Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 10:04 AM
DOLPHINS-BILLS KICK OFF A MONSTER WEEKEND WITH THEIR THURSDAY NITE TILT PLUS WE WEIGH IN ON TWO OF THE LEAGUE'S DYSFUNCTIONAL TEAMS (AND CAN THEY BE BET ON THE REST OF THE WAY?)
Okay, so we've finally come upon the last weekend of NFL byes -the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans are the last guys getting a Sunday off the rest of the way -but at the top of our Jim Sez to-do list here on this week before Thanksgiving is to discuss a couple of the NFL's "dysfunctional teams" and wonder if either of 'em are worth a proverbial plugged nickel in these final weeks of the 2012 season. Let's call roll ...
NEW YORK JETS (3-6) -The latest news to come down the pike (yes, as in New Jersey Turnpike) is that Jets players are speaking out anonymously (of course) to say that Tim Tebow is not now nor will ever be the team's answer at quarterback.
No doubt Tebow has been misused, miscast and even lied to by head coach Rex Ryan and know-nothing offensive coordinator Tony Sparano but surely the bottom line here is Tebow never should have been acquired by a NYJ team that has no offensive identity, no direction and no sense in how to get either Tebow or starting QB Mark Sanchez into the mix in a working situation.
Last week's 9-of-24 passing game by Sanchez in that ugly 28-7 loss at Seattle was the Jets' latest bomb and did you know that this team now is averaging less than 20 points a game (19.44 ppg) and it's hard to believe that this AFC East club is just 4-4-1 ATS (against the spread) -yeah, we thought it was worst than that -- but now you wonder if the J-E-T-S can be trusted the rest of the way without any real offensive playmakers, a defense that doesn't get to enemy quarterbacks and a coaching staff that seems more preoccupied with getting into word wars with the nasty New York media.
The Jets play in St. Louis this Sunday and that means a showdown with ex-offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer who was unceremoniously run out of town following last year's 8-8 Jets season -wonder if he gets the "last laugh" here?
Then Thanksgiving Night gets fun for gang green as the Jets will host New England ...is it possible that Ryan's club will be 3-8 SU (straight-up) ever before folks get to dig into their holiday leftovers next weekend? It's likely we won't be finding all-that-many shots to say "gimme the Jets" from here on out.
OAKLAND (3-6) -Wasn't this supposed to be the start of a brand-new era in the Bay Area? Instead, the here-and-now Raiders are a league laughingstock -again -fresh off a 55-20 loss last weekend in Baltimore and just in case you had forgotten this 2012 Oakland team has lost by 22, 31 and 35 points in half their setbacks and keep in mind the silver-and-black has lost seven of its last 14 games overall by twin-figure margins ...now that's downright hideous!
Among last week's mortal sins against the Ravens, the Raiders lost the turnover battle 3-to-1 (so what else is new, we ask!), allowed a fake field goal to be run for a Pop Warner-type touchdown (when Baltimore already was leading 41-17 in the third quarter) and didn't register a single sack and so now first-year head coach Dennis Allen -who happens to be way in over his head these days -must try to rally the troops and make things happen this Sunday against red-hot New Orleans.
The Raiders have major running back injuries with RB Darren McFadden hurt (again) and no question that under-siege QB Carson Palmer is forced to take on too much of the heat as he followed up his 61 pass attempts two weeks ago in the 42-32 loss to Tampa Bay with a whopping 46 passing tries last weekend in Baltimore.
True, the Raiders have been a bungling bunch for years now but last season the crew finished 10-6 against the odds and right now this current edition is 3-6 vig-wise including those aforementioned back-to-back spread setbacks against the Bucs and Ravens the past two Sunday afternoons. Is there any reason to plunk down a bob or two on Oakland from here on in? Stay tuned but we think you already know the answer!
Now, here's the Thursday Night NFL Week 11 matchup ...
MIAMI (4-5) at BUFFALO (3-6) -8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Take note that this AFC East game opened with the Bills favored by a single point but by late Wednesday evening it has gone to Buffalo minus 2 ½ and that might raise an eyebrow or two considering the Bills will be without top-notch RB Fred Jackson (sprained right knee) and already head coach Chan Gailey and Company enter this tilt on a three-game SU losing streak.
On the flip side, Miami's stop unit has shown major cracks in the rush defense department as the Fish have allowed a per-game ground average of 135 yards a game the past four games after surrendering just 61 ypg in the team's first five outings. Now, toss into the mix the fact Miami rookie QB Ryan Tannehill is attempting to bounce back from his 3-INT outing in last Sunday's 37-3 home loss versus Tennessee and you got one reason why Miami is the team not taking the cash right now.
Spread Notes -Miami is 4-4-1 against the Las Vegas prices this year and that includes a 3-2 spread away mark (with covers at Arizona, Cincinnati and the New York Jets) while Buffalo enters this prime-time affair at 4-4 versus the vig this season. The Bills -who've failed to cover six of their last eight head-to-head showdowns against the Fish -are a collective 9-18 ATS in divisional games since the start of the 2008 campaign.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have all the NCAA Football, NFL Week 11, NBA and NCAA Basketball Winners each and every day - so just climb aboard right now with America's #1 Handicapper. Check in with us on Game Days either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the winners and note the check-in times are after 1 p.m. ET for weeknight action and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S THURSDAY NITE PREVIEW
NORTH CAROLINA (6-4, 3-3 ACC) at VIRGINIA (4-6, 2-4 ACC) - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Okay, so maybe it doesn't qualify as "appointment TV" here but this ACC clash still should be highly entertaining - note the totals price is 61 points at press time - but check out the current standings and you'll see Carolina still has a pulse when it comes to winning the Coastal Division (co-leaders Georgia Tech and Miami each are just 4-3 in this very mediocre ACC).
The UNC Tar Heels have scored 43-or-more points in five different games this season under first-year boss-man Larry Fedora but can you believe that Carolina is 1-4 spreadwise in the five games in which it hasn't scored 43-or-more points? Geez!
Keep an eye here on North Carolina RB/occasional return specialist Gio Bernard who leads the ACC with 126 rushing yards per game this year and remember that punt return for a score at the end of the big win against N.C. State just a couple of weeks ago.
Virginia has flip-flopped quarterbacks - and unsuccessfully - for much of this current campaign but look for veteran Michael Rocco to get the start here one week after he chucked four TDs and threw for 300 yards in that wild 41-40 non-cover win against 1 ½-point dog Miami.
Finally, note that North Carolina has three special teams touchdowns this year - the aforementioned Bernard return against N.C. State along with one other punt bring-back fro a score and a kick return too - and that's what could separate these long-time rivals on this night inside cozy Scott Stadium. Stay tuend!
Spread Notes - North Carolina is a dead-even but vig-losing 5-5 against the odds so far this season and note the Tar Heels are an ugly 3-7 vig-wise in head-to-head showdowns against Virginia the past 10 years. On the flip side, the UVa Cavaliers are a dismal 1-8-1 spreadwise this season - the lone cover came two weeks ago in that 33-6 win at 10 ½-point fav N.C. State - and the Wahoos enter this prime-time affair having failed to cover six of their last seven conference games while dating back to late last season.
NOTE: Get the key College Football Weekend Previews straight ahead in the next edition of Jim Sez plus we'll get you NFL Week 11 previews coming soon!