2011 NFL Week 7 Point Spreads

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (#33) runs past Carolina Panthers linebacker James Anderson (#50) in the second half of an NFL football game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia on October 16, 2011. The Falcons defeated the Panthers 31-17. UPI Photo/Erik S. Lesser

Four spreads of note:

Falcons +3.5 @ Lions, 1:00PM ET Sunday
Apparently the Falcons showed enough last week in their win over the Panthers to make people believe they’re starting to turn things around. Either that or folks are slowly starting to climb off the Lions bandwagon. The spread for this game opened at Detroit –4.5 and within a day it was down to 3.5. Considering Atlanta was viewed as a potential Super Bowl team this season, the Falcons look like a value getting over a field goal. With Julio Jones iffy to return from a hamstring injury, we could see a lot of Michael Turner again this Sunday, especially considering Detroit has had its issues with stopping the run. The Falcons relied heavily on Turner last week against Carolina, as he rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Personally, I think the total is the most attractive play in this game. Forty-seven points seems way to high for two teams that have struggled at times offensively.

Bears -1 @ Bucs, 1:00PM ET Sunday
The Bucs beat the Saints last week at home and they’re now a 1-point underdog against a Chicago team that hasn’t won back-to-back games all season? I guess that’s not too surprising seeing as how ugly the Bucs have looked at times, but it’s not like the Bears have performed any better away from Solider Field (0-2 with two non-covers at New Orleans and Detroit). There’s value here somewhere but it’s hard to figure out which teams will show up this Sunday, especially seeing as how the game is being played in London. Both of these squads have had rather uneven performances from week-to-week this season.

Steelers –3.5 @ Cardinals, 4:05PM ET
The spread in this game seems awfully low to me, even when you account for home field advantage. That’s probably because the Steelers have looked great one week (see Titans), only to come out the next week and barely beat an inferior opponent (see Jaguars). If the Cardinals have any chance of getting back into the NFC West race, they need to win on Sunday. The problem is that Kevin Kolb hasn’t been the quarterback Arizona thought it was getting when it traded for him this offseason. The Cards have been in every game this year except their disastrous Week 5 showing in Minnesota, but Kolb just hasn’t gotten it done in the fourth quarter.

Chiefs +4 @ Raiders, 4:05PM ET, Sunday
It’s funny, the Raiders opened as a 3-point favorite with Kyle Boller under center and as soon as they announced that Carson Palmer would start, the spread climbed to 4 points. So Palmer, who hasn’t taken a snap in a live game since January, is worth a full point in a divisional game? I know he’s familiar with the offense thanks to the time he spent with Hue Jackson in Cincinnati but so much for easing the guy in. That speaks volumes towards Oakland’s confidence in Boller. It’ll be interesting to see how this game plays out come Sunday.

2011 NFL Week 8 Point Spreads & Totals:

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Bengals strike gold while Raiders assume massive risk in Palmer trade

Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback Carson Palmer fumbles the ball as he scrambles against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on January 2, 2011. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

A first-round pick in 2012 and a conditional pick in 2013 that could become a first-rounder based on playing time and incentives? For Carson Palmer?

Put it on the board: Mike Brown just hit a grand slam, then came up in the same inning and hit another grand slam. If the conditional pick winds up being a first-rounder and Brown actually nets two starters with the selections he received for Palmer, then he would have hit for the cycle while doing a handstand and eating a hot dog all at the same time.

Palmer could go on to lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl and Mike Brown would still wind up being a winner in all of this. Palmer was never going to play for the Bengals again. He said as much while digging his heels into the ground and standing firm on his retirement threat this offseason. The Bengals would have been fortunate to have received a third-rounder for Palmer and gotten his salary off the books. Instead, they net a first-round pick and another selection that could turn into a first-rounder.

Granted, we don’t know all the details yet. That conditional first-rounder may only be if Palmer wins two Super Bowls in Oakland and winds up with a bust in the Hall of Fame. But to receive one first-round pick for him was a massive victory for Brown and the Bengals. Let’s not forget that this is the same Palmer whose arm strength and mobility appeared to be declining badly last season and who hasn’t played in a live game (preseason or otherwise) since January 2.

Before I get too swept up in the sticker price for Palmer, let me state that I understand why the Raiders made this move. Due to Jason Campbell’s season-ending injury, they’ve mortgaged their future for the chance to win now. They know that if Darren McFadden stays healthy they’ll remain competitive and it’s not as if Palmer doesn’t know the offense. He and coach Hue Jackson spent time together in Cincinnati, so it theoretically shouldn’t take long for him to get up to speed. Plus, with Campbell and Kyle Boller set to become free agents at the end of the year, Terrelle Pryor was the only quarterback on the roster signed past 2011. Eventually they needed to address the position and had a chance to trade for a franchise quarterback, so they took the risk with Palmer.

That said, I still wouldn’t have made this deal. Not in today’s NFL where building through the draft is still the answer to winning over the long haul. Ask the Packers and Steelers, who have made minimal free agent signings over the years while combining to win three Super Bowls in the last six seasons.

Plus, it’s not like Palmer is in his prime or has won anything of substance as a professional. I would use the term “franchise quarterback” loosely when it comes to describing his talents. When the Bears traded a first, a third, and Kyle Orton to the Broncos for Jay Cutler, the latter was just about to turn 26. The Bears mortgaged their future for a young signal caller who played a position they had trouble filling for over two decades. Palmer is 31 and has already showed signs of decline.

The best case scenario for Oakland is that Palmer just needs a change of scenery and will be motivated to prove he still has a couple of years left in the tank. Maybe he gets to Oakland and has a resurgence just like Rich Gannon did early last decade.

But that’s the best-case scenario. The worst-case is that Palmer’s game continues to deteriorate, the Raiders lose two high draft picks and wind up paying an aging quarterback nearly $30 million to be Pryor’s tutor. (Assuming Oakland still views Pryor as the future, that is.)

For Brown and the Bengals, there is no worst-case scenario. Palmer was done in Cincinnati and if Andy Dalton pans out, the Bengals have already filled their need at quarterback. For once, Brown’s stubbornness finally paid off.

Oakland Raiders acquire Carson Palmer

Mike Florio is reporting that Carson Palmer has been traded by the Cincinnati Bengals to the Oakland Raiders. Jay Glazer broke the story and the compensation appears to be a first-round pick in 2012 and a conditional pick in 2013 which is a second-rounder that could become a first-rounder.

This deal can be a huge win for both teams. The Bengals get two high draft picks for a player who basically told them to go to hell. The Raiders all of a sudden have a front-line quarterback to pair with their powerful running game. They are mortgaging the future, but they must see real potential to get to the playoffs and compete this season. Ironically, this is a the type of deal All Davis would have made.

Palmer has been an excellent quarterback for years, but his skills seem to have slipped a bit. That said, he has a big arm, and he can rejuvenate his career on a team with a running game.

As for the Bengals, everyone left them for dead at the beginning of the season because they had a rookie quarterback, but the Bengals have a solid defense and Dalton looks pretty good so far. Now they have more picks to build for the future.

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