Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, January 28, 2019 at 12:00 AM
IT’S SUPER BOWL WEEK –
AND WE START OFF OUR JIM SEZ GAME ANALYSIS WITH
“WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL” …
PLUS, COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S TEAMS TO WATCH
AS WE NEAR THE CRUCIAL MONTH OF FEBRUARY
The countdown is on for Super Bowl LIII this Sunday in Atlanta (6:30 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS) and it’s time to break down this New England Patriots versus Los Angeles Rams showdown on an everyday basis till we get to Super Sunday.
In a moment we’ll begin our week-long game analysis with our first category – “When the Patriots Have the Ball” – and we’ll get down-and-dirty with SB 53 with all kinds of analyses this week with our game preview on Friday along with assorted team charts along the way … so enjoy!
But first …
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will finish off this Football Season with a real bang come Super Bowl LIII as we win with the Side & Totals of the Patriots versus the Rams. Get ‘em on game day at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here and remember to cash every day with NBA and College Basketball Winners too!
SUPER BOWL LIII
WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL … Let’s get this out into the open right outta the gate: As great as New England’s skilled position players on offense have played these playoffs with 41 and 37-point scoring outputs against the Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs (the latter in OT, of course), it’s been the unsung offensive line that deserves the biggest round of applause.
Okay, so QB Tom Brady has thrown for 691 yards this post-season while sporting a solid if unspectacular 91.5 QB Rating and rookie RB Sony Michel (242 yards rushing / 5 TDs) and WR Julian Edelman (16 receptions with 14 of ‘em going for first downs) have been playoff stars but this blocking unit has been downright brilliant as – left-to-right – Trent Brown, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon – have dominated with neither the Chargers’ nor Chiefs’ pass-rushing stars making a dent (no sacks of Brady). Go take a bow, offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia!
Thus, the real key for Super Bowl LIII is simple: If the Patriots O-line continues to pass-block and – more importantly, run-block – the way they’ve been doing the past few weeks, the 2.5-point underdog Rams are in deep, deep trouble even with Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald leading the charge up front. If New England’s guys up front can open up some running lane for Michel (he’s averaging a hearty 4.6 yards per carry this post-season) and allow Brady that extra moment to step up in the pocket and deliver some downfield strikes to WR Edelman, TE Rob Gronkowski (7 receptions for 104 yards in these playoff wins) and friends, the Rams figure to be playing catch-up all night long.
If you’re looking for some sort of X-factor when the Pats have the ball, consider WR Phillip Dorsett who does own a 29-yard scoring reception against the Chiefs this post-season – that made the score 14-0 in the 37-31 OT win at Arrowhead Stadium – because Brady has been looking to throw that occasional deep ball and Dorsett deep against the Rams’ safeties could well be a favorable matchup for the five-time champion Patriots. Hey, wouldn’t it be a scream if it came down to a Brady-to-Dorsett pass that was defended by DB Nickell Robey-Coleman? Okay, so nobody’s laughing in New Orleans, we get it!
COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S TEAMS-TO-WATCH
PURDUE (14-6, 7-2) – Hold on, Big 10 hoop fans. Let’s not be so darn quick to anoint either of the state of Michigan teams as the conference champ just yet. The Boilermakers – fresh off Sunday’s 73-63 streak-snapping win against 1.5-point road underdog Michigan State – held off Sparty’s late-game 24-5 run as 50 percent free-throw shooter Nojel Eastern drained all six of his FT tries late and so Purdue’s suddenly sittin’ pretty in this Big 10 race and could go from unranked to a top four seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. And how about the fact Purdue’s covered five in a row to go 12-8 versus the vig this year? Matt Painter’s gang is peaking at the right time – up next is Thursday’s road game at Penn State.
HOFSTRA (19-3, 9-0) – The basketball gods have not smiled on the Pride in a long, long time. Gotta go back to the Jay Wright days in Hempstead to find the last time that Hofstra made it to the NCAA Tournament (see 2001 when UCLA beat ‘em) but this year’s got a whole different vibe with Hofstra currently owning the nation’s longest winning streak at 16 in a row as G Justin Wright-Foreman is averaging 26 ppg and he’s delivered everything from buzzer-beaters to full-court shots along the way. Don’t look now but Hofstra is an eye-popping 17-4 against the odds this year and right now we’d have the Nassau County club a #10 seed in the NCAAs.
LOYOLA-CHICAGO (13-8, 6-2) – Say it ain’t so … the Ramblers could be back in March for more “Madness” following last year’s improbable run to the Final Four? Truth is this Missouri Valley Conference crew right now sits atop the league standings after winning for the sixth time in its last eight games with Sunday’s 75-50 blowout over 5.5-point underdog Southern Illinois. Cameron Krutwig’s 22 points in 27 minutes of action keyed the runaway win for Loyola – Sister Jean’s favorite team is only 10-10 against the spread this 2018-19 hoops season but you’re starting to get the feeling the Ramblers are “coming of age” with a batch of no-names joining Krutwig and senior G Marques Townes (14.1 ppg) in giving Loyola this mid-to-late season jolt.
NOTE: More Super Bowl News & Notes in the next Jim Sez.