Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, December 16, 2019 at 12:00 AM
THE NFL WEEK 15 UPDATE –
THERE’S ONLY FOUR PLAYOFF SPOTS
LEFT NOW AS BILLS, PACKERS & SEAHAWKS
AMONG THOSE CLINCHING POST-SEASON BERTHS ON SUNDAY …
THE MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL BASH
PITS COLTS VS. SAINTS …
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT:
FOLLOW ALONG WITH OUR BOWL CHATTER
Go ahead and tell us that you – or someone that you know – had a Sunday NFL Week 15 two-team parlay of the Philadelphia Eagles (- 6.5 points) at Washington and “over” 49.5 points in the wild-and-wacky Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers … boy, if you happened to cash on that then you’re really and truly “living right”!
No doubt you know those endings there, so no need for us to explain further – yes, non-offensive touchdowns concluded both those affairs and had America at large shaking its head deep into the night – but enough of those twilight-zone type finishes and let’s get to some real meat-and-potato issues here.
Like the playoffs.
In NFL Week 15 action on Sunday, the New England Patriots (11-3) clinched an 11th consecutive playoff berth and AFC East rival Buffalo (10-4) clinched just its second post-season berth since 2000. Note Baltimore (12-2) and Kansas City (20-4) already had clinched the AFC North and AFC West, respectively, before we ever got to Sunday; meanwhile, Green Bay (11-3), Seattle (11-3) and San Francisco (11-3) – yes, the latter clinched even with that distressing home loss – all punched tickets to the NFC Playoffs next month and keep in mind New Orleans (10-3) had already wrapped up the NFC South before we ever got started on Week 15.
So that means – with two weeks and a Monday Night Football game remaining left on the NFL 2019 regular-season schedule -- there’s eight post-season spots clinched and only four more to go.
On Sunday …
The Bills put the squeeze on the 1-point favorite Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football – a Jim Hurley Network winner! – with four interceptions of novice QB Devlin “Duck” Hodges and we liked what NBC game analyst Cris Collinsworth said in that Buffalo’s the type of defense that can drive anyone /everyone crazy come the post-season. In case you were wondering, the Bills will go into New England this Saturday with a spiffy 6-0-1 ATS (against the spread) away mark this year;
The Packers hung on for dear life in their 21-13 win /cover against 4.5-point pup Chicago (remember Green Bay once led 21-3 in the third quarter) even though megastar QB Aaron Rodgers completed fewer than half his throws (16-of-33 for203 yards passing and one TD). Okay, so the Bears were the team the team that “took the money” all week long as GB opened as a 6.5-point fav for this NFC North rivalry game but remember the Packers now have covered 13 of their last 18 head-to-heads against the Bears;
And the Seahawks – who are now 4-1-1 spreadwise their last half-dozen games following Sunday’s 30-24 win / spread push at 6-point dog Carolina – got themselves into a relatively comfy position. The ‘Hawks own the NFC’s #1 overall playoff seed right now and they own the tiebreaker against San Fran and the two rivals will square off in the great northwest come Week 17 – and while it’s true the Falcons dealt a major blow to the Niners’ with that last-second QB Matt Ryan-to-WR Julio Jones touchdown throw (and the funky game-ending insurance TD that followed) you could say Seattle might have the best balance of offense / defense in the conference these days or hadn’t you noticed that Pete Carroll’s club piled up 440 offensive yards and picked off three passes in Charlotte?
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be banging out lots of College Football Bowl Game winners this holiday season beginning this Friday afternoon and evening – first, it’s the Bahamas Bowl between Buffalo vs. Charlotte (at 2 p.m. ET) and then the Frisco Bowl between Kent State vs. Utah State (at 7:30 p.m. ET) -- and they’ll put the finishing touches on NFL Week 15 action tonight with the Side/Totals winners of this evening’s clash between the Indianapolis Colts at the New Orleans Saints – so go right ahead and sign up now for our Special Bowl Bonanza Package:
Call Jim Hurley at the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else online right here at www.jimhurley.com. Sign up now and get all 41 post-season Bowl Games plus get all the NFL, College Basketball and NBA winners too!
On Monday Night Football, it’s …
INDIANAPOLIS (6-7) at NEW ORLEANS (10-3) – 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
There’s plenty to play for if you’re the N’Orleans Saints here:
A shot to get a first-weekend playoff berth and a rather long-shot at getting the top overall seed in the top-heavy NFC … but remember the Saints have lost three conference games this year and that’s one more than the aforementioned Packers, Seahawks and 49ers.
If the 9-point home favorite Saints are gonna get “mission accomplished” here than QB Drew Brees (17 TDs, 4 INTs) must feed RB Alvin Kamera who – for our money – has experienced a “down year” with just two TDs and just 1,074 scrimmage yards. Go ask the “fantasy” geeks!
The Colts are on life support for an AFC Playoff berth – and these recent fourth-quarter meltdowns (three weeks in a row now!) have ‘em singing the blues.
Spread Notes – The Saints are 8-3 vig-wise in their last 11 games while the Colts are 6-3-1 ATS in their last 10 games as underdog sides.
COLLEGE BOWL BONANZA
First off, we’ll be waiting another couple of weeks before we get to see Heisman Trophy-winning QB Joe Burrow of LSU in bowl action (Dec. 28th versus Oklahoma in the playoff Peach Bowl) but let’s bounce ‘round the land with some bowl game goodies …
Not that there are a baker’s dozen teams that made it to bowl play with 6-and-6 SU (straight-up) records and that includes four .500 teams from the not-so-mighty ACC (that’s Boston College, Florida State, Miami and North Carolina). P.S., the only FBS squad at 6-6 SU not to get a bowl bid … that was Toledo of the Mid-American Conference …
Speaking of the MAC, last year the conference’s only bowl winner was Ohio (a 27-0 whitewash over 2-point dog San Diego State) as Buffalo, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan all flopped facemask first against the odds while Eastern Michigan managed to cover in a bowl loss to Georgia Southern. Generallyspeaking, the MAC’s been a bowl bust more years than not; …
Finally, check this out as among the 78 bowl squads out there this year are Alabama (3-7 ATS in last 10 bowls /playoffs), Florida (6-2 ATS in last eight bowls), Louisiana Tech (4-1 ATS in bowls under Skip Holtz) and Notre Dame (failed to cover five of its last seven bowl appearances).
NOTE: More College Bowl coverage straight ahead plus we’ll recap the Monday Night Football game between Colts-Saints in the next edition of Jim Sez.