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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Every Wednesday this season we'll be reviewing statistical keys from the prior week's NFL action with an eye toward picking winners in the coming week. It's easy for legal sports gamblers like YOU to get caught up rooting for your bets...rooting for your Fantasy players...and listening to media hype from the scoreboard shows. Be sure you're with us every Wednesday to find out what you REALLY need to know!

Let's take the games in rotation order...

  • The conspiracy theory that Indianapolis is going to do what it takes to win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes sure held up the Colts blew a big lead and ultimately lost 28-24 as a small favorite. Don't ask the Colts to win a game for you until they show they're willing to win a game. That's true at straight up lines, or in teasers. The Colts defense was particularly soft here against a mediocre (at best) offense. They let the Chiefs gain 436 yards, 6.3 yards-per-play, 194 rushing yards...and allowed them to convert 57% of their third down tries. We can see Indy covering as big they did vs. Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh. Be careful asking for anything more.

  • Minnesota wasn't quite as dominant as the 34-10 final score made it look at against Arizona. They scored a lot of early field position points. The Vikings converted just 30% of third down tries. Donovan McNabb was 10 of 21 passing. The Minnesota defense certainly deserves a lot of credit here for creating those field position advantages. Maybe we should say that the DEFENSE was as dominant as the score made it sound. Don't give too much credit to the Vikings offense. They gained just 332 yards on the day, and only had 10 points come on drives of 60 yards or more.

  • Turnovers are killing Philadelphia...and that's likely to continue to happen as long as Michael Vick keeps trying high risk options that invite turnovers. It's not "bad luck" when you keep waiting until the last second to fire a ball into traffic. Yes, his offensive line isn't helping him much. He's not making good choices either. This is a team that will likely have big yardage and ypp numbers this year (489 and 8.2 in the loss to Buffalo), but that just leads to high scoring losses if you keep giving the ball away.

  • Oakland was VERY lucky to beat Houston this past Sunday. Maybe the gods of football were smiling on them for obvious reasons. But, in terms of pure stats...they were outgained 473-278, outgained per play 6.0 to 4.6, and out third-downed 40% to 20%. Jason Campbell was just 15-35-1-184 passing, which is normally something you'd see on the losing team rather than the winning team. If Oakland is going to be a team of destiny this year, they'll need to have more REAL production. Tough loss for Houston, but reminiscent of so many losses in the Kubiak era. Wild finish...followed by the other team celebrating.

  • Carolina may be the new Houston! By that, we mean that they'll find a way to lose heartbreakers because they have a passing offense that can put points on the board but they currently lack the "complete" team that it takes to thrive in this league. Hey, Cam Newton is just a rookie...and he's probably going to be a lot better than David Carr was (and maybe even Matt Schaub). New head coach...and new head coaches take awhile to master late game fundamentals. Things are looking up for the Panthers. And, Panthers backers are already winning money because the team can score. Note that Carolina won yards-per-play vs. New Orleans 7.1 to 5.9, but lost total yardage 444-371 because they couldn't get the Saints off the field. New Orleans converted 70% of their third down tries! Moving the chains often trumps per-play volume in close games. Remember that when you're making picks. Who's going to move the chains most effectively?

  • Cincinnati was mostly outplayed in the ugliest game of the week. Be careful giving them too much credit for their 30-10 victory at Jacksonville. It was the Jags won won yardage 272-239, ypp 5.1 to 3.6, rushing yardage 96-77, and long distance scoring 14-7 (points on drives of 60 yards or more). We're looking at two bad teams (though Cincinnati is 3-2 with two wins over other bad teams and a sandwich spot upset of Buffalo). The Cincinnati bandwagon isn't moving at the speed you might be thinking once you dig deeper into the numbers.

  • Pittsburgh finally looked like Pittsburgh, with a 431-306 yardage edge that featured a dominating 174-66 edge on the ground. There's no need to list the data...the 38-17 final score told the story very well. Tennessee had trouble matching up with a Super Bowl team on the road...throwing some cold water on their hot start. Pittsburgh finally played like the team we've been waiting to see all year.

  • The Seattle/NYG game was so wild that it's hard to draw conclusions from. Seattle is definitely playing better with Tavaris Jackson getting some things done in a more wide open offense. They weren't as good as the 36-25 final score would suggest though. That was greatly helped by FIVE turnovers from the G-men. Third downs, a key fundamental stat, were a disaster for both teams. Seattle was 4 of 16 for 26%, while the Giants were a ridiculous 1 of 12 for 8%. Yes, five turnovers and 1 of 12 on third downs for the Giants, and they were still in position to win the game until a late pick six! This had the look of a 5-11 team giving a home game away to a 4-12 team. New York is still 3-2, but 60% of their schedule has come against the woeful NFC West.

  • You have to catch a few breaks to beat somebody 48-3 in the NFL. Well, breaks...and the opponent has to lay down for long stretches of the game because they've given up hope. San Francisco can't do stuff like this on command. But, they were certainly the much better side even when Tampa Bay was trying this past Sunday. It's amazing how quickly Jim Harbaugh could turn Alex Smith back into an NFL quarterback. Mike Singletary is starting to look like one of the worst head coaches ever. Tampa Bay is still 3-2...and this was an awkward trip coming after a big divisional win and a Monday Nighter. This was probably 30% San Francisco and 70% tank job.

  • New England didn't manage a cover until the very end against the NY Jets...but they had dominant stats. New England won yardage 446-255, rushing yardage 152-97, yards-per-play 6.2 to 4.8, third downs 50-27%, and long distance scoring 24-14. This was more of a 34-17 type game...which means you need to be more skeptical of the Jets than you might have been otherwise. They've fallen to 2-3 on the year. Granting a tough schedule...they're just not playing very well.

  • San Diego almost gave away the Denver game. That's what Norv Turner does on a regular basis don't get too excited about Tim Tebow's strong finish. The guy still can't pass. He's a Wildcat package guy with an aura. Put that on the field against a Norv Turner team gagging on a lead and magic can happen. San Diego still won total yardage here 418-275, third downs 50-22%, and long distance scoring 13-3. It's San Diego's destiny to sweat games they should win easily with this coach and quarterback combo (Denver's first TD was on a pick six off Philip Rivers). It's probably Tebow's destiny to have a few big moments before running himself into a separated shoulder on a hard tackle.

  • Green Bay took awhile to wake up Sunday Night. They must have napped too long after a big dinner. Once they cleared the cobwebs, they won the second half 19-0, and enjoyed full game stat edges of 426-251 in total yardage, and 6.8 to 4.6 in yards-per-play. Atlanta's defense isn't playoff caliber at the moment...and Matt Ryan at quarterback has become invisible in second halves of challenge games.

  • Monday Night's Chicago-Detroit game was decided by big plays. Detroit made a few, Chicago didn't. It's tough to make big plays on command, so improving Detroit still has a ways to go before truly being in the NFC's elite. They're not as good as that 5-0 record would suggest, even if they are now at least a legitimate Wildcard caliber team. This was a grinder game outside of a few fireworks displays. Note how teams like Green Bay or New Orleans can move the chains and score...then ALSO put on fireworks shows. Detroit's certainly moving in the right direction. Great to see.

That wraps up our look at some key stats from this past Sunday's action. We're certainly looking forward to an NFL schedule this week that includes matchups like: San Francisco at Detroit, Philadelphia at Washington, Buffalo at the NY Giants, Houston at Baltimore, and Dallas at New England. Of course, we'll be building our bankrolls in college football until them. The college schedule resumes Thursday Night with a TV twinbill.

You can sign up for ALL of the BIG JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK here at the website with your credit card. We have great rates for the season. Or, test the waters for a few days to see how you like it. If you have any questions, call our office at 1-800-323-4453.

Back tomorrow to check in on USC as they get ready for their TV game with California. See you then!

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