Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, October 13, 2014 at 11:43 AM
COWBOYS WIN “HOUSE MONEY” GAME AGAINST THE DEFENDING CHAMP SEAHAWKS PLUS EAGLES SPANK THE GIANTS -- AND MORE!
WE’VE GOT A MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREVIEW/FORECAST AS 49ERS-RAMS CLASH IN ST. LOO …
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT: MORE MAGIC FROM MISS STATE AND OLE MISS (ARE THEY RIGHT NOW THE TWO BEST TEAMS IN AMERICA?)
Right on, Troy Aikman!
The three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys circa early 1990s really hit the nail on the proverbial head in Sunday’s 30-23 Cowboys’ win at 10-point favorite Seattle:
Not only was the Hall of Fame slinger correct when he called this one a “house money” game for the ‘Boys - now did you happen to know anyone that really believed Dallas was gonna walk into Seattle and win the game outright? - but he stated correctly that Dallas dominated this one with the league’s now numero uno offensive line battering the smaller Seahawks up front to the tune of 162 rushing yards and note the lopsided time of possession stat as the Cowboys had the ball for some 37:39.
And now we tell you this factoid ...NFL teams that begin their seasons at 5-1 SU (straight-up) in the Super Bowl era make the playoffs - get this - 85 percent of the time and the only 5-1 teams in this here-and-now league are the Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Diego Chargers and bully for them!
Now, let’s dig a little deeper into the wins for both the Cowboys and Chargers plus we’ll dish on Sunday’s Night’s win by the Eagles too:
DALLAS 30, SEATTLE 23 - Take your pick as to whom was the Cowboys’ “player of the game” here but may we nominate tri-winners here … the aforementioned offensive line was fantastic (again!), RB DeMarco Murray (a sixth straight 100-plus rushing game) churned out 115 yards on the ground and WR Terrance Williams was scintillating with that ultra-key third-and-20 catch along the sidelines after a Houdini act escape by QB Tony Romo on that critical third-and-forever play.
Aikman called that the “play of the game” and no doubt the Seahawks had Dallas on its collective heels at that point with Seattle holding the 23-20 lead at the time but let’s flip the script for a moment and ask what the heck was Seattle’s offense doing in this game?
Quarterback Russell Wilson - fresh off a Monday Night Football-best 122 rushing yards in last Monday’s ragged 27-17 win at Washington - really looked lost at times while completing just half of his 28 pass attempts and rushing for 12 yards on two carries. He even blew it on a couple of pitch play/option calls where seemingly Wilson went the wrong way.
No, it wasn’t Seattle’s “finest hour” - and can somebody tell kick return specialist Percy Harvin that he doesn’t have to bring back every kick that’s eight or nine yards deep into the end zone? Harvin hurt the Seahawks’ field position more than once in this home loss.
Okay, so we won’t rain any more on Dallas’ parade by pointing out the Seahawks’ flaws here … hey, it’s time to let loose with a “How ’bout them Cowboys” salute.
P.S., note that Dallas is home for the next three weeks in a row - versus the NY Giants, Washington and Arizona, then play at Jacksonville and then the ‘Boys get their bye week.
You don’t really think Jason Garrett’s guys will be 8-1 SU heading into Week 11 now, do you?
PHILADELPHIA 27, NEW YORK GIANTS 0 - Maybe it was only right that at one point in this NBC broadcast there was a scene where a statue of boxing great Joe Frazier was get touched up by an artist because the Eagles did a real “Smokin’ Joe” job on the Giants on this night and whether it was the re-emergence of the ground game starring RB LeSean McCoy (22 carries for 149 yards) or a pass rush that sacked QBs Eli Manning/Ryan Nassib a grand total of eight times, the fact was the Birds blistered the yakky G-men on this night and snuggled up next to Dallas atop the NFC East.
The Giants - who lost WR Victor Cruz to a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter - spent way too much time this past week trash-talking and look where it got ‘em - heck, chief culprit DL Jason Pierre-Paul was invisible on this night as LT Jason Peters (and others) kept Pierre-Paul bottled up all night long while McCoy danced and darted his way behind huge holes and you get the sense that Philly’s season-long ground game woes have been fixed.
In all, Philadelphia rushed for 203 yards and humbled the Giants who now head to Dallas with tails firmly tucked between their legs - what are you gonna tell the troops now, coach Tom Coughlin?
SAN DIEGO 31, OAKLAND 28 - Okay, so the SD Chargers won’t go 16-and-oh against the Las Vegas prices this year but maybe, just maybe, the Bolts are piling up the building blocks with eyes on the #1 seed in this year’s AFC playoffs.
The Chargers - who absolutely own the Raiders (as in 17-4 SU since 2004) - hardly had a cakewalk win on this Week 6 but rookie RB Branden Oliver’s one-yard dive with 1:56 left in the game did propel San Diego past the hated silver-and-black in interim head coach Tony Sparano’s debut.
And now we’re wondering if the Chargers should be considered “elite” … hey, we don’t wish to get too far ahead considering SD plays rugged Kansas City and is at rival Denver these next two weeks and this Chargers defense did surrender four scoring strikes to rookie QB Derek Carr in this AFC West battle and there were times San Diego did not do enough with its 37:02 time of possession.
Okay, so we’ve put QB Philip Rivers firmly in the “elite” status (he threw three TDs against the Raiders in this “W”) but the jury may still be out for a Chargers team that could be 5-3 in another couple of weeks … or could be toast-of-the-league in they manage to go 7-1 with a win at Denver come Oct. 23rd.
We’ll get you our MNF preview/forecast of the game between the San Francisco 49ers at the St. Louis Rams in just a moment but first this key reminder. Jim Hurley’s Handicappers and Bloggers have everything all mapped out for tonight’s 49ers-Rams game and you can get the winners of the MNF and ALCS both together when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network at the toll-free # of 1-888-777-4155 or right here online. Get all the NCAA Football, NFL Week 7 and Major-League Baseball Playoff winners all this week/weekend and don’t miss a beat! Go ahead and bash the books all week long with America’s #1 Handicapper!
In the NFL Week 6 Monday Night Football game, it’s:
SAN FRANCISCO (3-2) at ST. LOUIS (1-3) - 8:30 ET, ESPN
Let’s just say there’s been no shortage in the drama department for this year’s San Fran 49ers - whether it’s taking the team’s “temperature” under fourth-year head coach Jim Harbaugh or the myriad of questions surrounding QB Colin Kaepernick (has his game slipped, why doesn’t he run more, etc.) the fact remains the Niners are looking to win three in a row and tie Seattle at 4-2 and be one game back of 4-1 Arizona … so will this be the Niners’ “A game” or what?
Kaepernick has been a fierce defender of his embattled head coach and he enters this prime-time tilt having thrown four TDs and just one INT in his last three games but the real MVP of this San Francisco team could be PK Phil Dawson who last week blasted five field goals in the 22-17 win/pointpsread push against Kansas City.
The Rams, meanwhile, have settled on one-time third-stringer Austin Davis as the team’s starting signal-caller and last week the former Southern Miss star threw three TDs in a close-but-no-cigar 34-28 come-from-way-behind eventual loss in Philadelphia - let’s see if Davis is able to get adequate time to throw here or will the likes of DL Justin Smith make this a miserable Monday for the home folks here.
Spread Notes - San Francisco is just 2-2-1 ATS (against the spread) this season after having compiled a healthy 34-19-3 spread mark in the first three years of the Harbaugh Era. On the flip side, St. Louis has failed to cover three of its first four games this season and the Rams are 5-10 ATS as underdogs since the start of the 2013 season.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND WRAP
Didn’t you just love it when you heard a couple of different college football announcers/analysts refer to the state of Mississippi as the “center of the college football universe”?
One day after Ole Miss squashed an overrated Texas A&M team 35-20 hours after Mississippi State batter Auburn 38-23 the Associated Press Top 25 poll was released and there was Miss State at #1 and Ole Miss at #3 with defending champ Florida State sandwiched in between.
Lordy, lordy, the Magnolia State has enjoyed back-to-back stellar weekends on the good old gridiron as Miss State (6-0, 3-0 SEC) has a genuine Heisman Trophy candidate running the show with QB Dak Prescott (see 14 passing TDs and 8 rushing scores) the star-of-stars while Ole Miss (6-0, 3-0 SEC) has plenty of heroes of its own including QB Bo Wallace (1,700 yards passing with 15 TDs and a crisp 68.5 completion percentage rate) and the question must be asked.
Are they now the two best teams in America? The knee-jerk, off-the-top-of-our-head answer is … no!
Count us among the folks who have Florida State ranked as the second-best team in the land right now following that 38-20 non-cover win at Syracuse last weekend but - while not looking to anger any Miss State folks - we think Ole Miss is the best team in the land after that twin-digit win in College Station and we’d rank ‘em Miss State at #3, Baylor at #4 and Notre Dame at #5.
Obviously, we’re merely halfway through this 2014 season in which we’ll - finally - have a College Football Playoff and either Miss State or Ole Miss is gonna lose at least once as they play one another on Nov. 29th but the odds have grown increasingly higher that one of the teams from this proud football state is gonna wind up in the “final four”.
Who would have thought that back August.
Bow ties and cowbells never have been so popular!
NOTE: Catch our Mid-Week Report in the next edition of Jim Sez.