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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, December 26, 2016 at 1:17 PM


Hope you received everything you wanted in terms of a Christmas or holiday gift ... we know that the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos didn't!

And neither did the Baltimore Ravens, for that matter.

Nope, both of those teams were unceremoniously squeezed right out of this year's National Football League playoff chase with Christmas Night/Day losses in Kansas City and Pittsburgh, respectively, and as NBC's Bob Costas informed one-and-all 'round midnight last night this will now be the first time since the NFL 2003 season that neither Super Bowl participant from the prior year made it to the following's year's "tournament".

Damn, back in August we would have wagered our last dollar that the Broncos and Carolina Panthers at least would have had another bite at the apple this year but such is the fates/fortunes of an NFL team:

The Broncos never could get their quarterback situation fixed just right; the Panthers surrendered a slew of points and QB Cam Newton could never get a call!

Wait till next year, guys.

So, the NFL Playoffs will go on in two weeks without either of the Super Bowl 51 teams and, while everyone zooms in on "hot sides" such as Green Bay and Pittsburgh and laments the fact Oakland must go it without mega-star QB Derek Carr (broken leg), we ask if maybe this is "the year" for someone such as the Atlanta Falcons or perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs ... ahh, chew on that one with your leftover turkey today!

Network Basketball 8-0 This Weekend including 3-0 Christmas Day with Spurs and Thunder in the NBA and Illinois State in College. Jim Hurley's Hotline Football 2-1 Saturday and 1-1 Sunday with Ravens and Broncos, and wins both NFL totals.

Get all this week's College Football Bowl Games including all the upcoming College Football Playoffs - that's Washington vs. Alabama and Clemson vs. Ohio State on New Year's Eve -- plus wrap up the NFL Week 16 action this evening with the Side/Totals winners on the Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys bash. And remember to get all the NFL Week 17 games this weekend too when you check with us here at Jim Hurley's Network. And, of course, make sure you're all aboard for the NBA and NCAA Basketball daily/nightly winners all this week/weekend action either online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.

Don't get left out in the December/January cold - win big with Jim Hurley's Network today!


Tonight, it's ...DETROIT (9-5) at DALLAS (12-2) - 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Okay, so all the TV folks were busy spelling out the facts here: Detroit's home game versus rival Green Bay this Sunday night actually will determine the NFC North champ but keep in mind the Lions could win here and then again in Week 17 and possibly land the NFC's #2 seed should Atlanta lose its game. Got it? Reality is the Cowboys - sitting there with the conference's #1 seed - probably will play their starters for just a half here and so that means only 30 minutes for rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott to score and jump back into that Salvation Army kettle!
Spread Notes - Dallas is a solid 9-5 ATS (against the spread) this year but that includes a current four-game spread losing streak). Detroit is 5-3 ATS as underdogs this year and 5-3-1 spreadwise in non-NFC North affairs.



Here's a look at the Four (4) Bowl Games on tap for Wednesday, December 28th and remember we'll have complete/detailed previews of the College Football Playoff games later this week in a jam-packed edition of Jim Sez:

On Wednesday, it's ...

PINSTRIPE BOWL - Yankee Stadium - The Bronx, NY
PITTSBURGH (8-4) vs. NORTHWESTERN (6-6) - 2 p.m. ET, ESPN

There's been plenty of high-wire act games for the Pittsburgh Panthers this season - five games were decided by 3 points or less and don't be shocked if this one at The House that Jeter Built gets you a spine-tingling finish. All eyes on Pittsburgh RB James Conner (1,060 yards rushing and 16 TDs this year) who shook off cancer and knee surgery to be one of the real gridiron stars of the season but what'll give when he goes up against a N'western defense that allows only 136 ground yards per game (a decent 31st in the nation)?
Spread Note - Pittsburgh is a money-blowing 8-17-1 against the odds as betting favorites the past four years.

RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL - Camping World Stadium - Orlando, Fla
MIAMI (10-2) vs. WEST VIRGINIA (8-4) - 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Believe it or not, "The U" has not won a bowl game in 10 years and the know-it-all Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Hurricanes favored by just 2.5 points here - will prodigal son head coach Mark Richt have the answers against a West Virginia team that spreads the aerial wealth behind QB Skyler Howard (26 TD passes)? If Miami's soph RB Mark Walton cracks the century mark here, advantage 'Canes!
Spread Note - Miami has covered eight of its 12 games this year including a current four-game ATS winning streak.

FOSTER FARMS BOWL - Levi's Stadium - Santa Clara, CA
INDIANA (6-6) vs. UTAH (8-4) - 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox

Wacky matchup got a little wackier when Indiana dismissed hard-driving head coach Kevin Wilson back on Dec. 1st and defensive coordinator Tom Allen steps into the interim head coaching role here - but the Big 10 Hoosiers (a full TD underdog) ain't getting anything accomplished unless QB Richard Lagow (18 TD strikes) has time to chuck it against a Utes defense that stars pass-rushing fiend DE Hunter Dimick who had 14.5 of Utah's eye-popping 40 sacks this year.
Spread Note - Utah's covered five of its last six bowls since 2008.

TEXAS BOWL - NRG Stadium - Houston, TX
TEXAS A&M (8-4) vs. KANSAS STATE (7-5) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

One-time Big 12 rivals square off in the Lone Star State where Kansas State won twice in the final three regular-season weeks (see triumphs at Baylor and at TCU) and gotta say the number seems a big "short" here - doesn't it look like Vegas wants you to wager on the A&M Aggies? The key for Texas A&M is getting wide-outs Christian Kirk (77 receptions) and Josh Reynolds (49 catches) "out in space" where K-State's lack of secondary speed could hurt 'em, but if ole professor Bill Snyder gets to make this an alley fight, then the current Big 12 team will win.
Spread Note - Texas A&M's just 3-6 spreadwise in bowls the past 10 years while K-State is 1-6 versus the vig in bowl since 2006.

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