Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 26, 2011 at 9:19 AM
Here's the NFL version of a dog-bites-man story as we wrap up Week #3 play:
The defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers are 3-0 and looking very super indeed following Sunday's 27-17 win at 4 ½-point underdog Chicago.
Now for the man-bites-dog story:
The Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions are 3-and-oh too -maybe that's gonna be the Super Bowl XLV matchup in Indianapolis come the first Sunday in February ...
Could it really be?
Hey, come-from-way-back wins by both the Bills and Lions headlined Sunday's NFL Week #3 menu and you really have to be old to remember the last time these teams were really good -like the early 1990s when the Bills went to (and lost) four consecutive Super Bowls and the mid-to-late 1950s when the Lions were once-upon-a-time one of the league's standout franchises.
Now, seemingly generations later, these clubs are back in the public consciousness and -don't look now -but Buffalo is favored to win its Week #4 game this Sunday in Cincinnati (a 3-point betting choice at this moment) while Detroit shoots for 4-and-oh in Dallas come Sunday afternoon and remember the Cowboys will be operating on a short week, with a battered quarterback and coming off a blood-and-guts Monday Night Football divisional rivalry game against Washington.
Did anyone say do it again, guys?
We'll touch on both the Bills and Lions shortly in this start-of-the-week edition of Jim Sez plus we'll tackle Redskins-Cowboys too in preview form but first a couple of loose ends to tie up neatly here:
NFL Week #3 Betting Favorites went 5-9-1 ATS (against the spread) and so that means we head into tonight's prime-time tilt on ESPN with NFL Betting Favorites at 19-25-3 spreadwise so far this season (a .432 winning rate for the chalk-eaters out there) and -as we promised you in last week's Jim Sez -we shall keep you posted on how the "Totals"players are doing and Week #4 "Overs"registered a 6-9 ATS mark (you knew the "Overs"couldn't go wild forever, right?) and so the up-to-date mark there is "Overs"are 28-17-2 spreadwise for a .622 winning percentage.
BTW, the aforementioned Bills and Lions are a combined 4-1-1 versus the vig -remember that 3 ½-point favorite Buffalo didn't cover the Las Vegas number in that wild 38-35 win against Oakland back in Week #2 while the Lions "pushed"as 3-point road favorites in Sunday's epic 26-23 win in Minnesota.
Here's the lowdown ...
BUFFALO 34, NEW ENGLAND 31 -Here's something for the Patriots to consider: They scored more points than 11 NFL teams that won in Week #3 but that's hardly any consolation.
The fact of the matter is New England had the 7-point underdog Bills down 21-0 some 21 minutes into that AFC East game and yet fortunes and the fickle finger of fate all pointed Buffalo's way as a maligned defense picked off QB Tom Brady four times -that's as many interceptions as he threw all of last year -while QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 369 yards and directed the game-winning scoring drive capped by PK Rian Lindell's 28-yard field goal with no time left.
Consider that the Bills snapped New England's 15-game winning streak against 'em -and you'll like to know that Buffalo was 4-11 versus the vig in those head-to-head battles -and so there's a new leader alone at the top of the AFC East. The Bills -who play three of their next four games against NFC East competition (home to Philadelphia, at the New York Giants and home to Washington with a bye week chucked in there following this upcoming Cincinnati tilt) -have "mojo"on their side and according to the good folks at the Elias Sports Bureau they are the only team in NFL history to win back-to-back games in which they trailed by 18 points or more in each. Getcha Super Bowl tix!
DETROIT 26, MINNESOTA 23 (OT) -It's all about the numbers: The Lions had lost their last 13 consecutive games in Minnesota and had not started off a season 3-0 SU since 1980 and then toss into the mix the fact the Vikings led this game 20-0 at the halftime break.
C'mon, nobody really thought the Lions were gonna stage a comeback to this degree ... did they?
Not only did the Lions hold Minnesota to a mere field goal in the second half but Motown QB Matthew Stafford aired a pair of second-half touchdown strikes while leading the NFC North co-leaders (with Green Bay, of course) to 378 yards passing with no picks -not bad after a first quarter in which Detroit totaled minus 7 yards in offense!
It's been the dawning of a new age with the Lions who've now won seven games in a row dating back to late last year but nothing was new when it came to the fact PK Jason Hanson calmly boomed the game-winning field goal from 32 yards away less than two full minutes into the extra session. Hanson has been the one shining light for this franchise over all the downtrodden years -only now is he and his mates getting spotlight treatment from the media.
One last thing about the Lions: They follow up the aforementioned game in Dallas with three consecutive home games (versus Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta). Can you imagine a potential 7-and-oh start to this season? And down-the-road folks should know the Lions host Green Bay on Thanksgiving Day this year -now that ought to be a holiday hoot!
Here's a couple other NFL Week #3 News & Notes ...
There are now only three NFL teams without a pointspread win this year -that's Miami, St. Louis and San Diego and so here's a key stat note on all of 'em:
The Dolphins held the ball for 37:51 and still lost 17-16 at 2-point home dog Cleveland who played without RB Peyton Hills (strep throat) ...
The Rams -37-7 home losers to 6-point fav Baltimore (and note the Las Vegas line jumped from 3 ½-to-6 points during the course of the week) -had 8 penalties for a whopping 117 yards against the Ravens. Way to coach 'em up, Coach "Spags"! ...
Finally, the Chargers -who were 25-13-4 ATS in AFC West games dating back to the start of 2004 -failed to cover the bloated 14-point price in their 20-17 hang-on-for-dear-life win against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs. Note that San Diego QB Philip Rivers completed only one pass of 15 yards-or-more after having completed 11 such passes in the team's prior two games.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREVIEW
WASHINGTON (2-0) at DALLAS (1-1) -8:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
Conventional wisdom says the visiting Redskins will come full speed ahead at battered Cowboys QB Tony Romo (see ribs/lung) -heck, loud-moth CB DeAngelo Hall has said as much in the days leading up to this NFC East tilt but it's the heat that Washington's guys up front (see active LB Brian Orakpo and rookie DE Ryan Kerrigan) put on Romo here that likely will determine whether or not he plays the full 60 minutes here.
Last week Romo came out of the locker room injured and back onto the field to help engineer that stirring 27-24 OT win in San Francisco but something tells us that Washington's secondary won't allow WR Jesse Holly and mates a free lane down the field.
On the flip side, the 'Skins have beaten the NY Giants and Arizona Cardinals with QB Rex Grossman having tossed a total of two INTs (both came in last week's 22-21 non-cover win against the Redbirds) and here steering pass rush whiz DeMarcus Ware out of Grossman's vision will be essential -plus expect lots of traps/draws for Washington RBs Tim Hightower and rookie Roy Helu who've combined for 244 ground yards this year.
Spread Notes -Dallas has failed to cover its home opener in each of the past three years (versus Chicago in 2010, the New York Giants in 2009 and Philadelphia in '08) and did you know the Cowboys are a horrid 14-23-1 ATS in divisional games since the start of the 2005 season? On the flip side, Washington is a tasty 15-8-4 vig-wise as underdogs the past two-plus seasons and the Redskins are 9-3 ATS in their last dozen head-to-head matchups with the 'Boys.
Extra, extra: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will win big-time as we finish off NFL Week #3 action with the Redskins at the Cowboys tonight plus there's always College Football and Major-League Baseball and so please make sure you're all aboard for all the action right through Super Bowl XLVI on February 5th. Hey, it's gonna be a great ride! Just remember to call our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here for the NFL, NCAA Football and MLB winners!
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NOTE: Catch our College Football Mid-Week Report in the next edition of Jim Sez.