Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 2:50 PM
Go ahead and take those NFL preseason magazines and chuck 'em in the garbage pail!
Remember when you were reading all the articles that praised the likes of the Oakland Raiders, the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Well, all of the above have losing records some six weeks into this here-and-now NFL campaign and may we remind you what their "win-it-all" odds were at season's start (all based on $100 per play wagers)?
Oakland was + 1300; Dallas was + 850; New York Giants were + 1550; and Tampa Bay was + 2900.
Folks, we're not saying all the above-named teams should be eliminated from any/all Super Bowl talk, but c'mon! It's been a disastrous start of the season for these four squads in particular - and maybe you wish to chuck into the mix the likes of current .500 crews Tennessee, Detroit and Arizona.
Heck, even last year's Super Bowl squads - New England and Atlanta - have not exactly lit the football world on fire so far. It's been a slumbering month-and-a-half for many NFL upper-crust teams that were supposed to be mighty.
Let's see what the next few weeks bring beginning with tonight's tilt in the Bay Area.
On Thursday Night Football, it's ...KANSAS CITY (5-1) at OAKLAND (2-4) - 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS
Much is being made of the fact that the KC Chiefs have won their last dozen consecutive games against fellow AFC West competition - and take note Kansas City's 9-3 against the odds in these same-division tilts.
Still, it's the dreaded short-week-plus-travel for Andy Reid's gang coming off that 19-13 home loss against Pittsburgh where the Chiefs' ground game never did get in gear while the 3-point underdog Raiders also are fresh off a home loss where QB Derek Carr and his pass-catchers spent much of the afternoon not exactly on the same page in the 17-16 setback versus the Los Angeles Chargers.
Game plan for the silver-and-black here should include the old "vertical passing game" while challenging Kansas City CB Marcus Peters (he was beat for a pair of TDs against the Steelers last Sunday) and mates while KC's best route to the winner's circle is to get loud-mouth TE Travis Kelce into the mix right away - he was MIA for much of last weekend's loss.
Spread Stats - Kansas City is a rollicking 5-1 ATS (against the spread) so far this season and overall the Chiefs have covered six of their last eight head-to-head matchups against Oakland.
In other NFL News/Notes ...
Hard to ignore the fact that the Chiefs have been magical on the road as KC's 3-and-oh SU (straight-up) and ATS on enemy fields but have you noticed that New England, Carolina and the Los Angeles Rams also sport 3-0 SU road marks (while the Falcons are 2-0 away while heading into Sunday Night's game in Foxboro).
Folks, tally up the road pointspread marks of the Chiefs/Patriots/Panthers/Rams/Falcons and you get a tasty 11-3 ATS record (a sizzling .786 winning rate). Many occasions we've heard through the years that the really strong NFL teams "play their best ball on the road" and that appears to be the case with these teams that either currently lead their division or, in Atlanta's case, are a mere half-game back of being tied for a divisional lead.
Keep any eye on these squads and let's see if they keep banging out the road wins/covers in the coming weeks.
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are gonna pound out another big winning week on the gridiron and don't forget there's still lots of Major-League Baseball Playoff winners too all week long when you check in with us here online or 1-800-323-4453.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS/NOTES
Let's set the record straight: In this Jim Sez column over the past quarter century, we don't get giddy when discussing possible/likely coaching moves but it's a reality that a batch of head coaches will get axed at or before year's end ... and even though Tennessee head coach Butch Jones appears "dead man walking" note that he's not alone. Here's a few head coaches that figure to get pink-slipped by the time we get to early December:
BUTCH JONES, Tennessee - The Volunteers' fifth-year boss is a definite goner and better believe that Vol bettors can't wait to show 'em the door. Tennessee's a rotten-to-the-core 1-5 ATS (against the spread) this 2017 season and that makes Jones 24-28-1 vig-wise while heading into Saturday's game at - get this - five-TD favorite Alabama. If you're thinking "outside the box" here when it comes to the next Tennessee head coach, then trot out the name of Iowa State's Matt Campbell who may already be ready to go on to bigger/better things.
MIKE RILEY, Nebraska - Heck, there's so much on- and off-the-field turmoil this year in Lincoln these days it really wouldn't surprise us if the Cornhuskers' third-year boss-man was gone in the next couple of weeks. Nebraska's 3-4 SU (straight-up) and 2-5 ATS this season and when did you think you'd see the day when Nebraska failed to cover home games against Arkansas State, Northern Illinois and Rutgers? It's a total no-brainer that current UCF boss Scott Frost - former QB at Nebraska - will land this job.
KALANI SITAKE, BYU - Soak it all it: The BYU Cougars are an awful 1-6 SU this year while averaging a putrid 11.4 points per game and, worse yet, the Independent Coogs have failed to cover all seven of their pointspread verdicts. Sitake is in way over his head and the locals are restless as empty seats and fan apathy is pervasive in Provo: Expect current assistant coach and one-time Heisman Trophy-winning QB Ty Detmer to be the frontrunner here but BYU may look outside the building and consider New Mexico's Bob Davie.
MATT LUKE, Ole Miss - So, this interim head coach has been keeping the seat warm after the off-season firing of Hugh Freeze and the irony here is the above-mentioned Mr. Jones from Tennessee already has been linked to this soon-to-be vacant position. If Ole Miss alum don't want Jones then this SEC school could make a big dollar play for Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin or perhaps - dare we recommend - current Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin.
NOTE: Get College Football Previews in the next Jim Sez.