Thursday, November 22, 2007

colts vs falcons

NFL Odds - Colts vs. Falcons at the Georgia Dome

By Jordan Walters Contributing Writer

NFL Betting at WagerWeb Online Sportsbook

The Thanksgiving Day NFL finale between the Colts and Falcons won't be on in many households in the U.S. because of the dispute between the NFL Network (on which the game is airing) and some of the country's biggest cable providers.

Maybe that's a good thing, as two banged-up, offensively struggling clubs will take the field on Thursday night, with visiting Indianapolis an 11.5-point favorite on

If it seems a stretch to compare a Super Bowl-quality team such as Indy to a bottom-dweller such as Atlanta, it's not. The Colts have not been the same since losing to the Patriots, and that's mainly because of injuries.

The key injury has been to WR Marvin Harrison, who won't play again Thursday because of a knee problem.

He has missed five of the six games since his injury and his absence has been exacerbated by injuries to wide receivers Anthony Gonzalez (hand) and Aaron Moorehead (back) and tight ends Dallas Clark (concussion) and Bryan Fletcher (calf).

Moorehead had started the last two games in place of Harrison, but he was placed on injured reserve this week and will miss the rest of the season. The Colts are hopeful that Gonzalez will be able to return against Atlanta. The team's first-round draft choice, Gonzalez has 15 catches for 207 yards in seven games.

Clark returned last week and will play, but he has only 52 yards receiving and no TDS in his past three games.

"I think we'll get some guys back this week and I think we'll get a few more after that," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "I think Anthony Gonzalez, (starting offensive tackle) Tony Ugoh and Bryan Fletcher could all be back this week."

Peyton Manning needs some offensive support, as he has been struggling lately. In a loss to San Diego two weeks ago, Manning threw a career-high six picks, and in last week's squeaker over Kansas City, he threw for only 163 yards.

Against the Chiefs, Manning failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season, and his 163 yards were his fewest in a full game since Sept. 18, 2005, against Jacksonville. Even running back Joseph Addai is feeling the pinch on offense, averaging just 3.0 yards per carry the last two weeks.

"We need to start playing a little better offensively and being more efficient and not counting on our defense to hold their offense to 10 points," said Manning, whose passer rating was 49.4 two weeks ago and 52.0 last week. "If your defense is holding their offense to 10 points, you ought to be able to win the game pretty soundly."

Meanwhile, Atlanta coach Bobby Petrino has reinstalled Joey Harrington as the starting quarterback.

Quarterback Byron Leftwich was ineffective in a loss to Tampa Bay last Sunday before being lifted in favor of Harrington, who had won two straight starts before being benched last week.

Against the Bucs, Leftwich was 15-of-28 for 106 yards with two interceptions and two fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He only has a 51.4 passer rating, and he missed practice Tuesday with a bruised tailbone, making Petrino's choice even earlier.

Harrington was 16-of-20 for 139 yards and a touchdown in relief of Leftwich last week.

"Joey will start the game," Petrino said. "Byron has to see if he can get ready to be the backup."

Leftwich is one of several players who suffered injuries Sunday. The most significant losses for the Falcons: Starting defensive tackles Rod Coleman (triceps, hand) and Trey Lewis (right knee) are done for the season after suffering major injuries.

Montavious Stanley and Jonathan Babineaux will start at defensive tackle.

Starting left offensive tackle Todd Weiner also won't play because he reinjured the left knee that was surgically repaired earlier this season.

"We're in a tough position, there's no doubt about that," Atlanta linebacker Keith Brooking said. "Our backs are against the wall, and we've got some guys out there that haven't had a lot of opportunity in the NFL. It's their time to shine and step up and make some plays for us."

The lowdown: The Colts are 12-1 against Atlanta, but lost 28-21 in their only visit to the Georgia Dome in 1998, Manning's rookie season. Since that game, Manning has thrown for 615 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception in two wins over the Falcons. ...

Indy's defense allows the league's second-fewest yards (266.3 per game) and just 15.9 points, while the Falcons are second-to-last in scoring. Can't see any reason to buck this trend, which is why the best bet on this game might be the on the over/under of 41 (go with the under) on With the game in Atlanta, there's a decent chance the Falcons could cover the 11.5, however.

NFL Wagering Tips: Colts (-14) vs. Falcons (+14)
By D.S. Williamson

The Indianapolis Colts travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons in this years' Thanksgiving night-cap. The game will be broadcast on the NFL Network. So, if you plan on watching it, don't be fooled and switch your TV to ESPN, or CBS, or FOX.

The Colts have not looked good at all in their last three games. Even last week, a win versus the Kansas City Chiefs, was another reason to dislike the Colts. They haven't covered in 2 straight games, but did beat the spread versus the New England Patriots some three weeks ago.

According to the following trends, the Colts are still a very tough team to handle:

The Indianapolis Colts are 10 � 4 against the spread in their last 14 games.

The Atlanta Falcons are 2 and 7 against the spread in their last 9 home games.

Whatever advantage that Falcons' fans believe they have at home just isn't there according to the trend above. The Falcons are a terrible team. Their record shows it. Last weekend, in fact, they were pummeled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who isn't exactly the NFL poster-child for excellent offense.

That does not bode well for the Falcons going into a game versus a Colts team that has to be feeling the pressure after two very sub-par efforts.

The key in this game is what sort of impact the return of Dallas Clark, Marvin Harrison, and Bob Sanders has on the Colts. I, for one, believe that the impact will be to the extreme.

The Falcons can't stop the run and they can't stop the pass. That means that Peyton, with his receiving corp finally at full strength again, should have a field day picking on the Falcons defensive backs. Since the Falcons can't throw the ball, they'll have to run. That means that Colts' run-stopper extraordinaire, Bob Sanders, racks up tons of tackles.

The Falcons give up 321.8 yards per game. That's against teams like Carolina and Tampa Bay. Just think what the Colts are going to do on Thursday night!

This game could get very ugly, very fast.

The BetUS Football line is Indianapolis Colts � 14 against the spread on the road versus the Atlanta Falcons

With Dallas Clark, Marvin Harrison, and Bob Sanders returning to the line-up, expect the Colts to run up the score early.

The Colts will win by at least 17 points.

With 2007 NFL games still a ways away, we at the sportsbook will keep your interest high throughout the NFL offseason with the most exciting and innovative NFL props and NFL futures on the online sports betting market. In the Sportsbook in the Future / Props section, you will see NFL Futures, Specials and Week One NFL Lines for all your favorite NFL teams NFL picks for the Indianapolis Colts vs Atlanta Falcons Thanksgiving day matchup. Early in the season some of the experts were expressing the opinion that the Superbowl champions were an even better team than last year's squad. But after a slew of injuries to key personnel the Colts, 6-4 ATS, have a little bit of vulnerability to them. has the Indianapolis Colts as -13 point football betting favorites.

With Peyton Manning's best friend on the sideline, WR Marvin Harrison, the Colts high powered offense has stalled out at times. Last week against a decent but not overwhelming Kansas City Chiefs defense the Colts managed to accumulate only 216 total yards.

Atlanta's defense isn't half bad but their run defense is shoddy and they could get embarrassed by Indianapolis RB Joseph Addai's dynamic running. Despite the Colts injury troubles Atlanta, 6-4 ATS, has inadequate QB Joey Harrington leading them which is a problem. has the TOTAL on the Indianapolis Colts vs Atlanta Falcons game at 41 point football betting odds.

Atlanta has been running the ball better but Harrington can't get the job done and this week he will be without sure handed WR Joe Horn. The Colts can pick QB's pockets with 13 interceptions so Atlanta better hope that their running game can keep them out of 3rd and long situations.

Indy is hurting with DE Dwight Freeney done for the year but they still should be able to penetrate Atlanta's soft pass protection. One of the hidden weaknesses of the Colts this year has been poor special teams play. In games of this nature with a fat spread Indy's poor special teams play could cause them not to cover the points. Will Atlanta pounce on an ailing Colts team in the spotlight on Thanksgiving?

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