November 27, 2010

Week 12 NFL Pick: Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans



Tennessee Titans
(5-5, 5-5 ATS)

Houston Texans
(4-6, 4-6 ATS)

Reliant Stadium will be the sight of Sunday afternoon’s critical AFC South battle, as the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans battle to stay out of the gutter in the division and to start the long climb back into the playoff picture.

The good news for the Titans in this one is that they could reasonably be in first place in the division when this week is said and done, as both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts, who are just a game in front of them, have very tough games to play. The bad news is that there really aren’t any good quarterback options for the team to use. QB Rusty Smith is going to get his first career start in NFL betting action, something that isn’t normally a good thing to hear, especially in Week 12 of the season. QB Vince Young has been put on IR, while QB Kerry Collins is still listed as questionable, yet highly doubtful with a calf strain. That means that Houston’s porous secondary will get at least a bit of a breather in this one. However, the RB Chris Johnson train is just getting ready to pull out of the station, and it will be up to the Texans to find a way to stop him if they have any chance of pulling this one off. Johnson already has 216 runs and 25 catches this year, and he has accounted for 1,071 yards and nine TDs in total. Johnson felt like he did that in just two games last year against Houston, as he absolutely tormented his divisional rivals with two mammoth games.

The Texans are in big trouble this year, as they are 4-6 and need some real help to get back into the playoff race. HC Gary Kubiak is probably on the verge of getting fired as soon as the team is eliminated from postseason contention, but there is still some reason to smile. Houston knows that it is going to get its chance in division to shine, as it has three more games against AFC South foes, and it also knows that the Colts have a heck of a schedule in front of them. Winning this division isn’t beyond the Texans right now, but they need to kick it into gear and do it right now. Offensively, we know that things could be better, but they could be significantly worse as well. This is the most well balanced team that Houston has ever had. It has the league’s top rusher in RB Arian Foster, who has 1,004 yards on the ground on the campaign, and the combination of QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson is always trendy to go off for a huge game. The problem are all defensive, where the Texans are allowing 408.8 yards per game and 28.7 points per game, both of which are the worst mark for any team in the AFC.

If Houston thinks it has any chance of being any more than a middle of the road team, this is a game that it just has to win. The Texans cannot mess around with Smith and the Titans, or Johnson will give them the horns. Look for Houston to at least remotely contain Johnson for long enough to pull ahead, and once Smith has to throw the football, the hosts will pull away.

Pro Football Free Pick: Houston Texans -6.5

GOV. BALDACCI SIGNS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON CULTURAL INITIATIVES WITH NEW BRUNSWICK PREMIER

US Fed News Service, Including US State News July 13, 2010 LENOX, Massachusetts, July 12 — Gov. John Baldacci, D-Maine, issued the following press release:

Gov. John E. Baldacci today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham to establish a Maine-New Brunswick Cultural Initiative.

Specifically, the MOU recognizes the strong and deep historical, cultural and artistic ties between Maine and New Brunswick. The agreement calls for further exploration of collaborative cross-border cultural projects, as well as business and cultural trade opportunities. Among the specific projects that the Cultural Initiative will provide support to is the upcoming 2014 World Acadian Congress. That event will be held in an area encompassing northern Maine, Temiscouata, Quebec and northwestern New Brunswick. see here memorandum of understanding

“Maine’s ties with our friends in New Brunswick are strong. I am pleased that in the past few years we have expanded our partnerships, especially in the areas of education, energy and the economy,” said Governor Baldacci. “The agreement we sign today builds on these ties and will enhance our creative economies.” “This initiative builds on the long tradition of friendship New Brunswickers have enjoyed with the people of Maine,” said Premier Graham. “We look forward to sharing the rich culture of our communities and artists with our neighbors and identifying new opportunities for cooperation in the promotion of arts and culture.” The MOU was signed by the two leaders during the 34th Conference of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers being held in Lenox, Massachusetts.

As part of the agreement, Maine and New Brunswick will each appoint one person to serve as the point of contact for the tasks outlined in the MOU. Governor Baldacci has appointed Donna McNeil, the Director of the Maine Arts Commission, to fill this role for the State. The points of contact will report back to both governments by Dec. 1, 2010, to provide initial assessment of priorities after collecting input from cultural industry stakeholders.

The text of the MOU follows:

Memorandum of Understanding Between The State of Maine And The Province of New Brunswick To Enhance the Mutual Benefits Of Maine/New Brunswick Cultural Relations Through the Establishment of a Maine-New Brunswick Cultural Initiative WHEREAS, The State of Maine (“Maine”) shares deep and long standing artistic, historical, and cultural ties with the Province of New Brunswick (“New Brunswick”); Maine and New Brunswick each have, existing within their respective borders, highly talented artists and craftspeople; Maine and New Brunswick each have a population that includes well-trained performers and musicians; Maine and New Brunswick each have throughout their respective state and province a wide range of art and cultural galleries, museums, historic places, and performance spaces; Maine and New Brunswick have each adopted policies to promote arts and culture; Maine and New Brunswick each recognize the value in attracting and retaining a skilled and creative workforce; Maine and New Brunswick each recognize the value that vital, creative individuals, institutions, businesses, and communities have on the economic well being of their respective state and province; Maine and New Brunswick place value on opportunities to learn from each others’ artists, performers, cultural institutions, creative businesses and creative communities; Maine and New Brunswick will collaborate in the organization of the next Congres mondial acadien (World Acadian Congress) which will take place in the northern region of Maine, the northwestern region of New Brunswick and Temiscouata, Quebec in August 2014; Maine and New Brunswick recognize that strengthened cultural relations between their respective state and province can expand cultural markets, improve efficiencies, create opportunities; and result in the mutual enrichment of cultural resources. NOW THEREFORE, I, John Elias Baldacci, Governor of the State of Maine and I, Shawn Graham, Premier of the Province of New Brunswick, do hereby enter into this “Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Maine and the Province of New Brunswick to enhance the Mutual Benefits of Maine/New Brunswick Cultural Relations” and do hereby agree as hereinafter set forth. Maine and New Brunswick agree to establish a Maine-New Brunswick Cultural Initiative by agreeing to jointly undertake the following tasks: 1. Examine any manner of simplifying and streamlining border-crossing processes for artists, performers, cultural institutions, and creative businesses; 2. Explore the potential of enhancing the exchange of cultural information; 3. Explore the potential for collaborative cross-border cultural projects; 4. Identify possible new and/or expanded cross-border business and/or cultural tourism opportunities; 5. Explore the differences and similarities between approaches to the creative economy and creative communities in Maine and New Brunswick to assess how successes may be mirrored. Maine and New Brunswick agree to dedicate human resources from their respective state and provincial agencies for the exploration of the tasks described herein. Maine and New Brunswick agree to appoint one person from each government to serve as each state’s or province’s point of contact (the “Joint Representatives”). The tasks are to be completed in two phases. Phase 1 work will overview the tasks herein, will identify common principles to guide efforts in support of tangible initiatives, and will assess priorities and possibilities. Such review will be completed in consultation with cultural industry stakeholders from both Maine and New Brunswick. The Joint Representatives shall deliver to their respective governments a report on the Phase 1 activities no later than December 1, 2010. Upon completion of Phase 1, Maine and New Brunswick agree to proceed to Phase 2. This phase will detail the status of all priorities and possibilities identified during Phase 1; and provide a recommended timeline for future work. The Joint Representatives shall present a final Phase 2 report to their respective governments no later than April 30, 2011. Upon completion of the items identified above, Maine and New Brunswick agree to consider entering into a further agreement to implement mutually beneficial actions. FINAL DISPOSITIONS (i) The Participants may renew this MOU upon their mutual written consent. go to website memorandum of understanding

(ii) This MOU may be amended by the written consent of all Participants.

(iii) This MOU is not intended to create legal obligations under state, provincial or international law.

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