Sport

Weather takes centre stage in exciting week 14

TONY SCOTT

Friday, December 13, 2013    

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ON a day when snowy conditions made it difficult to throw, catch or run with the football, the NFL reminded me of the many winters I spent in Toronto and Montreal, freezing my you-know-what off and yearning to return home to a much more hospitable climate. Now that I get to watch my favourite game in the comfortable confines of my Jamaican yard, the only thing cold I will tolerate is the beer in my left hand. The right is occupied by the remote and everything is just fine as I switch from network to network watching football played in the snow.

In Philadelphia, blizzard conditions existed for the game between the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles, with the boys from Philly winning 34-20. It was interesting to watch the ground crews come out ever so often with snow blowers to clean the white stuff from the grid lines. You could see every breath the players took as condensation formed each time they exhaled. The Eagles have now won five games in a row but their lead over the Cowboys in the NFC East is just one game. Then there was the wackiest game of the week, the one between the Baltimore Ravens and the Minnesota Vikings. The last two minutes and five seconds of that game saw an unprecedented 36 combined points and five lead changes as the Ravens prevailed 29-26. It was exciting and fun to watch. For those of you who are keen on statistics this was the fastest stretch of five touchdowns in NFL history. There were touchdowns of 40-plus yards in a span of 42 seconds, and in this period there was one point scored for every 3.5 seconds of game time. But by far the most interesting stat of all was the one involving Ravens wide receiver Marlon Brown, who had never seen or played in a snow storm before, but ran his heart out and scored the game-winning touchdown.

Yes, week 14 was something else and it proved special for the Miami Dolphins, a warm weather team that rolled into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and beat the home team Steelers convincingly 34-28 on a cold and windy day. But that's not all. Sunday saw the most touchdowns on any day in NFL history. In total 90 touchdowns were scored surpassing the previous record of 87 in a single day, which was set last year in week 17. Contributing to this amazing score was the performance of the elite quarterbacks, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Manning threw four touchdowns in Denver's 41-28 win over the Titans. Drew Brees became a member of the 50,000-yard passing club, joining the likes of Brett Favre, John Elway, Dan Marino and Peyton Manning. Tom Brady continued his habit of coming from behind and rallied the Patriots, who were down by 12 points in the final 65 seconds, to snatch a 27-26 win against the Cleveland Browns. The New England Patriots are the first team in 13 years to come back from deficits of 10 points or more in three consecutive games.

Whenever the Cowboys lose they always seem to blame quarterback Tony Romo. Well, they lost to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football and no one in their right mind can blame Tony Romo. One could, however, blame the defence as the Cowboys, who allowed the Bears, under backup quarterback Josh McCown to complete 27 of 36 passes for 348 yards and five touchdowns, in their 45-28 beating of the boys from "Big D". Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall caught six of those passes for 100 yards, and running back Matt Forte had 102 yards rushing and 73 receiving as the Bears racked up an impressive 490 yards of offense. For his part, Tony Romo threw for three touchdowns and completed 11 of 20 passes for 104 yards for the Cowboys, but it just wasn't enough. Romo did his part on offence but it wasn't good enough as the Bears ran roughshod over the clueless Dallas defence.

It's now down to crunch time with just three weeks left in the regular season and teams battling for the remaining play-off spots. Teams that have already clinched a play-off spot are the Broncos and Colts in the AFC and the Seahawks in the NFC. Teams already eliminated from play-off contention are the Texans in the AFC and the Giants, Rams, Buccaneers, Vikings, Falcons and Redskins in the NFC. This is important to note especially when placing your bets against the point spread with JustBet. Teams with little to play for may adjust their line-ups, reduce playing time for their starters or even bench their starters altogether. These moves will impact the outcome of games, and the outcome of your bets.

Speaking of the teams already eliminated, one of those is the Washington Redskins and all season long there seems to have been something of a disconnect between head coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III (RG3). The two just couldn't seem to see eye to eye and the fact that the Redskins have been so pathetic this season hasn't helped matters. Well, with the team now out of play-off contention coach Shanahan took the decision to shut RG3 down for the rest of the season and hand over the QB reins to back-up Kirk Cousins. RG3 was coming off a major knee surgery in the offseason and the word is that Shanahan didn't want to risk further injury to his franchise quarterback, with nothing much left to play for this season. But let's face the facts, RG3 just wasn't getting it down and a temporary change at this time may not be such a bad thing.

It was a decent week overall for your so-called experts as we made our picks against the JustBet point spread. We all posted positive marks, Peter Lindo leading the way with a 10-6 mark, followed by Andre Hutchinson and yours truly at 9-7, while Andrei Roper finished at 8-8.

Now on to week 15. Some of the key games to keep an eye on are the Dolphins vs Patriots, with New England looking to hang on to one of the top two seeds in the AFC. The Cowboys and Packers game should also be a great one with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers still not expected back from injury, and with both teams still in the thick of the play-off race. The Bengals head to Pittsburgh on Sunday night, with Cincy still looking to challenge for one of top two seeds and on Monday Night Football , the Lions and Ravens do battle with both teams currently locked into Wild Card play-off spots and looking to stay on a winning track.

So, that's it for another week, folks. Enjoy all the games in week 15 and remember to place your NFL bets early and often with JustBet, Jamaica's number one sports betting game. Remember to give us a listen on HITZ 92FM at 6:05 pm every Friday, during the NFL Gameday Forecast. And of course, "Just win baby, just win".

To find a JustBet location near you, visit: www.supremeventures.com/justbetlocations. 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 15 SCHEDULE & JUSTBET HANDICAPS

(*JustBet Handicaps for each game in bracket, Under/Over for each game listed)

Thursday, Dec 12

DEN BRONCOS v SD CHARGERS (+10.5), U/O 57.5

Sunday, Dec 15

ATL FALCONS v WAS REDSKINS (+5.5), U/O 51.5

CLE BROWNS v CHI BEARS (+1.5), U/O 44.5

IND COL_S v HOU TEXANS (+6.5), U/O 46.5

JAC JAGUARS (+2.5) v BUF BILLS, U/O 43.5

MIA DOLPHINS (+1.5) v NE PATRIOTS, U/O 45.5

MIN VIKINGS (+4.5) v PHI EAGLES, U/O 51.5

NY GIANTS (+6.5) v SEA SEAHAWKS , U/O 41.5

TB BUCCANEERS (+4.5) v SF 49ERS, U/O 41.5

CAR PANTHERS v NY JETS ( +11.5), U/O 40.5

OAK RAIDERS (+2.5) v KC CHIEFS, U/O 41.5

DAL COWBOYS v GB PACKERS (+6.5), U/O 48.5

STL RAMS (+6.5) v NO SAINTS, U/O 48.5

TEN TITANS (+2.5) v ARI CARDINALS, U/O 41.5

PIT STEELERS (+3.5) v CIN BENGALS, U/O 39.5

Monday, Dec 16

DET LIONS v BAL RAVENS (+5.5), U/O 48.5

EXPERTS' PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD

Peter Lindo’s Week 15 Picks

BRONCOS v CHARGERS

FALCONS v REDSKINS

BROWNS v BEARS

COLTS v TEXANS

JAGUARS v BILLS

DOLPHINS v PATRIOTS

VIKINGS v EAGLES

GIANTS v SEAHAWKS

BUCCANEERS v 49ERS

PANTHERS v JETS

RAIDERS v CHIEFS

COWBOYS v PACKERS

RAMS v SAINTS

TITANS v CARDINALS

STEELERS v BENGALS

LIONS v RAVENS

Last week's record: 10-6

Season record: 105-103

Tony Scott’s Week 15 Picks

BRONCOS v CHARGERS

FALCONS v REDSKINS

BROWNS v BEARS

COLTS v TEXANS

JAGUARS v BILLS

DOLPHINS v PATRIOTS

VIKINGS v EAGLES

GIANTS v SEAHAWKS

BUCCANEERS v 49ERS

PANTHERS v JETS

RAIDERS v CHIEFS

COWBOYS v PACKERS

RAMS v SAINTS

TITANS v CARDINALS

STEELERS v BENGALS

LIONS v RAVENS

Last week's record: 9-7

Season record: 108-100

Andre Hutchinson’s Week 15 Picks

BRONCOS v CHARGERS

FALCONS v REDSKINS

BROWNS v BEARS

COLTS v TEXANS

JAGUARS v BILLS

DOLPHINS v PATRIOTS

VIKINGS v EAGLES

GIANTS v SEAHAWKS

BUCCANEERS v 49ERS

PANTHERS v JETS

RAIDERS v CHIEFS

COWBOYS v PACKERS

RAMS v SAINTS

TITANS v CARDINALS

STEELERS v BENGALS

LIONS v RAVENS

Last week's record: 9-7

Season record: 104-104

Andrei Roper’s Week 15 Picks

BRONCOS v CHARGERS

FALCONS v REDSKINS

BROWNS v BEARS

COLTS v TEXANS

JAGUARS v BILLS

DOLPHINS v PATRIOTS

VIKINGS v EAGLES

GIANTS v SEAHAWKS

BUCCANEERS v 49ERS

PANTHERS v JETS

RAIDERS v CHIEFS

COWBOYS v PACKERS

RAMS v SAINTS

TITANS v CARDINALS

STEELERS v BENGALS

LIONS v RAVENS

Last week's record: 8-8

Season record: 95-113

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