Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 19, 2016 at 12:09 PM
THE NFL WEEK 2 REPORT - CHECK OUT TONIGHT'S EAGLES-BEARS CLASH PLUS A LOOK AT THE MOST UNDERVALUED TEAM IN THE LEAGUE AND THOSE 0-AND-2 SQUADS ...COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK
Okay, so we know you heard the key number all day long yesterday:
Only 12 percent of NFL teams that start off their season at 0-2 SU (straight-up) wind up making it to the playoffs and right here/right now in this ever-blooming 2016 season there are seven NFL teams that are 0-and-2 right outta the starting gate and there could be another if the Chicago Bears get beat at home this evening by the 3-point underdog Philadelphia Eagles.
We'll get you a quick-hitter Eagles vs. Bears game preview in a moment but first let's whip around the league and say something (unkind) about each of the seven winless teams:
BUFFALO - The Bills had "banked" their second loss of the season last Thursday night with that 37-31 setback against the New York Jets but then management and players held a secret meeting and didn't invite head coach Rex Ryan ... really!
CLEVELAND - Leave it to the Browns to blow a 20-0 lead and then not even cover the 4.5-point spread in that 25-20 bummer versus Baltimore. Pathetic!
INDIANAPOLIS - What exactly was the blocking scheme against Super Bowl MVP Von Miller late in Sunday's 34-20 loss in Denver? Note Colts' QB Andrew Luck was 5-of-18 passing before he heated up a bit in that one.
JACKSONVILLE - Normally, we practice the art of patience with young NFL head coaches and their teams but count us among the folks that truly believe Gus Bradley should be canned pronto after Sunday's non-competitive 38-14 loss in San Diego!
MIAMI - The Fish made New England QB Jimmy Garoppolo look like Johnny Unitas before they finally hurt the dude. This is the sixth time since 2006 that Miami started 0-2.
NEW ORLEANS - The Saints have lost to Oakland and the New York Giants by a grand total of four points and we want to know where was the explosiveness in Sunday's 16-13 loss in New Jersey ... is head coach Sean Payton still calling the plays?
WASHINGTON - Surprise, surprise that there's already bickering in the 'Skins locker room following Sunday's 27-23 loss to Dallas as QB Kirk Cousins (364 yards passing) is piling up the yardage but not gathering many friends.
In Monday Night Football, it's ...
PHILADELPHIA (1-0) at CHICAGO (0-1) - 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Call us guilty as charged ... we never thought hot-shot Eagles' rookie QB Carson Wentz was gonna look so poised in his debut a week ago while throwing for 278 yards and two TDs in a 29-10 win/cover against Cleveland but you better believe Bears' defensive-minded head coach John Fox will throw the proverbial "kitchen sink" at the draft's #2 overall pick. If Wentz withstands some odd-man blitzes here, we'll really sing his praises soon!
Meanwhile, Chicago QB Jay Cutler was sacked five times and knocked to the ground a bunch of times last Sunday in that 23-14 loss in Week 1 play at Houston - the Bears better stop worrying about sending out four men in pass patterns and keep and extra guy in to block, eh?
Spread Notes - Chicago is 9-22-1 ATS (against the spread) at home since the start of the 2012 season while Philly's failed to cover six of its last nine non-divisional road games.
In other NFL Week 2 News/Notes ...
Can someone please tell us why the Minnesota Vikings continue to remain so darned undervalued? Sure, everyone knows the quarterback story with Sam Bradford (286 yards passing with two TDs in Sunday Night's 17-14 win against 2-point road favorite Green Bay) taking over on short notice for the out-for-the-year Teddy Bridgewater but we thought the "wrong team" was favored in the Week 2 prime-timer and wound up being correct with that home victory ... a big-time Jim Hurley Network winner!
Folks, we'll tell you again: Minnesota is a composite 26-9 against the odds under third-year head coach Mike Zimmer - that's a .743 winning rate - and here the Vikes were home dogs even after they won the NFC North a year ago. Go ahead and look it up as there's no other NFL team even close in terms of pointspread winning percentage during the past two-plus seasons.
Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers will storm their way to the winner's circle with the winner on the NFL Week 2 Monday Night Football game between the Philadelphia Eagles at the Chicago Bears tonight on ESPN -- and remember the NFL Week 3 menu gets jump-started Thursday Night with an AFC battle between the Houston Texans (2-0) at the New England Patriots (2-0). Plus, the college kids are back on the gridiron come Thursday night too as #5 Clemson plays at ACC rival Georgia Tech (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN) with lots of great Friday/Saturday action to follow including Florida at Tennessee and Stanford at UCLA. And it's down-the-stretch time in Major-League Baseball with less than two weeks remaining in regular-season play, so make sure you pile up the diamond profits too as we head towards the AL and NL Wild Card Games. Check with us right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 ... and win, win, win!
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK
As long as we're on the topic of two-loss teams, what should be the handicapping strategy the rest of the way when it comes to Oklahoma - the once-upon-a-time No. 3 team in the country - and Notre Dame (the Fighting Irish was ranked #10 at season's start but now they have been bounced from the rankings)?
The knee-jerk reaction is to believe that both teams will sulk now that they realize a trip to this year's College Football Playoffs is out of the question but note Notre Dame's a healthy 21.5-point betting favorite this Saturday versus Duke and by the time we get to kickoff those golden domers could be so sick-and-tired of hearing criticism they come out and whup the Blue Devils by 50! Note that Oklahoma has a bye this week; the Sooners are at TCU on Oct. 1st.
Of course, it could also happen that both the Irish and Sooners go "in the tank" right away and - so right now - our rule of thumb will be if the opponent "excites" Oklahoma or Notre Dame or if it's a revenge game than laying points might be the way to go but otherwise our experience is that ND and OU will suffer through losing spread seasons and never quite get out of their funk. Wait and see.
NOTE: Get our Jim Sez Mid-Week Update in the next column that'll be littered with NCAA Football and NFL Week 3 News/Notes/Previews.