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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 12:00 AM


This is what they like to call "crunch time" in the business:

The NFL is in the final quarter of this here-and-now regular season - four games to go and plenty of playoff berths/positioning still up for grabs - and based on some recent history there's things to glean about individual teams when they get to this final "quarter" of the season:

For example, the Dallas Cowboys are a collective 3-7-2 ATS (against the spread) in their final four games of a season the past three years;
The Denver Broncos are just 4-8 versus the vig at this late stage of regular-season play the past three years;
The Houston Texans have failed to cover seven of their last eight games these past two years when we get down to "crunch time";
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs have finished with a flourish the last two years while going a composite 7-1 against the odds in the final four games;
The Los Angeles Rams have lost seven of their last eight spread verdicts when we get down to the three-quarter pole;
The Minnesota Vikings are 8-3-1 ATS the past three years at this time of the season;
The New England Patriots - no surprise here - are 7-3-2 vig-wise late;
And, finally, the Washington Redskins have covered 8-of-12 late-year games dating back the past three seasons.
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be pounding out lots more Football winners this weekend -- go ahead and get the NFL Week 14 games (both Sides & Totals) when you call us game-day morning at the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or get 'em online right here. Hey, there's a big-time Monday Night Football game between the Minnesota Vikings at the Seattle Seahawks straight ahead plus get all the College Basketball and NBA winners too!

In Sunday's NFL Week 14 games, it's …

NEW ENGLAND (9-3) at MIAMI (6-6) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Let's face it: The N'England Patriots don't lose very often (they've suffered only eight total losses since the start of the 2016 season) and yet they've dropped four of their last five games played in South Florida and so this is - in a way - a something-to-prove game for QB Tom Brady and the Pats who are looking to wrap up a 10th consecutive AFC East Division title. Hey, let's see what the Patriots' ground game can accomplish against the league's 30th-ranked run defense, so expect 25-or-so carries for rookie RB Sony Michel (649 yards rushing and 5 TDs).
Spread Note - New England is 11-4 ATS in divisional games the past two-plus seasons.

PHILADELPHIA (6-6) at DALLAS (7-5) - 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
Who knew that last moth's 27-20 road win at 7.5-point fav Philadelphia would have been the jump-start game to turn this Cowboys' season around? Jason Garrett's gang has not lost since Oct. 5th (28-14 home loss to Tennessee) while banging out SU (straight up) and spread winners against Atlanta, Washington and New Orleans. Does the positive mojo continue here for the 'Boys who may be looking to take to the air waves a bit more here against an Eagles club that ranks a lowly 25th in the league in pass defense - no doubt an injury-riddled secondary has taken its toll on the defending Super Bowl champs. Let's see if Cowboys slinger Dak Prescott (2,676 yards passing with 14 TDs and 5 INTs) can heat it up.
Spread Note - Dallas is 16-23-1 ATS at home dating back to the start of 2014.

On Sunday Night Football, it's …
LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-1) at CHICAGO (8-4) - 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
The Rams have the inside track on landing the NFC's top seed in the upcoming playoffs - but this tilt in Chitown marks the toughest game left on LA's ledger as the Rams host Philadelphia next week, play at Arizona in Week 16 and wrap up things at home against woeful San Francisco: What's gonna be interesting is to see how they respond on the second leg of back-to-back trips to the Midwest following last Sunday's dominant 40-16 win at 10-point pup Detroit. Meanwhile, the Bears - off that wacky OT loss at the NY Giants last weekend - claims second-year QB Mitchell Trubisky is good to go after suffering through some shoulder woes that caused him to miss the team's last two games. Might Trubisky be "checking down" more with dump-off passes to Tarik Cohen and friends? The Bears have scored 24-or-more points in six of their last seven games but what's gonna be the "magic number" to beat a Rams team that averages 34.9 points per game?
Spread Note - The Rams started out the year at 3-0 against the odds but they've gone just 2-5-2 ATS since and note LA's an ugly 2-5-2 against the odds in their last nine games played against NFC North teams.

NOTE: Catch more NFL Week 14 News / Notes in the next Jim Sez.

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