Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 12:00 AM
HEY, WANT MORE GRIDIRON ACTION?
GOOD, ‘CAUSE HERE’S THE SUNDAY MENU
FOR THE NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF GAMES …
PLUS, COLLEGE B-BALL QUICK-HITTERS
We’re gonna see if the “weather outside is frightful” when it comes to these two Sunday games in the NFL Divisional Playoffs …
Heck, we’ve already witnessed one “snow game” in Kansas City this year and heaven knows what the weather in Green Bay will be like for this January night, so grab a blanket and settle in for more playoff action … and let’s do some winnin’ too!
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have this weekend’s NFL Divisional Playoff Sides & Totals winners on both Saturday and Sunday – just call us on game days at the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here at www.jimhurley.com and also cash in big with the NBA / NCAA Basketball / Monday’s College Football National Championship Game between #1 LSU vs. #3 Clemson.
NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
On Sunday, it’s …
HOUSTON (11-6) at KANSAS CITY (12-4) – 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS
As we mentioned in an earlier-week Jim Sez column, the KayCee Chiefs are the NFL’s only team to be back here in the round-of-8 / NFL Divisional Playoff round from a year ago – kind of amazing, right?
Once upon a time this year, the Chiefs were just 6-4 SU (straight-up) and finding ways to lose to the likes of Indianapolis, Tennessee and … you got it … Houston. No doubt Andy Reid’s team now is seeking a little revenge here from that 31-24 home loss back in Week 6 and gotta believe well-rested QB Patrick Mahomes (4,031 yards passing with 26 TDs and 5 INTs) will be given carte blanche to zip some deep throws against a Texans’ secondary that may not be able to count on DE J.J. Watt to put on similar pressure to what they did against Buffalo in last weekend’s 22-19 come-from-way-behind overtime wild card win.
Gotta believe that Houston – down 16-zip at one stage against the Bills last week – must get out of the starting gate quickly if Bill O’Brien’s gutty crew has upset dreams and that means WR DeAndre Hopkins (6 catches for 90 yards last week after getting blanked in the first half) must be a factor sooner rather than later and that also means Houston QB Deshaun Watson (55 yards rushing against Buffalo) must make some plays with his legs against a KC defense that’s surrendered just 11.5 ppg the past six weeks of play.
Spread Notes – Kansas City’s 10-5-1 ATS (against the spread) this year but the Chiefs enter this post-season bash with a shabby 2-6 spread log in all playoff games the past 10 years; Houston is 8-8-1 against the odds overall this year but note the Texans are 8-4-1 ATS as dogs since the start of the 2018 season.
Current Las Vegas Line … Kansas City – 9.5 and 51 points
SEATTLE (12-5) at GREEN BAY (13-3) – 6:40 p.m. ET, Fox
Folks, this has been an uber-interesting week of betting lines on this Seahawks v Packers game … the game opened with Green Bay installed as a 3.5-point favorite (the standard line for home field in the NFL, if you will) and it’s inched upwards despite the fact that Seattle has been one of the best road teams in the league this year – see 6-2-1 against the odds following last weekend’s 17-9 win at 1-point fav Philadelphia in the NFC Wild Card round.
Maybe some wintry weather perhaps will aid /abet the Packers who didn’t exactly hum offensively down the stretch with point totals of just 23, 23, 21 and 20 points the final four weeks of regular-season play and we saw how QB Aaron Rodgers (4,002 yards passing with 26 TDs and 4 INTs) was high-and-wide with a number of throws in the Week 17 non-cover win in Detroit. If Rodgers is chased from the pocket here by the likes of DE Jadeveon Clowney and friends, then he’ll have to be accurate with his on-the-run throws … or else.
Game plan for the ‘Hawks figures to include QB Russell Wilson (31 TD passes in the regular season and a key 53-yard scoring strike to rookie wide-out DK Metcalf in Philly last week) looking to split runs /passes as was the case against the Eagles (see 26 team rushes / 30 pass attempts) plus Metcalf and fellow WR Tyler Lockett must make their share of chain-moving plays.
Spread Notes – Green Bay is 10-6 ATS overall this season and note the Packers are 4-0-1 spreadwise against Seattle dating back to the 2014 campaign; On the flip side, the Seahawks are a dead-even and vig-losing 8-8-1 ATS this season though this NFC West crew is an electric 11-3-1 ATS as underdogs since late in the 2017 season.
Current Las Vegas Line … Green Bay – 4.5 and 47points
THE COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT
Right this very minute there are “only” four teams from the mighty Atlantic Coast Conference that reside in the current Associated Press Top 25 poll … #2 Duke, #10 Florida State, #13 Louisville and defending champion #18 Virginia. Sure, Duke and Louisville have trophy cases full of national title trophies and the Cavaliers have a shiny trophy from the 2018-19 season but might the here-and-now FSU Seminoles (14-2, 4-1 ACC) be the next ACC team to cut down the nets?
Veteran head coach Leonard Hamilton’s club – fresh off a 78-68 win / cover at 7-point underdog Wake Forest on Wednesday night – overcame an early second-half 11-0 spurt by the WF Demon Deacons and basically shut down the hosts with just one FG allowed in the game’s final 6-plus minutes. Defense is what’s the constant star for this Tallahassee team and – get this – the Noles exited their game in Winston Salem on a three-game pointspread winning streak (a modest 9-7 ATS overall this year) and State’s held these last three foes to 40 percent (or lower) FG shooting.
Already this year, Florida State’s won outright twice as 6-point underdogs (versus Louisville and Florida) and we’ll be keeping a real close watch on ‘em as pups for the foreseeable future.
NOTE: More NFL Divisional Playoff News / Notes in the next Jim Sez.