Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, November 6, 2017 at 1:09 PM
THE NFL WEEK 9 UPDATE - WE CHECK IN ON TONIGHT'S LIONS-PACKERS TILT PLUS ASK ALOUD IF A COUPLE OF NFC TEAMS OUT THERE ARE JUST REALLY "PRETENDERS"? ... COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S WEEKEND RECAPS: BYE-BYE, BUCKEYES!
There's no two ways about it:
Right here at the halfway point of this here-and-now 2017 National Football League season, the disappointing teams clearly outrank the "pleasant surprises" as we point to the likes of the Denver Broncos (3-5), the Cincinnati Bengals (also 3-5), the New York "Football" Giants (1-7) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6) as NFL squads that have waved the proverbial white flag on this current campaign.
But what about a couple of teams that - we're quite sure - consider themselves playoff "contenders" this year but might really just need to be categorized as "pretenders".
Let's share some thoughts following Sunday's action 'round the league ...
ATLANTA (4-4) - Everyone and his brother knows all about "Super Bowl hangovers" but the Falcons are taking this theory to a new extreme: True, the NFC South club woke up this morning only two full games back of division-leading New Orleans (now 6-2) after Atlanta's punch-less 20-17 loss at 3-point underdog Carolina but it's amazing how many costly mistakes the Falcs have made in recent weeks including Sunday's critical dropped touchdown pass from Pro Bowl WR Julio Jones (to say nothing of yet another QB Matt Ryan "pick"). Don't look now but Atlanta is 2-6 ATS (against the spread) this year one year after banging out a 12-7 spread log en route to its "almost Super Bowl-winning season".
SEATTLE (5-3) - We noticed this past weekend (in fact, prior to Sunday's games) that the Seahawks were still listed as 8-to-1 underdogs to win Super Bowl LII come February 4th in Minnesota. Hmm, that just so happened to be the exact same price for Seattle to win it all prior to the start of the '17 campaign and so that must mean the Las Vegas oddsmakers are still "believers". But if you eyeballed Seattle's 17-14 home loss versus 8.5-point dog Washington, then you know there's plenty of things wrong with this club (including the fact head coach Pete Carroll sounded pretty clueless in the post-game presser aired by ESPN). The Seahawks allowed a pedestrian 'Skins offense to go 70 yards down the field in just 35 seconds of game time with RB Rob Kelley's one-yard bulldozer run accounting for the winning score late in Sunday's tilt at rainy/icy Seattle but it was three missed FGs by PK Blair Walsh (he's history today or tomorrow!) and a whopping 16 penalties that really told the tale. Wait, are we expected to believe QB Russell Wilson (297 yards passing and 77 yards rushing) is gonna "save the day" for the Seahawks one mo' time?
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have the winner for tonight's Monday Night Football showdown between the Detroit Lions at the Green Bay Packers - and don't forget there's College Football Games every night this week from Tuesday-thru-Saturday and plenty of NBA winners too - so just check in with us at this very website or 1-800-323-4453.
In Monday Night Football, it's ...
DETROIT (3-4) at GREEN BAY (4-3) - 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
When Packers' megastar QB Aaron Rodgers - who may appear on more TV commercials these days than even Peyton Manning - went down for a minimum of eight weeks with a broken collarbone suffered Oct. 15th in Minnesota then "cheeseheads" all around the land were heart-broken.
The Packers lost that game in Minny 23-10 and then fell 26-17 the following Sunday at home against New Orleans - it all appeared lost but 12th-year head coach Mike McCartney claims otherwise and now we shall see if third-year backup-turned-starting QB Brett Hundley can awaken the echoes at Lambeau Field before it's too late.
Note the Lions have their own set of problems: QB Matthew Stafford (12 TDs, 4 INTs) can't seem to steer the Mowtowners from the red zone to the end zone (0-for-5 in terms of TDs from the red zone in last week's 20-15 home loss to 3-point fav Pittsburgh) and save for PK Matt Prater, this Lions' offense can't be trusted.
The totals price tonight has been sitting on or near 43 points all week long - but if Hundley can't come alive and the Lions keep shooting themselves in the foot from in close, it might be a case of first team to 15 points wins!
Spread Notes - Green Bay has covered 14 of its last 20 head-to-head matchups against Detroit the past 10 years and that includes 7-of-10 covers at aforementioned Lambeau Field. Note the Lions enter this prime-timer having failed to cover their last three in a row this year (versus Carolina, New Orleans and Pittsburgh) while the GB Packers are a decent 9-5 ATS as pups since late 2014.
In other NFL Week 9 notes ...
Last night's 27-24 win/pointspread push by the Oakland Raiders over the Miami Dolphins bordered on being "unwatchable" based on the more than 200 yards in penalties as referee Terry McAuley appeared on your flat screen TV more often that loud-mouth Progressive gal! The Raiders allowed Dolphins' QB Jay Cutler to dink-and-dunk his way down the field much of the night (thus the 34-of-42, 311-yard stat line) but some of that was necessary because - again - the field was in atrocious condition and so pass rushers and pass receivers alike had major troubles gaining their footing. When is the NFL gonna get its act together in a few of these stadiums they play in as this Miami field's been a mess all year long and there's been issues elsewhere.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT
Guess the holy rollers of college football should have listened to us last week when we placed Wisconsin in our top four to go along with Georgia, Alabama and Notre Dame. The newest rankings will get released Tuesday night and better believe the Badgers will be part of the "top four" mix but Ohio State waved bye-bye to any/all hopes of getting back into the fray following Saturday's humbling 55-24 loss at three-TD dog Iowa.
Ohio State dropped to 11th in the just-released coaches poll and no way is a two-loss Buckeyes team getting back into playoff contention no matter what some of the cable TV talking heads were saying last night. One note from that O-State loss in Hawkeye-land: J.T. Barrett was never a Heisman Trophy candidate in our books and, following a four-INT game, he's lucky to still have his job for the final month of games.
NOTE: Lots of NFL News/Notes coming in the next edition of Jim Sez.