Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 12:47 PM
THE NFL WILD CARD ROUND - HERE ARE SUNDAY'S GAMES
AND SOME COLLEGE FOOTBALL
NATIONAL TITLE GAME POINTSPREAD CHATTER
The NFL's Wild Card Playoff Round grinds on with a pair of Sunday showdowns and we'll get to Buffalo at Jacksonville and then Carolina at New Orleans in just a moment right here at Jim Sez, but first this key reminder:
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will get you the Side & Totals plays on Monday night's College Football National Championship Game between Georgia versus Alabama when you check in with us game-day afternoon right here online or 1-800-323-4453 and cash in big. Plus - of course -- there's NFL Wild Card Round Playoff games this Saturday and Sunday too and get all the daily/nightly College Basketball and NBA action. Get the New Year off-and-rollin' with nothing but Jim Hurley winners!
NFL WILD CARD - SUNDAY'S GAMES
BUFFALO (9-7) at JACKSONVILLE (10-6) - 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS
The date was December 30, 1995 ... that's the last time the Buffalo Bills actually won a playoff game. Back then the Bills copped a 37-22 triumph over the Miami Dolphins (seems like yesterday, right?). Okay, so the date was January 5, 2008 - and that's the last time the Jacksonville Jaguars won a post-season game with a 31-29 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers and so it's been a looooong time between drinks for both of these wild carders.
If the TD-plus Jags are gonna get "mission accomplished" here, one would think rookie RB Leonard Fournette (1,040 yards rushing with 9 TDs) will have to be a stat-sheet stuffer against a Buffalo defense that ranks 30th in the league in rushing defense. Yet, something tells us Jags' QB Blake Bortles (3,687 yards with 21 TDs / 13 INTs) will have to produce some big downfield chucks here or else the Bills will put eight men in the box and limit Fournette's overall effectiveness.
Spread Notes - Buffalo is 9-6-1 ATS (against the spread) overall this season and that includes a 6-3-1 spread log against non-AFC East teams; Jacksonville has covered its last three straight home games (against Houston, Seattle and Indianapolis) and the Jaguars are 12-7 ATS overall while dating back to late 2016.
CAROLINA (11-5) at NEW ORLEANS (11-5) - 4:40 p.m. ET, Fox
It's Panthers-Saints Part III ... but is anything gonna change this time around? New Orleans clocked 5.5-point home favorite Carolina 34-13 back in Week 3 play and then bested the 6-point road underdog 'Cats 31-21 in Week 13 action and what was truly consistent in those games was New Orleans rushed for 149 yards in the first clash, then 148 yards in the follow-up.
Folks, if rookie RB Alvin Kamara and vet RB Mark Ingram - a duo that combined for 1,852 rushing yards this '17 season - gets it going here against Carolina's defense than this could be a lights-out-early affair but expect the Panthers to mix things up on "D" with safeties/cornerbacks creeping up to the line of scrimmage and daring - yes, daring - Saints' QB Drew Brees to beat 'em up top.
Finally, there's the case of Carolina QB Cam Newton (3,302 yards passing and a team-leading 754 rushing yards with a combined 28 TDs) who comes off a really rotten game in Atlanta last weekend (see 3 INTs) - doesn't it make sense to expect Newton to rebound here and play one of his best games of the year against a defense he's seen (but not conquered) twice this season?
We shall see.
Spread Stats - Carolina's not-so-famously failed to cover its last six consecutive games against the Saints but did you know the Panthers are 5-2 versus the vig as underdogs this year? On the flip side, New Orleans is a dead-even but vig-losing 8-8 ATS this year and a collective 23-14 ATS overall since late '15.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TALK
We're inching ever-so-close to Monday night's National Championship Game between Georgia (13-1) and Alabama (12-1) and so let's lay some pointspread news/notes on you here ...
GEORGIA - The Bulldogs rock-n-rolled their way to a 10-4 ATS mark while heading into this title clash and that includes an outright underdog win at Notre Dame back on Sept. 9th and a spiffy 7-1 spread log when playing outside Athens. One last thing: Georgia's covered six of its nine games against fellow SEC teams this year.
ALABAMA - The Crimson Tide's just 6-7 against the Las Vegas prices this year and note 'Bama is just 3-3 ATS away including pointspread setbacks at Texas A&M, Miss State and Auburn. Take note that Alabama is 8-5 ATS overall in bowl/playoff games under 11th-year head coach Nick Saban.
NOTE: Get our College Football National Championship Game Preview plus NFL Wild Card re-caps in the next edition of Jim Sez.