Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 11:36 AM
So how do you like that?
Big brother does have something to gloat about, after all.
Peyton Manning - the new-and-improved version now starring for the Denver Broncos - has a "W" in his win column so far this young 2012 NFL season and l'il brother Eli (owner of two Super Bowl rings to Peyton's one) does not.
But who would have ever thought than Peyton Manning would have had to wait nearly 22 months to get that win as his Broncos no-huddled the Pittsburgh Steelers to death on Sunday Night in that 31-19 win in the Mile High City. All this despite the fact the elder Manning had possession of the football for less than a handful of plays in the third quarter - heck, at one point QB Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers had taken 30 snaps to Manning's one snap in a second/third-quarter time frame!
Yes, the no-huddle worked wonders for the Broncos who rode Manning's 19-of-26, 253-yard, two-TD and 0-INT game into an early lead in the AFC West but what insiders really loved - besides the fact Manning showed no ill effects from those four neck surgeries last year - is that he's already got an instant rapport with his wide receivers and tight ends as the trio of WRs Demaryius Thomas (5 catches for 110 yards and a TD), Eric Decker (5 receptions worth 54 yards) and former Indianapolis Colts buddy TE Jacob Tamme (5 catches for 43 yards and one score) looked ultra-comfortable with the four-time league Most Valuable Player.
Maybe the Broncos at those 10-to-1 odds to win it all don't look all that silly right about now!
Meanwhile, Manning was part of the "older crowd" of NFL quarterbacks to snare Week 1 wins with the likes of Philadelphia's Michael Vick (a very shaky 4-INT game in Cleveland), New England's Tom Brady (a sharp 236-yard, two-TD showing in a romp in Tennessee) and Chicago's Jay Cutler (333 yards passing) all getting into the act but this year's season-opening week belonged to young guns as an unheard of five rookie quarterbacks earned starting spots ... but only Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III was able to snag a win.
Hey, the Washington Redskins' 40-32 win at 8 ½-point favorite New Orleans not only knocked out plenty of folks in those uber-popular "Knockout Pools" but it established the fact that Griffin isn't about to get scared on the proverbial big stage.
Okay, so we can sit here today and recite his sterling stats that included 320 yards passing with a pair of TDs and 0 interceptions but what really stood out about the performance of "RG3" is that he took some licks and never backed down. Sure, it helped that Griffin completed his first eight consecutive passes including that highlight-reel 88-yard scoring strike to WR Pierre Garcon but just how many rookie quarterbacks step into this man's league and register a quarterback rating of 139.9?
Hey, that was even better than Peyton Manning's QB rating last night!
Editor's Note: The Broncos' win/cover on Sunday Night gave NFL Week 1 Betting Favorites a less-than-spiffy 6-8 ATS (against the spread) mark while heading into tonight's action and keep in mind the Week 1 upsets thus far include Dallas over the New York Giants, Washington over New Orleans, San Francisco over Green Bay, Tampa Bay over Carolina and Arizona over Seattle - so there were surely some "money-line" winners who truly cleaned up!
Now, here's a key reminder ...Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have all the NFL Side & Totals Winners plus there's NCAA Football and MLB Winners too each/every day -- so climb aboard right now with America's #1 Handicapper! Tonight it's the now-annual Week 1 doubleheader showing with Monday Night Football - that's Cincinnati at Baltimore followed by San Diego at Oakland - and so the great action right out of the NFL starting gate rolls on in prime-time this evening. Check in with us on Game Days either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the winners and note the check-in times are after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday Baseball Winners and than after 1 p.m. ET for weeknight NFL, NCAA and MLB action and than after 11 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. So, let's go ahead and pile up the profits together right thru Super Bowl XLVII ... okay?
Tonight, it's ...
CINCINNATI at BALTIMORE - 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Let's be the 9,000,000th person to ask the following question:
Is this the year the Baltimore Ravens get over the hump and into the Super Bowl?
No question that John Harbaugh's gang has been knocking on that door for the past four years - this AFC North crew is the league's only team to make the playoffs in each of the past four years -- and this team that's won five playoff games since 2008 thinks QB Joe Flacco is ready to bloom into the NFL's next elite quarterback.
Flacco has thrown for more than 3,600 yards and at least 20 TDs in each of the past three years but might ball-control be more important to this year's Ravens who will be missing LB Terrell Suggs and not wanting to make 17th-year LB Ray Lewis and 11th-year S Ed Reed have to play more snaps than absolutely necessary?
Gut feeling is that Baltimore RB Ray Rice (1,364 yards rushing and 704 yards receiving last year) will get his mitts on the ball close to 30 times here and we'll see how the Bengals defense can wrap 'em up - the forecast here is that if Rice slips a couple of tackle and produces more than a couple 25-plus gainers, then the visiting and underdog Bengals are cooked!
Meanwhile, how can Cincy pull off the upset here?
Kid QB Andy Dalton needs to expose the Ravens secondary deep and so WR A.J. Green must make some field-flipping plays here. Note that this year's Bengals have a new offensive coordinator in Jay Gruden and word is he wants to zip it deep more and so expect some post patterns by Green on first down plays.
Spread Notes - Baltimore has cranked out identical 9-8-1 ATS seasons for the past three years in a row but did you know the Ravens last year registered a nifty 4-1-1 spread log within the confines of the AFC North? On the flip side, Cincinnati went 1-4-1 versus the vig in divisional play last season but the Bengals are a moneymaking 18-11-1 ATS as underdogs while dating back to late in the 2008 campaign.
SAN DIEGO at OAKLAND - 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
The back-end of this season-opening NFL Monday Night Football twinbill is the equivalent of the Hatfields vs. the McCoys - except these AFC rivals really can't stand one another!
Last year's late-season Raiders collapse - see four SU (straight-up) losses in the team's final five games - meant Oakland and San Diego wound up finishing with identical 8-8 SU marks but the Bay Area gang decided to make sweeping changes in the off-season with new coach Dennis Allen signed by new GM Reggie McKenzie while San Diego "sat tight" and now you wonder how long a leash does sixth-year boss-man Norv Turner gets this year.
One thing the Chargers must do in this prime-time affair is get pressure on Oakland QB Carson Palmer and thus the first-round draft choice OLB Melvin Ingram (South Carolina) and we'll soon see what effect he has on a Chargers defense that did hold seven foes to 17 points or less. If Ingram gets into Palmer's "grill" here, it could spell pick six with the quarterback's penchant for making huge mistakes.
The Raiders - on the other hand - might be blitz-happy here as Chargers QB Philip Rivers (career-high 20 INTs a year ago) - likely will be without star RB Ryan Mathews (broken collarbone) and so 10th-year TE Antonio Gates becomes even more important in the SD scheme of things here.
Spread Notes - Oakland has failed to cover six of its last nine season-opening games but the silver-and-black has been a smash hit spreadwise against San Diego in recent years as the Raiders are 5-1 ATS in the last half-dozen tilts with the hated Chargers. Note that the Bolts are just 6-10 ATS away the past two years and that includes last year's season-ending 38-26 win at 2 ½-point fav Oakland.
NOTE: Catch our Jim Sez Mid-Week Update in the next edition with lots of NCAA Football News/Notes and don't forget there's NFL Thursday Night Football right through the entire 2012 season with the Chicago Bears at the Green Bay Packers set for this Thursday Night on the NFL Network.