If you read my Thursday night preview of Ravens at Steelers , you know I recommended Baltimore at +2.5. And that was a winner but also proves that sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.
The Ravens had no right winning that game, but Pittsburgh kicker Josh Scobee missed 49- and 41-yard field goals in the fourth quarter, each of which would have salted it away. Pittsburgh opted to go for it on a fourth-and-1 in OT when it was in field-goal range (would have been a 50-yarder), but a Michael Vick pass was incomplete. Why didn't the Steelers run Le'Veon Bell? Good question. Most teams kick it there, but Mike Tomlin didn't trust Scobee. Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker made a 42-yard attempt to tie the game with three seconds left in regulation and a 52-yarder in overtime to seal a 23-20 victory against the Steelers.
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Needless to say, the term "Josh Scobee" was trending heavily on social media Saturday. The Steelers worked out kickers Friday and by the time you read this may have cut Scobee and signed one of them. The Ravens should have been 0-4; now if they somehow manage to make the postseason, they better send Scobee a playoff share.
Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 4.
Giants at Bills (-5): Buffalo opened at -6 but has officially ruled out its two best offensive players, running back LeSean McCoy and receiver Sammy Watkins. So I'm not surprised that the Giants are taking a solid lean now. That said, New York early in the week was expecting No. 2 receiver Victor Cruz to make his season debut off a calf injury, but he apparently tweaked it in his first practice since mid-August on Wednesday and now is out indefinitely. Thus, expect Bills head coach Rex Ryan to design some sort of box-and-one basketball-type scheme to bottle up New York's Odell Beckham Jr. With 20 receiving yards Sunday, Beckham would surpass Bill Groman (1,593) for the most receiving yards through a player's first 16 games. With a 100-yard receiving game against Buffalo, Beckham would tie Groman (nine) for the most 100-yard receiving games through a player's first 16 career games.
Jets vs. Dolphins (+1.5): Remember, this is the 9:30 a.m. start in London. Don't think that the casual betting fan is influenced by the media? All week you have been hearing how sad the Dolphins have looked and how poorly coached they are by the embattled Joe Philbin. So now the Jets are taking a nearly 70 percent lean, which has moved this line from an opening pick'em. Just remember to look at the talent on the field, not what people are writing or saying. The Dolphins have more than the Jets do.
Jaguars at Colts (-9.5): Line opened at -8.5, but this will move like crazy if Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck is out. Early in the week, Luck's injury wasn't even a thought. Now he's legitimately questionable for Sunday with a shoulder problem. Luck has yet to miss a single snap as a pro. Luck was not out with the other quarterbacks at the start of practice Friday. He was limited both Wednesday and Thursday. Veteran Matt Hasselbeck, who hasn't started a game since Nov. 4, 2012, would get the call if Luck sits. Might Indy sit Luck thinking it can beat the Jaguars with Hasselbeck and knowing the Colts have quick turnaround game on Thursday in Week 5 at Houston? You may want to change your Survivor Pool pick accordingly here.
Cowboys at Saints (-3): Line has stayed steady, but Dallas is taking a solid lean. That is likely to change by kickoff because Drew Brees is going to play after missing Week 3 with a shoulder injury. Coach Sean Payton made that official on Friday. The Saints have to have this one at 0-3, and they have shockingly lost six straight at the Superdome, which used to be perhaps the hardest place to win in the NFL.
Browns at Chargers (-7.5): Opened at -7. Should San Diego beat Cleveland? No doubt. I mean, Philip Rivers vs. Josh McCown? However, Rivers has been under siege behind a leaky offensive line, and that group might be missing four starters against Cleveland. Left guard Orlando Franklin already has been ruled out. Left tackle King Dunlap and center Chris Watt are being called doubtful. And right guard D.J. Fluker is questionable. The Bolts are so desperate they had to call up two guys from the practice squad and sign center J.D. Walton off the street.
Panthers at Buccaneers (+3): Bit surprised that Carolina is taking the largest lean of Week 4 as of this writing. Yes, it's true the Bucs are still winless at home under Coach Lovie Smith. But might this be a bit of a trap game with the Panthers on their bye next week (and with four very tough games coming out of it)? Some believe in that argument, while some say teams play even harder ahead of the bye knowing rest is coming. I honestly think it depends on the opponent. The Cats will be without their best defensive player, linebacker Luke Kuechly, for a third straight game due to a concussion. By the way, at some books this is the only total under 40 (39.5).
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