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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 11:05 AM

THE JIM SEZ MID-WEEK UPDATE: NFL WEEK 8 GETS STARTED WITH THURSDAY’S JAGS-TITANS SHOWDOWN PLUS THERE’S PLENTY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHATTER FEATURING OUR HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST AND SAY HELLO TO THE 2016-17 NBA SEASON TOO!

Hey, if there’s anything that we all learned from NFL Week 7 action, it’s that you don’t “bury” a team too soon:

Maybe the general feeling out there was the likes of the New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were “finished” by mid-October but all of the above won key games last Sunday afternoon and if you happened to hit on any/all of the above, then congrats!

The NFL Week 8 menu revs up beginning Thursday night but keep in mind there are a whopping six teams enjoying their bye weeks – Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, the New York Giants, Pittsburgh and San Francisco all will be idle this final weekend in October -- and just so you can keep this under your hat, note that NFL teams coming out of their bye week are a so-so 4-3-1 ATS (against the spread).

Heck, we know the Minnesota Vikings – a 21-10 loser at 2.5-point underdog Philadelphia last weekend – are Exhibit A in how not to handle your post-bye week games as those “fat cats” simply didn’t game-plan properly for Philly’s fierce pass rush (and not having their normal offensive tackles in the lineup didn’t help Minny’s cause either!).

We will dig into more NFL goodies in a moment while getting you the Thursday Night preview between the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Tennessee Titans but first this key reminder …

Jim Hurley is hot, hot, hot these days – he and his Handicappers/Bloggers are ready to rock the books again this week/weekend and all you have to do is check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or right here at www.VegasSportsMasters.com.

Get the World Series game-by-game winners plus the NBA too beginning tonight – hey, there’s a ton of great College Football games on this week’s docket including Thursday’s TV bash between Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh so don’t miss out on the fun-and-profits!

NFL WEEK 8

On Thursday Night, it’s …

JACKSONVILLE (2-4) at TENNESSEE (3-4) – 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network

This AFC South could be a mad scramble right to the bitter end this year – Houston’s 4-3 now to lead the way following MNF’s loss in Denver – and you could make the case that this is a referendum game on what young quarterback is gonna be the real star of this division for the next several years:

Gotta know by now we’re not big fans of Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles (9 TDs and 9 INTs this year) while Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota (12 passing TDs and 6 INTs) gets better with every passing week but we say the key here is whether or not born-again Titans’ RB DeMarco Murray (633 yards rushing, 4.6 ypc average and 5 TDs) gets his mitts on the ball a minimum 25 times here … stay tuned.

Spread Notes – Believe it or not, Tennessee is a miserable 2-8-1 versus the vig in head-to-head showdowns versus Jacksonville while dating back to the 2010 campaign. The Jaguars, meanwhile, also are a solid 17-12-2 ATS in AFC South games the past five-plus seasons.

THE JIM SEZ HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST

It’s another season of the Jim Sez Heisman Trophy Watch List where we offer up our weekly top five candidates for college football’s most coveted individual award.

Here’s how we see things shaping up while heading into this busy late-October weekend:

LAMAR JACKSON, QB, Louisville – No change at the top as this Cardinals mega-star padded his uber-impressive stats last weekend with 355 passing yards with 3 TDs to go along with 76 rushing yards and one score in the 54-13 beat-down of N.C. State.

JAKE BROWNING, QB, Washington – We’ve moved this Husky hero up a notch in this week’s Watch List following his 291-yard, 3-TD passing performance in the 41-17 non-cover triumph over Oregon State last Saturday. Note Browning’s now thrown 26 TDs … and just 2 INTs.

DESHAUN WATSON, QB, Clemson – Don’t sleep on this dude as the Tigers’ numero uno star could hurdle up the Heisman charts even higher with a big-time showing this Saturday at Florida State. On the year, Watson’s thrown for 1,950 yards with 20 TDs and he’s run for another 279 yards.

JALEN HURTS, QB, Alabama – Gotta admit we first thought CBS game analyst Gary Danielson was a little “out there” when he mentioned this freshman as a potential Heisman hopeful prior to last weekend’s 33-14 win/cover against Texas A&M but check out the numbers: Hurts has thrown for 1,578 yards with 12 TDs and he’s rushed for 90-plus yards three times for the #1 team in the land.

J.T. BARRETT, QB, Ohio State – No, we’re not knocking the Buckeyes’ signal-caller out of our top five even though O-State lost at Penn State last weekend but we did “demote” him from the second spot on our Watch List: Barrett’s still thrown for 1,452 yards with 17 TDs and that dandy OT win at Wisconsin two weeks ago still counts for something!

Editor’s Note: Lots of great College Football Previews coming your way in tomorrow’s Jim Sez column including #4 Washington at #17 Utah, #7 Nebraska at #11 Wisconsin and #3 Clemson at #12 Florida State … so check ‘em out!

THE NBA IS BACK!

Let’s face it …

If we don’t get a Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Part III matchup in this season’s NBA Finals than everyone – including Commish Adam Silver – will be surprised but trust us when we tell you the Boston Celtics, the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers all will be on a “teams to watch list” and any of the above could create playoff havoc for the above-mentioned Cavs and/or Warriors … you’ll see.

Let’s lay out our just-for-fun NBA 2016-17 predictions:

  • MVP – LeBron James (Cleveland) edges out Kevin Durant (Golden State)
  • Rookie of the Year – Buddy Hield, New Orleans
  • Coach of the Year – Brad Stevens, Boston
  • Defensive Player of the Year – DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers
  • NBA Champions – Golden State over Cleveland in 7 games

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