SUNDAY'S NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

Divisional Playoff Game of the Year Wins Saturday!
Saints (-7) Cardinals 45-14 BLOWOUT
Picks up the split on the Ravens & Under 44 in the late game

And A Blue Ribbon Sweep Punctuates A Big Day!
Washington (-1.5) Cal 84-69 WON
Ohio State (-5) Wisconsin 60-51 WON
Arkansas (-2) Alabama 71-59 WON

SUNDAY'S NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS - CATCH OUR JIM SEZ GAME PREVIEWS PLUS THE GAME-BY-GAME TEAM LOGS TOO

You know the deal:
    
It's never - ever - simply a case of "chalk city" when the NFL Divisional Playoffs roll around and we've all seen some real doozies in recent years such as Arizona's 33-13 win at 10-point favorite Carolina last season, the New York Giants' 21-17 triumph as 7 ½-point underdogs in Dallas two years ago and who can forget Pittsburgh's stunning 21-18 victory at 9 ½-point fav Indianapolis back in the 2005 season - and it's  funny how all three of those Divisional Playoff round big-time upset winners made it all the way to the Super Bowl  and the '07 Giants and '05 Steelers - of course - won it all.
    
So, might the here-and-now New York Jets - a touchdown underdog for their Sunday game at San Diego - be this year's "destiny's darlings"?
    
We shall see.
    
The NFL Divisional Playoff Previews - Sunday style - come your way in just a moment but first this important reminder:
    
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to rock your NFL Playoff world with this weekend's Divisional Playoff Games and do remember there's NBA and NCAA Basketball too when you call us daily at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else simply when you log online right here.
    

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF PREVIEWS - THE SUNDAY GAMES

DALLAS (12-5) at MINNESOTA (12-4) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
    
It's the sexiest playoff matchup of 'em all this weekend - it's "America's Team" versus "America's Quarterback", if you will.
    
Just don't tell anyone that the Dallas Cowboys haven't won a Super Bowl since 1995 and Minnesota QB Brett Favre hasn't won a Super Bowl since 1996 (as a member of the Green Bay Packers back then) - now that's a long time between drinks for a franchise that's always considered to be the league's most popular club and a gunslinger who's long been considered the favorite trigger-man in the NFL for close to two decades now.
    
Okay, so one of 'em is gonna fall by the proverbial wayside here and - surprise, surprise - it figures to be the team that runs the ball better and does more with their trips into the red zone. The Cowboys have turned away from banged-up RB Marion Barber III as their primary back and so the focus here is on second-year stud RB Felix Jones who rushed for 148 yards and one score (a 73-yard romp) in last weekend's easy 34-14 NFC Wild Card win against Philadelphia.
   
If Jones here can exceed the 100-yard mark - and average in the neighborhood of five yards a pop - then the Vikings' glitzy defense (allowing just 87.1 yards rushing per game and 19½ points per game) could be put on its heels.
    
On the flip side, Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson (1,383 yards rushing and 18 ground scores) can't afford to be downed for too many negative yardage plays and - consider this - the superstar back lost six fumbles this year (more than any other RB in the league) and if he loses one here it could spell the difference between a Minnesota date in the NFC Championship Game and a long, cold winter in the Twin Cities.
    
Keep in mind that Dallas has had some short-yardage and goal-line woes this year - while Minny has been more dynamic in the red zone while averaging 29.4 points a game. So, if all things are equal in the ground game, then the aforementioned Favre (4,202 passing yards with 33 TDs and 7 INTs in 2009) must step up and "settle things" for the NFC North crew with top targets WRs Sidney Rice (83 receptions and 8 TDs) and Percy Harvin (60 catches and 6 scores) ultra-important players here but you can fully expect a fierce Dallas pass rush starring NT Jay Ratliff to be barreling in on Favre every chance it gets.
    
If Favre is unable to wriggle out of the Cowboys' pass rush - one masterminded these days by head coach Wade Phillips -- then the Vikes must do the same to Dallas QB Tony Romo (4,483 yards passing with 26 TDs and 9 INTs) who threw for 244 yards with two TDs and 0 INTs last week against the Eagles. The Romo-to-WR Miles Austin combo is getting lots of media attention but if Minnesota doesn't contain TE Jason Witten here - especially on third-down plays - then the 'Boys could roll on to a fifth straight win.
    
Spread Notes - Dallas is 10-7 ATS (against the spread) overall this season and that includes a current season-high four-game spread winning streak. The Cowboys have covered half of their eight away games this year but the NFC East crew is 2-and-oh spreadwise as underdogs (outright wins at Philadelphia and New Orleans) after having gone 1-5 versus the vig as pups the previous two seasons. On the flip side, Minnesota is 9-6-1 against the odds this year and that includes a 5-2-1 spread log as home betting favorites. The Vikings split their 10 spread verdicts against non-divisional foes this season and note the last time these clubs clashed was back in 2007 when 9 ½-point home fav Dallas copped a 24-14 win/cover.
 

DALLAS

WEEK #

WINNER

SPREAD

LOSER

SCORE

#1

Dallas

- 5½

TAMPA BAY

34-21

#2

New York Giants

+ 3

DALLAS

33-31

#3

DALLAS

- 8½

Carolina

21-7

#4

DENVER

+ 2½

Dallas

17-10

#5

Dallas

- 7

KANSAS CITY

26-20(ot)

#6

Bye Week

 

 

 

#7

DALLAS

- 5

Atlanta

37-21

#8

DALLAS

- 10

Seattle

38-17

#9

Dallas

+ 3

PHILADELPHIA

20-16

#10

GREEN BAY

+ 3

Dallas

17-7

#11

DALLAS

- 10½

Washington

7-6

#12

DALLAS

- 13½

Oakland

24-7

#13

N.Y. GIANTS

+ 1½

Dallas

31-24

#14

San Diego

+ 3½

DALLAS

20-17

#15

Dallas

+ 7½

NEW ORLEANS

24-17

#16

Dallas

- 7

WASHINGTON

17-0

#17

DALLAS

- 3

Philadelphia

24-0

WC

DALLAS

- 3½

Philadelphia

34-14

MINNESOTA

WEEK #

WINNER

SPREAD

LOSER

SCORE

#1

Minnesota

- 4

CLEVELAND

34-20

#2

Minnesota

- 10

DETROIT

27-13

#3

MINNESOTA

- 6½

San Francisco

27-24

#4

MINNESOTA

- 4½

Green Bay

30-23

#5

Minnesota

- 10½

ST. LOUIS

38-10

#6

MINNESOTA

- 3

Baltimore

33-31

#7

PITTSBURGH

- 6

Minnesota

27-17

#8

Minnesota

+ 3½

GREEN BAY

38-26

#9

Bye Week

 

 

 

#10

MINNESOTA

- 17

Detroit

27-10

#11

MINENSOTA

- 10½

Seattle

35-9

#12

MINNESOTA

- 10½

Chicago

36-10

#13

ARIZONA

+ 3½

Minnesota

30-17

#14

MINNESOTA

- 6

Cincinnati

30-10

#15

CAROLINA

+ 8½

Minnesota

26-7

#16

CHICAGO

+ 8½

Minnesota

36-30(ot)

#17

MINNESOTA

- 8

New York Giants

44-7

           

 

 

DIVISIONAL DOUBLE PLAY
LIVE ON THE JIM HURLEY NETWORK!

 The Jim Hurley Network is perfectly positioned to sweep both games on the Sunday doubleheader. Our unique combination of on-scene sources and football experts gives us an edge unmatched in handicapping. For the road teams, who have already played, our sources tell us whether they're tired or have momentum. They tell us whether the bye teams are rested or rusty. Our football people tell us if there are any mismatches in personnel that the line won't pick up, because the betting markets are driven by generic power ratings. Put it all together and you've got a moneymaking combo. We proved it last year, when we went 4-1 on both sides and totals in this Divisonal Round, including the signature upset, Philadelphia's surprise victory over the Giants. The same sources and same system are back this year, and they've got both games on today's sked in their crosshairs! Win both for $50! !

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP ONLINE
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NEW YORK JETS (10-7) at SAN DIEGO (13-3) - 4:40 p.m. ET, CBS
    
Are the San Diego Chargers the "forgotten team" in this weekend's NFL Divisional Playoffs?
    
Maybe that seems to be a silly question considering the AFC West champs are the hottest item in the league (see 11 consecutive victories) but with all the chatter about those one-time unbeatens (Indianapolis and New Orleans) and with the aforementioned Dallas-Minnesota clash gobbling up much of the weekend's headlines, the Bolts have taken a back seat to many other playoff teams - now we'll see if Norv Turner's team means business here.
    
Note that the SD Chargers have not lost a game since Oct. 19th - a 34-23 Monday Night Football game against Denver - but five of those wins since have come by a touchdown or less and the only team that San Diego beat during this run that's still alive is Dallas (see 20-17 triumph in Arlington back on Dec. 13th).
    
On the other side of the coin, the Jets have won their last three in a row although cynics (including us!) will claim that two of these games were basic forfeits as Indianapolis and Cincinnati laid down and played down in Week 16 and Week 17 tilts, respectively.
    
Still, Rex Ryan's club has a "feel-good" nature to 'em these days with much praise going to CB Darrelle Revis who leads the NFL's top-rated defense (just 14.8 points per game allowed this season) but can the 5-foot-11 Revis handle San Diego's taller wide receivers here? The Bolts - who average 28.4 points a game - no doubt are game-planning a heavy-duty aerial attack with QB Philip Rivers (4,254 yards passing with 28 TDs and 9 INTs) looking to hook up early and often with WR Vincent Jackson (68 catches and a 17.2 yards-per-catch average) and TE Antonio Gates (79 receptions and 8 TDs) and remember how this club has been a super-quick starter that normally puts its opponent on its heels faster than you can say Dan Fouts.
    
In an attack that no longer depends on RB LaDainian Tomlinson (730 yards rushing and 12 TDs this year) you better remember, however, that "L.T." has looked better and stronger in recent weeks and may have a bigger role than you might think here.
     
Finally, the Jets bring the NFL's best rushing attack into this tilt (172.2 yards rushing per) with the two-headed tandem of Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene (135 yards rushing in last week's 24-14 AFC Wild Card win against Cincinnati) looking to bang out big numbers against a slumbering SD rush defense but the Chargers figure to put eight men in the box here and force rookie QB Mark Sanchez (2,444 yards passing with 12 TDs and 20 INTs in the regular season and 12-of-15 for 182 yards passing last Saturday) to beat 'em.
    
Can the GQ-like slinger steal the show here against a Chargers secondary that has holes?
     
It's the $64,000 question on a weekend that - remember - always seems to produce at least one hair-raising upset.
    
Spread Notes - San Diego is 8-7-1 against the odds overall this year but the Chargers are a dandy 6-2-1 vig-wise since the start of November. Note that the AFC West crew is just 3-4-1 ATS as hosts and 5-4-1 vig-wise when playing non-divisional foes this year. Meanwhile, the New York Jets enter this playoff clash at 10-7 ATS overall this season including three consecutive covers coming in here and six spread wins in the team's last seven games. The Jets are 4-2 ATS when in the underdog role this year and 4-2 vig-wise when playing fellow playoff teams.
 

NEW YORK JETS

WEEK #

WINNER

SPREAD

LOSER

SCORE

#1

New York Jets

+ 4½

HOUSTON

24-7

#2

NEW YORK JETS

+ 3½

New England

16-9

#3

NEW YORK JETS

- 1

Tennessee

24-17

#4

NEW ORLEANS

- 7½

New York Jets

24-10

#5

MIAMI

+ 3

New York Jets

31-27

#6

Buffalo

+ 9½

NEW YORK JETS

16-13(ot)

#7

New York Jets

- 6

OAKLAND

38-0

#8

Miami

+ 3½

NEW YORK JETS

30-25

#9

Bye Week

 

 

 

#10

Jacksonville

+ 6½

NEW YORK JETS

24-22

#11

NEW ENGLAND

- 11

New York Jets

31-14

#12

NEW YORK JETS

- 3½

Carolina

17-6

#13

New York Jets

- 3½

BUFFALO (at Tor.)

19-13

#14

New York Jets

- 3½

TAMPA BAY

26-3

#15

Atlanta

+ 5½

NEW YORK JETS

10-7

#16

New York Jets

+ 3

INDIANAPOLIS

29-15

#17

NEW YORK JETS

- 10

Cincinnati

37-0

WC

New York Jets

+ 2½

CINCINNATI

24-14

 

SAN DIEGO

WEEK #

WINNER

SPREAD

LOSER

SCORE

#1

San Diego

- 10½

OAKLAND

24-20

#2

Baltimore

+ 1

SAN DIEGO

31-26

#3

SAN DIEGO

- 5

Miami

23-13

#4

PITTSBURGH

- 5½

San Diego

38-28

#5

Bye Week

 

 

 

#6

Denver

+ 3½

SAN DIEGO

34-23

#7

San Diego

- 5½

KANSAS CITY

37-7

#8

SAN DIEGO

- 16

Oakland

24-16

#9

San Diego

+ 5

NY GIANTS

21-20

#10

SAN DIEGO

- 1

Philadelphia

31-23

#11

San Diego

- 6

DENVER

32-3

#12

SAN DIEGO

- 13½

Kansas City

43-14

#13

San Diego

- 14

CLEVELAND

30-23

#14

San Diego

+ 3½

DALLAS

20-17

#15

SAN DIEGO

- 7

Cincinnati

27-24

#16

San Diego

+ 1½

TENNESSEE

42-17

#17

SAN DIEGO

- 3

Washington

23-20

    
NOTE: Get our NFL Divisional Playoffs Weekend Wrap-Up in the next edition of Jim Sez plus there's College Hoops News too!

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