Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 1:29 PM
IT'S THE OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN TO SUPER BOWL LII - OUR JIM SEZ PREVIEW COMES LATER IN THE WEEK, BUT NOW'S THE TIME TO START TALKING UP GAME PLANS ...
THE COLLEGE ROUNDBALL REPORT - CAN DUKE, NORTH CAROLINA BOUNCE BACK STRONGLY FROM THEIR WEEKEND HOME LOSSES?
Are we headed for yet another super-close Super Bowl?
Hey, when the New England Patriots are involved, the Super Bowls are always close as the Pats (since the 2001 season) have won five of 'em by a grand total of 19 points - and that, of course, includes last year's biggest margin of victory in a 34-28 overtime triumph over the 3-point underdog Atlanta Falcons - while New England's two Super Bowl setbacks in the head coach Bill Belichick/megastar quarterback Tom Brady Era occurred by 3 and 4 points, respectively, against the New York Giants.
The Las Vegas oddsmakers opened this SB LII tilt at Patriots minus 6 points and that price tag has been chiseled down to just 4.5 points - interesting that Philadelphia Eagles money has been pouring in pretty good and now the smart folks in the desert don't want to be "middled" as was the case in Minnesota's wacky 29-24 non-cover win against New Orleans in the NFC Divisional Playoff round (that's when lots of folks grabbed Saints + 6 and the Vikings at - 4 or 4.5 points that week).
So, our gut feeling is this price will stay right around 4.5 points for Super Bowl LII but anything can happen, right?
Meanwhile, there's some game plans to check on as we begin our official countdown to Super Bowl 52 - we'll get to some thoughts in a moment but first this key reminder:
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will get you the winning Side & Totals plays on Super Bowl LII between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots on Sunday, February 4th when you check in with us then on game-day morning. Jim's gonna keep blasting the books with his NFL post-season winners so get 'em right here online or call 1-800-323-4453 and cash in big! Plus, there's a whole lot of College Basketball and NBA winners each and every day/night as the hardcourt action is really heating up this winter. So, keep rollin' in the profits here in 2018 with Jim Hurley's Network and count down with us towards Super Bowl Sunday!!!!
SUPER BOWL LII GAME PLANS
When New England Has the Ball ...
The Patriots can pooh-pooh the idea that they need better "balance" here but let's just say that if Brady throws the ball 38 times and the Pats run it just 19 times (yes, the exact 2-to-1 ratio in New England's 24-20 non-cover win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the recent AFC Championship Game) then we're likely not gonna see a Pats' repeat. Brady doesn't mind chuckin' it plenty - and he's been rather adept at stepping up in the pocket and avoiding the big hit - but if Philly's fierce pass rush is allowed to get into its own rhythm here than watch out. Note that RBs Dion Lewis and James White - the latter a major goal-line threat in post-season play (go ask the Falcons!) - only toted the ball 12 times for 38 yards in that aforementioned win against the Jaguars and we believe they'll need to carry it twice that much in order to keep the Philly pass rush off Brady. P.S., we're also sure to see at least a couple of gadget or trick plays here with WR Danny Amendola involved in the fun.
When Philadelphia Has the Ball ...
Wanna talk balance? Well, the Eagles threw the ball 33 times and ran it 30 times in the blowout 38-7 win/cover against Minnesota in the NFC Championship Game back on Jan. 21st but do keep in mind that Philadelphia was only trailing that tilt for about four minutes of game time. So, it's easier to dictate a run/pass balance when your team is playing with the lead and that's a key here 'cause Philly head coach Doug Pederson really doesn't want to have QB Nick Foles (26-of-33 for 352 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs against the Vikings) throwing the ball 40 times or more here - see underrated Pats' pass rush getting into its own little rhythm. If Foles can "take the top off the defense" with an early-game deep throw (or two) than he'll be that much more effective with those quick in-slants and gotta say WR Alshon Jeffery and TE Zach Ertz (a combined 13 catches for 178 yards and two TDs in NFC Championship Game) must hang onto everything thrown their way ... or else!
THE COLLEGE ROUNDBALL REPORT
Wait, did you say that both #4 Duke and #10 North Carolina lost at home on the very same afternoon?
You heard right as Duke's 65-63 loss against second-ranked (and 3.5-point underdog) Virginia 65-63 this past Saturday afternoon was preceded two-plus hours earlier by North Carolina getting beat in overtime 65-63. The Tar Heels - a whopping 12.5-point betting fav against State - didn't get physical enough with Wolfpack big man Omer Yurtseven (16 points and 13 rebounds) and so it's back to the proverbial drawing board for both Tobacco Road superpowers.
Duke gets back on the horse with tonight's home game against 14.5-point underdog Notre Dame (7 p.m. on ESPN) but dare we remind you that the Blue Devils have merely split their last 10 pointspread results while Carolina is at Clemson on Tuesday night (espn2 at 7 p.m.) looking to bounce back and might we remind the Tar Heels to get out on the three-point shooters: UNC allowed 15 trifectas the other day and have been getting blitzed from downtown by a batch of teams this 2017-18 season.
NOTE: Get more Super Bowl LII News/Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez.