A look, now, at the biggest stories that came from Week 13 of the NFL season.
Raising Arizona. Arguably the biggest NFL football betting story from Sunday was the 30-17 whipping the Arizona Cardinals laid on the Minnesota Vikings. The Cards came into this contest as three-point home dogs, thanks largely to the questions surrounding the availability of QB Kurt Warner. Warner, who had missed the previous game against Tennessee due to post-concussion syndrome, was questionable for this contest…But his performance was anything but. He threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, helping his two key receivers – Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald – have huge days. Boldin hauled in seven passes for 98 yards and two scores; Fitzgerald caught a game-high eight passes for 143 yards and a TD.
But the big story for the Cards was their defensive dominance over Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson and the Vikes offense. Arizona sacked Favre three times and picked him off twice, holding him to a lowly 79.4 passer rating. But it was the stout defense against Peterson that was the real shocker. “All Day” was held in check all day (apologies for the pun) – Peterson could only muster 19 yards on 13 carries, his lowest rushing total of the season. The Cards are now an impressive 7-4-1 against the spread and have all but sewn up the NFC West – they can do the business next weekend in a key divisional game at San Francisco.
Tough times in Steeltown. What has happened to the defending Super Bowl champs? The Steelers have lost four games in a row and find themselves 4-8 ATS on the season — not the kind of stuff we’re used to from this proud franchise. The shocking 27-24 loss to Oakland (at home, no less) is Pittsburgh’s second troubling loss in the last three weeks. Lest we forget they dropped a 27-24 decision to the woeful Chiefs on the 22nd of November. The Steelers now find themselves in must-win territory for the remainder of the season, no easy task considering the Packers, Ravens and Dolphins are still on the slate.
And then, there’s the Patriots…Another storied franchise going through some tough times. Many assumed New England would rebound nicely against the ‘Fins yesterday after getting embarrassed on MNF by New Orleans last week, but it wasn’t to be. The Pats went into Miami as five-point road favourites but simply couldn’t close out the Dolphins when it mattered; New England frittered away a 21-10 third-quarter lead, allowing Miami to score the final12 points, including Dan Carpenter’s game-winning field goal with 1:02 remaining. The loss really opened things up in the suddenly-competitive AFC East — the Pats (7-5) now have just a one-game lead over the 6-6 Dolphins and Jets. Sports bettors had to be stunned by this loss in Miami. The Pats hadn’t lost back-to-back games since weeks nine and 10 of the 2006 season…And there’s no telling how much longer this losing streak will go for.
Other notes: Minnesota received more bad news on Sunday, learning that stud LB E.J. Henderson will miss the remainder of the season with a broken fibula…The Washington Redskins continued their impressive run of ATS victories by covering eight points in a 33-30 OT loss to the Saints. The ‘Skins have now covered four straight…Jacksonville continues to play well against AFC South divisional foes. The Jags are 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS this season…