Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 1:58 PM
It's the always wonderful Thanksgiving Day holiday and we're truly blessed to have an NFL Week 13 triple-header on the docket with five of the six teams playing on Turkey Day still very much in the hunt for a post-season berth (sorry about that, Oakland!) plus there's a pair of fun under-the-lights College Football games on Thursday night and we'll preview them too in just a moment but first this key reminder:
My handicappers and bloggers are in the holiday spirit and so we'll be winning the 29th Annual Jim Hurley Turkey Shoot all week/weekend long and so that means lots of winners in NCAA Football, NFL Week 13 action plus on the hardwood too with the NBA and NCAA Hoops. Don't get left out in the cold - win all week and cash in big with both Football and Basketball when you check with us here at Jim Hurley's Network either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
Remember to get the Thanksgiving Day/Night winners on Wednesday after 1 p.m. ET and then check back with us Friday morning after 11 a.m. ET as there are a whopping 16 College Football games plus a ton of hoops action on the day-after-Thanksgiving menu. Then bang out more winners this Saturday/Sunday/Monday as we blast away on one of the most important sports weekends of the whole year ... don't miss out!
Now, feast your orbs on these NFL Week 13 Thanksgiving Day tilts ...
GREEN BAY (5-5-1) at DETROIT (6-5) - 12:30 p.m. ET, Fox
The old "slim-to-none" phrase was tossed out there the other day regarding the playing status here of injured GB Packers QB Aaron Rodgers -- and that's too bad. A showdown between Rodgers and Detroit slinger Matthew Stafford would have been a real holiday treat but instead you can't sugar-coat things as the Pack heads into this NFC North clash on a sour 0-3-1 SU (straight-up) run while the Lions come off bitter back-to-back losses at Pittsburgh and against Tampa Bay.
No doubt Stafford remains a feast-or-famine guy with 24 TDs but 12 picks and 14 sacks - last weekend's 24-21 loss to the 7-point underdog Bucs featured three Stafford scoring strikes and four INTs although you've gotta put that last one on all-pro WR Calvin Johnson who played dropsy inside the 10-yard line on what turned into the game-sealing interception.
Remember the Packers won the first meeting this year 22-9 at Lambeau Field as the Lions played that one without the aforementioned Johnson while Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby booted five field goals including a 52-yarder.
Spread Notes - Detroit has failed to cover its last four consecutive games when placed in the favorite's role this season and note the Lions are a shabby 3-12 ATS (against the spread) in their last 15 head-to-head showdowns against Green Bay. On the flip side, the Packers enter this holiday bash on a four-game spread losing skein and did you realize that G-Bay is 1-5-1 versus the vig in its last seven away games? Yikes!
OAKLAND (4-7) at DALLAS (6-5) - 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS
How 'bout them Cowboys is right! Last weekend's 24-21 gut-check win against the NY Giants at MetLife Stadium featured three late-game QB Tony Romo third-down passes that went for first downs (two of 'em to embattled WR Dez Bryant and one to underrated slot guy Cole Beasley) that set up the game-winning field goal by PK Dan Bailey but will there be a Turkey Day letdown from the 'Boys after that clean sweep of the hated Giants?
If Romo (234 yards passing against the Giants) comes out chuckin' here, the Raiders could be in serious trouble as keep in mind Oakland surrendered seven scoring strikes a few weeks back to Philadelphia QB Nick Foles and just last Sunday the AFC West crew surrendered a QB Ryan Fitzpatrick TD strike with 10 seconds left in that 23-19 home loss versus Tennessee.
If the heavy-duty dog Raiders have any shot here, than the QB Matt McGloin-to-WR Rod Streater combo must click after this duo teamed up to average 18.6 per play on five connections last weekend against the Titans.
Spread Notes - Dallas is a sizzling 8-3 against the odds this season (a .727 winning rate) and the Cowboys have covered four of their last five games played against AFC competition. Meanwhile, Oakland is 7-4 spreadwise overall this year and the silver-and-black are 18-12-1 ATS as underdog sides since the start of the 2011 season.
PITTSBURGH (5-6) at BALTIMORE (5-6) - 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Say this for the Pittsburgh Steelers: They talked-the-talk and didn't wave the white flag after that 0-4 and 2-6 start as Mike Tomlin's club has tacked together back-to-back-to-back wins against Buffalo, Detroit and Cleveland and suddenly there's the black-and-gold on the "playoff hopeful" list that gets splashed across the TV screens every NFL game.
The Steelers rode the two-TD passing performance of veteran QB Ben Roethlisberger to a 27-11 triumph at 2 ½-point fav Cleveland last week and now challenge a Baltimore secondary that was barely tested in last week's 19-3 win against the anemic New York Jets - tell us right now that top-flight Steelers WR Antonio Brown (82 catches for 1,045 yards this year) will hit a "home run" or two here and we'll let you know whether the Steelers' win streak goes to four straight.
P.S., Ravens RB Ray Rice last weekend rushed the ball 16 times for 30 yards - can it all be the O-line's fault anymore?
Spread Notes - Pittsburgh's covered its last three consecutive games and note the Steelers have not enjoyed a four-game ATS winning streak since 2010. Conversely, Baltimore is 5-4-2 ATS overall this season and the Ravens are 6-0-1 ATS in their last eight home games dating back to late 2012.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL THURSDAY/FRIDAY GAME PREVIEWS
Now, here's the NCAA Football action for Thursday Night:
TEXAS TECH (7-4, 4-4 Big 12) at TEXAS (7-3, 6-1 Big 12) - 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Let's head to Austin for this Thanksgiving Night tilt and we'll quickly remind you that the Texas Longhorns have won the last four in a row in this heated rivalry and now catch Texas Tech on a four-game losing skid this year - the Red Raiders were once-upon-a-time 7-and-oh SU but losses to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor by a collective 78 points has rocked rookie coach Kliff Kingsbury's season and the Techsters head into this duel ranked 76th nationally in team defense ... ugh!
Texas Tech's top-rated passing game has utilized both QBs Baker Mayfield (2,078 yards passing with 12 TDs) and Davis Webb (2,315 yards passing with 16 TDs) but it's tough when your defense allows 50.5 ppg the past month, right?
If Texas can get its ground game purring here - and we'll be eyeballing better numbers from RB Malcolm Brown who has rushed for just 162 yards on 53 totes in recent back-to-back tilts against West Virginia and Okie State - than 4 ½-point fav Texas could roll closer to a New Year's Day bowl.
Spread Note - Texas has copped pointspread wins in six of its last nine head-to-head showdowns with Texas Tech and that includes last year's 31-22 win as 6 ½-point dogs in Lubbock.
OLE MISS (7-4. 3-4 SEC) at MISS STATE (5-6, 2-5 SEC) - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The annual Egg Bowl game has been split down the middle at five wins apiece for both sides the past 10 years - note that Ole Miss snagged a 41-24 win a year ago as one-point home dogs but here the Rebels are comin' in off a bummer 24-10 loss to Missouri and we don't want to hear any excuses about how Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace was "sick" for that game - the whole Rebels offense looked sick to us!
Now, let's see if Miss State can keep up its recent fine play - the Bulldogs have covered their last three in a row including last week's 24-17 OT win at Arkansas - but keep in mind QB Tyler Russell (263 yards passing and two TDs a week ago) suffered a shoulder injury late in that SEC game and so get ready to see some "wildcat" plays should Russell be out of action here.
Spread Note - Ole Miss has covered seven of its last 10 away games while dating back to the start of last year.
On Friday, it's ...
ARKANSAS (3-8, 0-7 SEC) at #17 LSU (8-3, 4-3 SEC) - 2:30 p.m. ET, CBS
You saw that right - the LSU Tigers are a whopping 25-point betting favorite for this annual day-after-Thanksgiving tilt against archrival Arkansas which staggers into this one on an eight-game losing skid.
The storyline here for LSU is the Bengals are still in the hunt for a fourth consecutive double-digit win season and there are a slew of January 1st bowl games that would like 'em part of their game but will QB Zach Mettenberger (2,926 yards passing with 22 TDs and 7 INTs) and Company be mentally sharp after going full-tilt to beat Texas A&M last weekend?
Spread Note - Believe it or not, LSU is a wobbly 1-5 against the odds in its last seven hoedowns against the Hogs.
OREGON STATE (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12) at #13 OREGON (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) - 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Let's just say the Oregon Ducks didn't endear themselves to a lot of folks in the college football world last week with those negative comments regarding the Rose Bowl followed by the ugly 42-16 loss at three-TD dog Arizona - but all rookie head coach Mark Helfrich's team can do now is right the ship and try to get QB Marcus Mariota straightened away as the one-time Heisman Trophy candidate has looked lost in recent losses to Stanford and 'Zona.
No Rose Bowl berth or any sort of national championship implications on the line here and who knew that Oregon State - losers of five in a row in this series - would be trying to salvage its season too after a heady 6-1 SU start? The stats these days for State QB Sean Mannion read 34 TDs and 13 INTs and he's thrown a slew of picks during his team's current four-game SU losing streak.
Spread Note - Since 2003, the Oregon Ducks are 7-3 ATS in their Civil War showdowns against Oregon State.
THE JIM SEZ HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST
We're back with the latest Installment of the 2013 Heisman Trophy Watch List where we offer up our top five weekly contenders for college football's most coveted individual award. Note that we've really had a major shakeup from last week's Heisman Watch List when our top five read like this:
Florida State QB Jameis Winston; Baylor QB Bryce Petty; Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel; Oregon QB Marcus Mariota; and Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch. Check out the changes this week ...
1 -- JAMEIS WINSTON, QB, FLORIDA STATE - The off-the-field issues with this redshirt freshman continue to cast a potential pall over both the Seminoles' national championship chase and his Heisman Trophy candidacy but "innocent till proven guilty" remains the case and so we'll solely concentrate on his on-the-field performances that last weekend featured 225 passing yards with four aerial TDs in Florida State's 80-14 win/cover against 59-point pup Idaho. For the year, Winston's now thrown for 3,163 yards with 32 TDs and 7 INTs and can we remind you that the 'Noles are 11-0 SU and a very tasty 9-2 versus the vig?
2 - JORDAN LYNCH, QB, NORTHERN ILLINOIS - Note that this versatile senior star entered Tuesday night's game against five-TD underdog Western Michigan with a grand total of 2,418 yards passing with 21 TDs and 5 INTs to go along with 1,434 yards rushing (a 6.5 ypc average) with 17 ground scores for a Huskies team that exited last weekend at 11-0 SU and 8-3 ATS. No doubt Lynch really upgraded his position in this year's Heisman Trophy race with last weekend's negative results for the trio of Petty, Manziel and Mariota --- and thus the leap to second place in our here-and-now Heisman race.
3 - AJ McCARRON, QB, ALABAMA - Sorry about that, AJ! We didn't put you into our Heisman Trophy Top 5 all year long but now you outlasted a batch of other fall-by-the-wayside quarterbacks and suddenly it appears McCarron will get an invite to New York City. Note that McCarron not only has help guide the Crimson Tide to back-to-back BCS titles but this year's team enters Saturday's Iron Bowl game at Auburn at 11-0 SU/7-4 ATS and the savvy signal-caller has compiled some neat stats including 2,399 yards passing with 23 TDs and just 5 INTs. Call him a "game manager" if you will ... but we're calling McCarron a strong Heisman Trophy candidate especially if Winston's legal matters get a bit sticky.
4 - JOHNNY MANZIEL, QB, TEXAS A&M - We knocked down "Johnny Football" one notch on this Heisman Trophy Watch List following his 34-10 loss at LSU last weekend when Manziel completed just 16-of-41 passes with one TD and two INTs. The A&M Aggies are a rock-solid 8-3 SU this year but they're pretty much off the national radar screen these days and Manziel's hopes of stringing together back-to-back Heismans now are an extreme longshot despite his composite stats that include 3,537 yards passing with 32 TDs and 13 INTs to go along with another 665 yards rushing and 8 ground scores.
5 - ANDRE WILLIAMS, RB, BOSTON COLLEGE - All hail this dynamite back who enters Saturday's game at Syracuse with an amazing 2,073 rushing yards (a 6.5 ypc average) with 16 touchdowns. Note that Williams is the first FBS back since 2008 to eclipse the 2,000-yard rushing mark and he's the numero uno reason why BC is heading back to the bowls for the first time since 2010. Welcome to the Jim Sez Heisman List, pal!
And a Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! NOTE: Check back with us all Thanksgiving Week/Weekend long as we'll have NFL Week 13 and College Football Previews/News/Notes!