So-called "intangibles" handicappers, note that Houston starting quarterback Matt Schaub returns to Atlanta where he backed up disgraced signal caller Michael Vick. Houston running back Ahman Green is questionable and wide receiver Andre Johnson is likely out.
Green Bay, with Dallas, is one of two NFC undefeated teams. The Packers have a seven-game winning streak dating back to last year, the longest in the NFL. Minnesota, much like last year, has a dominant run defense. They allow a conference best 67.3 yards per game. Though Pack QB Brett Favre lost nine of his first 11 starts at the Metrodome, he has turned it around winning 3-of-4 in the Twin Cities.
Who will start at quarterback for Minnesota, Tarvaris Jackson or Kelly Holcomb, still remains to be seen. NFL guru, Mike Godsey of GodsTips, echoes a common theme among sharpies, "It's not that consequential from a handicapping standpoint. Jackson will have growing pains and the jury is still out. Holcomb is what he is—a journeyman emergency starter."
Dante Culpepper gets the start at QB for Oakland. Culpepper is another quarterback returning to play the team he played for last year. Fresh off a knee injury, he had a career worst season in his brief four-game stint with the Fins. Miami is 6-0 straight up in the series.
As the world knows, the Bears have finally benched incompetent quarterback Rex Grossman in favor of Brian Griese. Chicago has some injuries on defense. Defensive tackle Tommy Harris is doubtful. Starting linebacker Lance Briggs is questionable to probable and starting cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Nate Vasher are questionable.
Admitting he has not fully handicapped this game in particular, OffshoreInsiders.com expert Cy McCormick of the MasterLockLine, warns "beware the oddsmakers know the public will love an undefeated home team against a winless road team," while emphasizing it's a rule of thumb, he continued, "the betting value is almost always with the road team."
Neutralizing that fact is that the Rams will be without Steven Jackson, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last year. Dallas defense is improving each week allowing just 10 points and 239 yards to Chicago last week. But then again, it was the Bears and Rex Grossman.
Baltimore was 6-2 outright on the road last year. They are 5-3 at Cleveland. Starting quarterback Steve McNair is hurting and head coach Brian Billick promised to be "cautious". Former starter Kyle Boller has shown some spark in relief.
Browns running back Jamal Lewis will have extra incentive going against his former team which cut him despite being the franchise leader in total yards and touchdowns. In the last nine series matchups, Cleveland has been held to 256 yards or less.
A healthy Jets quarterback Chad Pennington goes against a ravaged Bills defense. Also, Buffalo starting quarterback J.P. Losman is likely out with a knee injury which means rookie Trent Edwards gets the call.
Seattle's Shaun Alexander will play with a broken wrist. San Francisco will be without Vernon Davis, their reliable target at tight end. Second half bettors note that Seattle has given up only 17 combined second half points. The Niners swept the series last year following a six game Hawk winning streak.
David Carr appears the likely starter at QB for Carolina as Jake Delhomme has an elbow injury. Carolina is 7-1 straight up to Tampa, but with Delhomme as the starter. Tampa, led by new quarterback Jeff Garcia, has averaged 27.5 points per game in their last two. Oft injured Panther middle linebacker Dan Morgan is questionable with an ankle injury.
KC ranks 31st of 32 teams in scoring at 8.7.
"Indy has all the makings of a top dichotomous ATS and SU team," says OffshoreInsiders.com NFL guru Mike Godsey of Godstips. Often used in the NBA, he explains, "We discount 98 percent of trends, but this has proven to be the exception to the rule. Explained in our articles around the Net, basically if a team has a great SU record but horrid ATS record or visa versa, you ride for that to continue as it is the sign of which teams are most under or overvalued." The Colts are 3-0 SU, yet just 1-2 in the back pocket.
The Colts are 19-2 straight up in September under Tony Dungy including 11 straight wins. Denver is the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL. However, their last two trips to Indianapolis, they've allowed a combined 90 points.
Arizona's head coach Ken Whisenhunt and assistant head coach Russ Grimm know the Steelers players and many think one of them should have gotten the job that went to Mike Tomlin. Pittsburgh has outscored their first three teams by 97-26. Pittsburgh is 13-1 straight up to the AFC, but will likely be without top wide receiver Hines Ward.
Arizona is 1-2 with all three games being decided by a field goal in the closing seconds.
Eagles running back Brian Westbrook is questionable. Giants are without their top running back Brandon Jacobs. Their top weapon Plaxico Burress is seeing a specialist because his injured ankle is not improving.
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