Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 8:51 AM
THE NFL WEEK 3 REPORT: WE GO AHEAD AND WRAP UP ALL THE ACTION WITH A RAIDERS VS. BRONCOS PREVIEW ON MNF
PLUS A RE-CAP OF SUNDAY’S ACTION INCLUDING THE LEAGUE’S ICONIC FRANCHISES THAT HAVE FALLEN ON TROUBLED TIMES …AND THERE’S COLLEGE QUICK HITTERS TOO!
By Jim Hurley
Just take a moment or two to fully absorb the following statement:
As we begin a new work week, there are a slew of NFL “iconic franchises” that are probably hoping 8-8 is good enough to win their respective divisions this 2013 season as the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins, the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings and the San Francisco 49ers are a combined 2-16 SU (straight-up) just three full weeks into the current campaign – folks, that’s a dreadful .111 winning percentage – and anyone that’s wagered a pretty penny on this particular six-pack of NFL “icons” now are a collective 3-15 ATS (against the spread) for an almost equally dreadful .167 winning rate.
Maybe the most optimistic football fans out there will tell you that there’s “plenty of time” left in this here-and-now season – and they’re right, of course – but right now the odds favor all of the above-named teams being out of the post-season chase by Halloween, and so it’s a new day in NFL-land with the Denver Broncos this evening looking to be the seventh 3-0 squad out there joining the ranks of Miami, New England and Kansas City in the AFC while the unbeaten in the NFC include Chicago, New Orleans and Seattle.
Like we said last week … just who’s gonna stay undefeated the longest in this man’s NFL? It is a good question, right?
We do know – while looking ahead already at NFL Week 4 – that a pair of unbeaten will square off next Monday Night when the Dolphins play at the Saints and we can see ESPN play-by-play guy Mike Tirico and analyst Jon Gruden doing cartwheels in the MNF booth this evening while promoting the Week 4 bash! We can’t blame ‘em.
And, speaking of NFL Week 4, “London’s Calling” with the Steelers playing the Vikings across the proverbial pond and the Brits can have ‘em as these said clubs are a combined 0-6 SU and 1-5 against the vig … double yuck!
No doubt there’s even more to dissect about the icon teams that must now spend the better part of this ’13 season digging out …
So let’s go on as we dissect some of the NFL Week 3 action as we touch on three of the icon team losses:
In Week 3 play, it was …
DETROIT 27, WASHINGTON 20 – Let’s just say the Redskins should realize this is gonna be a long year when they lose at home to the Lions as that’s something that never happened before in D.C.
The Motowners had lost their previous 21 games in Washington but that all changed here, in large part thanks to a key (and correctly ruled) Robert Griffin III fumble following a gallant run for a first down – RG3 later called it a “bad rule”, but wasn’t he taught to slide?
The ‘Skins averaged a haughty 6.7 offensive yards per snap and only committed one turnover but the defense – the one we admonished in this very "Jim Sez" column space a week ago at this time – didn’t tackle very well while allowing a non-descript Detroit ground game to average 5.5 yards a pop en route to a 22-carry, 120-yard rushing game.
Hey, we told you last week that we would have fired defensive coordinator Jim Haslett right after that humbling 38-20 loss in Green Bay in Week 2 – we were not kidding! – and so now Mike Shanahan’s squad will go into Oakland as a winless club (the bye week follows in Week 5) and potentially facing an 0-and-7 start if it doesn’t beat the silver-and-black this Sunday … go ahead and eyeball the Redskins’ sked yourself!
CHICAGO 40, PITTSBURGH 23 – Okay, so you could make the argument that one of the NFL’s iconic franchises also won here as the born-again Bears went to 3-0 SU with this wire-to-wire victory, but let’s reserve our comments to the Steelers, who somehow climbed back into this Sunday Night Game (got to within 27-23 with 10-plus minutes remaining) but stayed winless thanks to an array of mistakes, with many of ‘em committed by QB Ben Roethlisberger (see two lost fumbles and two interceptions).
Much has been made of the fact the Steelers have been a punchless unit thus far this season – see the 16-9 loss to Tennessee followed by last Monday’s 20-10 setback in Cincinnati – but the offense did get perked-up after the halftime break and so maybe there is some hope heading overseas but Pittsburgh just doesn’t look right on many fronts with the O-line leaky (again) and with the defense unable to force any turnovers in the team’s first three games.
Last week the media made a big deal about the fact Pittsburgh’s seventh-year head coach Mike Tomlin had never been two games below .500 in a season – now he’s three games under .500. How do you like “embracing” that, coach?
Roethlisberger threw for 406 yards in this latest loss – but he had to considering Chicago sported a healthy double-digit lead for much of the evening.
If the Steelers lose Sunday at Wembley Stadium, it could be time to throw in the “terrible” towel!
INDIANAPOLIS 27, SAN FRANCISCO 7 – We looked it up, and the worst loss that last year’s 49ers suffered was that 42-13 thumping at the hands of host Seattle late in the 2012 season.
Here we are three games into this season and the Niners already have lost games by 26 and 20 points – and, worse yet, this could be a fractured club when you consider the following:
Troubled OLB Aldon Smith – who should not have been allowed to play in Sunday’s 20-point home loss versus 10 ½-point pup Indianapolis because of his DUI charge just a couple of days earlier – now appears to be taking a “leave of absence” from the squad while NBC late last night reported major friction between San Fran star RB Frank Gore (11 carries for 82 yards plus 21 receiving yards against the Colts) and fiery head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Hey, we didn’t even mention the fact that QB Colin Kaepernick – who apparently spent the better part of his off-season making TV commercials and posting silly/stupid tweets while wearing a Miami Dolphins hat (remember?) – didn’t exactly light up the skies in this Week 3 game while completing 13-of-27 passes for 150 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT while he contributed a mere 20 rushing yards on seven carries.
Go kiss you biceps now, kid!
If the Niners are coming apart at the seams, then you have to wonder if playing on a “short week” – that’s in St. Louis on Thursday Night – is a good thing.
Right now there’s plenty of holes to plug and patch on this San Francisco team that has more issues than a weekday TV soap opera.
One stat we must pass on to y’all here: The 49ers had the ball for just 23:35 in the loss to Indianapolis – so maybe this NFC West team simply has lost its will along the way.
Tonight, it’s …
OAKLAND (1-1) at DENVER (2-0) – 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN
In case you’re counting, the Broncos will now be playing without two of their starters along the offensive line as LT Ryan Clady (a Lisfranc injury to his left foot) has joined C Dan Koppen (knee) in the season-ending IR, but guess you can say the Oakland Raiders won’t be sending any sympathy cards.
After all, Denver enters this prime-time affair leading the NFL with 45 points per game scored in season-starting wins against Baltimore and the New York Giants (yes, the last two Super Bowl champions) and QB Peyton Manning (769 yards passing with 9 TDs and 0 INTs) probably is moving some hardware around just to make room for this year’s MVP trophy. If Manning has any grand designs on chewing up and spitting out this Raiders defense, then he knows spreading the wealth is the key:
Did you realize that four different Broncos pass-catchers already have double-digit receptions with slot WR Wes Welker’s 12 grabs leading the way.
The two-TD (or more) underdog Raiders need to get major productivity here from RB Darren McFadden, who rushed for 129 yards on just 19 carries in last Sunday’s 19-9 win/cover against Jacksonville, but keep in mind he’s going up against a Broncos defense that yields a league-low 81 rushing yards per game.
If McFadden gets 20-or-more carries here, the silver-and-black should slide under the bloated Las Vegas price tag. Got it?
Spread Notes – Denver’s actually covered seven of its last eight overall pointspread verdicts while dating back to last season with the lone loss coming in the AFC Divisional Playoff game against Baltimore. Did you know the Broncos are also 7-2 versus the vig in their last nine head-to-head games with the AFC West? On the flip side, the Raiders have notched spread wins in both of their early-season games this year (versus Indianapolis and Jacksonville) and note Oakland’s a spiffy 16-8 ATS in divisional games since the start of the 2009 campaign.
Your attention, ladies and gentlemen …
My handicappers and bloggers will continue to torch Las Vegas and the off-shore books with loads of NFL and NCAA Football winners this week and that includes the Side & Totals winners on tonight’s Monday Night Football Game between the Raiders at the Broncos and then we’ll roll on this week with Thursday Night Winners (that’s San Francisco at St. Louis in NFL Week 4 action and Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech in college ball), so don’t miss a beat!
Check with the Jim Hurley Network right here online at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. ET on week days and any time after 10 a.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.
Plus get all our down-the-stretch Major-League Baseball winners too! The MLB Playoffs are just days away now!
COLLEGE QUICK HITTERS
Hey, we’ll have plenty of time/space this week to get more deeply in tune with the college kids, but let’s pop in a few quick-hitter comments regarding some of the weekend past games …
The weekend’s highest-scoring game was Pittsburgh’s wild 58-55 non-cover triumph over 4 ½-point pup Duke as Panthers QB Tom Savage aired six scoring strikes, but how about the fact Pittsburgh didn’t commit a single turnover on 79 plays from scrimmage. Nice! …
LSU’s rainy 35-21 non-cover win against 17-point dog Auburn starred possible future Heisman Trophy winner RB Jeremy Hill (184 yards rushing and 3 TDs) but talk about balance in this attack: the Bayou Bengals rushed for 228 yards overall and threw for 229 yards and so no wonder everyone’s tossing bouquets at new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Hey, maybe he gets a national title this year after getting shoved out of the way last December by the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens …
Finally, talk about your close-call weekend for a slew of “name” teams as USC, Michigan and Notre Dame won tilts they were supposed to win more handily by 3, 3 and 4 points, respectively. Still, they were survivors on a college football Saturday that saw really only one “major upset”, and that was in the Holy War game where Utah topped 7-point fav BYU 20-13. That’s right, there were no other major upsets on a weekend filled with big-name teams winning blowouts over their pay-day buddies.
Here’s hoping this next week of NCAA Football games has a bit more drama!