Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 9:50 AM
Pass the cranberry sauce - and while you're at it -- can you hand us the remote control too! It's Thanksgiving Day 2011 and there's high-quality wall-to-wall football and go ahead and tell Uncle Billy to stop dozing on the couch and politely ask Aunt Donna to make sure we can eat between games on this special holiday. Just call it a veritable Football Feast - and now hear this:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be winning big-time in NFL Week 12 action beginning with the Thanksgiving Day tripleheader (see our Jim Sez Previews below) and don't forget all the College Football & Basketball action all holiday week/weekend long. Ladies and gents, it's the start of The Annual Jim Hurley Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot - that's Five (5) full days/nights of winning action - beginning here and going right through Monday Night Football (that's the New York Giants at the New Orleans Saints). Remember that you can have it all when checking with us at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or else go online right here for all the gridiron winners. It's only $100 for the whole Turkey Shoot ... so what are you waiting for?
NFL WEEK 12 - THE THANKSGIVING DAY/NIGHT PREVIEWS
GREEN BAY (10-0) at DETROIT (7-3) - 12:30 p.m. ET, Fox
Ever hear about "must-see TV" ... well that's the case here as we all begin a monstrous week/weekend of NFL, College Football and College Basketball action but you could say this might well be the best gridiron game on the whole docket that includes 4 football games on Thanksgiving, 14 games the day-after-Thanksgiving, 38 games on Saturday, 12 NFL games on Sunday and then the cherry-on-top Monday Night Football bash from New Orleans.
Hey, it's the "perfect Packers" who represent the first NFL unbeaten team in nearly 50 years to play on Thanksgiving Day (see the 1962 Packers who ironically enough lost in Detroit that year on Turkey Day) and they bring into this NFC North hoedown the best offense in the league while averaging 407 yards and let's not lose sight of the fact Green Bay's won its last 16 consecutive games while the Lions have lost their last seven Thanksgiving Day games by a per-game margin of 22.9 points - yikes!
If the Lions - a 6-point home underdog at press time - want to kayo the Packers' dreamy season than Detroit's defense must collect a batch of negative-yard plays and some turnovers too. Note that Detroit has 27 quarterback sacks and so DL Ndamukong Suh and mates will fiercely pursue Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers (3,168 yards passing with 31 TDs and 4 INTs) plus the home folks must not be so darn careless when they have the ball (see three turnovers on their first three possessions in last week's wild 49-35 win/cover against Carolina).
Detroit QB Matthew Stafford (2,843 yards passing with 25 TDs and 10 INTs) can run hot-and-cold in the same game but he better know where his bread is buttered and so WR Calvin Johnson (11 TDs) must get into the act ASAP.
Spread Notes - Green Bay is 7-3 against the odds overall this "perfect season" and note the Packers enter this holiday affair at 18-6 vig-wise since early in the 2010 campaign (folks, that's an incredible .750 winning rate). Note that GB's also covered seven of its last 10 head-to-head showdowns with the rival Lions. Meanwhile, note that Detroit is a rock-solid 6-3-1 ATS (against the spread) this season and the Lions are 6-2-1 spreadwise in NFC North affairs since the start of last season.
MIAMI (3-7) at DALLAS (6-4) - 4:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Okay, so if Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson was lauded as Mr. October than does than officially make Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo Mr. November?
No doubt by now you're well aware of the fact Romo's career record in this month is a dazzling 18-2 SU and he's already posted wins this month against Seattle, Buffalo and Washington with last Sunday's 27-24 overtime triumph a real statement game for the "Boys who made the big pass completion in OT - see Romo-to-WR Dez Bryant for 26 yards - and now Jason Garrett's gang tries to make it four wins in a row with this Turkey Day tilt against suddenly hot Miami. And whoever figured the Dolphins would have a shot at winning four in a row when this season started with seven straight losses and a whole lot of dissension?
If the Fish - a solid TD underdog for this game in Arlington - is gonna be hanging around at the finish line than QB Matt Moore must continue to keep mistakes to a bare minimum and note he comes off a 3-TD effort in last Sunday's easy-as-pie 35-8 home win against Buffalo.
Spread Notes - Dallas is a rotten 4-8-1 versus the vig in its last baker's dozen games dating back to late last year but did you know the Cowboys have covered their last five consecutive Turkey Day games? Miami, meanwhile, rolls into Thanksgiving Day riding a four-game spread winning streak and the Dolphins have covered their last three non-AFC East games after starting off the year at 0-4 versus the vig when going outside divisional play.
SAN FRANCISCO (9-1) at BALTIMORE (7-3) - 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network
The Brothers Harbaugh are getting all the attention here - and why not - "cause this is an historic moment in time in the NFL with two head-coaching brothers facing one another for the first time ever but wonder who the rest of the family is rooting for here?
Younger brother Jim and his San Francisco 49ers are merely the rage of the league this season even if the style of play they feature is on the meat-and-potatoes side - it's the no-frills approach for the NFC West gang that's already won all four of its games played in the Eastern time zone this year (at Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Detroit and Washington).
Big brother John, meanwhile, guides his own Super Bowl contender but getting a real read on these Ravens has been tough - a clean season series sweep against archrival Pittsburgh but yet slumbering setbacks against the likes of Tennessee, Jacksonville and Seattle.
Oh, brother, is right!
The game plan - as we alluded to - never really changes for these 2011 Niners as RB Frank Gore and Company would love to rush the ball 40-or-more times and so it may be highly important as to whether or not Baltimore LB Ray Lewis (toe) plays here. Note that Lewis missed last Sunday's 31-24 win against 6 ½-point dog Cincinnati.
Meanwhile, the game plan for Baltimore likely includes a few downfield shots by QB Joe Flacco to rookie WR Torrey Smith but the Ravens actually may steal a page from the San Fran playbook and make sure RB Ray Rice gets 25-or-more totes here - we can't wait for those collisions with 49ers LB Patrick Willis who should be mounting his own case as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year.
What is an X-factor in this brotherly love affair?
Check out San Francisco PK David Akers - who attempted six FGs in the first half of last Sunday's 23-7 win/cover against 10-point pup Arizona - and whether or not he can nail his 45-yard-or-longer kicks here. It could mean the difference between a fifth consecutive road win or not for the Niners.
Spread Notes - San Francisco is 9-0-1 against the Las Vegas prices this season and among the spread conquests are outright underdog winners against Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Detroit. Note that the Niners are 9-4-3 ATS as dogs since the start of 2009 and SF's 6-3-1 spreadwise in its last 10 tilts versus AFC teams. Baltimore is 18-11 ATS overall at home since the start of the 2008 season and that includes this year's hearty 4-1 spread mark that features covers against Pittsburgh, the NY Jets and Cincinnati.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S THANKSGIVING NIGHT PREVIEW
#25 TEXAS (6-4, 3-4 Big 12) at TEXAS A&M (6-5, 4-4 Big 12) - 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Sad to see this rivalry get put on ice following this game - here's hoping Texas versus Texas A&M gets renewed somewhere down the line but A&M's move to the SEC next year will scuttle this series for the time being - and now we'll see who gets to win their seventh game of the year in what's turned out to be a disappointing campaign for both Lone Star State squads.
Guess Texas needs to go back to the drawing board at quarterback as freshman David Ash (3 TDs and 8 INTs) hasn't been the short-term answer while the Aggies - who rank 10th nationally in points scored (40.9 ppg) - simply have not learned to hold big second-half leads. Will that cost fourth-year boss Mike Sherman his job? There's some talk he needs to win here against the "Horns or else could walk the gang plank!
Spread Notes - First off, road teams have covered seven of the last 10 games in this rivalry and that includes last year when Texas A&M (- 3 ½) snagged a 24-17 win at Texas. Overall, the A&M Aggies are a money-burning 3-8 against the odds this year while the UT Longhorns are 13-22-1 spreadwise in all on-the-board games since the start of thee 2009 campaign.
NOTE: More College Football holiday weekend previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.