Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 19, 2011 at 9:18 AM
COWBOYS, FALCONS COP "SEASON-SAVING" WINS WHILE THE LEAGUE'S "OVER" BETTORS CASH IN FOR A SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK ...
OUR NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREVIEW'S HERE AS BATTERED RAMS FACE ANXIOUS GIANTS IN JERSEY
By Jim Hurley:
Everyone's entitled to his/her own opinion but the fact of the matter is there are only seven NFL teams that have started off the here-and-now campaign at 2-0 SU (straightup) - yes, that's Buffalo, Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, New England, the New York Jets and Washington - but we know folks/fans of the Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers are all saying "woulda, coulda, shoulda" today after difficult Week #2 losses for these respective squads.
Still, ask us and we say the two most important "W's" for NFL Week #2 action belonged to the ones produced by the Dallas Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons - boy, 0-2 starts for both of those teams would have set off major alarms for those organizations all this week long.
As it is, the 'Boys needed overtime - and a new potential cult hero in WR Jesse Holley -- to help skip past the 49ers in overtime while fate was working in the Falcons' corner on Sunday Night when old friend QB Michael Vick exited the game in the third quarter and never did return, thanks to a neck injury/concussion (and a bloody mouth to boot).
We'll get into both of the Week #2 games shortly but let's crunch some key numbers here:
NFL Week #2 Favorites and Underdogs split the 15 pointspread decisions right down the middle at 7-7-1 ATS (against the spread) while heading into the Monday Night Football tilt between the St. Louis Rams at the New York Giants (see our Jim Sez preview below) while the very early-season trend continued for totals players as "Over" bettors registered a 9-5-1 mark (the push occurring in Tennessee's 26-13 upset winner against Baltimore) and so far "Over" players are a collective 21-8-2 versus the vig for a sizzling .724 winning rate.
Note that there were not the plethora of special teams touchdowns this week - there was an NFL-record 8 special teams touchdowns scored in Week #1 in case you missed that stat fact - but yet some Week #2 games literally flew over the Las Vegas price tag anyway including Buffalo's 38-35 donnybrook win against Oakland (the totals price there was 41, so it went over by a whopping 32 points) plus there was Atlanta's 35-31 prime-time triumph over Philadelphia in which the totals price was listed as 49 ½ points (so the game went over by 16 ½ points).
We'll continue to monitor the numbers right through this 2011 NFL season but folks that enjoy high-scoring games have been seizing the cash so far.
Now, let's touch on the so-called "season-saving" wins by the Cowboys and Falcons:
DALLAS 27, SAN FRANCISCO 24 (OT) - There's no doubt that the Cowboys closely resembled a M*A*S*H unit following this clash with the Niners at noisy Candlestick Park (yes, it seemed as if there were 30,000-or-so Dallas fans in the building) as QB Tony Romo reportedly suffered not one but two broken ribs, WR Miles Austin tweaked a hamstring and RB Felix Jones separated his right shoulder but right now it appears only Austin will miss any real time as sources claim he won't be back till early-to-mid October.
It was Romo - who operated in major pain after returning to the field late in the third quarter - who swung public sentiment back into his corner one week after his pair of fourth-quarter turnovers helped to cause Dallas' demise in a painful 27-24 loss at the New York Jets. Not only did Romo air out the 77-yard strike to Holley that set up the 19-yard game-winning field goal by PK Dan Bailey but apparently (as Fox footage showed) it was Romo that advised Holley on the sidelines some 15-to-20 minutes earlier than he thought he could hit 'em for a deep play when given the opportunity.
No doubt that the Cowboys - down 14-0 less than nine minutes into the game and trailing 24-14 early in the fourth quarter - were facing a huge uphill climb in this 2011 season had they not rallied back but what really serves the 'Boys well is that it was the much-maligned Romo that played "John Wayne" here as he threw for 345 yards and two TDs and finished with a nifty QB Rating of 116.4. Give the guy his due, okay?
Now, Dallas is home for six of the next eight weeks (including a Week #5 bye) following these season-opening back-to-back road games and as long as Romo can play with the damaged ribs there remains hope for this NFC East crew.
ATLANTA 35, PHILADELPHIA 31 - The buildup for this NBC-TV clash was immense as QB Michael Vick made his return to the Georgia Dome while wearing the uniform of the enemy: So, maybe it's ironic that Vick - who crippled the Falcons when he was suspended from the NFL for his crimes relating to dog-fighting - wasn't around at the end after having gotten slammed into one of his own blockers late in the third quarter and with Philly leading 24-21.
The Eagles than added a quick TD moments after Vick's exodus to go up 31-21 but Philly head coach Andy Reid played it too safe with backup QB Mike Kafka (7-of-9 passing for 72 yards) and the Falcons staged a rally and thus prevented the team's first 0-2 SU start since the awful Bobby Petrino season in 2007.
Vick - who lost two fumbles and threw an interception while never looking real comfy while facing Atlanta's blitz packages - arrogantly pointed to the scoreboard while he was walked to the locker room for repairs but the Falcons and their faithful wound up getting the last laugh and there sure were some sweaty palms inside the dome 'cause a loss here with a Week #3 road tilt to Tampa Bay on deck might well have crushed Falcons post-season hopes even before this year really got jump-started.
Well, Atlanta QB Matt Ryan (4 TD passes and a modest 195 yards in the air) was the guy NBC interviewed following this game but sledgehammer RB Michael Turner (114 yards rushing) was terrific and ditto for never-old TE Tony Gonzalez (7 catches for 83 yards and 2 TDs) and we're still wondering why Philly didn't pay more attention to Gonzalez in the red zone on this night ... hadn't they ever heard of him before?
Now hear this: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will win big-time as we finish off NFL Week #2 action with the Rams at the Giants 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! Go ahead and get Monday Night Football's Side/Totals winner right now!
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREVIEW
ST. LOUIS (0-1) at NEW YORK GIANTS (0-1) - 8:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
There's plenty of panic in the streets of New York City: The Giants - who may indeed be "losing the town" to the J-E-T-S - didn't look real sharp in last Sunday's season-opening 28-14 loss at Washington as injuries on defense took their toll plus the new-look NYG offensive line never did get working right.
Here, the two-headed ground game starring RBs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs - who combined for just 73 rushing yards in Landover last weekend - must play with a passion/fury that wasn't always evident in the Week #1 loss while Tom Coughlin's club is keeping fingers crossed that DL Justin Tuck (neck) will be okayed to play here after missing last week's divisional affair.
On the flip side, the Rams have their own injury woes beginning with the fact QB Sam Bradford (bruised right index finger) wasn't a sure thing to play here till the past couple of days plus RB Stephen Jackson (right quad strain) remains questionable and no way does former Giants defensive coordinator/current St. Loo head coach Steve Spagnuolo have a shot at landing a win here unless Jackson plays and gets his hands on the ball 20-plus times in all.
Spread Notes - The Giants are 5-11 versus the vig at home dating back to the start of the 2009 season while St. Louis heads into this under-the-lights game having covered nine of its last 15 road games including an outright upset winner last year in Denver (36-33 as 3-point dogs).
NOTE: Catch our College Football Mid-Week Report in the next edition of Jim Sez.