Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 18, 2013 at 8:23 AM
SEAHAWKS TOP CARDINALS 34-22 AS THE NFL WEEK 7 MENU GETS KICK-STARTED AND WE HAVE A BATCH OF SUNDAY GAME
PREVIEWS/FORECASTS STRAIGHT AHEAD (AND A BUNCH MORE IN TOMORROW’S JIM SEZ!) …
PLUS WE CHECK OUT COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S BEST SPREAD SIDES AND WHAT THEY FACE THIS WEEKEND
By Jim Hurley
So we know that you’re not exactly surprised that the Seattle Seahawks (now 6-1) flattened the 5-point home underdog Arizona Cardinals last night in the NFL Week 7 opener, but how about the fact that this does mark Seattle’s best-ever start to a season, and last night’s seven sacks of ‘Zona QB Carson Palmer showed that these guys on “D” can really get after it.
If you want to know where we would rank the here-and-now Seahawks in terms of league power ratings, let’s just say they’re battling 6-and-oh Kansas City for that No. 2 spot behind – of course – the 6-0 Denver Broncos.
Still, if this pass rush – led by DE Chris Clemons (two sacks of the immobile Palmer) keeps it up, we’re not sure anyone can beat Pete Carroll’s guys who should have scored yet another defensive TD last night save for the fact CB Brandon Browner took a facial inside the Cardinals’ five-yard line.
Don’t look now, but Seattle has 11 days off before getting another NFC West road challenge (at St. Louis on Monday, Oct. 28th) and you can’t blame the ‘Hawks for dreaming about a No. 1 playoff seed in the NFC, can y’all?
On Sunday Night, it’s …
DENVER (6-0) at INDIANAPOLIS (4-2) – 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
We’ll be glad when Indy Colts owner Jim Irsay – one of those dudes born with the proverbial “silver spoon” in his big mouth – has to clam up by game-time here after showing his true colors for the better part of this past week:
Yes, Mr. Irsay, everyone knows current Denver Broncos / former Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning didn’t exactly pile up Super Bowl championships despite guiding this franchise to 11 different playoff berths – but do you really think it shows any class going after Manning now?
The fact remained that Indy was beaten in its first playoff game seven times during the Manning Era that produced the lone Vince Lombardi Trophy back in the 2006 season (okay, so it does seem like a long, long time ago!) but does Irsay have a crystal ball that tells him current Colts QB Andrew Luck will win multiple crowns in his stay in “Nap City”?
No matter the pre-game banter – and note as of press time Manning has not “taken the bait” and said anything back to Irsay – this high-profile prime-time game will come down to whether or not Indianapolis’ defense (on a short week, no less) can short-circuit Manning here after he’s thrown for 2,179 yards passing (or 363.2 ypg) with 22 TDs and 2 INTs this year, and will the aforementioned Luck be able to evade a Denver pass rush that adds LB Von Miller who’s back from his six-game league-imposed suspension?
P.S., last year Miller collected a franchise-record 18 ½ sacks – just thought you might like to know.
Hey, when does Colts RB Trent Richardson get things in gear (see 296 yards rushing and a sluggish 3.2 ypc average)? Just wonderin’!
Spread Note – True, the Broncos may be one of the NFL’s two unbeaten teams right here/right now, but John Fox’s club is just 3-3 spreadwise on the year, and note Denver’s failed to cover its last four in a row against the Indy Colts.
CINCINNATI (4-2) at DETROIT (4-2) – 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Here’s something you can ask about both of these teams:
Will the real Cincinnati Bengals / real Detroit Lions please stand up?
Heck, just last weekend there were the Motowners down 17-7 at halftime to the Cleveland Browns before a fiery halftime speech by veteran LB Stephen Tulloch that energized the NFC North team that went on to win 31-17 behind the four-TD pass performance of QB Matthew Stafford.
On the flip side, are these Cincy Bengals, who blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead last Sunday in Buffalo only to win in OT on a PK Mike Nugent field goal with 6:43 remaining in the bonus session – the Bengals can be world-beaters one week (see 34-30 win against Green Bay and 13-6 triumph over New England) and then flop at other times – and so not sure what we’re all gonna get here in this matchup of plus-.500 teams (one of only two such matchups on this NFL weekend along with that Denver at Indianapolis affair).
Spread Note – Cincinnati entered this year having racked up an 11-5-2 ATS (against the spread) away mark the past two years but the Bengals are 0-2-1 vig-wise away in 2013.
DALLAS (3-3) at PHILADELPHIA (3-3) – 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Hey, for anyone that wishes to condemn the Cowboys for losing three games this year – including a 1-point loss at Kansas City and a 3-point home loss to Denver – keep in mind that Dallas is a healthy 5-1 versus the vig overall this season as QB Tony Romo has been a fantasy league owner’s delight:
Romo is averaging 265 passing yards per game with 14 TDs and just 3 INTs, and here he’s likely salivating while going up against the 31st-best pass defense in the league.
No doubt that the Eagles again will turn over their offensive fortunes to QB Nick Foles (last weekend’s NFC Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 296 yards with three TDs plus a rushing score in the 31-20 win at Tampa Bay), and keep in mind he won’t have to face Dallas DE DeMarcus Ware, who figures to miss the first game of his eight-year career with injuries.
One X-factor that must be watched here:
The Eagles only had 31 yards in penalties last week while converting half of their 14 third-down plays on offense: If Chip Kelly’s club is so efficient here, the Birds will win by twin figures.
Spread Note – The Cowboys are just 6-9 spreadwise in their last 15 head-to-head tilts against the Eagles and that includes the 34-14 win/cover as 3 ½-point home favorites in an NFC Wild Card Playoff Game back in 2009.
SAN FRANCISCO (4-2) at TENNESSEE (3-3) – 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox
If you’ve been listening to all the TV talking heads – many of whom are clearly without a clue when it comes to the here-and-now NFL – then you would think this whole in-season turnaround by the San Fran 49ers is due to the revival of the offense … not particularly true!
The Niners’ defense has yielded a grand total of 34 points the past three weeks in wins/covers at St. Louis and home to Houston and Arizona, and remember this is all happening without pass rush stud OLB Aldon Smith (rehab). In fact, take note that the Niners have forced four turnovers in each of their last two games and – okay – it helps that QB Colin Kaepernick has come alive with five TD passes and just one pick during this three-game winning streak.
If the home underdog Titans are to knock off the 49ers here, then Tennessee RB Chris Johnson – who’s been MIA for the better part of the season’s first six weeks – has to come alive with some “chunk play” runs after rushing for a meager 301 yards so far (a 3.1 ypc average) … what’s the deal-e-oo, Mr. Johnson?
Spread Note – The SF 49ers have notched three consecutive pointspread “W’s” and so that means this NFC West gang is a collective 26-15-2 ATS overall under third-year boss Jim Harbaugh.
Now hear this …
My handicappers and bloggers will have all the weekend winners and you can get NCAA Football, NFL Week 7 and all the MLB Championship Series action when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S SUPER SPREAD TEAMS
Okay, so we’re basically at the halfway point of this 2013 NCAA Football season and so let’s check in on some of the country’s top spread sides and what they’re facing this October weekend:
#12 BAYLOR – The Bears have registered a tidy 4-1 ATS mark out of the chute this year, but then again it’s not so tough to cover some tall numbers when you’re scoring more than a point a minute (averaging 63.4 ppg).
This weekend the Waco gang is laying a 33-point price against Iowa State, but remember Baylor’s a perfect 4-and-0 as home chalk-eaters this year. Don’t expect QB Bryce Petty (1,690 yards passing with 13 TDs and 1 INT) to take his foot off the gas pedal anytime soon here.
HOUSTON – Hey, let’s not hear any jive about these Cougars beating up on the nobodies of the college football world (see Southern, Temple, Rice, UTSA and Memphis) as the fact of the matter is Tony Levine’s crew is 5-0 vig-wise and deserves a berth somewhere in this week’s Associated Press Top 25.
The real secret to Houston’s success has been a revived defense that allows just 19 ppg and ranks a regal 28th nationally in total “D”. Next up this weekend is a home date against 9 ½-point fav BYU – let’s see if an outright win here might not get the Coogs into the national limelight!
#14 MISSOURI – In yesterday’s Jim Sez, we previewed the monstrous SEC game between 3-point fav Florida at Mizzou, and by now everyone knows the Tigers will be going without star QB James Franklin for the remainder of the regular season, but how about a shout-out to a Missouri ground game that ranks 16th nationally (239.3 ypg) with RBs Russell Hansbrough (391 rushing yards), Henry Josey (358 yards rushing) and Marcus Murphy (350 ground yards), all part of a magical mix that has the Tigers 5-1 against the Las Vegas prices so far this season.
#2 OREGON – The Ducks sport a strange-but-true 4-0-2 ATS log so far this year, and the pointspread pushes came with ‘em laying 63 and 39 points, respectively, against Nicholls State and California.
How about the fact Oregon’s average spread this season has been a whopping 35 points? Enjoy the pink helmets and pink shoes/socks this weekend on your HD flat screen TV.
#9 UCLA – Three cheers for the Bruins who are college football’s only perfect spread side so far with a solid-gold 5-0 ATS mark that includes covers against Nebraska and Utah.
Did you know that the Uclans rank 5th nationally in offense and 21st nationally in defense? Now that’s one way to get a bunch of pointspread wins tucked into your hip pocket!
#25 WISCONSIN – The cheese kids have covered five of their six spread verdicts so far this year including last weekend’s easy-as-pie 35-6 romp over 11 ½-point road dog Northwestern.
If you wish to dig a little bit deeper to discover why Wisky’s been a “best bet” type team this year then check out an overlooked defense that ranks fifth nationally and only allows 90.2 rushing yards per game. Maybe the Badgers are heading back for a fourth straight Rose Bowl berth.
NOTE: Get more NFL Week 7 Previews/Forecasts in tomorrow’s jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.