2008 Season NFL Football Past Picks
December 08, 2008
Tampa Bay at Carolina
Monday 12/08 08:35 PM Eastern
3 units on Game Total OVER 40 -110 (risk 3 to return 3) RESULT: WIN
After having to endure two horrible prime-time games over the past week (Jac-Hou last Monday and Oak-SD on Thursday), we finally get a great game between two great teams with playoff implications! Tampa Bay and Carolina are tied for the division lead at 9-3, so the winner here certainly will control their own destiny over the last three weeks of the regular season. Offense, specifically Jake Delhomme and DeAngelo Williams, has been highly instrumental in the Panthers success in recent weeks. Williams started the season as an average back, as over the first seven weeks he was able to grind out 417 yards on 104 carries, good for 4.0 yards per carry. But, he has emerged over the last five weeks as one of the top backs in the league, rushing for 541 yards on 90 carries, good for 6.0 yards per attempt - a 50% increase! Delhomme is ranked #17 in the league in QB rating, but that is very misleading. Over the last nine weeks he has had two bad games where he threw seven INT's and one TD pass. In the other seven games (a much larger body of work), he threw nine TD's to just one INT. And in those seven games his QB rating was 109.5, which would be top in the league over the last four years, barring Brady's 117.2 a year ago. So he is under-the-radar right now for sure and I expect him to have success against the Bucs. His rating in the Panthers last five home games has been 113.2 and it is no coincidence that the Panthers have put up 29.2 ppg in those games. The last three Panthers games have averaged 64 total points - nearly three touchdowns more than tonight's posted total! Yes, the Buccanneers defense is good, but they have allowed an average of 20 points per game over their last four - certainly not shut-down. And, while this defense has been a brick-wall at home allowing just 12.7 ppg, they have been better than a TD worse on the road where they have allowed 20 ppg on the season. The Tampa Bay offense has been very efficient of late as well, stabilized by Jeff Garcia who doesn't make a lot of mistakes, managing the game well. Garcia has missed games with injuries, and was part of a QB shuffle early, but he has won the job with his play. He has started the last three games in which the Bucs have turned it up a notch on offense, averaging 26.7 ppg. So, we have two offenses right now that are out-playing the defenses, and two QB's that have done a great job managing the game and putting points on the board. This one has a much stronger offensive signature than the short total posted here would indicate. I'm on the OVER in this one.