Thanksgiving Thursday & Friday Previews
Black Friday Action Is Here!
Wall-to-wall football and wall-to-wall winners!
WE'VE SET THE TABLE FOR A FOOTBALL FEAST AS JIM HURLEY'S 26th ANNUAL TURKEY SHOOT IS READY TO GOBBLE, GOBBLE UP LOTS OF HOLIDAY-TIME WINNERS ...
CATCH OUR THURSDAY/FRIDAY PREVIEWS PLUS A QUICK-HITTER VERSION OF OUR HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH TOO!
By Jim Hurley:
So, who's really gone have a feast on this Thanksgiving Weekend that's filled with wall-to-wall Football?
The NFL guys jump into action with three games on Thanksgiving Day - note that all three of the head-to-head battle feature teams with inverse won/loss records (in other words, note that 8-2 New England is at 2-8 Detroit; 7-3 New Orleans is at 3-7 Dallas; and 2-8 Cincinnati is at the 8-2 New York Jets) - while the College kids get you a bunch of key Thursday/Friday games even before we get to the exciting weekend action.
It's all part of Jim Hurley's 26th Annual Turkey Shoot that runs from Thursday-thru-Sunday and it's all yours for just $125 for all the Football Games or you can pick-and-choose a day during the Turkey Shoot for only $50 ... just make sure you're signed up today (click here) because this promises to be a feast of gridiron winners!
And one more note: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the Winners in the NFL, College Football, the NBA and College Basketball too when you call us at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else when you log online right here..The check-in times are after 10 a.m. ET on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week and remember we will be releasing the Thanksgiving Day/Night games on Wednesday afternoon and so make sure you take a moment from your busy schedule to check in with us and gobble up the winners as there are Three (3) NFL Games on Thanksgiving and One (1) key College Football Game in Texas A&M at Texas. Note: Also, don't forget that there are plenty of College Basketball matinee tilts Monday-thru-Friday this week and so do remember to check your schedules and don't miss out on any of the day-time winners. Okay?
THE THANKSGIVING DAY/NITE & FRIDAY NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME PREVIEWS
Let's first go with the NFL's Thanksgiving Week 12 games ...
NEW ENGLAND (8-2) at DETROIT (2-8) - 12:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Don't look now but the Patriots share the NFL's best record with both the NY Jets and Atlanta Falcons ... and who would have thunk it back in August when everyone called this a "transition year" for Bill Belichick's crew?
The Patriots do have the dreaded "short week" to work with here but expect QB Tom Brady (19 TDs and 4 INTs) to keep things simple with an array of quick "out" passes to WR Wes Welker (57 receptions) plus look for rookie TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to be middle-of-the-field targets against a Lions defense that comes off allowing a season-high 35 points in last week's loss in Dallas.
How do the Lions possibly spring the upset here?
Get the ball into the hands of WR Calvin Johnson (55 catches and 10 TDs) a minimum of 10 times here and make sure they win the "hidden yardage" battle on special teams and note that didn't happen in Dallas last week (see 97-yard punt return for a score by the 'Boys).
Spread Notes - Detroit's 7-2-1 ATS (against the spread) this season and the Lions enter this Turkey Day tilt with a decent 7-4-2 spread log as underdogs dating back to the middle of last season. On the flip side, New England is a solid 26-14 versus the Las Vegas prices when playing on the road the past four-plus seasons.
NEW ORLEANS (7-3) at DALLAS (3-7) - 4:15 p.m. ET, Fox
The "Who Dat" nation was fretting things earlier this season but look at the here-and-now Saints:
They've won their last three consecutive games (haven't lost since Oct. 24th) and now the QB Drew Brees-to-WR Marques Colston connection is heating up after a rather disjointed start to their respective seasons.
If Colston (8 catches for 113 yards and two TDs in last Sunday's 34-19 win against Seattle) is able to slip past the Dallas secondary here than this could be fun-n-games time for a Saints crew with revenge on their minds following last year's 24-17 home loss that halted New Orleans' season-opening winning streak at 13 games in a row.
Brees - who just last weekend broke Archie Manning's franchise record for most completions - must be able to step up in the pocket here and avoid the pass-rush from the edges here because if Dallas is able to collect four-or-more sacks in this clash, then the Cowboys could go to 3-and-oh in the Jason Garrett Era.
Spread Notes - Dallas has failed to cover four of its five home games this year while New Orleans enters this holiday clash riding a three-game spread winning streak but did you know last year's Super Bowl champion Saints actually sported a six-game spread winning streak to start off the '09 season?
CINCINNATI (2-8) at NEW YORK JETS (8-2) - 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network
There's no denying the fact that the 2010 Jets have been both good and lucky - last weekend's 30-27 win against Houston was a game Rex Ryan's guys had in their hip pocket before it got away late but then two QB Mark Sanchez passes to RB LaDainian Tomlinson (covering 5 and 19 yards) preceded a 42-yard sideline strike to WR Braylon Edwards and then came the game-winner on a picture-perfect six-yard TD strike to WR Santonio Holmes and faster than you could say Al Woodall the J-E-T-S had another escape win.
Can you say Houdini?
Now, the Jets find themselves a better-than-TD betting favorite for this Thanksgiving Night game against thee woe-be-gone Bengals - note the Jets have not been favored by 7-or-more points this year - and who knows what to expect from Marvin Lewis' gang that last week surrendered a 17-point halftime lead en route to a humbling 49-31 home loss to Buffalo.
Hey, did you know that the Bengals allowed the Bills to pile up 449 yards in that game while Buffalo averaged 7.5 yards per offensive snap? Egads!
Spread Notes - The Jets have covered their last three in a row against the Cincy Bengals including last year's 24-14 AFC Wild Card Game win as 2 ½-point road underdogs. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is 5-13 ATS versus non-divisional foes since the start of last season
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In College Football on Thursday it's ...
#17 TEXAS A&M (8-3, 5-2 Big 12) at TEXAS (5-6, 2-5 Big 12) - 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
As we pointed out in this week's NETWORK BULLETIN, this surely is a "shoe-on-the-other-foot" kind of game because it's Texas A&M that has January bowl hopes these days while Texas - by golly - is just trying to become bowl eligible with a win.
Yes, the mighty have fallen as it's hard to believe last year's Longhorns played Alabama for the BCS National Championship and now Mack Brown's burnt orange gang is just trying to avoid one more embarrassing result - keep in mind Texas opened this year at #5 in Associated Press poll.
If the home underdog 'Horns are gonna get bowl eligible than mistake-prone QB Garrett Gilbert (15 INTs with his 9 TDs) must produce "7's" and not "3's" when his unit gets into the red zone - folks, it's been a major issue all year long and plagued the Longhorns in the losses against UCLA, Iowa State and Baylor.
Meanwhile, the Aggies - winners of five straight games - keep riding a hot defense that just held Nebraska without a TD in that 6-3 win last Saturday night. If A&M slinger Ryan Tannehill can find WR Jeff Fuller (62 catches and 11 TDs) early with some stretch-the-defense passes, than the Aggies ground game should soon follow suit.
Spread Notes - Texas A&M has covered four of its last five head-to-head showdowns against archrival Texas plus the Aggies zoom into this Thanksgiving Night clash riding a five-game spread winning streak. Meanwhile, Texas is 3-8 versus the vig overall this season and the Longhorns have failed to cover seven of their last nine Big 12 games dating back to late last season.
On Friday, it's
#2 AUBURN (11-0, 7-0 SEC) at #11 ALABAMA (9-2, 5-2 SEC) - 2:30 p.m. ET, CBS
When the 2010 College Football season first began, everyone assumed Alabama would be the center of the universe - 'cept nobody envisioned archrival Auburn gunning for the big prize late and needing to beat the defending champion Crimson Tide just to get to the "promised land".
Now, here's Heisman Trophy frontrunner QB Cam Newton (see stats below in our Heisman Trophy Watch) looking to put the cherry on top of his delicious season but look for a major key here to be how 'Bama signal-caller Greg McElroy navigates his way around the Tigers stop unit here. McElroy (2,390 yards passing with 17 TDs and 5 INTs) has been on target for a 70 percent accuracy rate and he could operate a ball-control passing game here that keeps Newton off the field for prolonged periods of time.
Spread Notes - Auburn's copped four of the last five pointspread verdicts in this "Iron Bowl" rivalry game while the 'Bama Crimson Tide comes into this one a tidy 6-1 ATS as hosts since late in the 2009 championship season.
#21 ARIZONA (7-3, 4-3 Pac-10) at #1 OREGON (10-0, 7-0 Pac-10) - 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
If you happen to be "into" numbers than take note of the following: The Oregon Ducks have scored in excess of 50 points on five different occasions this year and the two occasions in which the Eugene gang had extra prep time (more than a full week) the Ducks poured it on with 60- and 53-point outings against UCLA and USC, respectively.
Now, Chip Kelly's club ventures into this day-after-Thanksgiving game having last played on Nov. 13th - a hard-fought 15-13 non-cover win at Cal - and so who wouldn't be expecting fireworks here?
Note that RB LaMichael James (see Heisman Watch below) reports his tender ankle is better and word had it that Oregon "went back to basics" in their bye week with a renewed emphasis on fundamentals and ball security. The funny thing is about the only way 'Zona - a 19 ½-point underdog at press time - has any semblance of a shot here is if James and Company cough up the ball five or six times.
Spread Notes - Oregon is a nifty 6-3-1 versus the vig overall but did you know the Ducks are an electric 17-7-1 against the odds at home since the start of the 2007 season? Arizona is an ugly 1-5-1 spreadwise overall ever since that 3-and-oh ATS start this year.
#4 BOISE STATE (10-0, 6-0 WAC) at #19 NEVADA (10-1, 5-1 WAC) - 10:15 p.m. ET, espn2
Now that the B-State Broncos have blistered their last three opponents by a combined score of 145-to-21 they've crept back into thee conversation regarding this year's BCS Championship Game ... so we don't want to hear the "experts" tell us that margin of victory isn't important in the scheme of things!
While everyone's been going ga-ga over QB Kellen Moore (see Heisman Watch below) the fact of the matter is this oft-overlooked Boise State defense has been terrific and now here the Broncos will try to contain Nevada's do-everything QB Colin Kaepernick (2,412 yards passing with 19 TDs and 6 INTs to go along with his 1,183 rushing yards and 16 TDs). Note that Boise State LB Byron Hout (broken foot) - yes, the guy who got slugged last year by then-Oregon RB LaGarrette Blount - will miss the rest of the regular season.
Spread Notes - Boise State owns a potent 8-2 ATS log this year and the Broncos have covered 7-of-9 games when placed in the role of double-digit betting favorite. Meanwhile, Nevada is a mere 8-7 ATS in its last 15 conference games (we thought it was better too!).
THE HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH
Here's our Jim Sez Weekly look at this year's top Heisman Trophy candidates with our top five listed in order (and subject to change each/every week, of course).
#1. CAM NEWTON, QB, AUBURN - The head-and-shoulders leader in this Heisman race has 2,038 yards passing and 1,297 yards rushing to go along with a combined 38 TDs (that's 21 passing and 17 rushing) and his ability to play big at the biggest moments in comeback wins against South Carolina and Georgia proves he's the most valuable and most exciting player in the sport.
#2. KELLEN MOORE, QB, BOISE STATE - No doubt that this lefty slinger has a firm grip on the runner-up spot following last Friday's 333-yard, 4-TD showing against Fresno State and the year-to-date stats now includes 2,921 yards passing with 28 TDs and 5 INTs. Hey, is it Moore's fault he's been on the bench in the fourth quarter a couple of times lately when Boise State's ballooned its big leads?
#3. LaMICHAEL JAMES, RB, OREGON - Admittedly, this 5-foot-9 sophomore has been on the quiet side this month with just 91 yards rushing in that aforementioned win against Cal but the Ducks know how valuable he's been this year while piling up 1,422 rushing yards and 17 TDs. If he puts up a couple of 200-yard games to end the regular season he could make it interesting.
#4. ANDREW LUCK, QB, STANFORD - It's the third straight week we've held tight with this Cardinal slinger in fourth place in our Heisman Watch as last week's 235-yard, 2-TD and 0-INT game in the 48-14 win against rival Cal didn't hurt his cause. Luck's now thrown for 2,746 yards with 24 TDs and 7 INTs.
#5. KENDALL HUNTER, RB, OKLAHOMA STATE: Maybe we'll stay the only web site giving Hunter "some love" but the fact is last week's 105-yard rushing performance in a 48-14 win at Kansas now gives him 1,461 yards rushing and 16 TDs this season as he continues to edge out a handful of NYC invitee hopefuls including Michigan QB Denard Robinson and Okie State teammate/WR Justin Blackmon.
Happy Thanksgiving! Lots more in the next edition of Jim Sez as we bring you the College Football Saturday Six-Pack!
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