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Sports Guru
11-08-2002, 04:00 PM
11/8/025

Confirmed Plays (get before line moves)

Top plays are 17-6 (73%) after hitting last weeks big game UL. Lafayett -2.5. They game us a scare but nevertheless covered the game. All in all not a great day in NCAA football last week, but again the NFL was huge for me. A top play is anything 8 units or higher. I play All FOOTBALL games at $100/unit, so you should have some guidance. I play NBA games $50/unit at the beginning of the year so I can get a better feel for how teams are shaping out. I also never post a play that I do not play myself.

RECORD:
NCAA Football 53-41 (56.4%) +28.5 units
NFL Football 39-21 (65%) +109units
NBA 9-6-1 +3 units

Summary of Plays for 11/7/02-11/10/02
NCAA Football
(8)
(7)
(6) WEST VIRGINIA -3 PENDING DO NOT PLAY YET
(5) WYOMING +10 PENDING DO NOT PLAY YET
(5) FLORIDA STATE -6.5
(4) HOUSTON pk
(4) TEXAS A &M +9.5
(3) OLE MISS +15
(3) SAN JOSE STATE +4
(3) PITTSBURGH -16
(3) TENNESSEE +9 (ADDED 1* MONEY LINE PLAY +310)
(2) NEVADA -27 ½
(2) IOWA STATE +14 (bought ½ point) (POSSIBLE UPGRADE LIKELY)
(2) OKLAHOMA STATE +9.5
(2) MINNESOTA +7
OPINION: SYRACUSE +13 (Note this play has been demoted due to line movement)

**PURDUE +7 IS NO LONGER A PLAY. PURDUE QB HAS A BROKEN HAND SUFFERED AT A FRAT PARTY.

NFL Football
(4) N.Y. FOOTBALL GIANTS -1
(3) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS +6.5 PENDING DO NOT PLAY YET
(3) BALTIMORE -5 ½
(3) NEW ORLÉANS -4 ½
(2) GREEN BAY -10

TOTALS
(3) LIONS/PACKERS OVER 41
(2) SAINTS/PANTHERS UNDER 42

Detailed Analysis
FLORIDA ST (6 - 3) at GEORGIA TECH (6 - 3)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 3:30 PM
Without its top running back, Florida State will try to remain atop the Atlantic Coast Conference as it visits Georgia Tech on Saturday. The 17th-ranked Seminoles (6-3, 5-0 ACC) lost running back Greg Jones for the season when he tore a ligament in his right knee. An MRI on Monday showed that the conference's leading rusher tore his anterior cruciate ligament and injured his medial collateral ligament in the Seminoles' 34-21 win over Wake Forest on Saturday. "Looking at it (on Saturday), we just had a bad feeling," team trainer Randy Oravetz said. The 240-pound junior tailback averaged 104.2 yards a game and scored eight touchdowns. "It's not good," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said Monday. "It's such a shame he was having such a good year. That's football, I guess." Jones' injury is the second major change in Florida State's starting offensive backfield in the past week. He will be replaced by Nick Maddox, who had 122 yards and two touchdowns in the Seminoles' victory over the Demon Deacons. "Nick is more versatile than Greg in things that he can do, catching passes, running routes, going deep, things like that," Bowden said. "Greg gives you that 240-pounder that can take it up in there and break tackles, where Nick has to evade." Florida State hopes Maddox will be as successful as quarterback Adrian McPherson was in replacing Chris Rix this past weekend. McPherson threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns in his first start. "If we play the best we can, we can go to a major bowl, but anything less than that, there are still people (in the ACC) that can beat us," Bowden said.

Florida State can thank Georgia Tech for its one-game conference lead over North Carolina State. The Yellow Jackets (6-3, 3-3) handed the Wolfpack their first loss of the season on Saturday, winning 24-17. Georgia Tech was able to hold N.C. State to just 57 yards rushing. It was the second straight week that Georgia Tech has ended a team's winning streak. The Yellow Jackets snapped Virginia's six-game winning streak the week before. "Their record is not indicative of how good they are," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said of Florida State. "They are a very good football team."
Florida State has won all 10 meetings between the schools since joining the ACC in 1992. The Seminoles lead the all-time series 10-7-1, including last year's 28-17 victory in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State is in the drivers seat for the ACC title after last weeks 34-21 comeback win over Wake Forest. Offense is not a problem, as FSU outscores teams by a 35-21 average. WR Anquan Boldin (6 TDs), RB Nick Maddox and WR Talman Gardner (7 TDs) are talented offensive weapons. The Seminoles are averaging over 200 yards rushing and passing per game. QB Adrian McPherson runs the offense now and threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns in his first start. Georgia Tech has a strong defense, allowing 18 ppg (6-3 SU, 4-5 ATS.) The Yellow Jackets have been hurt by key injuries and had tough losses to Wake Forest (24-21) and a 34-10 disaster at Maryland. But they pulled a big upset last week, knocking off previously undefeated NC State, 24-17. A year ago, FSU beat G-Tech 28-17, though the Yellow Jackets led 10-7 at the half. FSU is deep and talented and have handled the Jackets easily in past years. Jackets helped FSU last week but this week the Sems need no help.
Projected Score FLORIDA STATE 34 Georgia Tech 20
TAKE 5* on FLORIDA STATE -6.5


E CAROLINA (2 - 5) at HOUSTON (4 - 4)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 3:00 PM
Looks like a shootout between these Conference USA teams that play little defense. The East Carolina Pirates give up 31.6 points per game and seem to be regressing, giving up 46 and 44 the last two games. East Carolina is 2-5 overall and a poor 1-6 against the spread. The offense is averaging 26.9 ppg and led by QB Paul Troth (1,379 yards, 8 TDs, 12 interceptions.) Houston (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS) has a good offense and a poor defense. The Cougars have speed and depth on offense with RB Joffrey Reynolds, QB Nick Eddy, WRs Brandon Middleton and KeyKowa Bell, and are averaging 27 points per game. Don't look for a lot of defense.

Projected Score: Houston 41, E Carolina 38
TAKE 5* on HOUSTON pk


OKLAHOMA (8 - 0) at TEXAS A&M (5 - 4)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 3:30 PM

Texas A&M returns to a home field where they stand 71-11-1 SU under head coach R.C. Slocum. Included in that tally is a 15-2-1 SU mark wwhen playing off a loss and 7-2 ATS when taking points. Today they return off BB losses - and a pair of previous home losses! (FYI: they have never lost three straight home games behind Slocum.) Granted, their defense has taken a step back in the past few weeks, but they still rank 21st in the nation. Sooners have yet to get the money in College Station (0-4 ATS) since entering into league play with the Aggies and are 2-7-1 ATS on the road going into revenge. The Aggies defense did finally show up in the second half last week at Oklahoma State, following four quarters of mediocre football. However, it wasn't soon enough to get a win. The problem for A&M has been a defense that has been bullied up front, and a one-dimensional offense. But with the BCS noose getting tighter and tighter on Bob Stoops' collar.

Projected Score: Oklahoma 24, Texas A&M 25
TAKE 4* on TEXAS A&M 9.5

MISSISSIPPI (5 - 4) at GEORGIA (8 - 1)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 7:00 PM

A month ago Mississippi fans stormed the field after a 17-14 upset of Florida. But it seems theyve run out of steam, losing three in a row, all to SEC teams (0-3 ATS run). The offense under QB Eli Manning has been okay, but the defense has been awful, giving up 42, 48 and 31 the last three games. And Georgia plays great offense and defense and should be in a foul mood after losing its first game last week, 20-13 to Florida. The Dawgs are still 8-1 SU, 6-2 ATS and outscoring teams by a 32-17 average. QB David Green and innovative coach Mark Richt lead a strong all-around team. Georgia beat Ole Miss 32-14 two years ago as an 8-point favorite and this game will be similar. But OLE MISS 7-1 as a Road Dog allows me the confidence that they will keep this game close.

Projected Score: GEORGIA 30 Mississippi 19
PLAY: 3* MISSISSIPPI +15


LOUISIANA TECH (3 - 5) at SAN JOSE ST (4 - 6)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 5:00 PM
Two of the worst defensive teams in the country match up this week. Louisiana Tech (3-5 su, 2-6 ats) travels cross-country to play the Spartans of San Jose State. La Tech had last week off after a slugfest victory two weeks ago at home over Nevada, 50-47. Tech basically has to rely on its offense to outscore the opposition, as the defense has allowed 30 points or more in all but one game this season. Moreover, the Bulldogs havent won a game on the road yet, posting a poor 0-5 su and ats mark away from home. San Jose (4-6 su, 6-4 ats) has had its share of troubles the last few weeks. After starting the season 4-2 su and 5-1 ats, the Spartans have dropped four straight games both su and covered just one. That one cover came last week in of all places Hawaii, where the Spartans hung tough all game and lost a close one, 40-31. The last four game, San Jose has been outscored 187-70. Really have to wonder what the oddsmakers are doing making a team that hasnt won a road game all season a favorite in this contest. The Spartans have only played two home games all year and they will not want to disappoint their faithful fans here. Even though these teams are pretty evenly matched, we will take the home points in this one and look for the Spartans to keep Tech winless on the road.

Projected Score: San Jose St 35, La Tech 31
PLAY: 3* SAN JOSE STATE +4

TEMPLE (3 - 6) at PITTSBURGH (7 - 2)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 12:00 PM

It may not have seemed possible in September, but Pittsburgh suddenly has a legitimate chance to win the Big East Conference title. Fresh off a huge win at Virginia Tech, the 23rd-ranked Panthers play their first game as a ranked team in 11 years when they host Temple on Saturday at Heinz Field. Should Pittsburgh (7-2, 4-0) get past the Owls, it will battle top-ranked Miami on November 21 at the Orange Bowl. The Panthers and Hurricanes are the unbeaten teams in Big East play. Brandon Miree scored on a 53-yard run to snap a tie with 4:11 remaining as the Panthers stunned the Hokies, 28-21, for their biggest win under sixth-year coach Walt Harris. Pittsburgh twice erased 14-point deficits. The Panthers beat the Hokies at their own game, out rushing them, 275-136. Miree ran for 161 yards on 23 carries. The Panthers, who are seeking their first 8-2 start since 1983, defeated their highest-ranked opponent since Dan Marino led Pittsburgh to a 24-20 victory over No. 2 Georgia in the 1982 Sugar Bowl. The win propelled Pittsburgh into the national rankings for the first time since October 20, 1991, when it was 23rd in both major polls.

The Owls played well in a 20-10 setback to Virginia Tech on October 2, but never were in the game against the Mountaineers, trailing, 33-0, at the intermission. Mike McGann passed for three touchdowns after the contest was out of reach. He also was intercepted three times. Wvu defeated Temple 46-20 as QB Mike McGann led the Owls with three touchdown passes and 180 yards, but he completed just 13 of 32 passes, and all of his scores came in the second half. Tanardo Sharps, Temple's leading rusher at 114 yards a game, had just 30 on 17 carries. In the first half, the Mountaineers outgained Temple 226-16 and forced three turnovers, leading to 16 points. The Owls managed just two first downs in the half and 9 yards on the ground. The Owls scored all of their points with the game out of reach. Brandon Miree ran 53 yards for a touchdown with 4:11 remaining, completing Pittsburgh's comeback from a two-touchdown third-quarter deficit and lifting the Panthers past No. 3 Virginia Tech 28-21. With the victory, the Panthers (7-2 SU, ) moved ahead of the Hokies in the conference race. Pitt got three touchdown passes from Rod Rutherford to freshman sensation Larry Fitzgerald, and 275 yards rushing against the nation's best defense against the run (40.75 yards). Miree finished with 161 yards on 23 carries. A class 1 mismatch coming up on Saturday but the Big East has been full of surprises this year. Temple just doesnt have the horses to compete with the front running Panthers in what should be a tune up for the Hurricanes in two weeks. Pittsburgh leads the all-time series, 23-8-1, including a 33-7 victory last year that started a season-ending six-game winning streak. The Panthers have won 13 of their last 15 games overall.
Projected Score: Temple 10 Pittsburgh 37
TAKE: 3* on PITTSBURGH -17

MIAMI (8 - 0) at TENNESSEE (5 - 3)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 3:30 PM
Miami is 8-0 SU, but a poor 2-5 ATS. This is the third straight road game for Miami (1-3 ATS on the road this season) and they've struggled the last three games against Rutgers (1-8), West Virginia and Florida State. Miami had poor special teams play against Rutgers: an extra point blocked and a punt blocked and returned for a TD and 13 penalties for 120 yards. Miami has also won 16 straight road games. Tennessee has had a disappointing 5-3 SU/3-5 ATS, averaging 26 ppg (142 yds rushing, 240 yds passing pg). Injuries have been plentiful. QB Casey Clausen missed time with a sore shoulder (he’’s back), and speedy WR Kelly Washington has been out with a concussion (out indefinitely). Tennessees defense has been strong and gives up 19 ppg, so they may be able to hang tough with the Hurricanes. Tennessee is 65-3 straight up in November since 1985 and with the orange-clad crowd going wild, they will be fired up to knock off Miami.
Projected Score: Miami Fl 27, Tennessee 20
TAKE: 3* on TENNESSEE +9
1* ON TENNESSEE TO WIN OUTRIGHT +310

UTEP (2 - 7) at NEVADA (4 - 5)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 3:05 PM

From the pan into the fire is how UTEP (2-7 su, 1-7 ats) must feel this week as it travels to Reno to play the Wolf Pack. The Miners found out just how good WAC leader Boise State is, as the Broncos pounded UTEP last week, 58-3. No rest of the weary, as the Miners must now face one of the best quarterbacks in the conference in Zach Threadgill. And the Miners had better put together more offense than they have the last two weeks, getting outscored 78-3. In fact, UTEP as allowed 49 or more points in more than half of its games this season. Nevada (4-5 su, 7-2 ats) can finish above the .500 mark this season if it can win two of the last three games. This contest should be no problem for the Pack, but the last two games are a road contest at Fresno next week and a season finale at home against division leader Boise State. Nevada has been tough in Reno, posting a 3-1 straight up mark and a perfect 4-0 record against the spread. In fact, the Pack has been an excellent team to bet on all season, having covered seven of its nine games. Nevada had a tough time in Dallas last week against SMU, but pulled away late in the fourth quarter to garner its fourth win of the season, 24-6. This week the Pack will chalk up its fifth win of the year and may have an eye to next weeks game at Fresno which would guarantee a winning season. Have to be weary of laying the 25 points in this game with Fresno next week. However, the Wolfpack enjoys 2 SOW unit to unit advantages over UTEP; They are rushing for 4.4 ypc and 157 ypg, while the Miners give up 5.1 ypc and 214 ypg. In addition the Miners have a poor pass defense that gives up 8.6 ypp and 219 ypg, while the Wolfpack pass attack gets 8 ypp and 305 pyg! This one will be Ugly.

Projected Score: Nevada Reno 45, UTEP 14
PLAY: 4* NEVADA +27 ½

IOWA ST (7 - 3) at KANSAS ST (7 - 2)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 7:00 PM
** Note Time Change
Iowa State is about to begin a difficult two-game road trip. Win both games, and the Cyclones will play for the Big 12 title. The first of those games comes Saturday at Manhattan, Kan., where the No. 21 Cyclones face No. 12 Kansas State. Iowa State (7-3, 4-2 Big 12) rebounded from consecutive losses by beating Missouri 42-35 on Saturday. Colorado lost to top-ranked Oklahoma the same day, reviving the Cyclones' division title hopes. The Cyclones are a half-game behind the Buffaloes, who lead the North Division with a 4-1 record. Kansas State (7-2, 3-2) is just behind Iowa State, but has already lost to Colorado. If Iowa State wins this week and follows by beating Colorado next week at Boulder, it would do no worse than tie the Buffaloes for the North lead at 6-2. The Cyclones would then win the tiebreaker because of their head-to-head victory and head to Houston to play for the Big 12 title for the first time. "We are still very much in the run for the Big 12 North race," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. "I'm real hungry for the next three games to see if we can win some games and to see how high we can get in a bowl." For next week to matter, however, Iowa State first has to figure out how to beat Kansas State for the first time in nine years. The Wildcats have won the last eight meetings, scoring at least 28 points in every game, since the Cyclones' last victory during the 1993 season. Iowa State still leads the overall series 46-35-4, but Kansas State has won 11 of the last 12 meetings. The game matches exciting Iowa State quarterback Seneca Wallace against one of the nation's top defensive teams. Wallace set a school record with 493 total yards in Saturday's victory, throwing for one touchdown and running for another. He and the Iowa State offense were held in check by stronger opposition in previous games, managing just one total touchdown in losses to Oklahoma and fourth-ranked Texas.

Kansas State compares with Oklahoma and Texas defensively. The Wildcats allow just 11.9 points per game to lead the nation in scoring defense, and are third in the country in total defense and fourth in rushing defense. The Wildcats also rank third in scoring offense with 44.8 points per game, and both the offense and defense were clicking in a 64-0 victory over Kansas on Saturday. "I didn't think it would be this easy, but if you have an offense that's clicking and a defense that can shut them out, it can happen," Kansas State quarterback Ell Roberson said. Darren Sproles rushed for 110 yards on only 15 carries, his fifth straight 100-yard game. The sophomore needs just 31 yards to become the sixth Kansas State player to gain 1,000 in a season. Kansas State's two losses have come by a combined seven points, losing 35-31 to Colorado and 17-14 to Texas. They're a fantastic football team," McCarney said. "No question they're one of America's best. They're outscoring people an average of 45-11 in the first nine games. Enough said about how dominant they can be.

The Cyclones held on in a barn-burner last week in Ames, with a 42-35 win over Missouri. Seneca Wallace had a huge outing, passing for 425 yards on 31 of 47 passing. Obviously, the K-State defense offers a little more resistance than Missouri's and ISU's offense has really bogged down on the Big-12 road. Playing at Oklahoma and Texas, the 'Clones offense has just 345 total yards on 122 plays, scoring only 13 points. The running game has floundered away from Ames, but the key to this week's game will be whether or not the Cyclones pass rush can put some pressure on K-State QB Ell Roberson. The 'Cats signal caller will make mistakes when the heat is on, and we expect several looks from McCarney's defense to try and rattle Roberson. ISU rebounded well the week following the trouncing at Oklahoma, and showed the true mettle of this team. The 'Clones also know a win here could put Wallace back in the Heisman race, and the team back in the Big-12 North race. We don't think they have enough around Wallace to gain a victory in Manhattan, but a cover is well within their reach.

Projected Score: Iowa State 30, KANSAS STATE 34
PLAY: 2* IOWA STATE +14 (BOUGHT ½ POINT)

OKLAHOMA ST (4 - 4) at TEXAS TECH (6 - 4)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 2:00 PM

The Red Raiders got back on track in fine fashion, dismantling the Baylor pass defense, becoming the final nail in now ex-coach Kevin Steele's coffin. After a bump in the road at Colorado, Kingsbury and the Raider passing attack got back to normal. The Red Raiders connected on 48 of 61 passes for 512 yards, with 5 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State built a nice 28-14 halftime lead against A&M and hung on for a 28-23 victory. OSU beat NU & A&M in their last two very impressive wins. OSU saw a version of the Tech offense last week in Dustin Long. We'll take the Raiders over the Cowboys in pro football and we'll take them in college football this week.
Projected Score: Texas Tech 34, Oklahoma St 23
PLAY: 2* OKLAHOMA STATE +9.5

MICHIGAN (7 - 2) at MINNESOTA (7 - 2)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 7:45 PM
Last week, Michigan had no problem taking the trophy against its in-state rival. Now the 13th-ranked Wolverines will try to win the oldest trophy game in college football as they face Big Ten foe Minnesota on Saturday at the Metrodome. The Paul Bunyan trophy was the prize last Saturday and Michigan won it by handing Michigan State its worst loss in 55 years, 49-3. This week, the Wolverines (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) are hoping to extend their longtime ownership of the Little Brown Jug. "For these two programs, it is a source of great pride and tradition," Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr said. Michigan has won 13 straight against Minnesota (7-2, 3-2) dating to 1987 and 30 of the last 32 meetings, including all eight at the Metrodome. Michigan has a 64-23-3 record in the all-time series, which dates back to 1903. "The Brown Jug is like the Paul Bunyan Trophy," Michigan wideout Ronald Bellamy said. "You also want to keep it at home with you. You don't want the other team to take something that means so much to this program." It would have special meaning for Wolverines standout tight end Bennie Joppru, who will be trying to win the Jug about 15 minutes from where he grew up. The 6-foot-5, 243-pounder has made 35 receptions - more than any other Big Ten tight end - for 367 yards and five touchdowns. "I would like to hold it up period, but to go home in front of my whole family would be nice," Joppru said. Joppru and Bellamy were key figures in John Navarre and the Michigan passing attack getting back on track last week. The oft-criticized Navarre completed 16 of 27 passes for 229 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. With leading receiver Braylon Edwards having been benched for too many drops, Bellamy came through with five receptions for a career-best 124 yards and two scores while Joppru had five for 42 and a TD. Navarre was just 14-of-33 for 112 yards the previous week in a 34-9 loss to Iowa. That defeat also saw leading rusher Chris Perry get held to 14 yards on nine carries, so Carr looked to senior B.J. Askew last week and he came through with a career-high 149 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries. Perry ran 11 times for 50 yards in the win.

Minnesota's offense, meanwhile, is looking to recover from a dismal performance in Saturday's 34-3 loss to Ohio State. The Gophers were held to 112 total yards, including just 64 in the final three quarters. Their dynamic tailback duo of Terry Jackson II and Thomas Tapeh, who had each rushed for more than 100 yards in the previous three games, combined for just 81 yards on 24 attempts. Minnesota's hot run ended in brutal fashion as the Gophers were exposed in a lopsided loss at Ohio State. But before totally dismissing Minnesota, it should be realized that this is a far different entry when playing at home. QB Abdul-Khaliq heads an offense that has been downright explosive on the carpet at the Metrodome. Michigan comes to town for this national TV tilt rightfully installed as the favorite, but the Wolverines have been anything but money in the bank as road chalk. Michigan is a ghastly 6-19 when laying the spot away from "The Big House." The key to this game is whether Michigan's staunch rushing defense that yields only 106 yards per game can stop the Gophers, who have averaged a robust 247 ypg on the ground this season. Both these teams are bound for bowls but the winner here is obviously in line for a more prestigious date. Look for Michigan to eke out a tough win in a game in which the home dog Gophers have a good chance to take home the spread money.

Projected Score: Michigan 21, MINNESOTA 24
PLAY: 4* MINNESOTA +7

VIRGINIA TECH (8 - 1) at SYRACUSE (3 - 6)
Week 11 Saturday, 11/9/2002 3:30 PM
** Note Time Change
In one of the weekends big surprises Virginia Tech lost to Pittsburgh 28-21 after leading by two touchdowns in the third quarter. The Hokies (8-1 SU, ) were done in by their offense, which scored its touchdowns on first-half drives of 3 and 21 yards set up by special teams plays, and on Lee Suggs' 59-yard touchdown run just after halftime. The Panthers outgained Virginia Tech 483-275, and the Hokies committed three turnovers, giving them 10 in three games. Quarterback Bryan Randall had an interception and a fumble. The Hokies' vaunted ground game, nicknamed "The Untouchables,' struggled to break anything against the Panthers' stacked front in the first half, which ended with Tech having 35 yards on 22 carries. Syracuse rallied for a 38-35 victory over Central Florida on Saturday as they amassed 539 yards of total offense. Walter Reyes, with 130 yards rushing, scored on runs of four and five yards in the first 5:10 of the fourth quarter, helping the Orangemen (3-6) erase a 27-24 deficit. He also caught a TD pass in the third period. Syracuse has had a rough time challenging Division I schools this year even at home where they were 6-0 a year ago. Last year, the Orange beat Tech on the road 22-14 as an 18 point dog. Now that the Orangemen have come out of their funk, look for them to put up some fight against the Hokies, who were embarrassed by Pitt on Saturday. Cuse can cause some serious dome damage.

Projected Score: SYRACUSE 17 Virginia Tech 21
PLAY: OPINION ON SYRACUSE +13 (PLAY TO +11)

NFL PLAYS

NY GIANTS (4 - 4) at MINNESOTA (2 - 6)
Week 10 Sunday, 11/10/2002 1:00 PM
The New York Giants visit the Metrodome for the second straight November. They hope this trip turns out better. Of course, the Giants will need to do a better job of containing Randy Moss, who had 10 catches for 171 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-16 win for the Minnesota Vikings here last November 19. It was a game New York coach Jim Fassel would rather forget. Along with numerous blown assignments in the secondary, the Giants committed 15 penalties for 150 yards. Against a defense that was ranked 30th in the league, the Giants fizzled in the red zone with just one touchdown in four trips inside the 20. But Sean Payton was the offensive coordinator then. Now Fassel has assumed the play-calling, beginning with last week's 24-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Under Fassel's direction, the Giants picked up a season-high 26 first downs and matched their highest total with 394 yards. Tiki Barber was the chief beneficiary, rushing for 101 yards on 19 carries, including a pair of touchdowns, and catching four passes for 62 yards. Even Ron Dayne carried the ball a season-high 13 times and produced 52 yards. "The offense was definitely simplified and I think it benefited us," said Collins, who was 20 of 28 for 228 yards and a touchdown. "We used fewer formations, fewer plays. A lot of shifts and motions were cut out." "The tempo of the offense was definitely speeded up," said Giants receiver Amani Toomer. "We felt more like we were attacking them." On Sunday, the Giants attack a defense that was victimized for 313 yards and five touchdowns by quarterback Brad Johnson in Minnesota's 38-24 loss at Tampa Bay last week.

Meanwhile, Culpepper threw for 231 yards, but was intercepted twice and sacked three times. He will welcome massive tackle Bryant McKinnie, the team's first-round pick who finally reached a contract agreement last week. The Vikings were counting on the 6-8, 343-pound McKinnie, who never allowed a sack in his high school or college career, to become an immediate starter at left tackle. But that plan was put on hold due the contract impasse. As a senior at Miami, McKinnie won the Outland Trophy, given to college football's best interior lineman, and received 26 votes for the Heisman Trophy, a stunning total for an offensive lineman. Michael Bennett set a club record with an 85-yard touchdown run in the loss at Tampa Bay and finished with 114 yards on 10 carries. Minnesota leads the series, 10-7, including postseason. Prior to 2001, the previous eight games between the teams had been played at Giants Stadium, including playoff contests in 1993, 1997 and 2000.

Tiki Barber ran for 101 yards and scored on runs of 2 and 44 yards as the Giants broke out of a scoring slump and beat Jacksonville 24-17 (DJ's Free Customer Appreciation Winner for Members). IKerry Collins completed 20 of 28 passes for 228 yards. "We found a good tempo and it allowed us to move the ball real well.' The well rested Giants defense enjoyed a first half where Barber and Collins controlled the ball for 22 minutes. The Vikings fell to Tampa Bay 38-24 on Sunday. The Bucs gained a season-high 446 yards and only punted twice. Minnesota, who has the league's worst turnover differential, fumbled the opening kickoff and went downhill from there. Daunte Culpepper completed 19 of 30 passes for 231 yards with two interceptions. The Vikes have pressing problems on defense to go with a lack of consistency on offense and are against the ropes. The Vikings held at home a year ago 28-16. Look for the Giants who have alternated winning and losing efforts, to break the trend with Jim Fassel calling the plays for the rejuvenated offense and the Jints defense continuing their stingy ways.

Projected Score: Giants 24 MINNESOTA 17
PLAY: 4* N.Y. FOOTBALL GIANTS -1

CINCINNATI (1 - 7) at BALTIMORE (3 - 5)
Week 10 Sunday, 11/10/2002 1:00 PM
QB Jeff Blake used to be part of the quarterback shuffle with the Bengals. On Sunday, he hopes to get a crack at his former team as a member of the Ravens. Blake played for the Bengals from 1994-99. He had his best year with the Bengals in 1995, passing for 3,822 yards and 28 touchdowns. Since Blake left, the Bengals have been anything but stable at the position, going through the likes of Akili Smith, Scott Mitchell, Jon Kitna and Gus Frerotte. Blake signed with the Ravens in 2002 to back up Chris Redman. But with Redman missing the last two games with a back injury, Blake has been pressed into the starting role. Redman's status for Sunday is uncertain. Last Sunday, the Bengals became the NFL's final team to win a game this season with a 38-3 victory at expansion Houston. The victory featured surprising play at quarterback from Kitna, who completed 22 of 27 passes for 263 yards and four touchdowns. The victory came after coach Dick LeBeau "guaranteed" a win over Houston. Now, LeBeau has even more confidence in his team, saying, "I'm going to be surprised if we don't compete on an even basis with everyone we play from here on." Despite the victory, Kitna does not share his coaches view and does not see the reason for the euphoria.
While Redman may be missing from the offense, the Ravens have been devastated with key injuries on defense. Dominating middle linebacker Ray Lewis has missed the last four games with a partially dislocated left shoulder, end Michael McCrary has been out with a knee injury and cornerback Chris McAlister will miss this contest with a sprained ankle. The injuries may prevent the Ravens from continuing their home dominance of the Bengals. Baltimore has won the last five home meetings from Cincinnati, including shutouts in the last three encounters in which it has won by a combined 75-0. With all the injuries, the Ravens have lost two straight and three of their last four games. Last Sunday, the Ravens suffered a 20-17 loss at Atlanta. Blake completed 14 of 27 passes for 229 yards with a TD, but threw an interception and lost a fumble that was returned for a score.
Roll or relief? That is, after winning its first game of the season, are the Bengals on a roll or just relieved to finally get a win? Before anyone jumps on the Bengal bandwagon remember that this team is still 2-6 ATS while getting outscored by a 26-14 average. QB Jon Kitna was 22-27 leading Cincy over the expansion Texans 38-3, so they;ve finally settled on a QB. One player guaranteed a victory in the game (which prompted Denvers Shannon Sharpe to say, Why don;t they guarantee a win every week? Theyll be in the playoffs.) Baltimore is quietly playing good football with a sold defense, but the injuries have been piling up. The Ravens will probably be without three defensive starters and QB Chris Redman for this game. LB Ray Lewis and DE Michael McCrary, who sat out the Nov. 3 defeat in Atlanta, are not expected to play, and CB Chris McAlister sprained his left ankle and is day-to-day. Maybe the healthier Bengals have a chance this week. Jeff Blake would like nothing better than to put it to his old team and I think he will.

Projected Score: Baltimore 21 CINCINNATI 7
PLAY: 3* BALTIMORE -5 ½

NEW ORLEANS (6 - 2) at CAROLINA (3 - 5)
Week 10 Sunday, 11/10/2002 1:00 PM
In his first season as the Saints' featured back, McAllister has emerged as one of the NFL's top running backs and is third in the league in rushing with 836 yards and seven touchdowns. He also is a threat in the passing game with 30 catches for 234 yards and two scores. QB Brooks is the main threat through the air, passing for 1,835 yards and 18 touchdowns. His main target is Joe Horn, who has 49 receptions for 670 yards and five touchdowns. Led by the trio of McAllister, Brooks and Horn, the Saints are second in the NFL, averaging 32.0 points per contest. The Saints have had extra time to tune up their offense for this contest after having their bye last week. Two weeks ago, the Saints had a three-game winning streak stopped with a 37-35 loss to Atlanta. New Orleans, which is one-half game behind Tampa Bay in the NFC South, has struggled defensively, allowing 26.1 points per contest.

The Panthers also are coming off a bye. The week off could not have come at a better time for Carolina, which has lost five straight games after winning its first three contests. A bright spot for the Panthers has been the play of their defense which is allowing just 14.6 points per contest. The Panthers have allowed 14 or fewer points in five of eight games. First-round pick DE Julius Peppers leads a strong defensive front for the Panthers, collecting eight sacks. Offensively, the Panthers may get veteran quarterback Peete back. He has missed the last two games after undergoing knee surgery and Chris Weinke and fifth-round pick Randy Fasani started in his place. Two weeks ago, Fasani made his first career start and passed for just 46 yards in a 12-9 loss to Tampa Bay.

Both teams come off their bye week. Two weeks ago, the Saints fell to the Falcons 37-35. Michael Vick ran and passed for just under 300 yards and led the Saints to a game ending field goal in the contest. Atlanta harried Vick's cousin, Aaron Brooks, all game. Brooks completed just 16 of 35 passes for 192 yards. He threw two touchdowns and two interceptions. Atlanta out rushed the Saints 260-159. The Panthers lost 12-9 to the Buccaneers before their bye week. Rookie Randy Fasani, their third-stringer, filled in at quarterback and threw three interceptions, including one on the final play of the game. The Saints have a great offense but the defense lets them down periodically. The Panthers continue to make too many mistakes and are finding new ways to lose. Look for the Saints to rebound from the Atlanta game as Aaron Brooks and the Saints defense step up and into the winners circle.

Projected Score: New Orléans 24 CAROLINA 10
PLAY: 3* NEW ORLÉANS -4 ½
2* NEW ORLÉANS/PANTHERS UNDER 42

DETROIT (3 - 5) at GREEN BAY (7 - 1)
Week 10 Sunday, 11/10/2002 1:00 PM
The Green Bay Packers last started a season 7-1 in 1996 when they won the Super Bowl with three-time Most Valuable Player Brett Favre. At the midway point, the Packers own the best record in the NFL and have a commanding four-game lead in the NFC North over Detroit, which has one more win than all of last season under coach Marty Mornhinweg. Like he did Sept. 22 in Detroit, Joey Harrington will get another chance to face Brett Favre. The last time the Lions won here was in 1991, the year before Favre was acquired by Green Bay. Since then, they dropped three straight at Milwaukee and seven consecutive games at Lambeau Field. And, of course, this is the time of the year when Favre weather hits Green Bay. When the game-time temperature is 34 or below at Lambeau, Favre is a perfect 32-0 (26-0 in the regular season, 6-0 in the playoffs). Last Monday, Favre shook off a sprained knee ligament, made his 165th consecutive start and improved his home record to an astounding 70-12 with a 24-10 victory over Miami. Oh yes, we cashed with DJ's Guaranteed Monday Nite Best Bet as he raised his Sunday/Monday nite record above 70% for the year. Ahman Green rushed for 72 yards, caught six passes for 71 yards and had a pair of touchdowns for Green Bay, which extended its winning streak to six games. He has rushed for 712 yards in eight games. Safety Darren Sharper returned an interception 89 yards for a score and linebacker Nate Wayne forced and recovered a fumble and added an interception. The Packers' winning streak started with a 37-31 victory at Detroit on September 22. That was the day Lions rookie Joey Harrington struggled in his first NFL start, but nearly engineered a come-from-behind victory.

Harrington's potential winning touchdown pass in the final minute glanced off the hands of Mikhael Ricks and he was intercepted on the next play, allowing the Packers to escape with a win in the first regular season game at Ford Field. The third overall pick in the draft, Harrington completed just 15 of 35 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted four times. Meanwhile, Favre was his usual spectacular self, going 31 of 47 for 357 yards, three TDs and one interception. It was his sixth career 300-yard game against Detroit, his most against any foe. Harrington faces quite a daunting task Sunday in Lambeau, but he is 3-3 since taking over as the team's starter. Last week, he was just 14 of 33 for 104 yards with two interceptions in a 9-7 win over Dallas. Jason Hanson kicked the winning field 43-yard field goal with 48 seconds left after Harrington hit running back James Stewart with a 13-yard pass on a fourth-down play.

Jason Hanson kicked his third field goal from 43 yards out with 48 seconds left to help the Lions defeat the Dallas Cowboys 9-7 on Sunday. Even with a short week and the Lions coming off a win, the home field and Favre set up the Packers as the clear side pick on Sunday but we also like the over as these two offenses notched 68 points in this years earlier game (37-31).
Projected Score: GREEN BAY 34 Detroit 20
PLAY: 2* GREEN BAY -10
3* PACKERS/LIONS OVER 41