Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 12:17 PM
OUR NFL WEEK 13 WHIP-AROUND THE LEAGUE AND THE RUMOR REPORT
Here’s a special note...My handicappers and bloggers are very much in the holiday spirit and so we’ll continue to bang out winners right through Monday Night Football with our Annual Jim Hurley Turkey Shoot. Get all the holiday weekend long Football & Basketball Winners 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.
NFL WEEK 13 WHIP-AROUND
Time to go ‘round the NFL with a batch of Sunday quick-hitter previews:
SAN DIEGO (7-4) at BALTIMORE (7-4) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
So, who’s more at a disadvantage here? A San Diego Chargers team trekking East-ward and playing in that dreaded “early game” slot or the Baltimore Ravens who are playing on a “short week” after that 34-27 win in New Orleans this past Monday Night? Fact of the matter is the Chargers have lost six straight pointspread verdicts and have spiraled downhill in a hurry while barely scraping past Oakland and St. Louis the last two weekends but Mike McCoy’s club is hoping RB Ryan Mathews (105 yards rushing on 12 carries last Sunday) can be a spark against a Ravens’ defense that allows just 88 ground yards per game.
Spread Note - Baltimore has notched spread wins in four-of-five home games this year.
CLEVELAND (7-4) at BUFFALO (6-5) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
It’s home, sweet, home for the Bills who - let’s face it - really had a blast in that “home game” in Detroit the other night while posting a lopsided 38-3 win against the hapless New York Jets.
One of the great signs from that prime-time tilt was Buffalo’s seven sacks - the Bills lead the league with 46 sacks on the year - and getting in the grill of Cleveland QB Brian Hoyer will be a top priority here ...even though Hoyer almost self-imploded without any help in last weekend’s roller-coaster 26-24 win in Atlanta. Maybe Hoyer looked too much for prodigal son WR Josh Gordon (eight catches for 120 yards a bit gassed at the end) so if the visiting Browns are gonna win their fourth road game this year than Cleveland’s rather underrated ground game (ranks 12th in the NFL at 117.5 yards per game) will have to come to the rescue.
Spread Note - Cleveland is 4-1 ATS (against the spread) as an underdog this year after going a collective 22-24-1 vig-wise as dogs the previous five seasons.
NEW ORLEANS (4-7) at PITTSBURGH (7-4) - 1 p.m. ET, 1 p.m.
It seems funny right now but nobody in/around Pittsburgh will be laughing at year’s end if a 10-win Steelers team doesn’t qualify for the playoffs while a sub-.500 Saints team wins their division - hey, it could very well happen but if Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin is wise then he’ll pounce on the fact N’Orleans has allowed a whopping 5.45 yards per carry the past three games and so forgive Steelers’ RB Le’Veon Bell - fresh off his 204-yard rushing performance in Tennessee back on Nov. 17th - for salivating just a little a bit here.
Spread Note - Pittsburgh’s just 11-16 spreadwise in non-AFC North games the past two-plus seasons.
NEW ENGLAND (9-2) at GREEN BAY (8-3) - 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
Okay, so by now we’re sure you’ve heard the word that all-world quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have never met on the football field - but combined they’ve won four Super Bowls (Brady 3, Rodgers 1) and these days they lead the top two scoring teams in the league ... so you’re not expecting any sort of 20-17 type final here, are you? No doubt one major key to success for Green Bay - a team that’s scored 30-plus points in six games this year - is the quick-silver starts for Mike McCarthy’s club that owns a 128-to-9 scoring advantage in the first half of its last four home games. To counter a Rodgers-to-WRs Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb passing frenzy - note the quarterback has 18 TDs and 0 INTs at Lambeau Field this year while Nelson leads the league averaging 123.2 yards per game receiving and Cobb has 20 catches in his last three home games - the Pats are likely to ride a ground game that’s utilized two different backs to great success the past two weeks as both Jonas Gray (201 yards rushing at Indianapolis two weeks ago before getting benched last Sunday) and LeGarrette Blount (78 yards rushing on just 12 carries with two scores last week versus Detroit) - should get 30 totest between ‘em here providing the Pats are not playing from too far behind. Note Brady has thrown 22 TDs and only 4 INTs during this current seven-game SU (straight-up) winning streak.
Spread Note - Green Bay is 12-6-1 ATS when facing NFC foes since the start of the 2010 season.
On Sunday Night, it’s ...
DENVER (8-3) at KANSAS CITY (7-4) - 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Okay, so the KC Chiefs have the “distinction” of being the one-and-only team to lose to hapless Oakland this season but can we just say one thing? Andy Reid’s team is quite adept at getting off the mat as the team’s only other two non-cover outings (a spread loss to Tennessee in Week 1 and a spread push at San Francisco in Week 5) were promptly followed by pointspread “W’s” and so Denver, you have been warned! The Broncos did snag a 24-17 non-cover triumph over Kansas City back on Sept. 14th as QB Peyton Manning completed 21-of-26 passes for 242 yards and 3 TDs and overall since joining the Broncos in 2012 Manning’s tossed 14 TDs and just 2 picks versus the Chiefs. On the flip side, KayCee sports the NFL’s top pass defense while yielding a mere 199 yards per game and star pass rusher Justin Houston (a league-leading 13 sacks) could wreck Manning’s night but be better expect a whole lot of double teams here.
Spread Note - Denver’s covered seven of its last 11 head-to-head matchups against Kansas City.
THE NFL RUMOR REPORT
Okay, so it’s no secret that there’s major issues in D.C. where the QB Robert Griffin III Era almost assuredly will end following the conclusion of this here-and-now 2014 season but could there be any truth to the rumor that the Philadelphia Eagles will be interested in RG3’s services?
The Eagles - fresh off their Thanksgiving Day 33-10 win in Dallas - have been counting on QB Mark Sanchez to save this season after the injury to former Pro Bowler Nick Foles but second-year Philly head coach has been hinting among insiders that he wants “his kind of quarterback” to run the up-tempo Eagles’ offense next year and barring any draft trade that would get them Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, it’s a good bet that these two NFC East rivals will be discussing a deal that could bring Griffin to the City of Brotherly Love ...
And while we’re touching on next year’s NFL Draft, here’s two names that figure to get major splashy pre-draft headlines even though they don’t play “sexy” positions:
Iowa LT Brandon Schreff is a 6-foot-5, 320-pound behemoth who most draft experts believe will be a top 7 or 8 pick - and don’t you just know the New York Giants would be drooling all over themselves to land Schreff who even ran the ball a few yards off a end-of-game pitch-back play in the Hawkeyes’ 37-34 overtime loss to Nebraska the day after Thanksgiving. Hey, with the way the Dallas Cowboys have beefed up their O-line in recent drafts, you know monster-sized O-linemen will be chosen higher than usual in 2015.
Then there’s Oregon LT Jake Fisher who’s been a major diff-maker for this year’s Ducks - consider that Fisher missed a couple of early-season games with a knee injury and his absence was felt and there’s talk now that the 6-foot-6, 300-pound senior will be a fast moved on the draft boards and could be a late first-rounder when the dust settles ... might the Green Bay Packers or the Indianapolis Colts have designs on drafting Fisher come the spring of ’15? Stay tuned.
NOTE: Catch our complete weekend wrap-up report plus the Monday Night Football Preview - that’s the Miami Dolphins at the New York Jets - in the next edition of Jim Sez!