Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 10:06 AM
THE JIM SEZ MID-WEEK UPDATE
WE WHET YOUR NFL WEEK 15 APPETITE WITH A COUPLE OF SUNDAY GAME PREVIEWS
THE COLLEGE BOWLS ARE COMIN'! AND HERE'S SOME KEY TEAM SPREAD NOTES
Hey, let's not hear any moaning/groaning when it comes to the way this year's NFL divisional races will be settled. In other words, if the AFC South and/or the NFC East wind up being won by .500 or even sub-.500 teams then so be it.
If a team finishes with, let's say, 11 wins and doesn't even make it to the post-season via the wild card - we're thinking the AFC, of course, -- than that's just too bad. For all of you folks wanting to "re-seed" and all the other stuff, why not just let the chips fall where they may? In short, if a sub-.500 Washington Redskins team is hosting an 11-5 Seattle Seahawks in a first-round playoff game in the NFC, deal with it. You win your division, you get the reward. Shouldn't make a darn bit of difference whether you have a winning record or not - end of commentary!
NFL WEEK 15 PREVIEWS
Okay, so let's continue with our little "theme" here and examine a pair of big games this Sunday in which teams with losing records aim at a playoff spot:
HOUSTON (6-7) at INDIANAPOLIS (6-7) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
In case you're wondering, the Indy Colts have allowed 50-plus points three other times in the past four years (62 to New Orleans in 2011, 59 to New England in 2012 and 51 to Pittsburgh in 2014) and so don't be particularly alarmed by last week's 51-16 loss in Jacksonville - and note the Colts actually won/covered in the last two instances after allowing "half-a-hundred" or more.
Meanwhile, the Colts continue to sit on pins-and-needles regarding the status of QB Andrew Luck (abdomen/kidney) - we don't really expect 'em to play here - and so either a banged-up Matt Hasselbeck (ribs) or journeyman Charlie Whitehurst will start here against a Texans team that fell flat on their faces in last Sunday's 27-6 home loss to New England when their QB Brian Hoyer was dinged up with another concussion.
Spread Notes - Indianapolis is 5-0-1 ATS (against the spread) in its last half-dozen head-to-head games against Houston and that includes a 27-20 win as 5-point road underdogs back in Week 5 action.
BUFFALO (6-7) at WASHINGTON (6-7) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
The logjam of 6-and-7 teams atop the NFC East - that's Washington and Philadelphia and the New York Giants all sharing the stage - amazingly includes a Redskins' team that hasn't won back-to-back games yet this year but now here's a shot following last Sunday's 24-21 triumph at 4-point fav Chicago. Okay, so it helped matters that Bears' PK Robbie Gould continued his late-year slump against the 'Skins last week but hats off to QB Kirk Cousins (300 yards passing with one rushing TD/one passing TD) who now must be leery of those Bills' blitzes.
Spread Notes - Washington's failed to cover all three of its games against AFC East competition this year while Buffalo enters this Week 15 tilt with a solid 10-6-1 ATS away mark while dating back to late 2013.
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all mapped out and you can get the upcoming College Football Bowl Games beginning with Saturday's Five (5) games including BYU versus #22 Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl plus all the NFL Week 15 games too when you check with us here at Jim Hurley's Network - make sure you're all aboard for the week/weekend action here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Plus don't forget all the daily/nightly action on the hardwood as there's NBA and NCAA Hoops action all winter long right here with Jim Hurley!
THE COLLEGE BOWL REPORT
Okay, so we brought you quick-hitter comments of all 40 Bowl Games all last week right here in Jim Sez but tomorrow we'll wheel out more detailed previews beginning with the Five (5) Bowl Games being played on Saturday … so don't miss out! Right now we'll spend a part of this Jim Sez column by getting you Key Team Spread Stats regarding how many of this year's Bowl Teams have fared spreadwise in recent bowl games:
Arizona - Since 2009, the Wildcats have failed to cover four of their last five bowl games including last year's 38-30 loss to 2.5-point underdog Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.
Up Next - Saturday's New Mexico Bowl vs. host New Mexico
Arizona State - Ugh! The Sun Devils are a rotten 1-6 ATS in bowl games dating back the past 10 years and this Pac-12 team was unable to "cash" last year with that 36-31 non-cover win against 7-point pup Duke in the Sun Bowl.
Up Next - A Jan. 2 Cactus Bowl tilt versus West Virginia
Boise State - The Broncos have covered six of their last nine bowl bashes while dating back to the 2006 campaign and among the covers was a pair of outright wins against Oklahoma and TCU in a pair of Fiesta Bowl games (see 2006 and '09).
Up Next - A Poinsettia Bowl showdown against Northern Illinois on Dec. 23
Cincinnati - The Bearcats have been a bust at bowl time since 2006 as Cincy's 2-6 versus the vig in these post-season games and that includes last year's 33-17 no-show loss to 1.5-point dog Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl.
Up Next - Cincinnati plays San Diego State in the Aloha Bowl on Dec. 24th
Florida - All hail the Gators who've banged out a 7-2 ATS mark in bowl games the past decade and take note this SEC club has bagged bowl covers against some "name" competition including Ohio State (2011 Gator Bowl), Penn State (2010 Outback Bowl) and a pair of BCS Championship Games versus Ohio State (2006) and Oklahoma ('08).
Up Next - A New Year's Day date versus Michigan in the Citrus Bowl
Florida State - Strange but true the FSU Seminoles have covered eight of their last 10 bowl games dating back to 2005 but the two spread setbacks occurred these past two years … the ugly 59-20 loss to Oregon in last year's Rose Bowl/playoff game and the 34-31 non-cover win against 11.5-point dog Auburn in the 2013 BCS National Championship.
Up Next - It's a Peach Bowl game against Houston on Dec. 31st
Iowa - The Hawkeyes are a rock-solid 5-2 vig-wise in bowl games since 2006 and note this Big 10 bunch has four underdog covers during this time span (versus Texas, Georgia Tech, Missouri and LSU).
Up Next -- It's the Rose Bowl versus Stanford on Jan. 1st
LSU - Believe it or not, the Bayou Bengals have suffered spread setbacks in five of their last six bowl games and that includes last year's 31-28 loss to 8.5-point underdog Notre Dame.
Up Next - It's a Texas Bowl game versus Texas Tech on Dec. 29th
Miami - Here's a Sunshine State team that hasn't fared well in the post-season as the 'Canes are 1-6 ATS in bowls the past 10 years and that includes last year's 24-21 loss to 3-point underdog South Carolina in the Independence Bowl.
Up Next - It's a Sun Bowl showdown against Washington State on Dec. 26th.
Oklahoma - The Sooners are a rotten 3-6 spreadwise in their last nine bowl games dating back to the 2006 season and take note that this Big 12 team has failed to cover 4-of-6 bowl games during this time span in which it was the betting favorite. Of course, that includes last year's 40-6 loss to 6.5-point pup Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Up Next - Yes, it's the Orange Bowl against aforementioned Clemson on New Year's Eve
Stanford - The Cardinal is 5-1 vig-wise in bowls since 2009 and that includes 28- and 24-point bowl wins against Virginia Tech and Maryland in 2010 and '14, respectively.
Up Next - Stanford's set to play in its third Rose Bowl in the four years when it gets the challenge from one-loss Iowa
Utah - Since 2005, the Utes are 6-2 against the odds in their bowl outings and that includes last year's 45-10 romp over Colorado State in the Sun Bowl.
Up Next - A renewal of the Beehive State Battle with BYU this Saturday in the Las Vegas Bowl (see complete game preview in tomorrow's Jim Sez)
NOTE: There's College Bowl Previews for the Saturday games in the next edition of Jim Sez.