Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 10:51 AM
THE NFL REPORT - WHAT'S STRAIGHT AHEAD FOR A BATCH OF TEAMS THESE FINAL THREE WEEKS ...
PLUS, WE KICK OFF OUR COLLEGE BOWL BONANZA WITH SOME KEY POINTSPREAD DITTIES ...
JIM HURLEY SMASHES THE BOOKS WITH NFL WEEK 14 WINNERS AS DOLPHINS & UNDER SWEEPS IN MNF (AND EAGLES, BRONCOS, 49ERS AND CARDS CASH TOO!)
Okay, so what did New England's lackluster 27-20 loss at 10.5-point home underdog Miami really mean in the grand scheme of things as we head towards the final three weeks/weekends of regular-season play in this National Football League season?
Simply put, there's no more "wiggle room" for Bill Belichick's club - a loss this Sunday in Pittsburgh pretty much finishes off any/all hope that the Pats (10-3) can capture that #1 seed in the AFC while the Steelers (11-2) know that they must "run the table" if they're gonna have home-field advantage right through the post-season.
Ahh, but check out what's bubbling beneath the surface in the AFC and there's the Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4) ... if the 'Ville wins its final three games (home to Houston and then at San Francisco and at Tennessee) than the Jags finish 12-4 and with a better conference mark than New England: Jacksonville would be 10-2 in AFC games; New England with a loss in Pittsburgh would be 9-3 in conference games.
So, for anyone out there that believed Monday Night's loss by the Pats in South Beach "didn't real mean anything", think again!
Maybe now you know why Mr. Belichick was so darn grumpy in that post-game press conference the other night.
Okay, so the Patriots do finish off the 2017 regular season with home games against Buffalo and the New York Jets - both likely "W's", of course - while the Steelers play in Houston and then host Cleveland to round out regular-season action and just in case you're thinking the Pats win this weekend at Heinz Field, keep in mind that the Steelers can't afford a slipup in the Week 16 and 17 games mentioned above or else they could potentially tie Jacksonville with identical 12-and-4 records and it's the Jags who hold the tiebreaker thanks to that 30-9 win at Pittsburgh back in Week 5.
Let's touch on the NFC side of things now for just a moment ...
Philadelphia has the number one seed - but not its number one quarterback - as we charge towards the finish line. The Eagles (11-2) are counting on veteran QB Nick Foles to save the season following the year-ending knee injury to MVP candidate Carson Wentz and these final three weeks could be really tricky sledding for Philly: Doug Pederson's squad is a TD-plus betting favorite this Sunday at the woeful New York Giants but keep in mind it's the third leg of a three-game road trip and then the Eagles host Oakland and Dallas to finish off the year. Sure, Philadelphia will be favored to win these final two tilts too but without Wentz things are real dicey and Minnesota (10-3) could wind up snagging the NFC's #1 seed by virtue of tiebreakers should the Vikings beat visiting Cincinnati, then win in Green Bay and then defeat Chicago back in the Twin Cities.
Folks, if you're looking for some fun possibilities on the NFC side, then check out how the Los Angeles Rams (9-4) could get squeezed out of a playoff berth altogether: If the Rams lose in Seattle on Sunday and lose in Tennessee in Week 16 play, then LA would be 9-6 heading into Week 17 and then might need to beat San Fran and get some help to cop a post-season berth.
We're paying extra-special attention to those NFC South clubs as Carolina could finish 11-5, New Orleans could be 11-5 and Atlanta could be 10-6 with two of these three battling it out in an NFC Wild Card game in early January.
Where is there an "upset alert" in these final three weeks? How about Carolina winning in Atlanta in Week 17 ... or perhaps Tampa Bay winning in Carolina in Week 16?
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have plenty of NFL Week 15 Winners - that's both Sides & Totals - beginning Thursday night when the Denver Broncos play at the Indianapolis Colts. And don't forget the slew of College Football Bowl games - there's 41 of 'em in all including the National Championship Game on Jan. 8, 2018 -- so check with us here online or 1-800-323-4453 and sign up for the discounted Bowl Package with Jim Hurley. Plus, get all the daily/nightly College Basketball and NBA Winners too!
COLLEGE BOWL POINTSPREAD GOODIES
We'll begin our College Football Quick-Hitter Bowl Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez - remember there's Six (6) on-the-board bowl tilts kicking things off this Saturday including a fun Las Vegas Bowl between #25 Boise State versus Oregon - but first let's sling some pointspread ditties your way in terms of past bowl play for certain teams ...
Since 2009, Arizona has lost five-of-six pointspread verdicts in bowl games (vs. Purdue in Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 27)
Boston College is just 2-5 ATS (against the spread) in its bowl games dating back 10 years (vs. Iowa in Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 27)
Georgia is 7-3 vig-wise in its last 10 bowl games including covers in the last three in a row (vs. Oklahoma in Rose Bowl on Jan. 1)
Since 2010, Kansas State's a rotten 2-5 against the odds in all bowl games (vs. UCLA in Cactus Bowl on Dec. 26)
Marshall is a perfecto 5-and-oh spreadwise in its bowl bashes since 2009 (vs. Colorado State in New Mexico Bowl on Saturday)
Navy has covered its last four consecutive bowl games including last year's 48-45 loss-but-cover against 8-point fav Louisiana Tech (vs. Virginia in Military Bowl on Dec. 28)
Since 2011, South Carolina has covered four-of-five bowl games (vs. Michigan in Outback Bowl on Jan. 1)
Wake Forest is 4-0 spreadwise in all bowls the past 10 years (vs. Texas A&M in Belk Bowl on Dec. 29)
NOTE: Catch our early Bowl Game Previews plus lots more in the next Jim Sez.