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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 8, 2014 at 12:21 PM




Okay, so don’t rip up your Super Bowl XLIX “win-it-all” tickets just yet even if you happen to be rooting for the New England Patriots or the New Orleans Saints or the Kansas City Chiefs or even the Chicago Bears.

We will inform you that eight of the last 10 Super Bowl-winning squads did taste sweet victory in their Week One games that title year – the funny thing is the two exceptions to the rules were the 2007 New York Giants and – you got it – the 2011 New York Giants.

So, even though the Pats, Saints, Chiefs and Bears all lost straight-up as Week 1 betting favorites, we won’t slam the door shut on their opportunities to cop the Super Bowl come the first weekend in February … but let’s just say the odds just got a little longer for all of these teams, right?

Go ahead and choose what above-mentioned NFL team suffered the worst Week One loss – hey, but could there be any tougher loss than the Jacksonville Jaguars who blew a 17-0 lead en route to a 34-17 loss at 10-point betting favorite Philadelphia? – but gotta say there were some true hard-luck lost wagers out there in Week One including Sunday Night’s clash between Indianapolis (+ 8.5) at Denver:

The Broncos not only blew the cover in that 31-24 don’t-dare-touch-the-channel win against the Colts but if it wasn’t for an ultra-active Denver secondary that played brilliantly despite some of those QB Andrew Luck stats (see 35 completions and 370 yards passing with 2 TDs) the home folks just might have lost the whole shebang!

It’s funny that NBC announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth didn’t take the Broncos to task for some ridiculous play-calling late in the game – incomplete passes on second- and third downs by QB Peyton Manning when the Colts had no time outs left and two-plus minutes remaining in the game was a major head-scratcher, wasn’t it? – plus the Broncos couldn’t or didn’t run the ball when it counted most and that was odd too considering RB Montee Ball (67 yards rushing) sure looked strong on that fourth-quarter touchdown run from three yards out where he bounced off a couple of Colts’ defenders.

No doubt that comebacks were all the rage in Sunday’s NFL action from Indy’s roar-back attempt in the Mile High City to Cleveland’s 24 straight second-half points before the Brownies were beaten at the wire 30-27 in Pittsburgh to Miami scoring the game’s final 23 points in a 33-20 home win against New England.
When it all shook out, seven of the 12 games played on Sunday were decided by one score, two of ‘em went into overtime and – surprise, surprise – the NFL team that scored the most points on the day was those Hard Knocks guys a/k/a the Atlanta Falcons who were a 37-34 OT winner against the aforementioned Saints.

And who could have forecasted that Miami RB Knowshon Moreno (24 carries for 134 yards) would be the day’s top rusher or that Dallas QB Tony Romo would throw three INTs even before you hit the halftime break in that 28-17 home loss to San Francisco … or that rookie head coaches Mike Zimmer (Minnesota), Mike Pettine (Cleveland), Bill O’Brien (Houston) and Ken Whisenhunt (Tennessee) all would start off with pointspread “W”s?

No ordinary Week 1, for sure!

Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers are all revved up for this NCAA and NFL season and we’ll continue to storm our way right to the winner’s circle all year long: Make sure you’re banging out lots of winners this week beginning with tonight’s pair of NFL Monday Night Football games – the New York Giants at Detroit followed by San Diego at Arizona – and then don’t forget this week begins the NFL’s weekly Thursday Night Games on CBS as we’ll have the Side & Totals winners on the AFC North battle between Pittsburgh at Baltimore.

Plus, get all the important College Football games this week/weekend starting off with Thursday’s Houston at BYU bash on ESPN, Friday’s Toledo at Cincinnati and Baylor at Buffalo showdowns and note it’s a slam-bang Saturday with major matchups such as Georgia at South Carolina, Purdue at Notre Dame and Tennessee at Oklahoma. Plus cash in with loads of Major-League Baseball Winners too as we’ve been banging out lots of “W’s” in recent weeks as we head to the home stretch of this 2014 MLB season.

Check with us right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for tonight action and after 10 a.m. ET for the Saturday and Sunday NFL. NCAA and MLB winners!

Tonight, it’s …
The 2013 campaign was truly a tale of two seasons for the Giants and Lions:

Tom Coughlin’s NFC East team staggered out of the starting gate and lost its first six consecutive games; the Lions bumbled their way to a season-ending four-game losing streak to kayo any/all hopes of making it to the post-season.

Gut feeling is there will be a true “sense of urgency” this evening for these two teams that have – get this – combined for just three post-season wins between ‘em the past six years and all of those “W’s” were owned by the G-men in their Super Bowl run back in 2011.

If the Giants have any hopes of returning to the post-season, then a “broken” offense must show some life after a putrid preseason in which QB Eli Manning looked lost and don’t forget that Manning aired a career-worst 27 INTs a year ago. Let’s see if he and the rest of the Giants can absorb new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s West Coast offense here against a Lions team that ranked a lowly 28th in the NFL in sacks.

Best matchup of this night is Detroit WR Calvin Johnson (110 receptions for 1,492 yards and 12 TDs last year) going up against new Giants CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who is playing on his fourth different team the past five years.

Spread Notes – Detroit is 13-20 ATS (against the spread) as betting favorites the past three years and note the Lions are an ugly 5-14-1 versus the vig in non-divisional games the past two seasons. Meanwhile, the NY Giants enter this MNF tilt having failed to cover their season-opening game seven times in the past 10 years but consider the Jints are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games overall.

SAN DIEGO at ARIZONA – 10:20 p.m. ET, ESPN
Okay, so 10 regular-season wins wasn’t enough to land the Arizona Cardinals a playoff berth last year and so the mantra for the Redbirds this year is they gotta do even more – but can veteran QB Carson Palmer (career-best 4,724 yards passing with 24 TDs last year) raise his game higher beginning here with a prime-time tilt against a dangerous Chargers bunch?

No doubt that San Diego needs to step up a couple of key stats here – last year the Bolts ranked 23rd in sacks and 20th in turnover differential league-wide – and note that when the Chargers were busy winning their final four regular-season games a year ago they were holding foes to 14, 20, 13 and 24 points (or 17.8 ppg).

Naturally, much is made of the rebirth of San Diego QB Philip Rivers who last season did capture the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year (4,478 yards passing with 32 TDs) but will the Chargers be able to stretch the field enough in the vertical passing game to allow RBs Donald Brown, Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews to dent the Cardinals’ rush defense that last year ranked #1 in the league while yielding some 84.4 yards per game?

Spread Notes – Arizona registered a 10-5-1 ATS mark last year and did you know the Cardinals have covered their season-opening game the past four years in a row? On the flip side, San Diego is coming off a splendid 11-6-1 ATS season that included road outright wins at Philadelphia, Kansas City and Denver – and the AFC Wild Card 27-10 triumph at 6-point fav Cincinnati.


Isn’t that how it always works? The mass media tells you what’s important on a weekend card in NCAA Football and then – whoa – something out of the blue happens and changes everything.

Case in point: Everyone made a fuss about the #7 Michigan State at #3 Oregon matchup (we’ll get to that tilt in a bit) but when the dust settled last Saturday night in the College Football world there was #8 Ohio State getting beaten at home by 11-point underdog Virginia Tech and thus the Buckeyes can just about say bye-bye to any/all playoff hopes this year.

Okay, you say, so maybe Ohio State wasn’t gonna get to the four-team College Football Playoffs (CFB) anyway without injured and out-for-the-year QB Braxton Miller but who knew that the Buckeyes’ loss would – in essence – slide everybody up a slot or two and make ‘em more viable options for this smallish playoff field?

Think they weren’t partying at Baylor or maybe even at Texas A&M following that Ohio State loss?

Meanwhile, in terms of that high-profile Oregon win/cover as 14-point home favorites versus Michigan State, who amongst y’all would have thought that possible considering the Pac-12 team trailed 27-18 in the third quarter?

The Ducks – who not only scored the game’s final 28 points but absolutely stuffed the Spartans’ offense in the game’s final 20-plus minutes – were the team in the “had-to-have-it” category here and thanks to a ferocious defense starring CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and the All-American play of QB Marcus Mariota (see 318 yards passing with three big scoring strikes and another 42 yards rushing) the Oregon team survived and no doubt they get an extra check-mark for the pointspread cover!

In other NCAA Football News/Notes from the weekend’s games …

Maybe the UCLA Bruins are not quite there yet in terms of being an elite team – last Saturday’s 42-35 non-cover home win against 22-point dog Memphis included the fact the Tigers totaled 469 offensive yards and didn’t commit a single turnover against a Bruins bunch that had scored three defensive TDs in that season-opening non-cover win at Virginia …

Don’t know what game NBC analyst Mike Mayock was watching when late in Saturday’s 31-0 Notre Dame win over 4-point pup Michigan he declared that he didn’t think Wolverines’ QB Devin Gardner had a bad game.

Say what?

Gardner committed four second-half turnovers and took a couple of needless sacks in the Irish romp – “Chicken Dance” that one, Big Blue! – and he absolutely killed his own club with multiple red-zone errors.

Get a grip, Mayock, and criticize the kid if it’s warranted, okay? …

Finally, count #20 Kansas State among the teams counting their blessings this week. Bill Snyder’s crew survived with a 32-28 non-cover win at 12-point dog Iowa State last weekend as K-State QB Jake Waters – who threw for 239 yards and rushed for a career-best 138 yards -- scored the game-winning TD on an eight-yard run with 1:30 left. Snyder was none too pleased with his club’s 77 penalty yards or the fact Kansas State forced just one Iowa State turnover but in this survive-and-advance playoff world of college football these days the Big 12 win was a whole lot better than the “alternative” … agree?

NOTE: Catch our Jim Sez Mid-Week Report next with more NFL/NCAA Game Previews!

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