Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 9:47 AM
And in this corner ...Wait - wrong sport! Guess that wasn't boxing or wrestling at Ford Field on Sunday afternoon.
The end-of-the-game "hard handshake" between San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Detroit Lions boss-man Jim Schwartz wasn't exactly gentlemanly like and so anyone that watched National Football League games/highlights all day and night long on Sunday probably saw that altercation about a gazillion times but what needs to be asked today isn't whether Harbaugh and/or Schwartz get fined or suspended for their actions (who cares!) but whether or not either/both of these 5-1 squads loses focus while heading into the future.
In case you were wondering, the Niners are off this Sunday enjoying their bye week while the Lions will host the Atlanta Falcons - now we'll see whether Schwartz gets his club back into the swing of things after Detroit's season-starting five-game winning streak was snapped or whether the gang from Motown spends the next few days defending their head coach and thereby missing a beat or two on the field. Do stay tuned.
Meanwhile, the real fallout from NFL Week 6 action yesterday was that the Lions finally fell from the ranks of the unbeaten - okay, so that just leaves you, defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers! - while San Francisco was joined in the 5-1 ranks by the New England Patriots and you know it's never too early to start discussing home-field advantage come the NFC and AFC Playoffs come January.
We'll tackle the wins by the 49ers and Pats in just a moment plus we'll offer up some quick-hitter comments regarding NFL Week 6 play but first this key reminder:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will win big-time tonight as we finish off the NFL Week 6 schedule with the Miami Dolphins-New York Jets MNF bash plus there's always College Football and don't forget the World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals gets underway in St. Loo on Wednesday/Thursday nights -- and so make sure you're all aboard as we will take you right through Super Bowl XLVI on February 5th. Just remember to call our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here for the NFL, NCAA Football and MLB Playoff winners! Go ahead and get Monday Night Football's winner right now!
NFL WEEK 6 NEWS & NOTES
SAN FRANCISCO 25, DETROIT 19 - Okay, so the Harbaugh v. Schwartz battle may rage on in the media this week but how about the fact the 49ers scored only one offensive touchdown (a one-yard run by RB Frank Gore in the second quarter) before that fourth-down, six-yard scoring fling by QB Alex Smith-to-Delanie Walker with only 1:51 remaining in the game that proved to be the game winner as San Fran snapped Detroit's nine-game regular-season winning streak.
Hey, don't look now but the 49ers have won all three of their road games - at Cincinnati, at Philadelphia and now at Detroit - and truth is they were basically one play in each game from losing all three games. Maybe Harbaugh's in-game magic does count for something but the underlying keys to victory here was Gore's 141-yard rushing game and the fact San Fran's underrated defense harassed Lions' QB Matthew Stafford (28-of-50 for 293 yards passing with 2 TDs and 0 INTs) who didn't play quite as well as these stats indicated and looked unsure of himself at times - and note there were zero TDs scored here by "Megatron" WR Calvin Johnson after he had registered a league-best nine TDs in the season's first five games. Just sayin'.
NEW ENGLAND 20, DALLAS 16 - So, what word would you like to use concerning the Patriots' 10-play, 80-yard go-ahead touchdown drive that ended with a QB Tom Brady-to-TE Aaron Hernandez 8-yard scoring play with 22 seconds left?
Methodical. Meticulous. Or how about brilliant?
True, the Cowboys - and their scraggly defensive coordinator Rob Ryan - had confounded Brady for much of Sunday's game in Foxboro but when push came to shove there was Brady delivering the goods on a day when he threw two more picks (say what!) to go along with two TD passes. If the 6 ½-point Pats learned anything about themselves in this non-cover out-of-conference affair than it was that they could win without WR Wes Welker (45 receiving yards on 6 catches) playing a major role and that those red-zone stops on "D" are indeed critical.
Note that Dallas PK Dan Bailey booted chippie FGs of 22 and 26 yards after intermission thus capping 77- and 60-yard drives - might those two stops and this New England win allow Bill Belichick's crew to secure home-field advantage later down the line?
We shall see.
In other NFL Week 6 News & Notes ...
Don't slam the door shut on Minnesota Vikings QB Donovan McNabb just yet. Even though the veteran signal-caller was benched in the second half of Sunday night's 39-10 loss at 1 ½-point fav Chicago, we'll expect McNabb under center for Minnesota's home game against Green Bay this Sunday. McNabb completed 19-of-24 passes for 177 yards in the NFC North road loss in Chicago and there was a spurt or two where rookie QB Christian Ponder (9-of-17 passing for 99 yards with 0 TDs and 0 INTs) looked decent for the now 1-5 Vikes but count on Minny boss-man Leslie Frazier to stay with McNabb for at least another week or two... And let it be known that there still is a pulse with the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles:
The 20-13 Week 6 win at 3-point underdog Washington wasn't a thing of beauty but The City of Brotherly Love has a new sports hero in DB Kurt Coleman who picked off three passes (that's three of the four interceptions thrown by wobbly 'Skins QB Rex Grossman) and RB LeSean "Shady" McCoy rushed the ball 28 times for 126 yards with one score - and that means under-siege head coach Andy Reid plans on taking more heat off QB Michael Vick the rest of the way and putting more of the load on the Eagles' running backs. Keep that in mind, "totals" players!
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREVIEW
MIAMI (0-4) at NEW YORK JETS (2-3) - 8:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
It's true ... you have to go all the way back to the afternoon of September 18th to find the last time either of these AFC East teams won a football game (that was New York Jets 32 and Jacksonville Jaguars 3) and so forgive these clubs for looking so darn hungry while heading into this clash at MetLife Stadium.
The Jets spent the better part of this past week deflecting public/media criticism of third-year QB Mark Sanchez (8 TDs and 5 INTs) and his offensive coordinator/play-caller Brian Schottenheimer and - just to shake things up a bit - the Jets dealt away disgruntled third WR Derrick Mason to Houston after he spoke his mind and said there were "cracks" in this Jets offense.
On the flip side, the Dolphins have become a punching bag in south Florida - everyone knows fourth-year head coach Tony Sparano is a "lame duck" but now folks are wondering if journeyman QB Matt Moore can rescue this 2011 season after starter Chad Henne went down with a season-ending shoulder injury in a Week 4 loss in San Diego.
Don't know if you've heard but Miami WR Brandon Marshall - who has already dropped three passes in the end zone this year - predicts he will get ejected sometime here in the middle of the second quarter. Strange!
One key for the upset-minded Fish is to get RB Reggie Bush behind the Jets' LBs and float him some passes while CB Darrelle Revis is busy concentrating on Marshall ... let's see if it works.
Spread Notes - The Jets have failed to cover four of their first five games this 2011 season and now overall NYJ's a collective 23-20 ATS (against the spread) in the Rex Ryan Era that started back in 2009. Note that the Jets are 1-4 vig-wise in their last five head-to-head games against Miami but since the start of 2001 the green gang is 13-6-1 ATS against the Fish. Note that Miami is 0-4 spreadwise so far this season and the Dolphins enter this prime-time game having failed to cover their last seven consecutive games dating back to late last season.
NOTE: Catch our College Football Mid-Week Report in the next edition of Jim Sez plus get our World Series Preview too!