Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 12:00 AM
NFL WEEK 15 HAS INSTANT PRIME-TIME CLASSIC:
IT’S CHARGERS 29, CHIEFS 28 …
THE COLLEGE BOWL BONANZA –
WE CHECK OUT THREE MORE SATURDAY TILTS
Go for two with just four seconds left?
Heck, why not if you’re the Los Angeles Chargers and you’ve lost nine a row to the Kansas City Chiefs. So, hats off to Chargers’ gutty head coach Anthony Lynn who took the challenge inside a noisier-than-you-can-believe Arrowhead Stadium and allowed 37-year-old QB Philip Rivers to lob the game-winning “two” to WR Mike Williams and thus knot up the AFC West:
It’s Chargers 11-and-3; Chiefs 11-and-3 and the whole AFC playoff picture just might have changed right before your eyes last night ‘cause if Kansas City loses either at Seattle or home to Oakland and the transplanted LA Chargers beat Baltimore and then win at Denver then it’s the Chargers sitting in the catbird seat with a #1 conference playoff seed.
Wait, are we heading towards a Rivers vs. Drew Brees (New Orleans) showdown in SB 53 after those guys shared the position way back when it the mid-2000s in San Diego? Go ahead and google that one, sonny boy!
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be pounding out lots of College Football and NFL Week 15 winners this weekend -- go ahead and get the Side/Totals winners of the Five (5) College Bowl Games on Saturday plus all of Sunday’s pro goodies when you call us game days at the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else get ‘em online right here at www.jimhurley.com. Sign up now with Jim Hurley and get all the College Bowl Games this holiday season plus get all the College Basketball and NBA winners too!
In other NFL Week 15 action straight ahead, it’s …
Have the Atlanta Falcons been the single most disappointing team in the NFL this year? No doubt their weekly bettors believe they are as this AFC South squad heads into Sunday’s home finale having failed to cover their last five consecutive games. The Falcs – who are 3-10 versus the vig overall this year – are a rotten 0-8 ATS when scoring 23-or-fewer points this season …
On the flip side, the Cleveland Browns are a rock-solid 8-5 against the odds this season and it appears this AFC North crew is headed for its best spread season since 2009 (see 10-6 ATS). Did you realize the Browns are 0-3-1 spreadwise in their last four head-to-head matchups against Denver; the Broncos host the Browns on Saturday night …
And what to make of this year’s New England at Pittsburgh battle on Sunday afternoon? The Pats copped a highly controversial 27-24 win/push in a Week 15 game at Heinz Field last year and overall the Pats are 4-1-2 vig-wise against the Steelers since the start of the 2010 season. We’ll get you a Patriots-Steelers preview – plus lots more from NFL Week 15 – in the next edition of Jim Sez.
COLLEGE BOWL BONANZA
The beat goes on with those Five (5) Bowl Games slated for Saturday. In yesterday’s Jim Sez we brought you quick-hitter previews on the Cure Bowl (Tulane vs. UL-Lafayette) and the New Mexico Bowl (North Texas vs. Utah State). Now, here’s the other three bowl bashes on Saturday:
LAS VEGAS BOWL – at Las Vegas, NV
ARIZONA STATE (7-5) vs. #21 FRESNO STATE (11-2) – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
At last check, the numbers on this clash – Fresno State (- 5) and a totals price of 55 points – were at their highest yet … keep in mind Fresno State opened at minus 3.5 points and 52.5. Okay, so now the Bulldogs are shooting for back-to-back bowl wins for the first time since 2003-04 and veteran QB Marcus McMaryion (3,453 yards passing to rank 12th nationally) has got plenty of ammo on his side but the same’s not true for Arizona State. Wide receiver N’Keal Harry is bypassing this bowl tilt to ready himself for the NFL – we hate when guys do this! – and so Sun Devils’ slinger Manny Wilkins is handcuffed somewhat even before he sets foot on the field. P.S., Arizona State is a solid 5-2 spreadwise as underdogs under first-year head coach Herm Edwards.
CAMELLIA BOWL – at Montgomery, AL
EASTERN MICHIGAN (7-5) vs. GEORGIA SOUTHERN (9-3) – 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Talk about a feel-good story: The Georgia Southern Eagles went from a 2-10 SU (straight up) squad a year ago (the worst in school history) to a post-season bowl this time around and now the Sun Belt Conference crew is taking all the cash as this game opened at Pick ‘Em and has shot up to G-Southern favored by 3.5 points. Note Georgia Southern’s 9-3 against the number this year. Better believe RB Wesley Fields (959 yards rushing / 9 TDs) and Shai Werts (829 rushing yards / 13 ground scores) will be ground-gobblers here for the nation’s 9th-best rushing attack – Eastern Michigan, meanwhile, ranks a lowly 93rd in rush defense (allowing 193 ypg) and so maybe any/all upset hopes for the EMU Eagles will rest with former Iowa slinger Tyler Wiegers (11 TDs / 3 INTs with 1,887 yards passing).
NEW ORLEANS BOWL – at New Orleans, LA
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (8-5) vs. APPALACHIAN STATE (10-2) – 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
‘Tis the season for many a bowl team to be going it without its usual head coach: Here, Appalachian State already has waved bye-bye to fifth-year boss Scott Satterfield – he’s been named the new coach at Louisville – so that means defensive line coach/former assistant coach Mark Ivey is in charge but we’ll have to see if it’s a “distraction” here against a Middle Tennessee State squad that sports veteran lefty QB Brent Stockstill (3,286 yards passing with 28 TDs). Keep in mind that three of MTSU’s five losses this year came at the hands of SEC opponents – that’s a 35-7 loss at Vanderbilt, a 49-7 loss at Georgia and a 34-23 loss-but-cover at Kentucky – will that sort of “quality comp” be a benefit for the Blue Raiders here? Note Appalachian State’s won its last three consecutive bowl games (covered two of the three) and here a sound ground game that ranks 15th in the nation will try to put a season-ending sour taste in Middle Tennessee’s mouths – watch for App State dual-threat QB Zac Thomas who has accounted for 28 TDs in all.
NOTE: There’s NFL Week 15 Sunday previews in the next Jim Sez, so don’t miss out!