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Saturday, 1 December 2012

NFL Week 13 - Cardinals & Jets won't get up to speed

We're right at the business end of the regular season now with wins being enough to clinch divisions & playoff places whilst losses could mean the end of competitive football for some teams for another season. We're looking at two games as we look for more profit in the NFL season before the playoffs get underway.

With the apparent murder-suicide by Kansas City linebacker Jovan Belcher on Saturday http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/12/01/sports/football/01reuters-nfl-chiefs-shooting.html?partner=rss&emc=rss it throws the Panthers @ Chiefs game into doubt & means our selections are irrelevant.

Carolina Panthers @ Kansas City Chiefs

More mediocrity! As we look at a game with two teams with just 4 wins from 22 games this season between them! The 3&8 Panthers are travelling to the 1&10 league worst Kansas City Chiefs in a game where both sides are striving to add a semblance of respectability to their season.

(Brandon LaFell is a dangerous deep threat for the Panthers)

The Panthers have had a pretty tough schedule & looking back at the teams they've lost to you'd probably only say that the loss in week 5 when at home to the poor travelling Seahawks was a bad one, they took red hot Tampa Bay to overtime two weeks ago & then beat down the Eagles (like most sides do at the moment) last week with star player Cam Newton starting to get his confidence back. Carolina have started to look better in recent weeks & have scored 20 or more points in 4 of their last 5 & even though winning only 2 they went down by just a single point to a strong Chicago Bears side in that sequence too.

The Chiefs have only scored 20+ points three times all season & rank stone last in points gained per game with just 14.6 & have fared pretty badly in points given up at 27.4 per game to rank 28th in the NFL. Atrocious quarterback play has been the Chiefs' downfall with Matt Cassel & (Not Tom) Brady Quinn combining for a grand total of 6 touchdowns between them & 16 interceptions thrown - it looks like Mr Quinn is getting the start here. Jamaal Charles has been great at tailback after returning from injury  in the last 3 weeks has run for 100, 87 & 107 yards but it just isn't enough to cover for the quarterback play that has meant they've had 21 more turnovers than their opponents over the season. They've been decent on pass defense & we've a lot of love for their cornerback Brandon Flowers but their rush defense hasn't been up to scratch & they'll struggle to stop Cam Newton taking off when he scrambles.

Carolina still need their running backs Jonathan Stewart & DeAngelo Williams to step up & help Cam Newton if they're going to become a more complete offensive unit but regardless they will have enough to trounce the Chiefs here & can easily beat them by more than the 3 points required on the point spread.

Arizona Cardinals @ New York Jets

The Cardinals haven't won a game since week 4 meaning they're on a 7 game losing streak whilst the Jets have cobbled together an identical 4&7 record but with their wins more sporadic - they have at times looked laughable & some of their play last week against the Patriots was simply appalling.

(Not Mark Sanchez's finest moment on the football field)

New York would have been particularly upset last week with the way the team simply went awol during the 2nd quarter & gave up 5 touchdowns to Tom Brady & New England, the Jets don't have enough weapons on offense to allow teams easy points. Mark Sanchez continues to be one of the least convincing starting quarterbacks in the league & he's thrown just 12 touchdowns on the year as the Jets rank 28th in passing yards. The Jets have in recent years prided themselves on their stout defense which has helped cover up their offensive flaws but this year they're giving up an average of 26.4 points a game to rank 26th & they've been awful against the run ranking 30th with over 140 yards per game against them. Season ending injuries to key players haven't helped the Jets, especially to awesome cornerback Darrelle Revis & the hugely talented, although troublesome, wide receiver Santonio Holmes - they were the team's best players by far on pass defense & offense respectively & their loss has been acute.

The Cardinals started off the season brightly with good defense & doing just about enough on offense but injuries to their quarterbacks & general poor play from them has blighted their season & their lack of passing threat has also made it difficult to run the ball either with them ranking 30th in rushing yards. Rookie passer Ryan Lindley looks like he'll start his 2nd game this Sunday even after throwing 4 interceptions & no touchdowns against the Rams last week, Kevin Kolb is still unfit & the season's starting QB John Skelton is now completely out of favour & rightly so. Their running backs haven't stepped up to help the passers either although injury has again affected them with Beanie Wells & Ryan Williams both having prolonged periods out, LaRod Stephens-Howling has had most of the carries but only has 3.4 yards per attempt whilst they've seemed reluctant to use 1st year back William Powell even though he's done well when seen. Beanie Wells made his return last week & that could help them out a bit, they need their running game to get going against this defense that is poor at run blocking especially with their best receiver Andre Roberts struggling with injury.

This is an uninspiring game between two struggling sides but the Jets do have a semblance of hope with their remaining 5 games (including this one) against mediocre teams & although it would be close to a miracle they could still, just about, make the playoffs - we don't think they will though! With poor offenses but decent pass defenses this looks set to be a low scoring affair & the points total is at just 37 points, we think it'll go below even that though with the 31st & 22nd highest scorers squaring off.

Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans

The Texans continue to roll & have now got a record of 10 wins & one loss & even though their last two victories have come with overtime wins they face much more accommodating opponents in the Tennessee Titans this week.

(Andre Johnson is starting to become a dominant receiver again for the Texans)

We won't spend long previewing this one: we think the Texans are the best side in the league & are delighted our antepost bets sit with them to win the Super Bowl, their offense has begun to really fire in the past couple of weeks & they come up against the Titans defense that are giving up an average of 30.5 points per game - this could be a bloodbath! 9 of Houston's 10 victories have come by 6 points or more which is the handicap line in this one, back the Texans to rout Tennessee (as they did earlier in the season 38-14) with a -6 point handicap & confirm their playoff place.

Carolina Panthers to beat Kansas City Chiefs with -3 point handicap at 10/11 (General)
Arizona Cardinals @ New York Jets to be under 37 points at 10/11 (General)
Houston Texans to beat Tennessee Titans with -6 point handicap at 10/11 (General)

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