Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 12:00 AM
JAGS-TITANS GET THE NFL WEEK 14 SKED STARTED HERE ON THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL ...
THE HEISMAN TROPHY UPDATE: WHO'S GONNA WIN (AND WHY)
There's little doubt that the winner of the AFC South Division this year will be the club that resides deep in the heart o'Texas (see the 9-3 Houston Texans). But that doesn't mean everyone else in this 6-6 or worse division has thrown in the proverbial towel when it comes to the conference's two wild card spots.
When the 6-and-6 Tennessee Titans host the 4-and-8 Jacksonville Jaguars in this latest edition of Thursday Night Football, we'll find out whether there is such a thing as "momentum" - after all, the Titans roared back from a 16-0 deficit last Sunday evening to beat the 9.5-point underdog New York Jets 26-22 (note Tennessee led only for the final 36 seconds of that game) while we'll discover whether the hugely disappointing Jaguars have some mojo left following last weekend's startling 6-0 home upset win against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
We'll get to that Thursday Night Football preview in a moment plus get you all the Heisman Trophy talk but first this key reminder ... Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be pounding out lots more Football winners this week beginning with tonight's NFL Week 14 clash between the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Tennessee Titans - go ahead and get the Side & Totals of that game when you call us at 1-800-323-4453 or get 'em online right here. Hey, there's the Army-Navy game straight ahead this Saturday to wrap up the College Football regular season and then the aforementioned College Football Bowl Games will follow plus there's all of NFL Week 14 this Sunday/Monday and lots of College Basketball and NBA winners too, so make sure you're all aboard for the winning selections from Jim Hurley and Company!
In NFL Week action this evening, it's ...
JACKSONVILLE (4-8) at TENNESSEE (6-6) - 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network / Fox
You could say that the 2018 fall of the J'ville Jaguars actually began back in Week 3 when they lost a listless / lifeless 9-6 decision to the 10-point road underdog Titans. However, there's a different quarterback for the Jags these days - Cody Kessler's replaced Blake Bortles - but there's no hiding the fact that Jacksonville's been held to 20 points or less in eight different games this year ... and the Jags have lost six of those eight games (and they're 2-5-1 against the spread in those sub-20-point games). On the flip side, Tennessee's offense is healthier now than it's been all year long with QB Marcus Mariota working things out neatly with WR Corey Davis who scored the game-winner against the J-E-T-S last weekend.
Spread Notes - The Titans are a rollicking 12-4-1 ATS as hosts dating back to the middle of the 2016 season; Jacksonville is a crummy 1-5-2 versus the vig in its last eight overall games this season.
THE HEISMAN TROPHY
Okay, so it's time we climbed on top of our Jim Sez soap box and said something about this year's Heisman Trophy that will be handed out Saturday night in New York City ... are you folks crazy!!!
When we checked this morning, the favorite to cop the 84th Annual Heisman Trophy is Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray (- 220) with Alabama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa next up (+ 125) and Ohio State slinger Dwayne Haskins (+ 5000) the absolute long-shot on this three-man board.
True, reports were that only 10 percent of Heisman voters had forwarded their ballots prior to last weekend's Conference Championship Games but how could Tagovailoa - who was a runaway winner for this coveted award from wire-to-wire - suddenly have dropped below Murray on the big board? The 'Bama star was injured in last week's eventual 35-28 win against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game while Murray threw for 379 yards and three TDs in the Sooners' rugged 39-27 win/cover against archrival Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game but if the voters are gonna "reward" Murray for that tilt and "punish" Tagovailoa for his poor/injury-riddled showing against Georgia then shame on them!
As for us, we ain't budging: We've had Tagovailoa (3,353 yards passing with 37 TDs and 4 INTs) on top all of the way and we're not swaying off course. Murray (4,053 yards passing with 40 TDs and 7 INTs to go along with 892 yards rushing and 11 scores) has been brilliant and surely has risen his game to new heights in the final few weeks of play - he's closed the gap but he's not our winner.
If you're wagering, take Tagovailoa plus the small price and expect him to win the South and the East while Haskins cuts into some of Murray's Midwest votes for this here-and-now Heisman Trophy. We'll analyze the voting come Monday's column of Jim Sez.
NOTE: There's an Army-Navy preview plus lots more in the next edition of Jim Sez.