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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Did someone out there say "bah-humbug"?

No doubt that the San Francisco 49ers - remember the vogue pick to win it all for much of this 2012 NFL season - really got "scrooged" in their 42-13 loss in Seattle on Sunday Night Football and was that anyway for irascible Niners' head coach Jim Harbaugh to spend his 49th birthday?

Really, you would think turning 49 years when you're the coach of the 49ers would be a blast - the numbers freaks out there must have been loving that symmetry - but instead the NFL Week 16 menu closed out play with a real dud of a game and do keep in mind that 11 of the 16 games played in the NFL this past Saturday/Sunday wound up getting decided by twin-figure amounts with drama generally reserved for only a handful of games such as New Orleans' 34-31 overtime win in Dallas and Cincinnati's last-second 13-10 playoff-clinching win in Pittsburgh.

We'll touch on these above-mentioned games shortly in today's Christmas edition of Jim Sez plus we'll get you our annual "All-I-Want-For-Christmas" list as it pertains to the NFL and its pertinent parties but let's take a moment here to recognize the single-hottest pointspread side in the league where they play for pay and we're talking about the Washington Redskins who banged out a sixth consecutive spread "W" in Sunday's hang-on-for-dear-life 27-20 win at Philadelphia.

Here's the Redskins' six-game ATS (against the spread) and note all home teams are in CAPS below:






Week #11


- 3.5



Week #12


+ 3.5



Week #13


+ 2.5

New York Giants


Week #14


- 2.5


31-28 (ot)

Week #15


+ 4.5



Week #16


- 5.5



The'Skins host the Dallas Cowboys in the NBC Sunday Night Football game this weekend and a win gets Washington the NFC East crown and a playoff home game and the last time the Redskins hosted a post-season game was way back in the 1999 season - a 27-13 NFC Wild Card Round win against Detroit.

Yes, Santa Claus, that was a long time ago!

Meanwhile, one of the really large Week 17 matchups on tap this Sunday is Houston (12-3) at playoff-bound Indianapolis (10-5) as the Texans - off that non-competitive 23-6 home loss against 8 ½-point underdog Minnesota - could not only blow a #1 playoff seed here but could wind up blowing a first-weekend playoff bye should Houston lose and both New England (home to Miami) and Denver (home to weakling Kansas City) both win.

Wow ...the Texans could wind up with a lump of coal in their stockings if they slip up in Indy.

Okay, so let's keep our Christmas column rollin' with a look at a pair of monster games:

The formula for these 2012 Cowboys was pretty basic in recent weeks: Fall behind on the scoreboard and than have QB Tony Romo - and WR Dez Bryant - save'em but even with that tag team combining for a pair of 58-yard touchdown strikes - and even with Romo airing four TD passes in all - the'Boys couldn't get "mission accomplished" in their final regular-season home game of the year but thanks to the New York Giants' loss in Baltimore hours after this game wrapped up the Cowboys still can snag their first playoff berth in three years.

A win next week at Washington would mean Dallas captures the NFC East but for that to happen Jason Garrett's club must defend the pass a bit better after Saints QB Drew Brees slung it for 446 yards and 3 TDs although his biggest completion was a somewhat questionable catch by WR Marques Colston that was fumbled forward and recovered by the Saints - major break for N'Orleans and major bummer for the'Boys.

One thing to take from this tilt that New Orleans led 31-17 with just 3:40 left in the fourth quarter was this tattered/battered Dallas defense simply could not get off the stand in third-down plays as the Saints converted 11-of-19 third downs (Dallas, conversely, was successful on just 2-of-10 third-down plays) and it sure appears the lack of depth on this injury-riddled stop unit is starting to show - can DC Rob Ryan patch things up in time for the Redskins' game this weekend? Stay tuned.

It's not often that a visiting team can go into Heinz Field and not score an offensive touchdown and still win. But that's what happened on Sunday afternoon when the Bengals - who clinched a playoff berth and eliminated the hated Steelers all in one fell swoop - made the absolute most of two interceptions of Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers' slinger was a "pick six" victim of Cincinnati DB Leon Hall in the first quarter but it was "Big Ben's" untimely interception with 14 seconds remaining in the game that doomed Steelers Nation as Reggie Nelson snagged the errant throw and returned it to the Steelers' 46-yard line and following a QB Andy Dalton-to WR A.J. Green completion 21-yard pass play there was journeyman PK Josh Brown banging home a 43-yard game-winning field goal.

Game, set, match ...indeed.

Still, dig a little deeper here and you'll see it wasn't all Roethlisberger's fault as his leaky O-line allowed four sacks in all - anyone want to nominate Bengals defensive lineman Geno Atkins for any type of award? - and how about some criticism here of sixth-head Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin who has watched this team fritter away a divisional lead with five SU (straight-up) losses the past six weeks plus remember Tomlin had PK Shaun Suisham attempt a 53-yard field goal late that never had "the legs" ...but why is it the national media never/ever takes Tomlin to task?

Are they afraid of'em ...or something? It's a wait-till-next-year deal for the Steelers - not as if this team deserved a playoff spot in the first place!

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will light it up with the NFL Week 17 card this Sunday plus get all the NBA and NCAA Basketball Winners each and every day too - and make you're all aboard right now with America's #1 Handicapper to cash in big with all the College Football Bowl Games that roll on all week long with the Hawaii Bowl (that's SMU vs. Fresno State) on tap here on this Christmas Eve and than Wednesday it's a prime-time battle in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky) don't get left out in the cold!

Hey, there's still some 29 remaining College Football Bowl Games -- so cash with'em now and all throughout this holiday season! 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.


Let's dole out some gifts to NFL teams/coaches/players ...we're having fun here, folks!

To the New York Giants ...
The defending Super Bowl champs could use a pass rusher who actually lays his hand on enemy quarterbacks. This year's much-ballyhooed D-line was a disgrace!

 To San Diego head coach Norv Turner and Buffalo boss-man Chan Gailey ...
A one-way ticket to a private island - and than maybe they'd stay there never again to return to the NFL.

To Tim Tebow ...
A place where he's really/truly wanted and where he would have a legit opportunity to play. It sure didn't happen in 2012 with the sad-sack New York Jets but all signs indicate Tebow's bound for his hometown of Jacksonville but we're not quite sure that first-year head coach Mike Mularkey really wants him.

To the NFL folks on Park Avenue ...
The opportunity for the Green Bay Packers to play the Seattle Seahawks in a playoff game at Lambeau Field. After all, that Week 3 botch-job by the replacement officials - remember them - that stole a win from Green Bay would make this feel like a "full circle" deal but we don't want to hear any excuses from the Pack should they lose!

To NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ...
A letter of apology to the New Orleans Saints for wrecking their 2012 season - and apparently without all the proper proof that there were "bounties" in the first place!

To Indianapolis Colts interim coach Bruce Arians ...
More than a few votes for NFL Coach of the Year while he so magnificently sat in for an ill Chuck Pagano who is now set to return to the sidelines in time for that aforementioned Week 17 game against Houston. Well done, coach Arians.

To Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson ...
A shiny MVP trophy to stick on his mantel and a round of applause from all football fans who are rooting for him to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing mark of 2,105 yards - note that Peterson needs 207 yards against Green Bay this week and maybe he has another 210-yard rushing effort in his bag of goodies (see first meeting with Green Bay this year).

And, finally, to fans of the playoff-bound Cincy Bengals, Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks:
The opportunity to win a first-ever Super Bowl - every fan should get that feeling at least once in a lifetime, right?

Merry Christmas to all!

NOTE: Get more NCAA Football Bowl Previews this weekend and next week right here in Jim Sez and get our NFL Week 17 previews later this week in future must-read columns!

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