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November NFL Thoughts

   by Bryan Leonard - 11/11/2005

Picked up pieces from the sports betting weekend. A pro handicapper told me about an old betting angle started back in the 1970s which relates to the mid-point of the NFL season. According to him, people bet on any team that starts the season 2-6 or worse for the rest of the year, and against any team that starts 6-2 or better. This is not a formula for hitting 80% winners the rest of the way, but for sports betting grinders. I don't do that, but I can see reasoning behind the angle. You're going against public perception which means, in theory, you’re getting a few extra points each week, as teams that that 2-6 are likely to be big dogs the rest of the way, while currently strong teams like the Colts and Broncos will be getting respect from oddsmakers. Just thought I'd pass that wagering angle along.

The Terrell Owens saga is ridiculous. A pampered, problem-child superstar continues to backstab teammates and talk about ME, ME, ME, so the coach throws him off the team. A pat on the back for Andy Reid for making that decision. Football is not about ME, it's about teamwork, working hard and working together. Owens was suspended for Sunday night's 17-10 loss at Washington, and will remain suspended for three more games without pay. After that, the Eagles plan to deactivate him for the rest of the season. Does anyone recall the TV speech Owens gave early in preseason, trying to explain his actions? It was embarrassing. Let's hope Owens and his agent aren't dumb enough to go on TV again to try and plead his case.

Athletes wear out their welcome all the time in sports, and most move on to another team for a few years where they often wear out their welcome again. Lost in the shuffle of the Owens' saga is a similar thing that happened in the NFL four years ago. Early in the 2001 season, Patriots All-Pro WR Terry Glenn was being a problem child, missing practices and complaining about a variety of topics. Coach Bill Belichick laid down the law and suspended Glenn. At the time it was a surprise, as New England was short on offensive speed. However, the team showed they were better without Glenn, recovering from an 0-2 start and the sideshow antics by winning the Super Bowl, all without Glenn.

In Cleveland, first-year coach Romeo Crennel has the Browns playing hard. A defensive expert, the Cleveland defense is allowing 17 ppg after allowing 24 per game last season. The offense is still short on talent and plays a conservative, grind-it-out style. Notice that the Browns are 7-1 “underâ€쳌 the total.

The 3-5 Raiders have had a tough schedule and some bitter defeats, losing at home to KC by 6 when a late drive stalled, and at Philly by 3. Sunday's shocking 27-23 loss at Kansas City on the final play was easily the hardest to take. "This is about as bitter a defeat as you could have," said Oakland quarterback Kerry Collins afterward. It's the type of loss that could break the back of a team. Watch for any finger-pointing or complaining by Oakland players over the next few weeks, especially Randy Moss, who hasn't spoken to the press since early September, which is probably a blessing.

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