Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 10:08 AM
SEAHAWKS, 49ERS & SAINTS ALL FLOP IN WEEK 2 LOSSES AS WE RE-CAP SUNDAY’S NFL ACTION …
THE MNF PREVIEW: EAGLES-COLTS SQUARE OFF IN INDY …
THE COLLEGE GRIDIRON REPORT: BOTH GEORGIA AND USC HAVE THEIR PLAYOFF DREAMS DASHED IN THE RAIN
Maybe you happened to hear that stat they were spitting out on TV yesterday/last night that claimed 59 of the last 60 NFL teams to make the playoffs started off their seasons either 2-0 or 1-1 SU (straight-up) …
In other words, only one playoff team out of the last 60 post-season squads have gotten to the “promised land” after an 0-2 SU start and so you could feel the angst coming from pro football fans in New Orleans, Kansas City and those always-loyal New York Giants fans.
All of the above three teams are winless while heading into NFL Week 3 action and – just so you really know what they’re facing just consider the following: The Saints will be home to a Minnesota Vikings team that may or may not have “Father of the Year” RB Adrian Peterson back in the saddle this Sunday;
The Chiefs must trek to Miami and face a Dolphins club that has improved its offensive line and may have the baking sun of its side too here;
And the Giants host unbeaten Houston – and already the oddsmakers have declared the Texans are a 2 ½-point betting favorite over a Giants team that has major problems catching the football these days. Hey, it’s not all QB Eli Manning’s fault, you know!
It could be over-and-out time for these three “contenders” even before this 2014 NFL season gets heated up.
And they’re not the only ones with problems as the NFL Week 2 slate included key setbacks by the Super Bowl champ Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.
Let’s check out what happened to the ‘Hawks, Niners and Saints in their NFL Week 2 losses…
SAN DIEGO 30, SEATTLE 21 – (Chargers Win as Network's NFL Week 2 Stunner of the Month!) Sure, there were plenty of Seahawks fans miffed that RB Marshawn Lynch had just six carries (for 36 yards) in this road loss against the 5-point underdog Chargers but the bigger deal on this day was the Seattle secondary that couldn’t slow down TE Antonio Gates in/near the red zone (see touchdown grabs of 8, 8 and 21 yards) and what to make overall regarding this Seahawks defense that allowed San Diego to convert on 10-of-17 third-down plays?
Yes, we know it’s early but the Seahawks didn’t bring much passion to the stadium here and didn’t force any Bolt turnovers either even though the Chargers had the ball for 42:15 and a whopping 75 plays … and we don’t need to hear any whiny twitter junk from CB Richard Sherman who is one of the sport’s least gracious players, win or lose!
CHICAGO 28, SAN FRANCISCO 20 – If misery loves company that let the 49ers wallow around with the New York Jets who also blew a major lead in Week 2 play: The Jets went from up 21-3 to losing 31-24 at Green Bay while the Niners let a 17-0 second-quarter lead fritter away thanks to three INTs and one lost fumble on the part of QB Colin Kaepernick who piled up 248 passing yards but made enough mental/physical errors to sink any team.
Gotta say that it appeared the grand opening of new Levi’s Stadium was gonna be a major blast for the Niners fans but instead Chicago – playing with a battered roster that lost five players in the course of this game alone – roared back and San Fran really came up small whether it be the coverage on WR Brandon Marshall (three TDs) or the fact San Fran WR Michael Crabtree couldn’t corral that final end-zone pass in the game’s closing moments. Might the “window of opportunity” for a Super Bowl title be closing quicker than we imagined with this here-and-now mistake-prone Niners bunch?
CLEVELAND 26, NEW ORLEANS 24 – Maybe you happened to see that sideline highlight of Saints’ head coach Sean Payton ripping into his defensive coordinator Rob Ryan during this Week 2 bash in Cleveland … and we can only imagine what he said to Ryan behind closed doors following this game when N’Orleans allowed the Browns to go 85 yards on 14 plays before veteran PK Billy Cundiff booted a game-winning 29-yard field goal with three seconds left.
Let’s just say championship-type teams don’t allow pedestrian offenses such as the Browns to march 85 percent of the field for game-winning scores late and so be aware that there could be some sort of shakeup coming within the coaching ranks this week – Ryan probably gets to keep his job but a secondary coach or someone of the like will get canned ‘cause Payton isn’t about to blame his offense that 397 yards including a 27-carry, 174-yard ground attack … NFL teams simply don’t generally lose games when rushing for 174 yards and 6.4 yards a carry, right?
Tonight, it’s …
PHILADELPHIA (1-0) at INDIANAPOLIS (0-1) – 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Want to know something both the Eagles and Colts had in common in their Week 1 games last Sunday?
Both were steamrolled big-time in the first half – and only Philadelphia was able to rally back for a win in that Jekyll-and-Hyde 34-17 win/cover against 10-point underdog Jacksonville.
In their strange-but-true game last Sunday Night, the Indy Colts found themselves down 24-zip in Denver before Colts’ QB Andrew Luck scampered for a nine-yard scoring run with just 19 seconds left in the opening half.
Okay, so Luck and Company staged a furious second-half comeback before eventually losing to the Broncos but what Chuck Pagano’s club got from that road affair was there are indeed holes too big to climb from even in the offensive-minded NFL.
If the Colts – a 3-point betting favorite for this prime-time duel – have any high priorities here it’s to get jump-started right away and so expect Luck to be active when tucking and running with the football (just five carries for 19 yards and that aforementioned score last week) and look for Indy to spend some time trying to get this awful-looking ground game straightened away.
When is RB Trent Richardson gonna show up anyway?
Meanwhile, Philadelphia may have come back from the dead to beat the Jaguars last week, but injuries to All-Pro LG Evan Mathis (knee) and RT Allen Barbre (ankle) has second-year head coach Chip Kelly fretting some and do take note that Barbre has been filling in for a suspended Lane Johnson.
Philadelphia QB Nick Foles wasn’t exactly razor-sharp to start out last Sunday’s game with two fumbles and a pick but he catches a break with Colts DE Robert Mathis gone for the year (suspended/Achilles Heel) and keep in mind Indianapolis registered just one sack of Denver QB Peyton Manning last week.
Looking for a possible X-factor here?
Let’s see what Indy RB Ahmad Bradshaw can do if given the ball 12-to-15 teams in all – he could be the Colts’ head-up answer to scat-back Darren Sproles here.
Spread Notes – Indianapolis snagged the “backdoor cover” at Denver last weekend in that 31-24 loss plus the 8 ½-point price but did you know the Colts are a dazzling 12-4-1 ATS (against the spread) at home since the start of the 2012 season? On the flip side, Philadelphia is just 10-15 versus the vig as underdogs the past five-plus seasons. Also, date back the past three-plus seasons and you’ll see the Eagles are only 4-8 spreadwise when playing AFC competition.
Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers remains all revved up for this 2014 NFL season -- and now we’ll continue to storm our way right to the winner’s circle all week/weekend long: Make sure you’re banging out lots of winners this week as we wrap up NFL Week 2 play with this exciting tilt between the Philadelphia Eagles at the Indianapolis Colts (ESPN) and remember the NFL Week 3 menu gets kicked off Thursday Night with an NFC South battle between the Tampa Bay Bucs at the Atlanta Falcons.
The college kids are back on the gridiron come Thursday night too as Auburn’s at Kansas State in a big-time Top 25 affair on ESPN.
Plus there’s lots to cash in too with Major-League Baseball as it heads down the stretch of this 2014 MLB season. Check with us right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight action and after 10 a.m. ET for the Saturday and Sunday NFL. NCAA and MLB winners!
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND REPORT
Remember what we wrote here in a recent Jim Sez column that there’s plenty of teams with real-life College Football Playoff dreams that may not seem like it at the start?
Well, now that #6 Georgia lost at rainy/stormy South Carolina 38-35 and #9 USC was battered 37-31 at 17-point dog Boston College, you get the sense the teams right near the #10-or-so rankings are simply biding their time till all the guys above ‘em lose.
Both B.C. and South Carolina were the top plays of the day for Network on Saturday and were part of a 3-0-1 weekend for the CLOSED CIRCUIT Club, Jim's highest rated games.
Now maybe the likes of #1-thru-#4 teams Florida State, Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma won’t ever lose this 2013 season until they get to the four-team Playoffs but we maintain this is a real battle of Top 25 attrition this season.
And don’t necessarily look now for either Georgia or USC to ever get back into the playoff picture!
No question the Dawgs were haunted by the shaky play-calling of head coach Mark Richt – he was beaten up plenty by the late-night highlight guys for not letting mega-star RB Todd Gurley (131 yards rushing) bang it into the line on a first-and-goal from the four-yard line and Georgia wound up not scoring there while trailing 38-35 in the final four-plus minutes against 24th-ranked South Carolina.
You can blow your stack at Richt for that shaky sequence of plays near the Gamecocks’ goal line but our bigger issue is with a Georgia defense that surrendered some 27 first downs and 447 offensive yards to a South Carolina club that isn’t exactly littered with offensive stars these days.
Two weeks ago – in Georgia’s 45-21 win against archrival Clemson – the know-it-all college football analysts/commentators were falling all over themselves while heaping praise on new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
Is this dude still a “genius” now following that SEC East road loss?
Meanwhile, Boston College paid major tributes to Sept. 11 hero Welles Crowther with the red bandanna look on their helmets/uniforms and then went out and pounded a USC team that brought just 53 players East with ‘em for this rainy night game.
The Trojans defense surrendered an eye-popping 452 rushing yards with Boston College dual-threat QB Tyler Murphy accounting for 191 ground yards but the $64,000 question that must be asked the Troy Boys is did they use up all of their emotional energy in last weekend’s 13-10 win at Stanford?
Sure didn’t seem as if first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian lit much of a fire under the Southern Cal players!
In case you were wondering, USC wasn’t the only double-digit betting favorite to lose the “whole game” this past weekend as Iowa (- 13 ½) outsmarted themselves and lost to rival Iowa State 20-17. Note that Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz called a time out to freeze Iowa State PK Cole Netten with two seconds left and – how many times do we see this – Netten missed that try but got another after the timeout was granted and he promptly drilled it straight through the uprights.
Hey, maybe Ferentz can give a call to NY Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg today and they can discuss when – and when not – to call timeouts!
NOTE: Catch our Jim Sez Mid-Week report with Game Previews, News & Notes and more next!