Vikings Cheerleader Squad in LondonMinnesota Vikings Cheer Squad in London for International Game
It is no secret that the National Football League has been trying to expand into the international market for quite some time. The National Basketball Association (NBA) has a large fan base all around the world and the NFL sees no reason why American Football can't be just as popular outside the US.

There are many hurdles for the NFL to overcome before it can reach a global appeal. For one, most international sports fans consider football to be a game played kicking a round ball into a goal. The whole concept is relatively foreign and probably confusing for these fans.

The other major hurdle is that NFL athletes have voiced considerable objections to playing in the International Market. An NFL franchise in say London would have a very difficult time signing top players to their roster and would probably need to pay a premium. 

Regardless of these hurdles, the NFL is still full speed ahead in their quest to become a globally recognized trademark. This Sunday of Week 4, the Minnesota Vikings will cross the Atlantic to battle the Pittsburgh Steelers in London Town. They even got Gene Simmons on board to sing the National Anthem. The American National Anthem that is!

I have a few questions to ask about this booking: 
    1. Why would the new owner of an Arena Football Franchise (LA Kiss) agree to promote a rival Football League? 

    2. Why in the world would anyone think Gene Simmons has the singing ability to pull off the national anthem? 

    3. How much alcohol is going to be served to the Brits to make all of this entertaining? 

Would love to hear some of your answers in the comments below.  

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (+3, 41.5)

Less than eight months removed from a Super Bowl appearance, the San Francisco 49ers are immersed in controversy on and off the field heading into Thursday night's matchup at the St. Louis Rams. San Francisco has dropped two straight, including a stunning 27-7 defeat at home to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. No team played the 49ers tougher last season than the AFC West rival Rams, who battled to a 24-24 tie in San Francisco and beat them in overtime in St. Louis.

The 49ers' issues go beyond back-to-back inept performances - the team is under siege for allowing sack specialist Aldon Smith to play in Sunday's game only two days after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Smith, who has a history of off-field issues, will enter a rehab facility to receive treatment and will miss Thursday's game. St. Louis is seeking a bounce-back effort after it was demolished by the Dallas Cowboys 31-7.

TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.

LINE: The 49ers opened as a 3.5-point road favorites and have been bet down to -3. The total opened as high as 43.5 and has been moved down to 41.5.


49ers (-2.5) + Rams (+5.0) + home field (-3.0) = St. Louis +4.5

ABOUT THE 49ERS (1-2, 1-2 ATS): Losing in Seattle in Week 2 wasn't a surprise for San Francisco, but getting bulldozed by the Colts on both sides of the ball sent shock waves through the league. Colin Kaepernick turned in a breathtaking performance by throwing for 412 yards in the season opener but has tossed four interceptions and been limited to a combined 277 yards while leading the 49ers to only 10 points in the past two weeks. The absence of tight end Vernon Davis (hamstring) hurt versus the Colts, while the normally stout defense saw All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis exit Sunday's game with a groin injury.

ABOUT THE RAMS (1-2, 0-3 ATS):
St. Louis posted a gritty comeback victory over Arizona in its season opener but has fallen behind by at least 21 points in back-to-back road losses to Atlanta and Dallas. Quarterback Sam Bradford threw for a season-low 240 yards and was sacked six times against the Cowboys while receiving little help from a ground game that saw starting running back Daryl Richardson play only one snap due to a foot injury. Rookie wideout Tavon Austin, the team's first-round draft pick, has six receptions in each of the first three games but is averaging only 6.6 yards per catch.


* Home team is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in St. Louis..
* 49ers are 1-5 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Rams are 7-1 ATS in their last eight vs. NFC West.


1. Kaepernick made his third career start at St. Louis last season and had a safety and lost a fumble that was returned for a TD.

2. The Rams tied for the lead league with 52 sacks last season, but have only seven through the first three games.

3. LB Smith was second in the league with 19.5 sacks in 2012 and has registered 37 in 35 games.
Sandy Orellana 49ers Body Paint

NFL Week 3 Cheat Sheet and Betting Trends & Analysis

Sunday NFL Football Betting
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (+1, 45)

Star receiver Andre Johnson suffered a concussion in the game against the Titans but is expected to be cleared to play. Johnson is tied for the NFL lead with 20 receptions and Houston appears to have found a sensational complement in first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins (12 receptions, 183 yards).

Baltimore has a key player ailing in running back Ray Rice, who injured his left hip flexor in the contest against Cleveland and hasn’t participated in practices. “He’s not going to need the practice to play in the game,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

LINE: Houston opened -2.5 and moved to -1.5. Total moved from 44.5 to 45.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Houston (-5.0) - Baltimore (-1.0) + home field (-3.0) = Ravens +1
WEATHER: Temperatures mid 70s, partly cloudy, winds NNW 11 mph.

* Road team is 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings.Road team is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
* Texans are 0-4 ATS in their last four road games.
* Ravens are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.

New York Giants at Carolina Panthers (+1, 46.5)

New York's 10 turnovers - seven of which have been Eli Manning interceptions - are a major cause for concern and have put the defense in a tough spot. The offense has been effective at moving the ball, mostly through the air, and ranks fifth in the league in total yards, but the ground game has to come along and the Giants need to hang onto the ball.

The Panthers find themselves in an 0-2 hole after losing their first two games by a combined six points, including a 24-23 defeat against Buffalo last week. The Panthers have been balanced on offense but they've been far from explosive, ranking 27th in the league with 280.5 total yards per game.

LINE: Carolina opened -1 and moved to +1. Total moved from 45.5 to 47.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: New York (-1.0) + Carolina (+3.0) + home field (-3.0) = Panthers +1
WEATHER: Temps mid 70s, 22 percent chance of early showers, winds 5 north 5 mph.

* Giants are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Road team is 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings.

Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins (Pick, 48.5)

Detroit is 2-0 against Washington under coach Jim Schwartz, with both victories coming at home. Calvin Johnson had 101 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-25 triumph over the Redskins in their last meeting on Oct. 31, 2010.

Facing a large deficit, the Redskins have been offensive juggernauts in the fourth quarter, outscoring Philadelphia and Green Bay by a combined 26-0 over the final 15 minutes.

LINE: Open pick bounced between -1 and +1. Total moved from 48 to 49.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Detroit (+1.0) - Washington (+2.5) + home field (-3.0) = Redskins -1.5
WEATHER: Temps mid 70s, partly cloudy skies, winds NNW 12 mph.

* Under is 6-1-2 in the last nine meetings.
* Home team is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
* Lions are 0-4 ATS in their last four meetings in Washington.

San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans (-3, 43.5)

Philip Rivers leads a rejuvenated offense that is averaging more than 30 points per game. The only problem: San Diego has allowed as many points as it has scored, thanks to a defense that has surrendered the most passing yards in the league through two weeks.

The Tennessee Titans' defense has helped compensate for a sluggish offense through the first two games of the season. Titans RB Chris Johnson comes into the week ranked sixth in rushing yards (166) but second in attempts (50), averaging just 3.3 yards per carry.

LINE: Opened Tennessee -1 and moved to -3. Total steady at 43.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: San Diego (+2.0) - Tennessee (+3.0) + home field (-3.0) = Titans -2
WEATHER: Temps mid 70s, clear skies, winds NNE 7 mph.

* Chargers are 8-0 ATS in their last eight meetings.
* Over is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings.
* Favorite is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints (-9, 49)

Carson Palmer has injected some life into Arizona's passing game, but the ground game hasn't been as effective and running back Rashard Mendenhall (toe) is questionable. Palmer should have tight end Rob Housler back in the lineup after missing the first two games with a sore ankle, and the Cardinals have eased receiver Larry Fitzgerald along in practice in hopes he can play through a hamstring injury.

While the Saints' offense has struggled to find the end zone, coordinator Rob Ryan's revamped defense has limited its first two opponents to 320 yards and 15.5 points per game. The overhauled defense did a solid job against Atlanta in Week 1 but was dominant in a 16-14 win versus Tampa Bay, allowing 273 total yards - the Saints' lowest total since Week 15 of the 2011 season.

LINE: Arizona opened -9.5 and moved to -7. Total moved from 48.5 to 49.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Arizona (+3.5) + New Orleans (-3.0) + home field (-3.0) = Saints -9.5

* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Home team is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Cardinals are 2-5 ATS in their last four meetings.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots (-8.5, 43.5)

Quarterback Josh Freeman is under siege after consecutive subpar outings - he was only 9-for-22 for 125 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Saints - to spark speculation that he could lose his starting job to rookie Mike Glennon. The Buccaneers have dangerous weapons in second-year running back Doug Martin (209 yards rushing) and wideout Vincent Jackson (231 yards receiving), and the defense has been stout in allowing an average of 17 points.

With wideout Danny Amendola (groin) and running back Shane Vereen (wrist) set to miss a second straight game and tight end Rob Gronkowski still rehabbing from multiple offseason surgeries, Tom Brady has been forced to lean on Julian Edelman (20 receptions) and untested rookies in the receiving corps. Starting running back Steven Ridley has rushed for only 86 yards in two games while the defense has forced six turnovers to tie for second in the league.

LINE: Open New England -7 and moved to -8.5. Total moved from 45 to 43.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Tampa Bay (+4.0) + New England (-4.5) + home field (-3.0) = Patriots -11.5
WEATHER: Temps low 70s, 83 percent chance of rain, winds WSW 7 mph.

* Buccaneers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine road games.
* Patriots are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Over is 7-3 in Patriots' last 10 home games.

Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals (+2.5, 49)

While Aaron Rodgers' Week 2 performance was typical, the Packers got a surprising 132-yard effort on the ground from running back James Starks, who replaced Eddie Lacy after the rookie left the game with a concussion. The Packers were forced to juggle their secondary last week after three DBs suffered hamstring injuries. All are questionable for Sunday.

Cincinnati has won the past two meetings against Green Bay and sacked Rodgers six times in its most recent game (2009) but it will be without veteran defensive end Robert Geathers who joined three Bengal linebackers on injured reserve. While questions still abound on Andy Dalton's deep passing ability, he has thrown for 280 and 282 yards in his first two starts and unveiled a new weapon in athletic rookie tight end Tyler Eifert on Monday.

LINE: Cincinnati opened +1 and moved to +2.5. Total moved from 46.5 to 49.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Green Bay (-6.0) - Cincinnati (-1.5) + home field (-3.0) = Bengals +1.5
WEATHER: Temps high 60s, clear skies, winds NNE 6 mph.

* Packers are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.
* Bengals are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games in Week 3.
* Over is 5-1 in Packers last six games overall.

St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5, 47)

St. Louis is attempting to start 2-1 for the first time since 2006. The Rams will look for more consistency out of high-priced free agent signing Jared Cook, who caught seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 but managed only one grab last weekend.

The last time the Cowboys faced the Rams, DeMarco Murray rushed for a franchise-record 253 yards on Oct. 23, 2011. However, Murray only managed 25 yards on 12 attempts in last week's loss to the Chiefs, a game in which Dallas was unable to force any turnovers after creating six miscues against the New York Giants in Week 1.

LINE: Dallas steady at -3.5. Total moved from 46.5 to 47.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: St. Louis (+2.5) + Dallas (-2.5) + home field (-3.0) = Cowboys -3

* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Rams are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games.
* Cowboys are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 home games.

Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings (-6.5, 40.5)

Cleveland was already struggling to produce offense with just 16 points in two games and trading RB Trent Richardson, who recorded 950 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns as a rookie, gives an offense starting a third-string quarterback even fewer options. Brian Hoyer starts in place of Brandon Weeden, who injured his thumb in last week's loss to Baltimore.

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, who was 16-of-30 against Chicago, is reportedly on the hot seat and could lose snaps to backup Matt Cassel unless his play improves. Ponder is 88-for-127 passing with five touchdowns and two interceptions in his last four games against AFC opponents.

LINE: Minnesota opened -4 and moved to -6.5. Total moved from 41 to 40.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Cleveland (+5.0) - Minnesota (+2.5) + home field (-3.0) = Vikings -5.5

* Browns are 0-5 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Vikings are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven home games.
* Under is 5-1 in Browns last six road games.

Ever since Tim Tebow got dropped by the New England Patriots, his fans around the country have been wishing he would get signed to their teams. Jacksonville Jaguars' fans have taken that a step further and organized on Monday afternoon (3:16pm to be exact) and held a "Tebow Why Not?" rally to get the attention of the Jaguars front office.

Jaguars' fans rally to Sign Tim Tebow
The rally was scheduled to last three hours and 16 minutes. The starting time of the rally and the planned duration are nods to a bible verse, John 3:16, which Tebow had inscribed on his eye black for the 2009 BCS title game.

James Stewart, a 56-year-old Jacksonville native and Jaguars fan who is one of the event's organizers, said about 20 people participated in the rally, while 30 media members covered the event. The website registered by James Stewart later read "THE

The group now also has a volunteer to make signs and bumper stickers and have someone to handle its Twitter account in an attempt to publicize its Tebow campaign.

"We've accomplished what we had hoped for the first time out," Stewart told

Stewart said that Monday's rally likely would be the first of many. He said
he expects to have a rally every Monday afternoon.

"The Jaguars' season is really in the tank," Stewart said. "They don't have a
lot of promise. There's not a lot to watch. We're consumers and the Jaguars are
a product, and there's a lot of room for improvement. Tebow we think would be
value added if he were to be signed and given an opportunity at quarterback.

Ironically, James Stewart is also the name of a retired Jacksonville Jaguars' Running Back.
James Otis Stewart, played solidly for the Jaguars, and still holds the franchise record for
the most points in a single game (30). He also holds the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise
record for the most touchdowns in a game with 5 rushing touchdowns. Both these records
were obtained on October 12, 1997 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

What do you think - Should the Jaguars sign Tim Tebow? Tell us in the comments below.

Breaking Bad Sunday Night Football

The Final season of Breaking Bad has been so popular that many NFL fans are choosing to watch it live and tape their favorite games. This phenomenon is causing the NFL to lose valuable primetime advertising revenue because you can skip the commercials while watching the game in pre-recorded mode. What will you be watching tonight? Breaking Bad or Sunday Night Football?

When NBC launched its Football Night in America package in 2006, it avoided the last Sopranos season but overlapped with Season 4 of The Wire for 13 solid weeks. Back then, most people couldn't record two shows at the same time, and you didn't have to worry about an unexpected moment being spoiled on Twitter — you know, like OMAR AND BROTHER MOUZONE KILLING STRINGER.1 So you simply recorded The Wire and watched the game live. And that became the habit on Sunday nights, at least for me — record the good Sunday-night show (Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Dexter, whatever), avoid it until the football game finished, then throw that episode down like television dessert. It's always more fun to watch sports live, right?

Or so we thought.

Because this final season of Breaking Bad changed the rules. (Don't worry, I won't spoil anything if you aren't caught up yet.) It's the greatest final season of any television show. At least so far. Two different times this season (including last week), the show ended in such an electric way that I didn't even know what to do with myself. After last Sunday's episode, I somehow ended up in my backyard — I don't even know how I got there. And there are three episodes left! I know we'll see other gripping television seasons, but will we ever see one that painstakingly laid out the finish line over the course of a few years, then hit the final turn and broke into a Usain Bolt–like sprint?

An even better sports analogy: It's the one show that may have figured out how to hit a walk-off grand slam. Whether that happens or not, it has already made history: For the first time, I find myself choosing an already-filmed, can-watch-it-whenever-I-want television show over live football. Last week, I watched the first quarter of Cowboys-Giants, then jumped into my DVR library at 6:17 p.m. (Pacific Time) and cranked up the still-recording episode of Breaking Bad. At this point, my kids could have said, "Hey, Dad, we're gonna go outside and play in traffic," and I probably would have grunted, "OK, sounds good."

I spent the next 45 minutes inhaling the show, ripping through commercials and finishing in real time at 7:01. Sixty seconds later, I was standing outside and wondering how I got there. I regained a grip by 7:05, restarted the Cowboys game from my jumping-off point, zipped through the commercials (and there were a million of them) and caught up a little after halftime ended. So, really, I missed ONE live quarter.

Now here's where you say, "I thought you were one of those ADD sports fan weirdos who built an office with multiple TVs so you could watch four games every Sunday. Why wouldn't you watch Breaking Bad while monitoring the Sunday-night game?" Simple answer: I don't want any distractions during these last few episodes. I don't want to look at e-mails or glance at texts, much less divide my attention between a great TV show and a football game. Not happening. You'd do that with forgettable shows like Ray Donovan and MTV's The Challenge, not the walk-off grand slam season of Breaking Bad. Actually, who am I kidding? I wouldn't do that with The Challenge, either.

OK, so what about this Sunday? Why would any self-respecting NFL fan want to miss one live second of a Niners-Seahawks game in 2013? Especially when …

• It's the best rivalry in football right now. (Hold on, I'm pouring out a belated 40 for Colts-Patriots and Ravens-Steelers, our last two joint holders of the Rivalry Championship Belt. At least Colts-Patriots transferred its feudal energy to Broncos-Patriots. That Ravens-Steelers rivalry fell apart faster than the Freebirds vs. the Von Erichs.) Beyond the NFC West title stakes and the added animosity from playing twice (and this season, maybe even three times), consider that these are the league's two most physical teams — especially because the Seahawks take tons of PEDs. (I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Only a FEW of the Seahawks take PEDs.)2

• It's early, and I'm sure this will change 10 million times over the next 16 weeks, but the Niners and Seahawks are two of the NFL's three best teams at this moment. The other: New England. (Just kidding, it's Denver. I just wanted to pretend one last time that the Patriots are still good.)

• They're playing the game in Seattle, which matters because Seattle and Green Bay are the two best NFL stadiums for television viewers (and probably in that order). I love the crazy Seahawks fans. I love seeing the sea of dark green. I love when the cameras vibrate because it's so deafeningly loud. I even love when they incessantly show that goofy noise instrument that tells us how loud it's getting, even though I have no concept of what 112 decibels really means. Oh, it's almost as loud as a Boeing 747 jet? Um … sure! What Seattle's home-field advantage accomplished in that 2011 playoff game against New Orleans — when they won outright as double-digit underdogs and murdered thousands of three-team teasers — was really one for the ages. I love all big football games in Seattle if they have even a half-decent team. But THIS team? And against THIS Niners team?

• If that's not enough, Seahawks fans have decided that they're going to break the Guinness world record for "loudest crowd" on Sunday night, which is currently held by …

(Hold on, I'll give you a couple of seconds to guess.)

(And … )


Did you guess that it happened in the Ali Sami Yen Sport Complex Turk Telekom Arena two years ago, by fans of Turkey's Galatasaray S.K. soccer team? You did? That's amazing! Apparently, they reached 131.76 decibels — which is probably the sound a Boeing 747 makes if it's flying over a football stadium filled with shrieking teenage girls at a One Direction concert. But given that David Stern let the Sonics bolt from Seattle five years ago for a much smaller market that restricts their revenue and forces them to make decisions like trading the NBA's best 2-guard for two bench players and a six-pack of diet soda, if it's all right with you, I'm going to root for these embattled Seattle fans to break this obscure decibel record.

• Colin Kaepernick vs. Russell Wilson … a.k.a. Brady vs. Manning for the Twitter Generation. And it still has that new-car smell to it. Just 11 months ago, Kaep was fetching Perrier for Alex Smith and Wilson looked 15.2 percent overmatched as Seattle's unexpected starter. Today, Kaepernick has turned into Randall Cunningham 2.0, while Wilson has evolved into a possible hybrid of Young Brady, Young Montana and Young Brees (only if that hybrid could scramble for a first down whenever he wants).

In general, it's almost stupefying how entertaining Kaepernick, Wilson, Robert Griffin and Andrew Luck are on a play-to-play basis in a suddenly safety-conscious league. It's flag football with pads and they're the big winners. (Well, them and Peyton Manning, who's on pace to throw 112 touchdowns this season.) Only one downer for the Kaepernick-Wilson rivalry: By rule, all quarterbacks like each other and feel bonded by such a frighteningly complex position. There's no chance for a Kaep-Wilson beef. This week, a rumor even circulated that they made a friendly "Sunday's loser has to shave his eyebrows" wager. It turned out to be false, which made me wish the fake bet had been more ridiculous — something like, "Loser has to pretend publicly for two weeks that he thinks Aaron Hernandez was framed and would absolutely 'take Hernandez as a teammate.'" Maybe there's still time.

• Pete Carroll vs. Jim Harbaugh … a.k.a. the feud that started when they were college coaches and keeps on going and going. Last spring, Harbaugh even called out Seattle's multiple PED suspensions and quoted Bo Schembechler by saying, "If you cheat to win, then you've already lost." I thought that was a low blow — not bringing up the PED stuff, but quoting Bo Schembechler. If we could wager on any pair of coaches to trade punches during a postgame handshake, Harbaugh and Carroll would be the overwhelming favorite.

• The fan bases can't stand each other, either. Did you know that Seahawks fans on Reddit were conspiring to buy sponsored bricks for San Francisco's soon-to-be-done Levi's Stadium and put "GO HAWKS!" on them, causing the Niners to announce that they were exercising veto power on the wording for any purchased brick? Did you know they apparently had to ask for additional moderators to help police SB Nation's Seahawks and 49ers pages because it was getting so ugly on their message boards?

Let's just hope WE never have to choose between them, because I love both cities … but if I ever have to choose, I'm siding with fresh coffee, grunge music, Singles, Citizen Dick, legalized marijuana, Xavier McDaniel posters, Stephen and Irene, Junior Griffey, Safeco, Steve Largent, the '87 All-Star Game, Microsoft Windows, serial-killer movies, Gus and DJ, Kemp and GP, Mr. Russell's House, Rip City beefs, and fresh coffee a second time over Alcatraz, Steph Curry, Pac Bell, trolleys, Twitter, Montana and Rice, Puck and Pedro, the great Warriors crowds, Chinatown, 48 Hrs., Reggie Hammond and Jack Cates … wait a second, I need to think about this more.

• With apologies to Ndamukong Suh and Clay Matthews, Seattle has the NFL's best villain: Richard Sherman, the talented cornerback who became semi-infamous last season for trash-talking Tom Brady, drawing a four-game PED suspension (and then somehow getting it overturned), then making an intentionally heated, willfully loathsome First Take cameo that inadvertently got me suspended from Twitter by ESPN. Now he's trying to reinvent himself as a weekly columnist for Peter King's new football site. I don't want to jinx it, but he's on pace to pass Bill Laimbeer and Kareem as my least favorite athlete of all time.

I mention this because San Francisco now has Anquan Boldin, a proud veteran with a ring who doesn't take shit from anyone and once broke his face going over the middle for a touchdown catch. Again, HE BROKE HIS FACE. And came back a few weeks later! He's going to like it when Richard Sherman starts barking at him? I'm already nominating this as the NFL's best player-versus-player feud and it hasn't even officially started yet. Prediction: This Sunday night, either Walt and Jesse or Sherman and Boldin fight to the death.

• Even in Week 2, it's a must-win for the Seahawks because they can't win the NFC West (and, potentially, go for a no. 1 seed and home-field advantage) without beating the Niners at least once. After Kaepernick played so spectacularly last weekend, Vegas got freaked out and made Seattle just 2.5-point favorites. If they win by a field goal, you cover. Maybe five lines per season leave me totally perplexed — this is one of them. (Only possible explanation: Seattle's offensive line looked uncharacteristically wobbly against Carolina's excellent front seven last Sunday.) I think the crowd carries the Seahawks on Sunday night, and that anything less than a field goal with these guys at home makes me feel like I'm in a Christmas commercial in which someone is surprising me with a brand-new Lexus covered in a big red ribbon. I'm laying the points.

The bigger question: What's the TV game plan for Sunday night? I'm watching a quarter, flipping over to Breaking Bad at 6:17, banging it out, then catching up on the DVR'ed second quarter and watching the second half live. It's a foolproof plan. And it's going to work next week for the Pittsburgh-Chicago game too. And forget about Week 4 — I don't care who's playing, the final episode of Breaking Bad gets priority unless the Patriots are involved.

Article By: Bill Simmons

Eli Manning vs Peyton Manning 2013

A Tale of Two Manning Brothers by Prime Wagers

Chapter III of the Manning Bowl takes center stage on Sunday when Eli Manning and the New York Giants host older brother Peyton and the Denver Broncos. That the game will be played at MetLife Stadium - the venue for this season's Super Bowl - only adds to the hype for the sibling rivalry that has seen Peyton win the previous two matchups when he was a member of the Indianapolis Colts. Denver is coming off a 49-27 dismantling of the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

The Broncos were already among the prohibitive favorites to come out of the AFC this season and did little to quell such lofty expectations behind Peyton Manning's record-tying seven-touchdown performance. The Giants, meanwhile, stumbled through a mistake-filled 36-31 loss at Dallas that featured six turnovers, including three interceptions by Eli Manning. Still, he passed for 450 yards and four TDs and had New York in position for the victory until he was picked off with under two minutes to play. 

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Broncos -4.5. O/U 55.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (1-0): Denver erased a three-point deficit with a spectacular second-half performance as Peyton Manning threw for five of his seven scoring passes and finished with 462 yards overall. Free-agent signee Wes Welker had nine catches for 67 yards and two TDs in his Broncos debut and athletic tight end Julius Thomas added another electrifying dimension to an already high-powered attack with five receptions for 110 yards and two scores. The run game remains in flux but the defense had four sacks and two interceptions despite the absences of Pro Bowlers Von Miller (suspension) and Champ Bailey (foot). 

ABOUT THE GIANTS (0-1): New York has serious concerns about its running game after starter David Wilson lost two fumbles and was benched and backup Da'Rel Scott was injured, necessitating the signing of former Giants back Brandon Jacobs. New York's receiving corps showed it has the requisite firepower to keep up with the Broncos, getting three touchdown receptions from Victor Cruz and five catches and over 100 yards each from Cruz (118), Hakeem Nicks (114) and Rueben Randle (101) despite the slew of turnovers. The Giants could be shorthanded in the defensive backfield after cornerback Prince Amukamara suffered a concussion versus Dallas.


1. The Broncos are riding a 12-game regular-season winning streak, the longest in the NFL.

2. Eli Manning has thrown for 12 TDs and the Giants have averaged 44 points in winning their last three home games.

3. Welker has 20 catches in his last two regular-season games versus New York.

PREDICTION: Broncos 37, Giants 34


This Thursday Night matchup is Phil's Free Pick with the Jets travelling to Patriots territory to take on the "Brady Bunch". Patriots are dealing with a lot of hurdles this season and this game will test their will and desire.

Thursday Night Football: Jets vs Patriots
The New England Patriots and New York Jets are each coming off last-second wins in their season openers, but the level of satisfaction on both sides was markedly different. The Jets eked out a one-point victory over Tampa Bay in quarterback Geno Smith's NFL debut and will look to carry that momentum into
their showdown with the host Patriots on Thursday night. New England blew a 10-point lead and needed a late comeback from Tom Brady to overcome upset-minded Buffalo.

The Patriots have won the last four meetings, including a 49-19
thumping of the Jets on Thanksgiving night last year - a game remembered for the infamous "butt fumble" by New York quarterback Mark Sanchez. Smith will get his second start while Sanchez seeks a second opinion on his injured right shoulder
from renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews. Brady and New England's overhauled receiving corps struggled in the opener and the team could be further depleted by injury for Thursday's matchup.

TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.

WEATHER: There is a 49 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms with temperatures in the low 70s. Winds blowing south at 8 mph.

PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: New York (+6.0) + New England (-5.0) + home field (-3.0) = Patriots -14

LINE: The Patriots opened at -13 and were as high as -14 before injury news forced money on New York and moved the spread to as low as -12. The total has dropped from 44.5 to 43.

ABOUT THE JETS (1-0, 1-0 ATS): Smith was far from perfect in his debut but he etched his name into the record books by becoming the first rookie quarterback drafted in the second round or later since the 1970 merger to throw for at least 250 yards and win a season opener. Smith finished 24-for-38 for 256 yards with a fumble and interception, but he got the team in position for the decisive field goal in the final 34 seconds - albeit with the help of a Tampa Bay penalty. New York's defense - the calling card of coach Rex Ryan during his tenure - limited the Buccaneers to 250 yards of offense but the Jets' running game was non-existent, with Smith leading the way with 47 yards.

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (1-0, 0-1 ATS): New England got bad news on the injury front Monday when it was reported that running back Shane Vereen will require surgery for a broken wrist and will be out a few weeks. Vereen was the only running back in the NFL to surpass 100 yards on Sunday and added seven catches for 58 yards after replacing Stevan Ridley, who was benched due to a pair of fumbles. Wideout Danny Amendola was Brady's favorite target with 10 catches for 104 yards, but he aggravated a groin injury during the win and his status is uncertain. In addition, rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld, the team's training camp sensation, is not expected to play due to a pulled hamstring.


* Over is 5-0-1 in the last six meetings in New England.
* Over is 7-0-1 in the last eight meetings.
* Road team is 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 meetings.
* Jets are 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. AFC.
* Over is 16-5 in Patriots' last 21 vs. AFC East.


1. Brady has thrown a touchdown pass in 49 consecutive games, five shy of Drew Brees' NFL record.

2. Jets WR Santonio Holmes, a former Super Bowl MVP, had one catch for 13 yards in his first action since suffering a Lisfranc foot injury in Week 4 last season.

3. The Jets on Monday re-signed QB Brady Quinn, a former first-round pick, to serve as Smith's backup.

Much has been said and written about the two talented Manning brothers. Older brother Peyton Manning started this season with an electrifying 49-27 victory against the Baltimore Ravens. He managed to score a jaw dropping 7 touchdowns and silence all the critics that have speculated his age would hinder his abilities this season. Little brother Eli Manning had a contrastingly different first game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The Cowboys forced 6 turnovers against the young Manning. The first of which came with an interception by DeMarcus Ware in the very first seconds of the game. The game ended with the Cowboys beating the Giants 36-31.

Tale of two Manning Brothers
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Cowboys force six turnovers to ride into a 36-31 Victory over Eli Manning and Giants

Brandon Carr and the Dallas Cowboys are serious about forcing turnovers.
They needed six to put away Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

Carr returned an interception 49 yards for the clinching touchdown, and the
Cowboys overcame a big night from Manning to beat him for the first time at
their fancy $1.2 billion stadium in a 36-31 victory Sunday night.

Tony Romo shook off hits to the ribs that knocked him out for the final Dallas play of the first
half and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Jason Witten.

Manning threw three touchdown passes to Victor Cruz and four overall, and he had New York
in position for a comeback victory despite the flurry of mistakes.

But with the Giants trailing 30-24, Manning's pass went off the hand of
running back De'Rel Scott into Carr's arms.

The cornerback beat Manning down the sideline with 1:50 left for Dallas'
second defensive touchdown. Barry Church returned a fumble 27 yards for a
touchdown in the third quarter.

''It's infectious. It's contagious,'' Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. ''We
challenged them at halftime. We had three, let's get three more.''

The Cowboys had only 16 turnovers all last year, switched to a four-man front
with new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and swore all preseason that taking
the ball away was the foremost thing on their minds. They proved it from the
first snap of the season.

DeMarcus Ware intercepted Manning's first pass, and the Giants turned it over
on their first three possessions. The Cowboys didn't take advantage of the early
gifts, but built a big enough lead to hold off a New York comeback once the
Giants finally stopped turning it over.

It matched the most turnovers for the Giants since 1987, when they had seven
against New Orleans. And it was the most Dallas has forced since 2003.

''Just tells you our system is so much built on attitude,'' said defensive
line coach Rod Marinelli, who was defensive coordinator for Chicago last year
when the Bears led the NFL with 44 turnovers. ''We had a lot of guys play
tonight who jumped in and helped us. It's just team defense.''

Church scored on the fourth New York turnover - the second fumble from new
starting running back David Wilson, who lost control of the ball on a strip by
Nick Hayden just before hitting the ground. Church scooped up the ball and ran
it in.

The Cowboys went up 27-10 in the third quarter after the fifth miscue - a
punt that bounced and hit Trumaine McBride while he was trying to block for the
return. Rookie Devonte Holloman won a scramble for the loose ball, and Romo
threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Witten.

''I just think it's pretty exciting to see what our team defensively has been
able to do here, in training camp, preseason and into the season,'' Romo

When the mistakes stopped, the Giants made it a game again. New York went 80
yards, capped by Cruz's second score on an 18-yard pass, and Cruz scored again
from the 10 to pull the Giants to 30-24 midway through the fourth quarter.

New York got the ball back, but the Cowboys forced a quick punt. After Dallas
again failed to move the ball, Carr came through with the clinching

''You're not going to win the game turning the ball over five times and
muffing a punt,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. ''I'm totally, totally
disappointed, embarrassed about that football. That's sloppy, sloppy

The Giants scored with 11 seconds left on Manning's fourth touchdown, a
4-yarder to Brandon Myers. But Dallas recovered an onside kick.

Manning was 27 of 42 for 450 yards and had three 100-yard receivers in Cruz
(five catches, 118 yards), Hakeem Nicks (five for 114) and Rueben Randle (five
for 101)

Romo was 36 of 49 for 263 yards, and Miles Austin had 10 catches for 72
yards. Witten, who had only three touchdowns last year, had eight grabs for 70
and became the third tight end in NFL history with 9,000 yards receiving.
DeMarco Murray had 86 yards rushing for Dallas.

Romo threw a 15-yard TD pass to Witten before halftime, and Dan Bailey also
had two field goals (30 and 38 yards) by then for a 13-10 lead.

In the final minute of the first half, Romo was hit in the ribs and had the
wind knocked out after being crushed between Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Trattou
after throwing an incompletion. Kyle Orton came on to finish the half, but Romo
was back after halftime.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Romo didn't receive any treatment, and that
the medical staff cleared him to play.

''One tough player, one tough man,'' Jones said. ''He will go out and play in
pain and play hurt.''

After Manning's second interception, this one by new Cowboys safety Will
Allen, Dallas had third-and-11 at the Giants 14.

Romo threw a pass toward rookie Terrance Williams that instead deflected off
the Giants' Prince Amukamara into the arms of New York teammate Ryan Mundy, who
raced 91 yards. He was caught from behind by Murray at the 1.

GAME NOTES: The crowd of 85,348 was significantly smaller than the NFL
regular-season record crowd of 105,121 that watched the first Giants game at the
stadium in its 2009 debut. ... Giants CB Prince Amukamara was knocked out of the
game with a concussion after a helmet-on-helmet collision with S Ryan Mundy, who
was cleared to return.


NFL Week 1 Cheat Sheet and Betting Analysis

NFL Sunday Football Frenzy
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (+9.5, 51)

The Bills are beginning a new era with first-year head coach Doug Marrone and rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel. Manuel underwent knee surgery on Aug. 18 but is ready to go for the season opener, pushing rookie free agent Jeff Tuel back to the bench.

Tom Brady lost most of his receiving corps with Aaron Hernandez in jail, Wes Welker in Denver and Brandon Lloyd off to free agency. The perennial Pro Bowler has a slew of rookies at wide receiver to go along with import Danny Amendola until Rob Gronkowski recovers from back and forearm surgeries.

LINE: Buffalo opened as a 6.5-point home underdog but has been bet up as high as +9.5.
Patriots (-6.0) + Bills (+6.0) – home field (-3.0) = Bills +9.0
WEATHER: Temperatures in the mid 60s, 29 percent chance of rain, winds NNE 7 mph

* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Patriots are 19-8-1 ATS in their last 28 meetings.
* Road team is 7-2 ATS in their last nine meetings.

Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7, 42)

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has taken the Steelers to three Super Bowls - winning two - in his nine seasons, but he missed three games to injury in 2012 and starts the year with questions in the receiving corps and running game.

Titans counterpart Jake Locker sat out five games a year ago and has yet to prove he is the answer after being drafted No. 8 overall in 2008. Both teams have major questions on defense - the Steelers allowed nearly 100 points more last season than in 2011 and Tennessee was shredded for an NFL-worst 471 points.

LINE: Pittsburgh opened a 7.5-point favorite and has moved to -7. The total has dropped from 43.5 to 42.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Tennessee (+4.5) + Pittsburgh (-2.0) + home field (-3.0) = Steelers -9.5
WEATHER: Temperatures in mid 70s, 27 percent chance of showers, winds NNW 5 mph

Over is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings in Pittsburgh.
Over is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings.
Underdog is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-3, 54)

The Saints have dominated the series in recent years, winning 11 of the past 14 meetings, but they missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2008. With head coach Sean Payton returning after being suspended last season for his role in the team's bounty scandal, New Orleans hopes to regain its supremacy over the division.

Granted, the Saints handed the Falcons their first loss last year, a 31-27 defeat in Week 10 in New Orleans, and it did little to slow Atlanta on its way to the NFC Championship Game. The Falcons returned the favor in Week 13 in Atlanta, picking off Drew Brees five times in a 23-13 win. Atlanta upgraded its offense by signing running back Steven Jackson and also coaxed tight end Tony Gonzalez back for one more season.

LINE: New Orleans opened as a 2-point favorite and moved to -3. The total has remained steady at 54.
Atlanta (-4.5) - New Orleans (-2.5) + home field (-3.0) = Saints -5

* Over is 5-0 in the last five meetings in New Orleans.
* Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Underdog is 6-2 ATS in their last eight meetings.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Jets (+3.5, 39.5)

New York coach Rex Ryan looks to exploit a Buccaneers pass defense that allowed an NFL-worst 297.4 yards per game last year with rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who earned the starting nod after Mark Sanchez injured his shoulder during the fourth quarter of a preseason game .

Bucs RB Doug Martin looks for an encore after rushing for an impressive 1,454 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns during his rookie campaign. Greg Schiano's first year with Tampa Bay also saw Josh Freeman throw for a franchise-record 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns - although nine of his 17 interceptions came in the final three games.

LINE: New York opened as 1.5-point underdogs and moved to +3.5. Total opened at 41.5 and moved to 39.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Tampa Bay (+3.0) - New York (+6.0) + home field (-3.0) = Pick
WEATHER: Temperatures in mid 70s, 15 percent chance of early showers, winds NNW 14 mph

* Buccaneers are 0-4 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Buccaneers are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 road games.
* Under is 4-1 in Jets’ last five games overall.

Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5, 41)

Sunday is the debut of two new head coaches, as Gus Bradley takes over in Jacksonville and Andy Reid guides the Chiefs after a long tenure in Philadelphia. It's the first meeting since 2010, when the Chiefs clobbered the Jaguars 42-20 in Kansas City, avenging a 24-21 loss in Jacksonville a year earlier.

Both did their best to address issues through the draft and free agency and have playoff hopes - however unrealistic they are. Among the key matchups will be Jacksonville's ability to establish the run and take some pressure off quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars' ability to slow down Jamaal Charles and force quarterback Alex Smith into third-and-long situations.

LINE: Jacksonville opened as a 1.5-point underdog and has moved to +4.5. The total climbed from 41 to 41.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Kansas City (+2.0) – Jacksonville (+7.5) + home field (-3.0) = Jaguars +2.5
WEATHER: Temperatures in mid 80s, partly cloudy skies, winds East 8 mph

* Chiefs are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games in Week 1.
* Jaguars are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games in Week 1.
* Under is 4-0 in Jaguars’ last four home games.

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (+3.5, 44.5)

The Seahawks won their final five regular-season games and even notched a playoff win behind quarterback Russell Wilson and now face high expectations. Carolina finished with a flurry last season with four consecutive wins and the pressure is on third-year quarterback Cam Newton to deliver the franchise’s first playoff spot since 2008.

Carolina coach Ron Rivera needs a winning season in his third year at the helm after going 13-19 over his first two seasons. Mike Shula is the Panthers’ new offensive coordinator after Rob Chudzinski left to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

LINE: Carolina opened as a 3.5-point underdog and moved to +4.5. Total opened at 45.5 and moved to 44.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Seattle (-8.0) + Carolina (+1.5) + home field (-3.0) = Panthers +6.5
WEATHER: Temperatures in the high 80s, partly cloudy skies, winds ENE 9 mph

* Seahawks are 4-0 ATS in their last four road games.
* Panthers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games.
* Over is 6-2 in each Panthers and Seahawks’ last eight games overall.

Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears (-3, 41.5)

With a brand new coach and a healthy Cutler on board, the Bears begin the slow climb back to playoff contention. Replacing Lovie Smith is offensive guru Marc Trestman, who is coming off a successful coaching stint with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

Bengals QB Andy Dalton and the offense faded down the stretch in 2012 and was held to 198 total yards in a first-round playoff loss to the Houston Texans.. The Bengals have won five of their last six on the road against NFC teams and are 4-1 all-time at Chicago.

LINE: Chicago opened as a 3.5-point favorite and has moved to -3. The total opened at 43.5 and moved to 41.5.
Cincinnati (-1.0) – Chicago (-2.0) + home field (-3.0) = Bears -4
WEATHER: Temperatures in low 70s, partly cloudy skies, winds NE 13 mph

* Bengals are 1-4 ATS in their last five games in Week 1.
* Under is 7-2 in Bears last nine games in Week 1.
* Bears are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games.

Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns (Pick, 41)

This game marks the debut of Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski, who spent the last two years as the Carolina Panthers’ offensive coordinator. Chudzinski and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner could rely heavily on RB Trent Richardson with top WR Josh Gordon suspended for violating the league’s drug policy.

Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw 12 touchdown passes as a rookie, though only three of those scoring aerials were to wide receivers. There will be no excuses for that this season, as the Dolphins signed former Steelers wideout Mike Wallace to generate big plays in the passing game.

LINE: Game opened pick and some books are dealing Cleveland -1.5. The total has moved from 41 to 40.5.
Miami (+1.5) – Cleveland (+4.0) + home field (-3.0) = Browns -0.5
WEATHER: Temperatures in the low 70s, 25 percent chance of thunderstorms, winds NNE 13 mph

* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Dolphins are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Browns are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games in Week 1.

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-5, 46.5)

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has vowed to shatter the single-season rushing mark this season. Minnesota’s offense is still a major question mark. Christian Ponder, who has surpassed 300 yards only twice in 26 starts, may be on a short leash. Minnesota swept the season series a year ago, including a 20-13 victory in Detroit.

Detroit added Reggie Bush to bolster a backfield that's been non-productive for several seasons. Bush's dual-threat presence should take some of the onus off the oft-weary shoulders of quarterback Matthew Stafford, who threw just 20 touchdown passes last season after tossing a career-high 41 in 2011. Detroit enters the season riding an eight-game losing streak.

LINE: Detroit opened as a 3-point favorite and has moved to -5. The total has moved from 47 to 46.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Minnesota (+1.0) – Detroit (+1.0) + home field (-3.0) = Lions -3

* Vikings are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Under is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings.
* Underdog is 3-0-1 ATS in their last four meetings.

Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts (-10.5, 47)

The athletic but unproven Terrelle Pryor has reportedly won the Raiders QB competition with Matt Flynn and is poised to establish himself for a squad that ranked 26th in the NFL in scoring last year. Pryor threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 49 yards and a score in Week 17 last season in his only career start.

Colts QB Andrew Luck was 7-1 at home in 2012, winning the last six. Seven of the eight home contests were decided by a touchdown or less, giving Luck plenty of time to display his abilities in the clutch. Luck's favorite target again figures to be 13-year standout Reggie Wayne, who amassed 106 catches and 1,355 yards last season.

LINE: Indianapolis opened as a -8.5 favorite and moved to -10.5. The total moved from 49 to 47 points.
Oakland (+8.0) - Indianapolis (+1.0) + home field (-3.0) = Colts -10

* Colts are 6-0 ATS in their last six home games.
* Raiders are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games overall.
* Under is 11-2 in Colts last 13 home games.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
(-4.5, 48.5)

Green Bay fell 45-31 to San Francisco in the NFC divisional round but is in good shape heading into 2013 with QB Aaron Rodgers in his prime and a host of receiving weapons at his disposal. He'll be put to the test in Week 1 against a vaunted 49ers defense that finished second in the league in fewest points against.

The San Francisco offense belongs to quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The Green Bay defense is ready to go after the nimble QB, who racked up 181 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Green Bay in their playoff showdown.

LINE: San Francisco opened -5 and has dropped to -4.5. The total has been adjusted from 50.5 to 48.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Green Bay (-6.5) – San Francisco (-8.0) + home field (-3.0) = 49ers -4.5
WEATHER: Temperatures in low 70s, clear skies, winds WSW 6 mph

* Over is 5-0 in the last five meetings.
* Packers are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven meetings in San Francisco.
* Packers are 9-3-2 ATS in their last 14 meetings.

Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams (-4.5, 41.5)

Longtime Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher is back for his second season with the Rams while Bruce Arians takes the reins for the Cardinals. He will be charged with reviving a team that produced an NFC-low 250 points and lost 11 of its final 12 games after bolting out to a 4-0 start last season.

St. Louis, surprisingly, had the best record within its division and looks to continue its ascent behind a youthful squad that features electrifying rookie receiver Tavon Austin. Daryl Richardson gets first crack at replacing free-agent departure RB Steven Jackson in the backfield and will run behind a beefed-up line that added former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long.

St. Louis opened as a 5-point favorite and moved to -4.5. The total has moved from 41 to 41.5 points.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: Arizona (+5.0) – St. Louis (+2.5) + home field (-3.0) = Rams -5.5

* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in St. Louis.
* Under is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.
* Rams are 7-0 ATS in their last seven vs. NFC West.

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5, 48.5)

The New York Giants attempt to continue their dominance at Cowboys Stadium Sunday night. New York has won all four of its games in Dallas' new stadium since it opened in 2009, including a 29-24 triumph on Oct. 28. The Giants have captured six of the last eight overall meetings between the NFC East rivals.

New York hopes to have Victor Cruz in the lineup as the wide receiver suffered a bruised heel in the second week of the preseason and just returned to practice on Monday. Dallas looks to improve upon the 19th-ranked defense in the league in 2012. In an effort to accomplish this goal, the club replaced defensive coordinator Rob Ryan with Monte Kiffin and switched to a 4-3 alignment.

LINE: Dallas opened as a 3-point favorite and has moved to -3.5. The total has moved from 49 to 48.5.
PRIME WAGERS POWER RANKINGS: New York (-3.0) - Dallas (-1.5) + home field (-3.0) = Cowboys -4.5

* Giants are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings in Dallas.
* Giants are 6-2 ATS in their last eight meetings.
* Over is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.

Peyton Manning had electricity in his arm. Was it the lightning?

Peyton Manning ElectricPeyton Manning ties record with 7 touchdown passes in season opener over Ravens
Manning and the Denver Broncos waited eight long months, then another 33 minutes to get the season started because of a lightning storm.

It seems like the electricity in the lightning went straight into Manning's arm.

After three punts to start things off, Manning threw a record-tying seven touchdown passes, something no one had done in 44 years, in directing Denver to a 49-27 victory over Super Bowl champion Baltimore on Thursday night in a much-anticipated rematch against the team that ended the Broncos' playoff run in January.

Manning connected with his most prized addition, Wes Welker, and former
college basketball player Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas for two TDs each in
piling up the most points scored on the Ravens in their 18-year history.

''I don't like excuses but I do think that lightning delay did slow us
down,'' Manning said. ''You guys have seen teams break it down: you come up for
the team prayer, you put your hands in and you say, `Broncos on 3,' and you go
out to the field.

''We did it three times tonight,'' Manning said. ''We did it, went back and
sat down for 10 minutes and came back up again. `Broncos on 3,' now sit down for
another 10 minutes. I know they had to deal with it, too, but it took us a while
to get started.''

Wearing an orange-and-gray glove like the one he wore on that icy January
night the last time these teams met, Manning took a while to get warmed up
against a defense that had to replace seven Super Bowl starters.

He ditched the glove when the rain stopped -- and then was unstoppable.

''Peyton had an amazing night,'' Broncos coach John Fox said. ''Peyton's had
a lot of amazing nights.''

Not like this, though.

Manning is the sixth QB in NFL history to throw seven TD passes in a game and
the first since Joe Kapp for Minnesota against Baltimore on Sept. 28, 1969.

Tom Brady never did it. Nor Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Steve Young
or Terry Bradshaw. Or, for that matter, No. 7 himself, John Elway, who had his
binoculars trained on the action from his perch in the luxury seats.

"I felt like we had to keep scoring because Baltimore can score at any
time,'' said Manning, who was 27 of 42 for 462 yards with no interceptions for
an off-the-charts quarterback rating of 141.1.

''He's phenomenal. To continue to come out every year and put that kind of
performance on for us, it's amazing,'' Julius Thomas said.

All part of a thorough thrashing of the team that put a harsh end to what had
looked like a Super Bowl-bound 2012 in Denver. The rematch came nearly eight
months after Baltimore beat Denver 38-35 in double overtime on an icy January
night in the same stadium.

The hero on that night was Jacoby Jones, who caught a 70-yard TD pass over
Rahim Moore with 31 seconds left to tie it in regulation. This time, his night
was cut short when he went back to field a punt in the first half and teammate
Brynden Trawick plowed into him, sending him to the sideline with a sprained
right knee.

''That's an experience problem, he's an inexperienced guy,'' Ravens coach
John Harbaugh said.

When the teams finally took the field after the long delay, it was clear how
much had changed.

This night was certainly a masterpiece for Manning.

Notes: Broncos injuries: KR Trindon Holliday (lower left leg), Eric Decker
(right shoulder) and S Omar Bolden (left shoulder). ... Ravens RT Michael Oher
left with a sprained ankle. ... Shaun Phillips, who played in Miller's place,
had 2 1/2 sacks in his Denver debut. ... The Broncos were without CB Champ
Bailey (foot), who's expected back in Week 2 when the Manning travels to New
York to face his little brother, Eli.