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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 3:45 PM



Let's get something straight:

It's gonna take nine wins - minimum - to snag an NFC wild card berth this year and so that means both the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys have zero room for error the rest of the way this NFL season. Both the 'Skins and 'Boys currently stand at 5-6 SU (straight-up) while heading into their Thursday Night tilt in "Jerry's House" and neither team has shown any real signs of putting together a little winning streak.

Okay, so the likelihood that either of these underachieving teams is gonna "run the table" is almost laughable but - hey - we've seen NFL teams before crank it up in the final four or five games of a season and march right into the playoffs, so these long-time divisional rivals can still hope for the best, right?


On Thursday Night, it's ...WASHINGTON (5-6) at DALLAS (5-6) - 8:25 p.m. ET, NBC

Remember it's a revenge game for the Redskins who were battered 33-19 as 3-point home underdogs back in Week 8 play but back then Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott was pounding his way to a season-high 150 rushing yards with two TDs and he's nowhere to be found now as he continues to sit out his six-game suspension (and the Cowboys have not won or covered any of the three games Elliott's missed so far). On the flip side, Washington's ground game finally is showing some life with rookie RB Samaje Perine breaking free for 100 yards on 24 carries in the 20-10 Thanksgiving Night win/cover against the beleaguered New York Giants. If Perine can tote the ball 25-or-so times here and QB Kirk Cousins can go up top for a few chunk plays, then the 'Skins should get some in-season revenge. But Dallas is an angry/desperate/frustrated team these days and you might see the QB Dak Prescott-to-WR Dez Bryant tandem strike up some big-time aerial plays. Stay tuned.

Spread Notes - Dallas is just 5-6 ATS (against the spread) this year and the Cowboys are a composite 55-61-2 versus the vig under head coach Jason Garrett. Note Washington is also just 5-6 against the Las Vegas odds this season and the Redskins enter this prime-time duel at 14-7 spreadwise in their last 21 head-to-head battles with the 'Boys.

Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have plenty of College Football and NFL Week 13 Winners (both the Sides & Totals) all week long in an uber-busy week on the gridiron. There's college games on Friday and Saturday including a slew of conference championship games plus the NFL Week 13 docket swings into action on Thursday with a key NFC East game between the Washington Redskins at the Dallas Cowboys. And there's lots of NBA winners and College Basketball winners on tap as well every night of the week, so check with us here online or 1-800-323-4453.


Let's get right to this week's "top five" of Heisman Trophy contenders ...

BAKER MAYFIELD, QB, Oklahoma - Right now we'd say that there's a 90 percent probability that this Sooners' slinger will cop this year's coveted hardware and last week's 281-yard, 3-TD showing in a rocking-chair 59-31 win/cover against 23-point underdog West Virginia didn't hurt the cause even though he didn't start because of his grab-the-crotch antics the week before against Kansas. On the year, Mayfield has thrown for 4,097 yards with 37 TDs and just 5 INTs. Will he rise to the occasion one mo' time this weekend in the Big 12 Championship Game against TCU?

BRYCE LOVE, RB, Stanford - In case you're interested, this is the fourth consecutive week we've had Mayfield #1 and Love #2 in our Heisman Trophy Watch List. Despite a nagging ankle injury, Love rushed for 125 yards in last week's 38-20 rollover win against 3-point favorite Notre Dame and - for the year - Love's now rushed for 1,848 yards with 16 TDs while averaging a haughty 8.6 yards a carry. If he explodes in Friday night's Pac-12 Championship Game against favored USC, then Love could put some heat on Mayfield for the award.

LAMAR JACKSON, QB, Louisville - Gotta give last year's Heisman Trophy winner some major props here (and we forgive 'em for that silly fight in last week's 44-17 win/cover at 10.5-point dog Kentucky) as Jackson's roared back with a gigantic second half of this 2017 season to get himself another invite back to New York City. Jackson's thrown for 3,489 yards with 25 TD passes to go along with his 1,443 yards rushing and 17 ground scores - great numbers that many a year would warrant a Heisman Trophy.

JONATHAN TAYLOR, RB, Wisconsin - In a very quiet way, this Badgers' back has climbed within 116 yards of Adrian Peterson's NCAA freshman rushing record of 1,922 rushing yards. Taylor - who's averaging 7.0 yards per carry with 13 TDs and 1,806 yards rushing - could either garner some key votes with Saturday's Big 10 title tilt against Ohio State or else eliminate himself from the chase if he's held in total check.

RASHAAD PENNY, RB, San Diego State - We welcome a better-late-than-never player to our top five "watch list" as this Aztecs' megastar is fresh off a 203-yard rushing performance in the day-after-Thanksgiving romp over New Mexico. On the year, Penny has 2,027 yards rushing with 19 TDs and a sizzling 7.4 ypc average.


Somebody get us a scorecard!

It's been tough keeping up with all the recent college football coaching changes - we'll spare Tennessee from being the butt of any more jokes, okay? - but count us among the folks that believe Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin (51-26 with the Aggies the past six years) didn't get a fair shake and new Florida head coach Dan Mullen probably made a poor career choice ... why not stay put in Starkville and be the king of this castle instead of chasing dreams with a Florida program that never seems to be happy? And while Arizona State, Arkansas, Nebraska, Texas A&M and - yes - Tennessee all still need to hire new coaches may we spend a moment recommending the following three mix-and-matches:

UCF's Scott Frost to Nebraska (yes, an absolute no-brainer)

Florida Atlantic's Lane Kiffin to Texas A&M

Wake Forest's Dave Clawson to Tennessee

How 'ya like that?

NOTE: More College Football Championship Game goodies in the next Jim Sez.


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