Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 16, 2015 at 12:00 AM
Jim Sez for Friday, October 16 …
THE NFL WEEK 6 SKED GETS STARTED
WITH SAINTS STUNNING FALCONS 31-21 …
PLUS MORE NFL WEEK 6 PREVIEWS
INCLUDING PANTHERS-SEAHAWKS, BENGALS-BILLS
AND CHARGERS-PACKERS …
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND NEWS/NOTES …
THE BASEBALL REPORT: ALCS PREVIEW
… And then there were five.
Okay, so the ranks of this year’s NFL unbeaten teams shrunk by one following last night’s wire-to-wire 31-21 win by the 3-point home underdog New Orleans Saints over the Atlanta Falcons but now the $64,000 question is can N’Orleans climb back into any sort of playoff chase and be mindful that Sean Payton’s team now has 10 days to prep for a road game in Indianapolis with back-to-back home games against the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans to follow … hmm.
The flip side of the coin is the Falcons – who were making a dirty little habit of winning games in the fourth quarter – couldn’t overcome a blocked punt for a TD and couldn’t find nor tackle Saints TE Ben Watson (10 catches for 127 yards and one touchdown) … maybe that mid-March deal of disgruntled TE Jimmy Graham will pay off for New Orleans after all, eh?
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get the NFL Week 6 Side & Totals winners when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network and then keep rollin’ in the green all week/weekend long with all the NCAA Football, the NFL Week 6 games and the on-going MLB Playoffs.
It’s the best weekend college card of the year, folks, with a bevy of ranked matchups including #7 Michigan State at scorching-hot #12 Michigan, #10 Alabama at #9 Texas A&M and the prime-time dandy #8 Florida at #6 LSU. Plus there’s USC at #14 Notre Dame, Penn State at #1 Ohio State and lots more and so make sure you’re not standing on the sidelines – get into action with Jim Hurley’s Network and win big and remember the NFL Week 6 menu is chock full of great tilts including all of those unbeaten teams looking to stay that way – Cincinnati, Denver, Carolina, Green Bay and New England all try to stay perfect this weekend and we’ll have loads of Sides/Totals winners from those big games.
And remember the American League Championship Series begins tonight in Kansas City (see our Jim Sez Preview below) – and the National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs versus the New York Mets gets into high gear tomorrow night at raucous City Field!
Check with us on game days either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 – make this an October to remember.
NFL WEEK 6 PREVIEWS –
On Sunday, it’s …
CINCINNATI (5-0) at BUFFALO (3-2) – 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Hey, nobody’s making fun of the Cincinnati Bengals anymore, eh? The AFC North leaders – they’re two full games up on Pittsburgh as we enter Week 6 action here – have been the perennial one-and-done crew the last four years in NFL Playoff action but we’ve all seen a new grit to the Bengals’ game this year with last Sunday’s come-from-way-behind 27-24 win/push against Seattle quite possibly this franchise’s biggest win in the 13-year Marvin Lewis Era. Now we’ll see if QB Andy Dalton (11 TDs and 2 INTs this year) can make some more red-zone magic with TE Tyler Eifert (hope you have ‘em in your fantasy leagues, folks!) against a Bills bunch that’s held three-of-five foes to 14 points or less so far.
Don’t expect Bills’ slippery QB Tyrod Taylor (knee) to play here and so that means E.J. Manuel (ugh!) but WR Sammy Watkins is expected to return.
Spread Notes – Cincinnati has bolted out of the starting gate at 4-0-1 ATS (against the spread) this year and the Bengals are a collective 29-15-4 ATS when playing non-divisional foes the past four-plus seasons. Funny thing lots of folks we know hate to wager on the Bengals but here’s a team playing .659 ball against non-divisional foes in recent years and that’s quite a nice sample size here. Meanwhile, Buffalo has covered four of its last five head-to-head showdowns against Cincinnati since the start of 2005.
DENVER (5-0) at CLEVELAND (2-3) – 1 p.m. ET, CBS
These are not your big brother’s Denver Broncos … nowadays the AFC West leader does it with defense (the Broncs are allowing just 15.8 points per game) and last week even won a game in which they didn’t score a single offensive touchdown. Now, whether or not Bronco Nation is afraid that QB Peyton Manning ain’t what he used to be (see 6 TDs and 7 INTs so far in this 2015 campaign) is another topic but expect the road favorites to throw the kitchen sink at gimpy Cleveland QB Josh McNown who’s suffering through some ankle pain after his franchise-record 457-yard passing performance in last week’s 33-30 OT win in Baltimore even though Denver’s without the services of DE DeMarcus Ware.
The Broncos have collected an NFL-best 14 turnovers and just one “pick six” here could be the diff between cashing and trashing a pro-Browns wagering ticket here – hey, watch for Cleveland PK Travis Coons who is 11-for-11 on FG tries this year (and that includes 4-of-4 makes from outside 40 yards).
Spread Notes – Denver is 3-1-1 spreadwise out of the chute this year and overall the Broncos are 31-18-2 ATS as betting favorites since the start of the 2012 season. Cleveland’s covered nine of its last dozen games when placed in the underdog role and did you realize that the Browns have played three consecutive “one-score” games?
CAROLINA (4-0) at SEATTLE (2-3) – 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox
… And can you imagine if the Seattle Seahawks had been rightfully penalized for that batted ball bit two weeks ago in the hang-on-for-dear-life 13-10 non-cover win against Detroit? Well, Pete Carroll’s crew would be coming into this clash at 1-4 SU (straight-up) and just about dead when it comes to a post-season berth and so this NFC Divisional Playoff rematch (see Spread Notes below) qualifies as “must-win” material for the two-time defending conference champs and so good news that RB Marshawn Lynch is back after battling various knee/calf/ankle injuries the past three weeks.
Meanwhile, Carolina – fresh off its bye week – is a plus 37 in points this year while besting Jacksonville, Houston, New Orleans and Tampa Bay (yes, a quartet of teams that’s a combined 5-15 SU so far). Go ahead and look for Carolina QB Cam Newton to value the ball here (just three turnovers in the Panthers’ first four games) but we’ll be paying especially close attention to that battle between TE Greg Olsen and Seattle S Cam Chancellor. Winner of that tete-a-tete could tell the tale with the ‘Hawks a solid 7-point betting fav here (is that simply too high considering the season’s first five weeks?).
Spread Notes – Carolina’s just 3-6-1 versus the vig the last 10 times it’s been a road underdog and that includes last year’s 31-17 close-but-no-cigar loss as 13.5-point pups in Seattle in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. Note the Seahawks are 60-28-3 vig-wise at home since the start of 2005.
SAN DIEGO (2-3) at GREEN BAY (5-0) – 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
Raise your hand if you think there’s a possibility that the GB Packers could be 16-and-oh this season.
Wins by 8, 10, 10, 14 and 14 points so far means this NFC North crew is a heady 5-and-oh against the Las Vegas prices and we’ll be particularly anxious to see if Pack QB Aaron Rodgers (1,236 passing yards thus far) can hit some long balls against a slow-to-react San Diego secondary. True, Rodgers had his home INT streak snapped at 587 passes (and 49 straight TDs!) in last week’s hard-fought 24-10 win/cover against St. Louis and his in-the-pocket footwork was “off” but the Chargers – a lousy 1-9 SU all-time against Green Bay – needs to apply some heat while the QB Philip Rivers-to-WR Keenan Allen combo (teamed up for 39 pass plays worth 444 yards and 3 TDs) must make a statement or two here or else the 10-point dog Bolts will be busted again.
Spread Notes – Again, Green Bay is a perfect 5-0 against the odds this year but did you know the Packers are an amazing 95-63-4 ATS under 10th-year head coach Mike McCarthy? On the flip side, San Diego staggers into this one on a four-game spread losing skid but overall the Chargers are 7-3 ATS when playing NFC teams the past two-plus years.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND NOTEBOOK
Heck, we haven’t even gotten to Saturday’s busy card and it’s already been a wild week with USC “parting ways” with troubled head coach Steve Sarkisian and the great Steve Spurrier walking away from his head-coaching gig at South Carolina … which leads us to this:
The USC Trojans have interim head coach Clay Helton in place for this key night-time tilt at Notre Dame (geez, how many coaches has AD Pat Haden had in his relatively short stay at his alma mater?) but looking down the road you’ve gotta think Haden needs to hit a “home run” with his next choice and why do we think either one-time Oregon/current Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is gonna be getting a lot of mention here plus don’t be surprised if the names Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) and Art Briles (Baylor) pop up here …
As far as the soon-to-be full-time vacancy at South Carolina – right now Shawn Elliott is serving as the interim coach – the word is current Dallas Cowboys’ special team coach Rich Bisaccia is the apparent front-runner. Note that Bisaccia spent six different seasons at South Carolina in varying roles and then was at Clemson for five years and so his roots in the state run deep. If Bisaccia isn’t “the man” than you might look into Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
THE BASEBALL REPORT: ALCS PREVIEW
TORONTO vs. KANSAS CITY – Shades of 1985 … that’s the last time these franchises squared off for the right to play in a World Series and KayCee overcame a three games-to-one deficit to win that set in seven games before copping the ’85 World Series in seven games against St. Louis.
And gotta expect a long and drawn-out series here – but just how many bench-clearing brawls will we have? These teams had a pair of melees in regular-season action and, of course, everyone’s still buzzing against the Blue Jays’ wild Game 5 win against Texas the other day when there was plenty of beefs on both sides.
When it gets down to baseball, the Royals – of course – have the superior bullpen starring closer Wade Davis but the Toronto lineup is modern-day “Murderers Row” stuff but we say SS Troy Tulowitzki has to hit here or else (he was a non-factor save for one three-run clout in the ALDS win against Texas).
Toronto’s MLB-leading 232 home runs gets plenty of notice but two under-the-radar keys here:
Will the Blue Jays get great up-the-middle defense to match KC and will Toronto manager John Gibbons go “off the reservation” when it comes to handling his pitching staff … we still don’t understand that David Price-to-the-pen move last series though Gibbons lived to talk about it.
NOTE: Get more NFL Week 6 Previews/Forecasts plus our NLCS Preview in the next edition of Jim Sez.