins territory, Andy Reid asked for a measurement even though the Chiefs were a full yard short of a first down. Reid couldnt judge the distance because the yard lines werent visible.
The Chiefs went for it anyway and converted.
Several Dolphins came out in shorts and T-shirts during individual warmups. but the team left the field early, with the Steelers staying on the field until the usual time to head back to the locker room.
For the coin flip in Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger was wearing gray sweatpants over his gold football pants.
Snow intensified after the opening kickoff, and during a stoppage in play due to an injury, a small army of workers came on the field with snow blowers to clear the hashmarks, every 5-yard stripe as well as the yardage numbers. But some of them got covered quickly as the snow picked up.
NFL preview: Raiders unit analysis
The biggest mistake that general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen made last year was messing with the offense, and a switch from the power, gap scheme to a zone-blocking one was disastrous. Darren McFadden is running straight ahead again this year, and free-agent signee Rashad Jennings looks like a nice, powerful backup. Long-striding quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who could be the starter sooner than later, is the X-factor. The loss of left tackle Jared Veldheer to a triceps injury hurts a lot.
Pass offense Carson Palmer completed 61 percent of his passes for 4,018 yards but took a lot of the blame for the fall from 8-8 to 4-12. He's gone, and Matt Flynn was supposed to run an offense that was more horizontal than vertical. Flynn's marching orders were to avoid turnovers, and then he threw two interceptions and fumbled in the third preseason game. That has opened the door for Pryor, whose escapability and run-away-from-you ability might be better suited for this patchwork offensive line, anyway. Denarius Moore should be the No. 1 receiver, but the coaching staff has been questioning his want-to and focus. Applications to play tight end are still being accepted.
Run defense Defensive tackles Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly didn't really buy in last year with Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, so they're gone. All the staff really wants out of experienced defensive tackles Pat Sims and Vance Walker is for them to stand up against the run. Fourth-year defensive end Lamarr Houston came to camp in the best shape of his career and will be asked to blow up some plays. Middle linebacker Nick Roach, previously with the Bears, is an immediate upgrade over retired bust Rolando McClain, though if we were nitpicking, 6-foot-1, 234 pounds is a little small for a middle linebacker.
Pass defense Oakland signed free-agent cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins, drafted cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round and then signed free-agent safeties Usama Young and Charles Woodson in the offseason. They, and returning safety Tyvon Branch, are the core of this defense. With the different looks, pass-coverage ability, blitzing and expected ball-hawking skills of the defensive backs, the rest of the defense can ride the secondary's experience, play-making and excitement. The pass rush is counting on, among others, a fifth-rounder last year (end Jack Crawford) and a seventh-rounder this year (end David Bass). Did we mention the secondary?
Special teams Sebastian Janikowski was perfect on 25 field-goal attempts from 49 yards or closer, and was 6 of 9 from farther. He is back and will be joined by either Chris Kluwe or Marquette King at punter. King, the second-year player, has a bigger foot, but Kluwe, the former Viking, is better at coffin-corner kicks. There is a very good chance the loser of the competition gets a job elsewhere in the NFL. Special teams was a focus at training camp - last year's kick-return and coverage units were lackluster enough that coach Bobby April was added to replace Steve Hoffman.
Coaching Dennis Allen definitely is carrying himself with more confidence in this his second season. He has more younger players and guys with a chip on their shoulder than he did last season. Whether he has enough talent to improve on 4-12 is debatable, as is whether he makes his players better with his game plans or game-day adjustments. Tarver hopes his defense's energy and communication skills can match his, and offensive coordinator Greg Olson is saying all the right things, even though when he accepted the job, it was to work with Palmer.
2015 Kentucky Derby Odds
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Sunday Night Football Preview, Cowboys visit Green Bay
Sportsbook.com Cowboys vs. Packers Betting Odds: Green Bay -7.5, Total: 45.5
Dallas tries to avoid its first five-game losing streak since 1997 as it travels to Lambeau Field for a Sunday night matchup with Green Bay. The injury-riddled Packers are coming off an impressive 9-0 shutout over the Jets and are looking for their third straight win before their bye week arrives Monday. Dallas is the biggest disappointment in the NFL so far tallying a 1-6 record both straight-up and against the spread (ATS).
Dallas has allowed 33.5 PPG during the four-game losing skid, allowing its opponents to gain an average of 151 rushing YPG. Dallas also has 11 turnovers in the four-game stretch and just 3.8 yards per carry. The good news is that backup QB Jon Kitna has played pretty well in place of injured starter Tony Romo. The 38-year-old Kitna completed nearly 70 percent of his passes and threw for 379 yards in last week’s loss to Jacksonville. All three of Kitna’s interceptions bounced off receivers’ hands. He also threw for 187 yards, two touchdowns and no picks against the Giants two weeks ago when Romo broke his collarbone.
Green Bay’s defense has been stellar as of late, pitching a 9-0 shutout over the Jets last Sunday. The Packers have allowed just 17.0 PPG this year (fourth-best in NFL) and rank third in the league in sacks (24) and interceptions (12). NFL sacks leader Clay Matthews is expected to play despite being held out of practice with a calf injury. QB Aaron Rodgers will be without his No. 2 receiver Donald Driver, who is suffering from a quadriceps injury. This isn’t a major loss considering Driver did not have a catch in his past two games.
Last season, the teams played a defensive slugfest in Lambeau, with the Packers winning 17-7 on two fourth-quarter touchdowns and three Dallas turnovers.
These two NFL betting trends show why Dallas will fail to cover the point spread yet again.
Play On - Any team (GREEN BAY) - good team (outgain opp. by 0.4 to 1 YPP) against an average team (+/- 0.4 YPP), after being outgained by opp by 100 or more total yards last game. (77-35 since 1983.) (68.8%, +38.5 units. Rating = 3*).
Mike McCarthy is 14-3 ATS (+10.7 Units) off a non-conference game as the coach of GREEN BAY.
The average score was GREEN BAY 26.8, OPPONENT 19.2 - (Rating = 3*).
61 percent of Sportsbook.com bettors are backing the ‘over’ and here is why:
The last 13 times these teams squared off, the ‘over’ covered 10 times.
Wade Phillips is 14-3 OVER (+10.7 Units) in weeks 5 through 9 as the coach of DALLAS. The average score was DALLAS 25.4, OPPONENT 25.9 - (Rating = 3*).
For more NFL betting trends and to check out the NFL Week 9 betting odds, head over to Sportsbook.com now.
Glossary of Football Betting Terms
This glossary of football betting terms, also known as football betting dictionary, provides terms that are associated with football along with the meaning and usage or the terms.
This can prove to be a good reference point for both experienced bettors and for those out to place their first football betting experience. Always play at a trusted book like www.sportsbook.com far and away the top book for USA players.
Spread Betting: Placing a wager on an events outcome with the pay-off being based on the accuracy of the wager
Betting Odds: They are money line odds, which is the even money on your return. It is the amount gained on 100 stake when positive while the state needed to win the same stake when negative.
Betting Systems: It is the classification observed by bettors after closely following the trend in betting business and dodging the odds.
Chasing: Chasing is the covetousness to recover a lost bet. The consequent bet is typically a larger sum as compared to the previous lost bet and the desire to win usually ends up in loosing more and more. Therefore a good money management should be planned ahead.
Money Management: This is a vital term that saves you from losing money and tread carefully while putting money on stake.
Live Betting: It is the hottest trend nowadays where the bet is placed on the live match. The flow of the game can change the odds in an instant and often leads to chasing of losses.
Achieving Parity: The perception that bookmakers try to create of an unbiased action on all the proposals of betting by competently pricing the odds in a bid to minimize their risk as compared to a single bet is termed their achieving parity.
Action: A bet or wager of any kind.
Arbitrage: Grouping of bets anticipated capitulating a positive profit, not considering the result. The prospects of arbitrage are high through mispriced odds or value bets.
Assessing Form: This refers to the study done prior to estimating the possibility for a given bet through a comprehensive research and scrutiny in which bettors consider several essential factors that can eventually affect a team’s chance for accomplishment.
Betting Market: It is an individual betting prospect or proposal on a match or event.
Bookmaker: It is an association or person who accepts bets on sporting events or other events at agreed upon odds.
Efficient Market Theory: The theory claims that all the information of the markets and trends is well known to the general public and that the odds change fast to echo new information.
Favorite: The probable winning team or player for which odd payouts are usually lower than the other proposition at hand.
“Green” Book: Is the situation where the bookmaker makes profit regardless of which outcome occurs though the amount of betting on each outcome may differ.
Fixture: Term to denote competition between two teams
Form: Assessment of a team or a player to forecast their chance to win based on their prior performances.
Handicap: A technique in football match betting when bookmakers award one team a numerical goal advantage to lure the bettors where both team has equal chance for success.
Hedging: When a bookie try to offset risk exposure to a specific outcome by placing bet on an opposite outcome for which they have already taken a large position is referred as hedging.
Overround: The total profit of the bookmaker that he earns on a certain match or wager.
“Red” Book: circumstances where a bookmaker’s risk coverage is not balanced and he do not make profit for that particular betting market.
Underdog: Team or person that is considered to be the least likely to win a Football match.
Value Bet: A bet, in which the possibility of an event occurring is higher than that perceived by the bookmaker.
Vigorish: Bookmaker’s expenses or yield profit on the total stakes collected on a match.