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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 18, 2017 at 10:39 AM



No doubt about it: The Atlanta Falcons wanted to "christen" their brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a really big win against the Green Bay Packers - then call it "mission accomplished" with Sunday night's rollicking 34-23 win/cover as QB Matt Ryan threw for 252 yards (and he was razor-sharp) and star WR Julio Jones (5 catches for 108 yards) was a first-half demon against an overmatched Packers team that played without both of its starting offensive tackles and, for much of the night, without excellent WR Jordy Nelson.

Note there were only brief reminders of last year's Super Bowl collapse against the New England as the Falcs went up by as many as 24 points in this prime-time tilt (remember 28-3 in SB 51?) and watched GB slice into the lead a bit but listening to NBC's Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth one would have thought another total collapse was gonna happen!

So, two weeks into the here-and-now 2017 season, the Falcons - listed at the rather generous odds of 11-to-1 to win it all this year - were sitting pretty with a 2-and-oh SU (straight-up) mark and only the Carolina Panthers could match that perfect record through two games among NFC teams (we'll see if the Detroit Lions can go to 2-0 tonight, more on them in a bit).

The Jim Hurley Network is just starting to heat up and we'll have the Side & Totals Winners of tonight's above-mentioned Detroit Lions at New York Giants game on Monday Night Football ... and get all of the Thursday-thru-Monday gridiron action right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 on game days. And there's Major-League Baseball winners right through this year's World Series, so make sure you're cashin' in!

In other NFL Week 2 action ...
Okay, so for all the folks that believed scoring in NFL Week 2 would go up, up, up following a rather "slow" start in Week 1 play, note that Sunday's "overs" went just 6-7-1 ATS (against the spread) and - combined with last Thursday's snoozy 13-9 win by Houston over Cincinnati -- the "over" players are just 6-8-1 ATS this week heading into Lions-Giants tonight and overall the "over" players are 11-18-1 spreadwise this young NFL season - does that mean defenses are a little bit ahead of the offenses right now or could the slew of lousy quarterback play 'round the league have something to do with the lower scorers.

Did someone invoke the names of Jacksonville's Blake Bortles, Chicago's Mike Glennon, the New York Jets' Josh McCown and those messy QB situations in Indianapolis, Minnesota and San Francisco? ...

The NFL Week 2's biggest Sunday outright upset was Miami's 19-17 triumph at the 3.5-point favorite Los Angeles Chargers - there were more notable underdog winners such as Denver's rollover win against 2.5-point fav Dallas and San Francisco's 12-9 loss at 13.5-point favorite Seattle - but give the Fish credit after their Hurricane Irma postponement versus Tampa Bay in Week 1 and the fact that Jay Cutler still is learning this Miami playbook. Hey, Cutler was pretty smooth with his 230 passing yards, one TD and no INTs but - let's face it - it helped that the opponent was the Chargers who have mastered the technique of losing close games. Can you believe that missed field goals by kid kicker Younghoe Koo has been - for all practical purposes - the last play of both of the Bolts' games this year? Crazy stat from this game: Chargers RB Melvin Gordon registered just 13 yards rushing on nine carries. Ugh! ...

And one last thing on the Cowboys: They sure looked as if they checked out of that 42-17 loss in Denver and that's not a good sign for a team that continues to carry all this RB Ezekiel Elliott "baggage" these days. For his part, Elliott rushed the ball 9 times for 8 yards in the blowout loss plus he was nowhere to be found after one Cowboys' turnover as he didn't pursue or even attempt to get back into the play. If we were Cowboys' head coach Jason Garrett, we'd have a major problem with that!

On Monday Night Football this evening, it's ...
DETROIT (1-0) at NEW YORK GIANTS (0-1) - 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The free world is holding its breath as to whether or not Giants' WR Odell Beckham, Jr. will play here with his tender ankle ... heck, whether he suits up or not the forecast here is for NYG to become a bit bolder with play-calling ... and why not as the G-men have scored less than 20 points in their last seven consecutive games while dating back to last year.

Expect "no-huddle" and "tempo" football here from the Giants - we don't know why they don't speed things up considering veteran QB Eli Manning (220 passing yards but 0 TDs last week ion that 19-3 loss in Dallas) prefers the two-minute type offense plus Manning has enough downfield targets to make chunk plays here as long as WR Brandon Marshall decides to show up.

Key for the visiting (and FG underdog) Lions: If QB Matthew Stafford can get one-on-one downfield coverage for new star WR Kenny Golladay (two TDs last week in 35-23 come-back win against Arizona) then he could pull the mini-upset under the Meadowlands lights.

Spread Stats - The Giants are 1-4-1 versus the vig in their post-Dallas game the past three years; The Lions are 10-14 ATS as underdog sides since late in the 2014 season.


Don't look now but it's feeling a whole lot like we could be in store for yet another Alabama vs. Clemson deal in the College Football Championship Game. Right, that's nearly four months off but Clemson's resounding 47-21 win at 3.5-point underdog Louisville last Saturday night was a real sparkler and Dabo Swinney's crew could - right now, without former great QB Deshaun Watson - be labeled the best team in the land while 'Bama is just getting better and better even if cranky head coach Nick Saban calls for perfection. Of course, everyone likes to make long-range predictions in this sport and now some three weeks into this college campaign we say Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are the four best teams in the land and our money's on Clemson-Alabama III (and we didn't think that would be the case when this '17 season started!).

NOTE: We recap Lions-Giants and get you lots more Football in the next Jim Sez.

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