Quick Hits From Around the NFL

Schaub has struggled this year but that doesn't mean his home fans should cheer his injury.

Somewhere along the way, we as people have forgotten that we are just fans. A small minority amongst the throng of fans of all teams and sports in this country are making themselves and the rest of us look foolish.

Case in point are the fans in Houston who cheered the injury to Texans’ starter Matt Schaub. Despite Schaub playing poorly for much of the season, it isn’t like he is out there doing it on purpose. Nevertheless, while the team was getting throttled by the Rams in Houston, fans cheered when he got injured.

They’ve been clamoring for T.J. Yates for a couple of weeks now and they got their wish. Proving karma is an absolute bitch, Yates threw a 98-yard pick-six. It was the fifth straight game in which a Texans’ QB has accomplished such a dubious feat.

This was a team that many thought would be a significant Super Bowl contender so I get the frustration. That said, cheering a player’s injury is atrocious and there’s no place for it.

Peterson's choice to play so soon after his son's death is his business not yours.

Much of the NFL world grieved this week for the 2-year old son of Adrian Peterson who was killed by the child’s mother’s boyfriend in a domestic abuse situation. As is usual in these situations, people felt the need to chime in on whether he should play in Sunday’s game or not. Let me give you my opinion. It’s none of your freaking business.

We all cope with traumatic events differently but it’s how we as individuals cope with them that matters. Brett Favre played hours after his father’s sudden death. Baltimore’s Torrie Smith played just hours after his brother was killed. Peterson made the decision to play and regardless of the relationship he had or didn’t have with this child it isn’t our business on what he chooses to do.

Is it just me or is there something going on much deeper with Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots? ‘Gronk’ was thought to be ready to play yesterday against the Saints but was a no-go. To be fair, he has dealt with both forearm surgery and back issues so I don’t want to downplay those things in anyway.

The problem is that guys with much more severe injuries are already back on the field and are playing at a high level. A report came out yesterday that Gronk’s absence may be creating tension in the Patriots’ locker room.

I honestly don’t doubt that. Guys see him in the facility on a daily basis and have to wonder what his problem is if he looks so darn healthy. Some guys will interpret his actions one way while some will see it another. Either way, it has to be causing some consternation.

I’ve gone on record as saying I do not think the Redskins should be forced to change their name. I understand the term can be and has been used in a negative connotation but when you have a very small group in favor of change that doesn’t mean you do that.

It was announced this week that a local D.C. school was banning any Redskins’ apparel. Schools have a right to conduct policy as they see fit but in my opinion this will only cause more problems as kids bully each other over what they are or aren’t able to wear.

Eventually Daniel Snyder will be forced to change the name. You know it and I know it. It’s how politically correct our society has become. In fact I’ve heard schools aren’t even allowing kids to play ‘tag’ anymore!

Oh well, if anything, Snyder can use the name change to make a boatload of money as fans buy up the last of the Redskins’ merchandise. He’ll make a ton on people buying up the new logo too.

Patriots Host Texans on Monday Night Football

An upset win over the Patriots for Matt Schaub and the Texans would put Houston one step closer to and AFC South title and home field advantage in the playoffs.

In what some believe could be a preview of this January’s AFC Championship Game, New England hosts Houston at Foxboro on Monday night.

Bidding for a bye during the Wild Card round of the playoffs, the Patriots (9-3, 4-1 home) will look to derail a Houston (11-1, 6-0 road) side that is unbeaten away from Reliant Stadium this season. Already in possession of at least a Wild Card berth, the Texans will be looking to take another step towards a second straight AFC South title.

Indianapolis’ come-from-behind win over Tennessee on Sunday afternoon means that the Texans are still not assured of the AFC South division title and won’t be until next week at the earliest, and with two of its remaining three games after Monday night against the Colts, there could be a sting in the tail of this particular story yet.

New England faces no such final stretch intrigue. The Patriots are the runaway leaders – and champions for the ninth time in 10 years – of the AFC East, a division that has seen the Jets, Dolphins and Bills all underachieve. Were it not for the beleaguered AFC West – which has recorded just 20 combined wins this season, 10 of which belong to Denver – the AFC East would be a frontrunner for worst division in football. As it stands, it’s certainly the most disappointing.

Best of the Best

New England has fought its way to a 9-3 record by bludgeoning opponents. Averaging a massive 35.8 points per game, the Patriots have stormed to eight wins over the last nine games, and whilst Miami’s fairly impressive defense limited Bill Belichick’s side to ‘just’ 23 last weekend Tom Brady and Co. don’t look ready to let the foot off the pedal just yet.

The Texans’ offense has had a season to remember also. Behind Matt Schaub’s arm and Arian Foster’s running prowess, the side has averaged 29.3 points per game, second only to the Patriots. The Texans have won six straight, and have only dropped one game – a 42-24 loss at home to Green Bay – all season.

The Texans also enjoy an advantage on the defensive side of the football. Wade Phillips’ defensive unit has conceded just 87.6 yards per game on the ground this season, and gives up only 18.4 points per game, good enough for fourth in the league. New England meanwhile has improved on last year’s poor defensive habits but still concede 21.7 points per game (14th) and 279.9 yards through the air (29th). Only New Orleans, Washington and Tampa Bay give up more air miles than the Patriots.

The Monday night clash will be an excellent chance for fans, players, coaches, experts and bettors alike to judge just how far Houston has come this season, and whether the perennial playoff favorite Patriots can compete again this season. It’ll also offer oddsmakers the opportunity to put some sunlight between the two sides in the NFL Futures, where both teams are currently considered 9/2 to win Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

Looking for an Edge

New England is 14-5 on Monday Night Football since Bill Belichick took over the reins in 2000. Only one of those losses was at home, a 40-21 defeat to Indianapolis in 2005. Over the past six seasons, the Patriots have posted a 9-1 record on the marquee broadcast and are perfect at home.

Houston meanwhile has had only a flitting relationship with Monday Night Football. Neglected for the first six years of its existence, the Texans have since posted a 2-3 record on Monday nights, including a 1-1 record on the road. That sole victory came earlier this season in New York against the Jets.

The two sides have only met three times previously, with New England holding a 2-1 advantage. Houston came up short in its one and only trip to Foxboro, back in 2006. The sides last met on Jan. 3, 2010 at Reliant Stadium, a game that ended 34-27 to Houston.

New England is a four-point favorite ahead of kickoff. Both sides have fared well when it comes to covering the spread this season, with Houston compiling a 8-3-1 ATS record compared to New England’s 7-4-1 ATS.

The over/under is 51½, having dropped a point from opening. The total has gone over in nine Patriots games this season and six Texans games. In the three previous meetings between the sides, the final score has only tipped that mark once. The average final score is 30-20 (in favor of New England) just below the 51½ marker. That being said, with the two sides ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in scoring this season, the total could easily go over.

Early Thanksgiving Football Betting Tips

The Cowboys and Redskins collide Thursday in a true Thanksgiving tradition.

Thanksgiving is upon us which means it’s time for some real Thursday night football, and not those hapless games that parade under the Thursday Night Football banner the rest of the year.

Let’s face it, there’s no way you’re going to get to sit down tomorrow and work your way through the NFL’s Thanksgiving schedule looking for those all-important tips that will ultimately help you make the right pick. There’s always someone, or some task, that gets in the way. So take the opportunity today to get on top of things and pick your teams early.

Here’re a few tips from CasinoReview that may well help you with the three-game slate.


Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions

12:30 PM ET

In keeping with tradition, Detroit (4-6, 2-2 home) hosts the Thanksgiving Classic opening, this year welcoming the best team (record-wise) in all of football, Houston (9-1, 4-0 road).

The Lions have had a rough season so far, coming across as a one-dimensional passing team with just one receiving threat (Calvin Johnson). A porous defense hasn’t helped matter, with the team conceding 24.6 points per game, 23rd in the league.

The Texans meanwhile have been the toast of the AFC, serving up nine wins from 10. The team’s only loss – a 42-24 beat down at the hands of Green Bay – alongside close wins over the Jets, Broncos, Bears, and this past weekend against Jacksonville, have proved the side is fallible though, and Detroit will look to make the most of home field advantage.

These two sides have met just twice before (2004, 2008), splitting the pair between them.

Odds: Despite its superior record, Houston opens as just three-point favorites. The over/under is 49.

Take: Houston – With a defense that ranks in the top 10 in passing (7), rushing (2) and scoring (4), it’s hard to imagine the Lions putting many points on the board in this one – despite passing for more yards per game than any other team in the league. Detroit’s defense has been relatively sharp itself, until you consider points conceded, a category in which the Lions rank 23rd across the league. That means Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster may have a typical Texans game. On top of all of this, Detroit has not won a Thanksgiving Day game since beating the Green Bay Packers 22-14 in 2003. Take the Texans to cover the spread and the total to go over.


Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys

4:15 PM ET

In the second of Thursday’s traditional Thanksgiving games, Dallas (5-5, 2-2 home) hosts division rivals Washington (4-6, 2-3 road) in what may prove to be the most competitive game on the schedule.

The Cowboys’ spluttering season has almost evened out over the past two weeks, with wins over Philadelphia and Cleveland (just). That being said, that isn’t exactly the most sterling of opposition.

Washington routed Philadelphia 31-16 this past weekend, halting a three-game skid in the process. Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III has impressed for much of the season, and the Redskins at least seem pointed in the right direction. A win over the Cowboys will put the side back in contention for the NFC East, which the Giants seem determined to lose.

Washington’s pass defense – which is ranked 29th in the league – could be up against the wall as Tony Romo and the Cowboys passing game – ranked seventh in the league – looks to lead an almost rushing-less offense.

Odds: Dallas is favored but the opening spread of six points has dwindled to three ahead of kickoff. The over/under is 46.

Take: Dallas – In many ways it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Redskins take this game, which is more a commentary on the Cowboys’ lack of consistency than it is Washington’s prowess. However, Dallas has owned Washington in the recent past, taking three straight and six of the last seven. Add to that the fact that the Redskins have never beaten the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day (in six attempts) and Tony Romo’s impressive November record (21-3) and you have all the ingredients for history to repeat itself, however uninteresting that might seem to those rooting against America’s Team.


New England Patriots @ New York Jets

8:20 PM ET

The third game on Thursday’s schedule is the non-tradition, NFL-makes-some-money game between New England (7-3, 3-2 road) and the New York Jets (4-6, 2-3 home).

A win in this AFC East divisional match-up could well be enough for the Patriots – already three games ahead of the Jets, Bills and Dolphins, who are all tied up – to all but be awarded the division title. The Jets therefore need a win and even that might not be enough to bring back any credibility to what has been an incredulous season.

The bad news for the Jets is that not only was New England victorious earlier in the season, and not only have the Patriots won three straight, but the Massachusetts side has also won 18 of the last 24. The Jets, to put it abruptly, are up against it.

Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and Co. will need to remember that the Patriots’ victory earlier this year was achieved only in overtime. There might be some hope yet.

Odds: New England is a one-touchdown favorite heading into this one. The over/under is 51.

Take: New England – Okay, so we’re going with all three Thanksgiving favorites, but that’s just the way this schedule is shaping up. Few people expect the hapless Jets to get anything from the Patriots, a team that has averaged 47 points per contest over the last three games. Compare that to a paltry 14.3 being put up by the Jets in that same period. Take the Patriots to cover/obliterate the spread and take the total to go over, as it has in eight New England games this season, especially as the Patriots covered the total alone last weekend.


Remaining Week 12 Schedule

Sunday: (1 PM ET) Minnesota @ Chicago | Oakland @ Cincinnati | Pittsburgh @ Cleveland | Buffalo @ Indianapolis |Tennessee @ Jacksonville | Denver @ Kansas City | Seattle @ Miami | Atlanta @ Tampa Bay; (4:05 PM ET) Baltimore @ San Diego; (4:25 PM ET) St. Louis @ Arizona | San Francisco @ New Orleans; (8:20 PM ET) Green Bay @ NY Giants

Monday: (8:30 PM ET) Carolina @ Philadelphia

Monday Night Football and MLB Postseason Should Keep You Busy

Andy Pettitte takes to the mound for the first time in the postseason since losing Game 3 of the ALCS in 2010.


Indianapolis, Miami, Seattle, and St. Louis were all underdog winners in Week 5 of the NFL and the New York Jets will be hoping to join them as they host Houston on Monday Night Football. The matchup will bring this week’s NFL action to a close before Thursday Night Football sees Pittsburgh travel to Tennessee.

Football’s not the only big time action tonight either. The divisional round of the MLB postseason continues with two pivotal matchups, one either side of the NL/AL divide. First, the Cardinals host the Nationals before the Yankees visit Baltimore.

Put simply, there’s enough betting action tonight to keep you off the streets.


NFL: Houston Texans @ New York Jets

8:30 PM ET

Houston New York. We have a problem.

With news that Santonio Holmes is on the shelf for the rest of the year, the green side of New York is panicking. The Jets (2-2, 1-1 home) are under-manned with the ‘Best Team in Football’ coming to town for tonight’s edition of Monday Night Football.

Houston (4-0, 2-0 road) has looked sharp both offensively and defensively this season on the way to an unbeaten record through four weeks of play. The Texans will be a wildly popular choice to join the Atlanta Falcons as the only 5-0 teams in the league.

The miserable Jets have shown very few signs of life since a surprising Week 1 demolition job on Buffalo, with last week’s 34-0 shutout by San Francisco proving the icing on a very unsavory, not to mention ugly, cake. Sure, San Francisco looks like one of the league’s best, but how does a team tally exactly zero points at home?

History favors the Jets, who are 5-0 all-time against the Texans, but common sense declares bettors must stay away from the Jets.

Odds: Houston is favorite (-9) heading into the game with the under/over at 41 points.

Take: Houston. If there’s a lifeline for the Jets, it’s very well hidden. Houston will have few problems against a weakened Jets team, and will beat the spread for the fifth time this season. The total may well go under – as is common with both of these sides of late – but if it goes over it’ll be down to Houston racking up the points.


MLB: Washington Nationals @ St. Louis Cardinals (WAS leads series 1-0)

4:30 PM ET

Pitching matchup: Jordan Zimmerman (12-8, 2.98 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (7-7, 3.92 ERA)

The Nationals made hard work of their first postseason game since moving south from Montreal, narrowly picking off St. Louis 3-2 on Sunday night.

It took some eighth inning heroics from rookie Tyler Moore to fend off the Cardinals, who were flying high on Friday’s stunning upset of the Atlanta Braves in the Wild Card round.

Jordan Zimmerman takes the mound for the Nationals, hoping to propel the team to a 2-0 series lead before heading back to Washington for the Capital’s first postseason baseball game since 1933. He has the advantage on paper over St. Louis’ Jaime Garcia but paper means exactly squat at this time of the season.

For the Nationals to be successful they’ll need to have better offensive performances from the likes of Jayson Werth. For St. Louis, more of the same will suffice.

Take: Washington. When a team gets away with a narrow victory – as Washington did last night – it tends to generate a little extra impetus to do better next time out. St. Louis needs to regroup after being ‘so close’.


MLB: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles (NYY leads series 1-0)

8:00 PM ET

Pitching matchup: Andy Pettitte (5-4, 2.87 ERA) vs. Wei-Yin Chen (12-11, 4.02 ERA)

Baltimore’s bullpen has been instrumental in the Orioles making the postseason for the first time in 15 years. It’s ironic then that it was the bullpen that lost Sunday night’s series opener.

That bullpen could be vital again tonight as Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen averages just six innings per start. Six innings this time round will lead to some nervous jitters for sure. The Orioles though will be buoyed by the knowledge that when Chen pitches on six days rest – as he will do on Monday – his ERA drops to 2.28.

Andy Pettitte finds himself as the number two man in the rotation for the first time this year. The Yankees will be hoping that the veteran is more than just a good omen.

New York has played well at Camden Yards all season (6-3) and will be confident that those ninth inning hot bats will follow through to Monday night’s game.

Take: New York. The Yankees have much more to prove than the Orioles this season, and it started well last night. Now the trick for the Orioles will be going into Yankee Stadium and picking up wins. That might not be as daunting a task as you think: the Orioles are 6-3 at the Stadium this season.