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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, November 5, 2018 at 12:00 AM

THE NFL WEEK 9 UPDATE - RAMS FINALLY FALL AS SAINTS GO MARCHIN' IN FOR 45-35 WIN/COVER ...

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PREVIEW: TITANS-COWBOYS CLASH IN "BIG D" ...

COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT: 'BAMA IS THE BOSS WITH SHUTOUT WIN IN THE BAYOU

And then there were none. The last of the NFL unbeatens bit the dust down in N'Orleans on Sunday - the now 8-and-1 Los Angeles Rams fought all the way back from a 21-point deficit to tie things at 35 apiece in the fourth quarter but it was the Saints that dialed up all the right plays late in that thrilling 45-35 win/cover as 2-point home underdogs. Another Jim Hurley winner!

It was a fascinating game in so many aspects - okay, we could have done without New Orleans WR Michael Thomas' cell phone antics (but see 12 catches for a franchise-best 211 yards including that game-breaking 72-yard TD late) but otherwise QB Drew Brees and Company were superb and surely got y'all to be thinking that the NFC Championship Game might just be played in the Crescent City in January ... and that hasn't happened since the team's one-and-only Super Bowl-winning season back in 2009.

Brees (346 yards passing with 4 TDs and 0 INTs) was razor-sharp against a highly-frustrated Rams defense that simply didn't get much of a pass rush as the Saints (7-1) won their seventh straight game and - get this - New Orleans is now a tasty 6-2 ATS (against the spread) on the year with Kansas City's 8-1 spread mark the only one better in the here-and-now NFL. Remember the Saints started off this 2018 season with back-to-back home pointspread losses against Tampa Bay and Cleveland but now have rattled off six consecutive spread wins and we've already discussed in these Jim Sez pages how the Las Vegas line for this battle of NFC super-powers shifted back-and-forth all week/weekend - the Saints were a 1-point betting favorite for a day or two before Rams money moved in and made 'em a 2-point road fav here.

The proverbial bottom line is the 1972 Miami Dolphins can pop those champagne bottles - again - while the Saints peer straight ahead at what's still a challenging sked that features a three-game road trip (to Dallas, Tampa Bay and Carolina) in December to go along with difficult home games against Philadelphia, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Carolina. In other words. Don't be expecting a 15-1 SU (straight-up) season from Sean Payton's troops who may own the tie-breaker versus the Rams but have the much tougher road to hoe ... the Rams do have that monumental showdown in Mexico City with the aforementioned KC Chiefs on Nov. 19th but LA's final two regular-season tilts are at Arizona and home to San Francisco. Hmm.

In other NFL Week 9 News/Notes ...
Let's get you up to date with the NFL Favorites vs. Underdogs chart: While heading into tonight's game between the Tennessee Titans at the Dallas Cowboys, NFL Betting Favorites - who are 6-6 ATS here in Week 9 play - are now 61-67-2 ATS with 3 Pick 'Em games (that's a .477 winning rate) ...

All the talk this year about the first-year NFL quarterbacks but who out there has been a difference-maker? Cleveland's Baker Mayfield did throw for 297 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT in Sunday's never-in-doubt 37-21 home loss versus 8.5-point fav Kansas City and - while we love the kid's moxie - he hasn't been a world beater while both Arizona's Josh Rosen and Buffalo's Josh Allen simply have not played enough to get a real read. New York Jets' rookie slinger Sam Darnold, however, has taken a couple of giant steps backwards in recent weeks. In Sunday's yawn-inducing 13-6 loss at the 3-point home fav Miami Dolphins, Darnold threw a pick six and wound up throwing a grand total of four interceptions. Sure, Darnold was messed up all day by terrible shotgun snaps from C Spencer Long - why did it take Jets' head coach Todd Bowles till there was four minutes left in the game to sub out Long? - but the USC alum has been regressing for weeks now and all we do is remember the comment ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said last bowl season that Darnold "could use another year in college". You were right on, Herbie!

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are scorching hot after slamming the books last weekend once again - College Football winners with Illinois, Baylor and Florida Atlantic all delivering outright upset victories - and the NFL Week 9 featured wins by Atlanta and the Los Angeles Chargers (and the Patriots Sunday Night). Step right up and get the winner tonight in MNF as Titans-Cowboys wraps up the NFL Week 9 action and remember there's College Football and NBA all this week - just call us at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else get the winners right here online and keep on piling up all the big-time profits.

Tonight, it's ...
TENNESSEE (3-4) at DALLAS (3-4) - 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Two teams comin' off byes - and close losses before those byes - square off in the great state of Texas tonight and all eyes will be on new Cowboys' WR Amari Cooper who attempts to resurrect his fast-fading career. Let's see if Dallas QB Dak Prescott (1,417 yards passing with 8 TDs and 4 INTs) can work out some instant chemistry with the ex-Raiders pass catcher while everyone will be keeping close tabs on Titans QB Marcus Mariota (just one TD pass in the past three games) who says he's feeling better after elbow injury concerns this season.
Spread Notes - Dallas is just 3-4 ATS overall this season and note the Cowboys are 5-10-1 spreadwise when playing non-NFC East clubs since late in the 2016 campaign; Tennessee enters this prime-time bash at 4-3 vig-wise this season but the Titans are an ugly 13-23 ATS away since the start of 014.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

Maybe you didn't notice but there were only two major-college football teams that were shut out last weekend: One was a disappointing Navy team that was blasted 42-0 by Cincinnati ... the other was then-#3 LSU.

Yes, the Tigers never had a chance in that much-hyped 29-0 home loss against #1 and 14-point favorite Alabama. The Crimson Tide's now 9-and-oh SU (6-3 against the odds) and truth is Nick Saban's club is so much better than anyone else out there we're starting to wonder how the TV talking heads are gonna "sell" the playoffs straight ahead as insiders tell us that 'Bama will be a twin-figure neutral field favorite against anyone they play and one little birdie told us that if Alabama was to play Notre Dame in the national semifinals the SEC monsters would be a 17- or 18-point favorite ... wow!

In any event, Alabama crushed LSU's hopes early on last Saturday night and quieted the crowd from the get-go as NT Quinnen Williams collected 2.5 sacks and made a batch of tackles while proving to be the best player on the field (LSU totaled just 170 offensive yards). Sure, lefty QB Tua Tagovailoa (295 yards passing with 2 TDs to go along with a dazzling 44-yard TD run) added to his Heisman Trophy resume and showed he was dirt-tough after taking a totally unnecessary hit after the refs didn't blow the whistle in time but this sure looks like Saban's best 'Bama team ever and that's scary stuff for Georgia / Notre Dame / Oklahoma / Michigan or anyone that winds up a playoff opponent weeks down the line.

NOTE: Catch our Titans-Cowboys recap and a College Basketball 2018-19 prediction in the next Jim Sez.

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