Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, January 15, 2018 at 12:00 AM
Jim Hurley Now 8-1-1 in the NFL Playoffs! 4-0 in Wild Card Round and 4-1-1 in Divisional Playoffs
THE NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES ARE SET FOR THIS SUNDAY - AND WE RE-CAP A WILD (AND WINNING) WEEKEND OF NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF TILTS ... PLUS, WE GET YOU OUR FIVE-YEAR CHART OF AFC & NFC CHAMPIONSHP GAMES TOO
Hey, can you really believe we all have to wait till Sunday now for the next round of NFL games? Darn it!
In this past Sunday's shocking finale - Minnesota 29, New Orleans 24 - you simply couldn't make up the script in the final three-plus minutes of play and just forget about trying to sell someone in Hollywood the storyline about that final play ... a 61-yard scoring strike with 10 seconds left and no time outs for the team that could be hosting the Super Bowl on the first Sunday in February? Puh-leeze!
And never mind that followed on the heels of Jacksonville's wire-to-wire 45-42 win at Pittsburgh - go ahead and raise your hand if you predicted those defenses would allow a combined 87 points (remember the totals price for that bash was a mere 40.5).
And the beat goes on.
Go right ahead and declare it a case of "same-old/same-old" when it comes to the New England Patriots making it back to yet another AFC Championship Game. After all, this will be the seventh consecutive year the Pats will be playing in the conference title tilt but, truth be told, New England's latest win - the very businesslike 35-14 triumph over two-TD underdog Tennessee last Saturday night - is far down the pecking order list when it comes to judging the excitement level of the just-completed NFL Divisional Playoff games.
And it all started last Saturday with the Philadelphia Eagles - yes, a 2.5-point home underdog despite that numero uno seed in the talent-packed NFC - holding the fort late in its 15-10 win against the defending conference champ Atlanta Falcons.
Can you say va-va-va-voom?
The Jim Hurley Network was raging hot for yet another weekend of NFL Playoff action with Best Bet winners on Philadelphia ( 2.5) and the UNDER and on Sunday, Jacksonville (+7) - heck, we didn't even need the points in either one of those games. Plus, we cashed with the Tennessee/New England totals price of 48 points in that clash in Foxboro. Now 8-1-1 in the Playoffs!
Jim's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will get you the winning Side & Totals plays on this Sunday's NFL Championship Games - that's Jacksonville at New England and Minnesota. at Philadelphia -- when you check in with us on game-day morning. Get 'em right here online or 1-800-323-4453 and cash in big as we continue to bash the Las Vegas/offshore books with nothing but winners! Plus - of course -- there's College Basketball and NBA action each and every day/night as the hardcourt action is really heating up. So, keep rollin' in the profits here in 2018 with Jim Hurley Network winners!!!
NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF RE-CAPS
Let's zip through the playoff games this past weekend with a reminder that NFL Playoff Betting Favorites are now 1-7 ATS (against the spread) while totals plays are a dead-even but vig-losing 4-4 against the odds with "overs" and "unders" splitting the first eight post-season tilts this year.
On Sunday, it was ...
MINNESOTA 29, NEW ORLEANS 24 - The late-game back-and-forth action on this game was magical as was the QB Case Keenum-to-WR Stefon Diggs 61-yard scoring sling that was defended as poorly as can be (we won't verbally bury New Orleans DB Marcus Williams more than the other media guys/gals) but consider that the Vikings only had 25 seconds left after Saints PK Wil Lutz boomed his go-ahead 43-yard field goal to make it 24-23 and somehow with no timeouts made it work. The irony here is that Minnesota's gold-plated defense offered little resistance in allowing 24 second-half points to Saints' QB Drew Brees (294 yards passing with 3 TDs and 2 INTs after an extremely slow start) and yet the Viking "D" got off the hook when Keenum-to-Diggs went viral.
JACKSONVILLE 45, PITTSBURGH 42 - Put away those "Terrible Towels" for the 2017 season ... unless Steelers fans wish to dry their eyes with 'em! Okay, so you could make the case that Mike Tomlin's team might well have been a tad overconfident for its AFC Divisional Playoff game against the 7-point underdog Jaguars but the truth is J'ville spent much of Sunday afternoon smashing Pittsburgh right smack in the kisser with an array of pounding runs by rookie RB Leonard Fournette (109 yards rushing and 3 TDs) and some major-league chucks by oft-criticized QB Blake Bortles (214 passing yards with no INTs) and don't be fooled by the final score - the Jags were way better than the Steelers here even if QB Ben Roethlisberger wound up throwing for 469 yards and 5 TDs. It's about the Teflon Tomlin got kicked around by the media/fans a bit, eh?
On Saturday, it was ...
NEW ENGLAND 35, TENNESSEE 14 - Off-the-field drama? Yeah, that stuff really bothered the five-time champion Patriots! The Pats spotted the Titans an early 7-0 lead and then went past Tennessee so fast (see 21-point second quarter) you thought QB Marcus Mariota and Company was standing still. The Patriots' still-underrated defense sacked the aforementioned Mariota eight times - a New England playoff record - and really roughed up a Titans' O-line that came in full of bravado and left with excuses. Folks, the Patriots' QB Tom Brady threw for 337 yards and 3 TDs in the rout and actually had about five or six passes dropped that would have been first downs or close to first downs. All hail WR Danny Amendola (11 receptions for 112 yards) and TE Rob Gronkowski (6 catches for 81 yards and one TD) because this Mutt-n-Jeff combo catches everything within reach and often with defenders draped all over 'em.
PHILADELPHIA 15, ATLANTA 10 - Okay, Eagles, we get it! You were put off by the fact the wagering world had you home underdogs - the first time that a number one seed has been a divisional round underdog ever - for this clash but the reality is savvy QB Nick Foles got into a real rhythm while engineering 74- and 80-yard scoring marches in the second half (much of the success came via quick slant passes as we had recommended in our Jim Sez preview) and the overrated Falcons defense couldn't stem the tide while Philly's defense made a goal line stand for the ages with great pressure/coverage rattling Atlanta QB Matt Ryan. Still wondering, though, whether Philly head coach Doug Pederson can be fully "trusted" in big games because his fourth-down calls/decisions are always a little shaky.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES, 2012-16
Here a look at the AFC and NFC Championship Games for the past five years (note all home teams are in CAPS below):
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
|2016||NEW ENGLAND||- 5.5||Pittsburgh||36-17|
|2015||DENVER||+ 3||New England||20-18|
|2013||DENVER||- 5||New England||26-16|
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
|2014||SEATTLE||-8.5||Green Bay||28-22 (ot)|
|2013||SEATTLE||- 4||San Francisco||23-17|
|2012||San Francisco||- 4||ATLANTA||28-24|
NOTE: Catch more NFL Championship Game News/Notes plus College Hoops too in the next edition of Jim Sez.