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Monday, August 14

   by Larry Ness - 08/14/2006

The Raiders and Vikings conclude Week 1 of the NFL's preseason with ESPN's MNF debut tonight in Minnesota at 8:00 ET. Home teams went 11-4 SU but just 8-6-1 this first week and in a stat that should not be too much of a surprise, 11 of the 15 games went under (I'm counting Saturday's Saints/Titans game that fell 19-16 in the under category, as the game opened 37 but did close at 34 1/2 at some places). Throw in an under in the HOF game and its 12 unders in 16 games.

My free play for Monday is on the NY Mets over the Phi Phillies at 7:05 ET. After completing my second straight 3-1 Saturday and Sunday in MLB, I'm opening the new week with my 15* NL Favorite of the Month. Although I dropped my total play on last night's game, I have opened the NFLX season by winning THREE of four sides. Don't miss my 15* MNF Game of the Month tonight.

Brad Childress makes his coaching debut for the Vikings in this one, the last of 10 new head coaches this year to do so. Art Shell is new to Oakland this year as well but made his 2006 debut in the HOF game on August 6. Teams with new head coaches this year have gone 5-4 SU and ATS so far, hardly providing any edge. The current line for tonight's game is Minnesota favored by three points with a total of 36.

The Jags scored the most points in Week 1's highest scoring game (31-26 over the Dolphins). Four teams totaled more than 400 yards of offense in Week 1, led by Atlanta's 423 yards in the Falcons' 26-23 win over the Patriots. New England also gained over 400 yards in that game (407), joining the Rams (404 vs the Colts in a 19-17 win on Thursday) and the Saints, who just topped the 400-yard mark with 401 in their 19-16 win over the Titans on Saturday.

The Jets, Packers, Redskins and Seahawks tied for Week 1 lows, all scoring just three points. Three teams didn't gain 200 yards in their Week 1 games. The Chiefs gained a meager 172 yards in their 24-14 loss to the Texans (Saturday), the Browns gained just 179 in their 20-7 loss to the Eagles (Thursday) and the Jets accounted for only 185 yards in their 16-3 loss to the Bucs.

Detroit's 20-13 win on Friday ended Denver's four-game preseason winning streak. That modest streak was actually the longest active preseason winning streak of any team. The longest active ATS winning streak ended in Week 1 as well, when the Browns saw their seven-game ATS streak end with a 20-7 loss in Philadelphia on Thursday. The 49ers, who beat the Bears 28-14 on Friday, now own the longest active ATS streak at five consecutive covers.

The Colts saw their preseason losing streak extended to seven with Thursday's 19-17 loss in St Louis and Kansas City matched the Colts' seven-game losing streak on Saturday, when they lost in Houston to the Texans, 24-14. However, the Colts did cover in their loss, making them 2-5 ATS during their slide. As for the Chiefs, their Saturday SU loss was also their seventh consecutive ATS loss as well, the longest active preseason streak.

MLB notes

The Dodgers don't own MLB's longest active winning streak but it's hard not to acknowledge the team's amazing 15-1 run since July 28. Of course what makes their current streak even more unbelievable, is that it was directly preceded by a post-All Star break slide of 1-13! LA owns a 2.42 team ERA during the last 16 games with their starting pitchers going at least six innings, all but two times. Since having their 11-game winning streak snapped last Wednesday, LA has won four consecutive one-run games.

Surprisingly, the 53-64 Cleveland Indians open the new week with MLB's longest active streak, having won six straight games. The Rangers are right behind the Indians with five straight wins (neither team plays tonight). The Indians' surge has moved them out of the basement in MLB's "moneyline" standings, as at minus-$1,908 on the year (at $100/game), they are $89 better than the (Pirates (minus-$1,997), who by the way, swept the Cardinals over the weekend.

MLB's longest active losing streak is owned by the Devil Rays, who lost all six games this week in Seattle and Oakland, respectively. Tampa has now lost 17 of its last 18 road games, including a 1-15 mark since the break. The Giants have lost five straight games, 16 of their last 19 and 13 of their last 14 on the road. Joining the Giants with five straight losses are the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers were 76-36 prior to their losing streak, which is now the second-longest in the last 30 years (since 1977) by a team that was at least 40 games above .500 at the beginning of the slide. The 1993 Giants were 89-48 before losing their next eight games. Detroit's lead in the AL Central is now down to just 5 1/2 games over the White Sox, a team that was a season-high 10 games behind the Tigers just last Monday.

Things don't get any easier tonight for Detroit, as the Tigers open a three-game series in Fenway against the Red Sox (7:05 ET), as part of MLB's 11-game schedule for Monday. The Red Sox swept the Orioles over the weekend, ending a five-game slide and open the week just one game behind the Yankees in the AL East.

Speaking of the Yankees, they will conclude their four-game series with the Angels at Yankee Stadium tonight, at 7:05 ET (Lackey vs Johnson). The Angels have taken two of the first three games, including a 5-3 win on Sunday. The Angels, now 53-50 against New York since 1996, are the only team in the Joe Torre era to have a winning record against the Yankees.

Jered Weaver improved his career record to 8-0 in the win and became only the third pitcher in the last 100 years to go undefeated in his first 11 starts in the majors while winning at least eight of those games.
Whitey Ford (1950) and Livan Hernandez (1997) were both 8-0 at that juncture of their careers. No pitcher has posted a better mark in his first 11 big-league starts since Hooks Wiltse, who won each of his first 12 for the 1904 Giants.

While Jered was making history this weekend, his older brother Jeff picked up his 100th career loss (just 83 wins) in the Cardinals' 3-2 loss to the Pirates on Saturday.

Ness Notes is available Monday through Friday by 1:00 ET.

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