Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is not well-liked by Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs who noted there was a "bounty" on Ward the next time the two meet. But that's well into the future, and Pittsburgh first has to focus on the New York Giants coming to town this Sunday in a matchup of 5-1 teams. Eli Manning leads the G-Men into Steel City and knows they can't afford to look ahead to Dallas next week.
One of the great things about football as a betting sport is the relative candor NFL players have with the media. Here’s what Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs had to say on syndicated radio last week regarding Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Hines Ward:
“We got something in store for him.”
Suggs had earlier called Ward a dirty player, and admitted there was a “bounty” on both Ward and Rashard Mendenhall during their Week 3 matchup. Mendenhall was creamed by Ravens LB Ray Lewis and knocked out for the season with an injured left shoulder. Ward escaped in one piece, and the Steelers escaped with a 23-20 overtime win as a 6-point home chalk.
They’ll meet again in Week 15. Suggs might have talked himself into a fine from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but thanks to his frankness, we know Baltimore will be highly motivated for the rematch.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2½) at Dallas Cowboys (40½)
Sunday, Oct 26, 1:00 p.m. (ET) FOX
Things are falling apart in Dallas. The Cowboys (4-3 SU, 2-5 ATS) have just one win in their last four games. QB Tony Romo and his broken pinkie aren’t coming back until Week 11. RB Felix Jones (hamstring) may or may not be ready by then. Safety Roy Williams definitely won’t; he was put on injured reserve after breaking his right arm for the second time this season.
The story is the opposite in Tampa Bay, where the 5-2 Buccaneers (5-2 ATS) are on top in the ultra-competitive NFC South. The Bucs had their five-game ATS streak snapped last week by a lousy half-point; Tampa Bay allowed the slumping Seahawks (+10½) to steal a matador cover in a 20-10 loss. But it was still a strong performance by the Bucs and the returning Jeff Garcia (27-for-36, 310 yards, one TD).
Dallas QB Brad Johnson will be facing the team with whom he won the Super Bowl. His three-pick performance against the Rams wasn’t encouraging, but the Dallas defense (minus suspended CB Adam Jones) was equally to blame for last week’s 34-14 loss to the Rams (+9 at home). The over is on a 4-0 run for the Cowboys.
Kansas City Chiefs (+14) at New York Jets (39)
Sunday, Oct 26, 1:00 p.m. (ET) CBS
At least the Cowboys have a No. 2 quarterback. The Kansas City Chiefs (1-5 SU, 2-4 ATS) are down to third-stringer Tyler Thigpen for Sunday’s matchup with the New York Jets (3-3 SU and ATS). Brodie Croyle was lost for the year with a torn MCL, then was thrown under the bus by coach Herm Edwards, who said the franchise has “got to move on” from Croyle.
What the Chiefs really need is an offensive line that can prevent its quarterbacks from getting stampeded. Damon Huard is also out for the season with a broken finger; both he and Croyle were hurt in last week’s 34-10 loss to Tennessee (-9). The Titans picked up three sacks to put Kansas City at 18 on the season, ranking No. 26 in the league in pass protection.
The Jets (15 sacks) aren’t great in this department, either, but they’re considerably better at stopping the run: 3.2 yards per carry against (No. 4 in the NFL) to Kansas City’s 5.6 yards (No. 32). Shop for your lines and get Jets -13½ or Chiefs +14, depending on your preference.
New York Giants (+3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (42)
Sunday, Oct 26, 4:15 p.m. (ET) FOX
The half-point has a much larger impact on this matchup, which is also available as Pittsburgh -2½. Each of these teams won a game in overtime this year by a field goal – we already mentioned the Steelers victory over Baltimore, while the Giants (-13) scraped by the Bengals 26-23.
The 5-1 Steelers (3-3 ATS) have a few more warts than the 5-1 Giants (4-2 ATS). Pittsburgh’s offensive line has given up 20 sacks, the running game is getting a lousy 3.9 yards per carry, and they are getting a lot of nothing on punt and kick returns. But the Steelers have also had a tougher schedule, playing four of their last five on the road, including stops in Philadelphia (-3½) and Jacksonville (-5). This is the first time this season the Giants have been underdogs against the betting odds. If they win this game, it might be the last.