Sport

Eli lights it up

Niners, Falcons roll, replacement refs disappoint

By Tony Scott

Friday, September 21, 2012    

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Six teams undefeated, six teams winless and the 49ers are looking good. Looking bad are the replacement refs.

There was a game last night between the New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers both entering week three with identical 1-1 records. I am hoping that the Panthers won at home against a NY Giants team that's hampered by injuries. By the time this article appears we will know for sure.

Getting into a 0-2 hole is not a good thing in the NFL because getting out of that hole and making it to even the wildcard pool in the post season is well nigh impossible. This is the situation facing the New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, the Kansas City Chiefs, and my long suffering team, the Oakland Raiders.

Of this sorry lot the Saints deserve special mention. They are bogged down with the bounty issue which has resulted in the suspension of their head coach, Sean Payton, and suspected players involved are now pleading their case to the NFL Commissioner. This must prove to be an unsettling distraction, especially on the field of play.

On the other side of the coin are the 2-0 teams; the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans and the San Diego Chargers. Of this lot the most impressive this early in the season are the 49ers, who are clicking on both offence and defence and who seem destined to be a factor in the post season. The Falcons looked good on Monday Night Football, beating up the Denver Broncos and, most importantly, intercepting Peyton Manning three times in the process. The team that just does not fit the mold at this juncture is the Eagles, who just barely managed to eke out one point victories over Cleveland in week one and Baltimore in week two. They were not pretty but they were wins nonetheless and that is all that counts in this league.

Eli Manning and the Giants were almost upset by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the two-time Super Bowl winning QB threw three picks just like his brother. But the Giants rallied behind Eli's 510 passing yards and three touchdowns, to pull out an important win.

For those of you who are recent fans of this great game, it is vital to understand just how important officiating is and how crucial a role good officiating plays in the course and the outcome of a game. The NFL's locking out of the regular referees due to an ongoing contract dispute, and using replacements until the dispute is settled has proved to be very troubling. Everyone who loves this game is complaining: players, coaches, fans and the media are all up in arms about the poor officiating by the replacements. This was most evident on Sunday, which saw a slew of blown calls: no calls for highly illegal hits and the blatant inability of these guys to manage the game and manage the players. The League had better settle this impasse with the regular refs soon before someone gets hurt.

One of the things that cemented my love for American Football was the weekly show, Inside the NFL, which featured highlights of the previous week captured on film in a very special way by the crews of NFL films and the genius of the late Steve Sabol. The multiple camera angle coverage brought a whole new dimension to the game that not only informed but entertained. Sabol's production values were of the highest standard and his use of super slow motion techniques, frenetic editing, and hard driving contemporary music scores made his coverage more dramatic than the game itself. And let's not forget the voice-over guy whose stentorian tones added even more drama to the production. Steve Sabol died recently at the age of 69 from cancer, but Inside the NFL, NFL Films and the magical stuff they do will continue to be his legacy.

Well it's now week three in the new NFL season, and the old cliché comes to mind - "On any given Sunday you're gonna win or you're gonna lose." This week is no different in terms of picking winners and beating the point spread. Last week Andre Hutchinson and yours truly, both tied for best record as each of us went 9-7 with our picks. Andrei Roper still holds the overall lead after two weeks, posting an 8-8 record last week, with Peter Lindo bringing up the tail after a 7-9 records in week two.

You can bet your bottom dollar that teams that are 0-2 will be desperately trying to dig themselves out of that hole. Case in point the New Orleans Saints and the Kansas City Chiefs. They face each other this week in what just may turn out to be a very entertaining game. Another game to lock in on is a clash of unbeaten teams as the San Diego Chargers vs Atlanta Falcons contest. The Chargers are at home and that should give them the advantage. Peyton Manning will look to rebound from his three interception shocker against the Falcons in week two, when his Broncos host the impressive unbeaten Houston Texans in what should be a great matchup. Baltimore are hosting the New England Patriots and you can expect the welcome mat to be missing. The Ravens will certainly remember how close they came to beating New England in the AFC title game last year and will be looking for some revenge. The Patriots are favourites by 2.5 points, but I expect the Ravens to sing that old refrain, "Not in our house!"

Well that's it from me for now, but from my house to yours - enjoy the games this weekend, and remember to place your bets on the NFL, with JustBet!!!

To find out more about JustBet, and how to bet on the NFL and other sports, visit www.supremeventures.com/justbet, www.facebook.com/justbet, www.twitter.com/justbet_ja, or call 1-888-429-5785 (toll-free)

NFL WEEK 3 SCHEDULE

(Handicaps in bracket, Under/Over included)

Thursday, September 20

Car Panthers +2.5 V NY Giants, U/O 51.5

Sunday, September 23

Chi Bears v STL Rams +9.5, U/O 44.5

Cle Browns +2.5 v Buf Bills, U/O 43.5

Dal Cowboys v TB Buccaneers +8.5, U/O 45.5

Ind Colts v Jac Jaguars +3.5, U/O 42.5

Mia Dolphins +2.5 v NY Jets, U/O 39.5

Min Vikings +6.5 v SF 49ers, U/O 44.5

NO Saints v KC Chiefs +9.5, U/O 53.5

Ten Titans +4.5 v Det Lions, U/O 46.5

Was Redskins v Cin Bengals +3.5, U/O 49.5

Ari Cardinals +4.5 v Phi Eagles, U/O 42.5

SD Chargers v Atl Falcons +3.5, U/O 47.5

Den Broncos +2.5 v Hou Texans, U/O 46.5

Oak Raiders +4.5 v Pit Steelers, U/O 44.5

Bal Ravens v NE Patriots +2.5, U/O 48.5

Monday, September 24

Sea Seahawks +4.5 v GB Packers, U/O 47.5

*Handicaps and Under/Over subject to change without notice, prior to kick-off

EXPERTS’ PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD

Andrei Roper’s

Week 3 Picks (in bold)

Panthers v Giants

Bears v Rams

Browns v Bills

Cowboys v Buccaneers

Colts  v Jaguars

Dolphins v Jets

Vikings v 49ers

Saints v Chiefs

Titans v Lions

Redskins v Bengals

Cardinals v Eagles

Chargers v Falcons

Broncos v Texans

Raiders v  Steelers

Ravens v Patriots

Seahawks  v Packers

Last week: 8-8

Season to date: 18-14

Andre Hutchinson’s

Week 3 Picks (in bold)

Panthers v Giants

Bears v Rams

Browns v Bills

Cowboys v Buccaneers

Colts  v Jaguars

Dolphins v Jets

Vikings v 49ers

Saints v Chiefs

Titans v Lions

Redskins v Bengals

Cardinals v Eagles

Chargers v Falcons

Broncos v Texans

Raiders v  Steelers

Ravens v Patriots

Seahawks  v Packers

Last week: 9-7

Season to date: 17-15

Tony Scott’s

Week 3 Picks (in bold)

Panthers v Giants

Bears v Rams

Browns v Bills

Cowboys v Buccaneers

Colts  v Jaguars

Dolphins v Jets

Vikings v 49ers

Saints v Chiefs

Titans v Lions

Redskins v Bengals

Cardinals v Eagles

Chargers v Falcons

Broncos v Texans

Raiders v  Steelers

Ravens v Patriots

Seahawks  v Packers

Last week: 9-7

Season to date: 16-16

Peter Lindo’s

Week 3 Picks (in bold)

Panthers v Giants

Bears v Rams

Browns v Bills

Cowboys v Buccaneers

Colts  v Jaguars

Dolphins v Jets

Vikings v 49ers

Saints v Chiefs

Titans v Lions

Redskins v Bengals

Cardinals v Eagles

Chargers v Falcons

Broncos v Texans

Raiders v  Steelers

Ravens v Patriots

Seahawks  v Packers

Last week: 7-9

Season to date: 15-17

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