Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, November 11, 2013 at 8:28 AM
THE NFL WEEK 10 KEY STORYLINES –
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO WERE THE “BIGGEST LOSERS” ON SUNDAY THEN LOOK IN THE GENERAL DIRECTION OF THE COLTS, 49ers & COWBOYS …
PLUS IT’S THE MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREVIEW/FORECAST AS DOLPHINS-BUCS CLASH …
THE COLLEGE GRIDIRON NOTEBOOK:‘BAMA TURNS IT ON TO BEAT LSU (AGAIN) BUT TODAY WE CAST A LEERY EYE ON THE DEMISE OF THE FLORIDA GATORS
By Jim Hurley
There was a point during Sunday Night’s 49-17 win by the New Orleans Saints over the 6 ½-point underdog Dallas Cowboys in which NBC game analyst Cris Collinsworth proclaimed the defense of the ‘Boys was “barely recognizable” following the in-game injuries to OLB/DE DeMacus Ware and ILB Sean Lee (among others).
The funny thing is we thought there were a few NFL teams that were “barely recognizable” in their Week 10 tilts – yes, Dallas was among such teams! – as whomever could have forecasted that the likes of the Tennessee Titans would lose at home to an at-the-time winless Jacksonville Jaguars squad, or that the Indianapolis Colts would lose by 30 points in their own back yard to a St. Louis Rams team playing with a journeyman/back-up quarterback, or that the San Francisco 49ers would not score a single touchdown in a 10-9 home loss against new-and-improved Carolina (three PK Phil Dawson field goals and that’s it!).
It was a real wild-and-woolly second Sunday in November where a Hail Mary pass worked at the end of regulation... and yet the Cincinnati Bengals still lost in OT to Baltimore, and where the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears each lost home games while playing for all or some of the game with their own back-up quarterbacks.
When NFL folks awoke this Monday morning, the 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs were still perfect – thanks to a bye and you’ve no doubt noticed KC is already a TD-plus dog at Denver this Sunday Night – and the only two teams with two-game leads in their respective divisions were the New England Patriots (AFC East) and the Seattle Seahawks (NFC West) … so there!
We’ll dig into a few more NFL Week 10 key storylines in just a second plus get you’re the MNF preview/forecast of the game between the Miami Dolphins at the Tampa Bay Bucs but first this key reminder …
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all mapped out for tonight’s NFL Week 10 tilt and you can get the Side & Totals winners when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network at 1-888-777-4155 or right here online at www.vegassportsmasters.com
Get all the NCAA Football (there’s games every night this week beginning with a pair of Mid-American Conference tilts on Tuesday), NFL Week 11 and NBA/NCAA Basketball winners as we plan on dashing right through the month of November with another major hot streak.
Here’s some quick-hitter comments regarding some of Sunday’s NFL Week 10 games …
ST. LOUIS 38, INDIANAPOLIS 8 – There was no inkling at all that this slaughter was gonna take place when you stop to consider the Rams entered this tilt on a three-game losing streak and without stud QB Sam Bradford, but let’s just say St. Looie finally realized it had to unleash first-round draftee WR/KR/PR Tavon Austin and that was a very smart idea.
Austin – who returned a bouncing punt 98 yards for one touchdown and snagged scoring strikes that covered 57 and 81 yards from QB Kellen Clemens (247 yards passing with 0 INTs) – was a true superstar here, but the road folks got plenty of help as the Colts committed four turnovers (they had only six turnovers for the season while heading into this game) and Indy QB Andrew Luck was sacked three times in all.
Will the real Colts now please stand up?
CAROLINA 10, SAN FRANCISCO 9 – Hey, it’s nothing to be ashamed of when you lose to the surging Carolina Panthers, who’ve now won/covered five in a row and haven’t lost since October 6th, but when you pride yourself on operating a state-of-the-art offense with a state-of-the-art young quarterback in Colin Kaepernick, you should do a bit of soul-searching before prepping for this Sunday’s game in New Orleans.
The Niners – to be fair – really were hurt by the game-ending injury to TE Vernon Davis (concussion), but Kaepernick’s numbers still should have been better than 11-of-22 for 91 yards with one pick and six sacks … we thought Kaepernick was supposed to be ultra-tough to take down.
San Francisco converted just 2-of-13 third-down plays and gained a wobbly 2.9 yards per offensive play, and so the post-game presser by a stunned Jim Harbaugh didn’t surprise us – he kept talking about Carolina “making more plays than we did.”
Hey, coach, you guys didn’t make any plays on offense... were you too busy filming another silly TV commercial to have noticed?
NEW ORLEANS 49, DALLAS 17 – Here’s something we tell Cowboys fans to consider:
Dallas is now 5-5 SU (straight-up) and tied with Philadelphia for first place in the stumblebum NFC East, but it didn’t have to be this way as the ‘Boys lost a one-pointer in Kansas City in Week 2, lost a heart-breaking 51-48 verdict at home to Denver in Week 5 and were beaten at the proverbial buzzer 31-30 at Detroit back in Week 8 … so normally a lopsided loss such as the one “America’s Team” suffered in prime time this past weekend wouldn’t be such a tough blow, but those other wins that slipped out of Dallas’ grasp are now coming home to roost.
As is the fact the Cowboys simply don’t have enough quality defensive bodies to slow down the likes of Saints’ QB Drew Brees, who helped N’Orleans pile up an NFL-record 40 first downs (was that last one really necessary, guys?) – at least not with the aforementioned Ware and Lee either sitting out tons of plays (see the former) or the remainder of the game (see the latter) here.
Brees threw four scoring strikes one week after appearing dazed-and-confused in a 26-20 loss at the New York Jets, but he got healthy in a hurry here and the ‘Boys never really put up much of a fight with TE Jason Witten dropping a couple of passes and WR Dez Bryant a real MIA too.
Can you say thanks for the bye week this Sunday?
I'M 6-3 ON MONDAY NIGHT!
Week 10 features Dolphins at Buccaneers
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In tonight’s NFL Week 10 Monday Night Football game, it’s …
MIAMI (4-4) at TAMPA BAY (0-8) – 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN
Someone out there in media mania land there’s a guy or gal that’s gonna count up how many times during this cable broadcast the names Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin are brought up – and so if you really have to ask us who these fellas are at this stage of the never-ending Dolphins Saga then you must not watch sports highlight shows or read stuff on the Internet.
All we’ll say about the matter is how it relates to football:
The Fish won’t have either offensive lineman on the field here, and so QB Ryan Tannehill – who’s already been sacked an NFL-high 35 times – may look at their respective absences as a blessing in disguise.
The flip side is Tampa Bay now is the only team in Florida and the only team in the NFL without a win following the Jaguars’ aforementioned 29-27 triumph in Nashville but do you realize the Bucs enter this game ranked 31st in total offense and 31st in passing offense, and so expect a heavy dose of RB Mike James, who broke free for 158 yards on 28 carries in last Sunday’s 27-24 loss-but-cover in OT at 16 ½-point fav Seattle.
Spread Notes – Miami is 27-17 ATS (against the spread) away since the start of the 2008 season while Tampa Bay’s failed to cover 11 of its last 14 overall games dating back to last season.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND NOTEBOOK
The up-to-the-minute BCS Standings list six different teams from the mighty SEC in the top 25 – obviously, the brilliant Alabama Crimson Tide’s still on top of the pack after that rousing 38-17 win against two-TD underdog LSU (the Bengals get an “A” for effort for the better part of the first three quarters of play).
Maybe ‘Bama head coach Nick Saban was playing up the cameras with that post-game leap into the arms of star QB A.J. McCarron (three touchdown passes) but – hey – right now Saban is the modern-day equivalent to Bear Bryant, and sure looks like his guys are headed back to a fourth SEC Championship Game in the past six years and very likely towards a third consecutive BCS Championship.
Let all the pie-eyed optimists declare that Auburn might beat ‘em in this year’s Iron Bowl game – right now we’re simply not buying it!
Something else we’re not buying is this thought that Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp is gonna survive past this 2013 season.
The not-so-mighty Gators exited last Saturday’s 34-17 never-in-doubt home loss against 11 ½-point underdog Vanderbilt with four consecutive losses and virtually no shot of even landing a bowl berth this year.
Florida’s now 4-5 SU while going into Saturday’s game at South Carolina, then there’s a "gimme" home game against Georgia Southern and finally the annual finale – this year the Gators are home to Florida State.
But winning two of these games will be mucho tough and Muschamp can hide behind injuries all he wants, but the bottom line is the Gators don’t fill the joint at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and fan apathy is at a recent all-time high.
Muschamp will be a goner at year’s end, but we just want to know if Florida – actually sitting in fourth place right now in the SEC East – will have the “you-know-what” to name a prime-time coach and stop messing around with theMuschamps and Ron Zooks of the world.
Maybe Urban Meyer – the one-time Florida resident genius – won’t come back after blazing his newest trail at Ohio State – but the names Charlie Strong (Louisville), Chris Petersen (Boise State) and Art Briles (Baylor) all should be expecting a call from the 904 area code come the holiday season.
NOTE: Get our Heisman Trophy Watch List plus lots of College Football News & Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez.