The Saturday Six-Pack
Turkey Shoot Goes 2-1 on Friday
Arizona (+20) Oregon 29-48 WON
Alabama (-4) Auburn 27-28 lose
Nevada (+14.5) Boise St 34-31
OUR COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURDAY SIX-PACK --
THERE'S RED-HOT RIVALRY GAMES ALL OVER THE PLACE
ON THIS FINAL WEEKEND IN NOVEMBER
Let's just say that if New York Jets do-everything guy Brad Smith had a big Thanksgiving Day meal yesterday he sure as heck ran off all the calories by the end of the night!
On an NFL Week 12 Turkey Day/Nite that featured big road wins by Super Bowl wannabes New England and New Orleans, it was the Jets' Smith who stole the final headlines thanks to an 89-yard kickoff return for a fourth-quarter touchdown that was an encore showing to his 53-yard end-around scoring run that really got Rex Ryan's club on a major roll following a dreary (and boring) first half that saw stinko Cincinnati holding a 7-3 lead.
The end result is that the Jets now will enter their Week 13 Monday Night Game in Foxboro with a 9-2 record thus matching the Patriots' mark and won't that game some 10 days from now get hyped to the hilt in the New York City and Boston metropolitan areas!
The Jets were not just a one-man show on Turkey Night as that defense held the Bengals to 39 yards on 30 offensive plays after intermission and CB Darrelle Revis sure looks to be back at his Pro Bowl form -- might the Jets actually be better than everyone thought at season's start?
In the games earlier on Thanksgiving Day, the aforementioned Patriots stutter-stepped early but then ravished thee Detroit Lions 45-24 as QB Tom Brady -- still very much in need of a haircut and shave -- threw for 341 yards and a season-high four touchdowns but how about a round of applause for that New England offensive line that allowed just one sack (by rookie Ndamukong Suh) while keying an offense that registered four touchdowns in five red-zone visits. Right now, the Pats' O-line is the best in the NFL -- no ands, ifs or buts about it.
Meanwhile, the Saints' wild 30-27 non-cover win in Dallas might have been what the doctor ordered: A game-winning 89-yard touchdown drive that followed a strip of Dallas WR Roy Williams and a real gut-check victory for a team that -- let's face it -- beat up the recent likes of nobodies Seattle and Carolina. In snagging a fourth straight win, New Orleans clicked off TD drives of 80 and 89 yards and the wide-out we told you about who's hitting mid-season form -- that's Marques Colston -- had a another big game with six catches for 105 yards.
If the Jets and Pats are 'peaking' just in time for that big game on Dec. 6th than shouldn't we include the born-again Saints in this equation and are we out of line to ask is New Orleans the best team in the league right here/right now?
You do have to think about it, don't you? We'll get to our College Football Saturday Six-Pack in a moment but first this important message:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the Winners in College Football, the remainder of NFL Week 12, the NBA and in NCAA Basketball too when you call us daily at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or when you log online right here at www.jimhurley.com.
Here's an important Note: The check-in times are after 1 p.m. ET Monday-thru-Friday for all the Football/Basketball weeknight games and then anytime after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. Make sure you cash in today-thru-Sunday as we continue to roll on with Jim Hurley's 26th Annual Turkey Day Shoot!
THE SATURDAY SIX-PACK
#5 LSU (10-1, 6-1 SEC) at #12 ARKANSAS (9-2, 5-2 SEC) -- at Little Rock, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Maybe LSU head coach Les Miles can try to convince college football's big-wigs that his team deserves a shot in the BCS Championship Game even if the Bayou Bengals are not gonna play in the SEC Championship Game next weekend in Atlanta -- you're wasting your time 'Mad Hatter'!
In fact, Miles and Company has big fish to fry here as the Tigers are the underdog side in this annual 'Boot Classic' tilt and no doubt that LSU's sticky defense starring CB Patrick Peterson must come up with a batch of thefts against hot-hot-hot Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett (3,272 yards passing with 27 TDs and 9 INTs)... or else.
Meanwhile, Arkansas RB Knile Davis -- who rushed for a career-high 187 yards against Miss State in last week's 38-31 double-OT win -- may be the best back in the country that you haven't heard about as he's averaging 7.0 yards a pop with 12 TDs to go along with 1,031 yards rushing. No doubt LSU must take away either Mallett or Davis (or both) here while Tigers' on-again, off-again QB Jordan Jefferson (4 TDs and 9 INTs) can't implode in the red zone.
Spread Notes -- Arkansas has covered eight of its first 11 games this gridiron season and the Razorbacks have notched pointspread wins in their last three in a row when facing off against LSU. On the flip side, the Bayou Bengals are 5-6 against the Las Vegas price tags this season and LSU's a lowly 15-28-6 ATS (against the spread) in conference affairs while dating back to the start of the 2005 season.
MICHIGAN (7-4, 3-4 Big 10) at #8 OHIO STATE (10-1, 6-1 Big 10) -- 12 p.m. ET, ABC
It's been a few years now that a Big 10 race came down to this head-to-head showdown but there are certainly plenty of ways for the heavy-duty favorite Ohio State Buckeyes to win this league and it all begins with getting a 'W' here in this noon-time clash while Wisconsin and Michigan State also look to lock in on the conference's top spot.
The 'Eyes -- fresh off an ultra-challenging 20-17 win/push at Iowa last weekend -- otherwise have throttled any/all comers lately as Jim Tressel's team beat the three prior foes by a per-game mark of 38.3 ppg and QB Terrelle Pryor (2,331 yards passing with 23 TDs and 10 INTs) could get into a real neat working rhythm here against this sad-sack Michigan defense. Maybe Ohio State can do 'speed limit' numbers on the scoreboard here.
Spread Notes -- Ohio State just keeps on rollin' along in the wagering world with an 8-2-1 spread log this year and a cumulative pointspread mark of 48-23-2 since the start of the 2005 season (an amazing .676 winning spread mark over a nearly six-year period of time!). Meanwhile, Michigan bumbles its way into 'The Horseshoe' on a seven-game spread losing skid and did you realize the Wolverines are a collective 9-24-1 ATS in the Rich Rodriguez Era (an anemic .273 winning rate)?
#13 OKLAHOMA (9-2, 5-2 Big 12) at #9 OKLAHOMA STATE (10-1, 6-1 Big 12) -- 8 p.m. ET
Just when you thought there could be no more 'bedlam' in this series along comes this showdown in Stillwater with the Big 12 South on the line. Okay, even though the winner of this clash won't be getting a shot in any BCS Championship Game as was the case with Texas last year and the Sooners the year before but here you have a potential pass-the-baton type affair as 'little brother' Okie State firmly believes it is 'their turn' to show who's boss while Bob Stoops' crew -- winners of the last seven in a row in this rivalry -- wants to flex their muscles in time to spoil a big party for the Pokes who are ranked higher than Oklahoma for only the fourth time ever in this rivalry.
Oklahoma State Brandon Weeden (30 TDs and 10 INTs) has more ammo than a military outpost but the key question here is can RB Kendall Hunter -- in our Jim Sez Top 5 of the Heisman Watch all year long -- keep the Sooners honest with big runs off draws/traps when Oklahoma's expecting the forward pass? The fearless forecast: If Hunter gets 20 'touches' here than the Cowboys will lasso the win ... you heard it here first!
Spread Notes -- Oklahoma State roars into this 'Bedlam Series' showdown on a four-game spread winning streak and overall the 2010 Cowboys boast a 9-2 ATS mark. Note that the Stillwater gang, however, has lost its last five consecutive spread verdicts to its archrivals from Norman. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is just 6-5 against the odds overall this year but the 'Boomer Sooners' have registered a nifty 37-26-1 ATS mark since the start of the 2006 season.
#10 MICHIGAN STATE (10-1, 6-1 Big 10) at PENN STATE (7-4, 4-3 Big 10) -- 12 p.m. ET, ABC
Lots of subplots here not the least of which is the fact -- surprise, surprise -- that Penn State's 83-year-old head coach Joe Paterno announced earlier this week that he will return for the 2011 season. Right now Paterno and Company face the daunting task of trying to take down a Michigan State squad with visions of their first Big 10 title in 20 years (at least a share of it with a win here) but the Spartans are keeping fingers crossed that QB Kirk Cousins (2,553 yards passing with 18 TDs and 9 INTs) can last this whole game despite some ankle issues that hampered his play at times in last week's come-from-behind 35-31 win over Purdue.
Note that Penn State RB Evan Royster enters this game with 831 yards rushing as he continues to chase the goal of becoming the first-ever back at this school to rush for 1,000 yards three times.
Spread Notes -- Michigan State started off this current campaign having covered six of their first eight games but 'Sparty' has dropped its last three consecutive spread verdicts. Overall, M-State is just 3-7 spreadwise in its last 10 hoedowns against Penn State. On the other side, the Nittany Lions are 5-6 versus the vig overall this season but Penn State's 13-9-1 ATS in Big 10 games since the start of the 2008 season.
# 23 N.C. STATE (8-3, 5-2 ACC) at MARYLAND (7-4, 4-3 ACC) -- 3:30 p.m. ET, espn2
You know the deal here -- a State win and the Wolf Pack heads to its first-ever berth in an ACC Championship Game but if Maryland snags the 'W' than Florida State advances for a date against hot-hot-hot Virginia Tech. So, gotta believe there's instant pressure on the Pack who here is playing its third road game in four weeks and is asking veteran QB Russell Wilson (2,977 yards passing with 24 TDs and 13 INTs plus 341 yards rushing) to keep moving those third-down chains against a Maryland defense that has yielded nearly 27 ppg in the team's last three outings.
The Terrapins are smallish home dogs at press time (+2) but as long as QB Dan O'Brien (17 TDs and 6 INTs) doesn't 'spit the bit' in the face of a relentless pass rush, than Ralph Fridgen's crew could put a nice exclamation point on an underrated/fine season.
Spread Notes -- Maryland is a solid 7-4 versus the vig overall this year but the Terrapins have failed to cover four of their last six head-to-head showdowns against N.C. State. Note that the visiting Wolf Pack is 9-2 against the prices overall this season (including a current four-game spread winning streak) and State's now covered 12 of its last 17 away games while dating back to the start of the 2008 season.
FLORIDA (7-4) at #22 FLORIDA STATE (8-3) -- 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN
Talk about your strange season-enders: The Florida Gators come into this clash with -- let's face it -- nothing at all on the line save for some pride as they try to avoid an embarrassing five-loss regular season while this will be the first time the FSU Seminoles played this game without one-time venerable head coach Bobby Bowden since Betty White was a teenager and yet the show must go on but will this be a shootout or might 21 points be enough for the winning side?
Spread Notes -- Even with a 6-5 ATS log so far this season, the Florida Gators are a sizzling 31-16-1 versus the vig overall dating back to the start of the 2007 season (and that's a .659 winning rate). Meanwhile, Florida State's also 6-5 against the odds overall this 2010 season but note the Seminoles have failed to cover four of their last five outings when placed in the favorite's role. P.S., home teams are a solid 7-3 ATS in the last 10 head-to-head battles between these Sunshine State teams.
THE NFL WEEK 12 KEY SUNDAY PREVIEWS ARE STRAIGHT AHEAD - THERE'S MONSTER MATCHUPS IN ATLANTA, CHITOWN, BALTIMORE & INDY ... OUR NFL WEEK 12 POINTSPREAD TIDBITS ... MORE NFL NEWS & NOTES AS WE EXAMINE THE LEAGUE'S "PROBLEM CHILDREN"
By Jim Hurley:
You've been hearing all the network announcers say the same thing for weeks now:
No one can really say for any certainty who's the best team in the NFL this year.
There's been the "flavor-of-the-month" types like the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots and the New York Jets but on this last Sunday in November how about a vote for co-best teams ... the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens.
Okay, so we already witnessed that head-to-head matchup back on 11-11-10 (remember the 26-21 Falcons win) but ask us right now who's the best team in Roger Goodell's gridiron league and we're splitting our Jim Sez vote ... but remember these two clubs have something still to prove this weekend as they happen to be involved in a couple of marquee matchups and note both have the home field advantage (see below).
NFL MOVE OF THE MONTH
The biggest NFL play of November is ahead on Sunday and the Jim Hurley Network is primed to make A LOT OF MONEY! We came to you in this space in September and October and told you the same thing. In September it was the Titans (+3) over the Giants 29-10. In October it was the Dolphins (+3) over the Packers 23-20. That's two wins by an average pointspread margin of 14 points! Now we're going for our third in a row on Sunday and to make sure you're on board this time, we're including a bonus play!Click Here to sign up online for just $50
NFL WEEK 12 SUNDAY PREVIEWS
GREEN BAY (7-3) at ATLANTA (8-2) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Now that the Falcons have made the Georgia Dome a house of horrors for everyone else that visits (see 5-and-oh mark in the joint for the NFC South team) the $64,000 question here is will Mike Smith's squad keep up the winning beat against a born-again Green Bay Packers side?
The Pack's won four in a row since that mid-October overtime home loss against Miami and it's the defense that's really stepped up to the fore while yielding 0, 7 and 3 points in the last three wins and here defensive coordinator Dom Capers' famed 3-4 alignment must contain hard-charging RB Michael Turner (864 yards rushing and 6 TDs) or else this figures to be a long day for Green Bay.
Note the Falcons are averaging more than 31 points during this four-game SU (straightup) winning streak and take further note that Turner has scored 22 TDs in his 18 careers games inside the Georgia Dome.
If Green Bay's gonna pull the slight upset here, than QB Aaron Rodgers (2,601 yards passing with 19 TDs and 9 INTs) must stay razor-sharp one week after chucking the ball for 301 yards and a career-best four TDs in the easy 31-3 win against Minnesota.
A dark horse figure here?
Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby has made just half his FG tries from beyond 50 yards but he might have to nail a couple of monster kicks to get the Packers over the top here.
Spread Notes - Atlanta's covered 14 of its last 21 home games since the start of the 2008 season and that includes three-of-five home covers this season. Meanwhile, Green Bay rides a four-game spread winning streak into this clash and the Packers are an electric 20-10 ATS (against the spread) away the past three-plus seasons.
PHILADELPHIA (7-3) at CHICAGO (7-3) - 4:15 p.m. ET, Fox
Now that the Michael Vick fervor has quieted down some, the Philly Eagles can get back to the task at hand: Trying to remain on top in the NFC East.
Last weekend's 27-17 win/cover against the 3-point underdog New York Giants didn't always show Vick in a great light as he didn't throw a single touchdown pass but there was plenty of good stuff coming from RB LeSean "Shady" McCoy who is averaging a neat 6.1 yards a carry during the Eagles' current three-game winning streak and here McCoy will look to dance and dart his way past Bears LBs Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs - no easy task for sure!
On the flip side, Chicago QB Jay Cutler (12 TDs and 10 INTs) must deal with an Eagles defense that leads the NFL with 19 interceptions and don't forget the Birds have registered 16 sacks in their five road games this year.
Spread Notes - Philadelphia is 26-16 versus the vig away since the start of the 2006 season. Chicago enters this conference duel at 4-1 ATS as underdog sides this season and that includes outright wins against Dallas, Green Bay, Carolina and Miami.
TAMPA BAY (7-3) at BALTIMORE (7-3) - 4:15 p.m. ET, Fox
Here's one thing worth noting about the here-and-now Baltimore Ravens: They've held seven foes to 17 points or less this year and enter this Week 12 affair and now they're looking to "mess with" young QB Josh Freeman (2,099 yards passing with 14 TDs and 5 INTs) who has been a shining light all year long. Hey, remember that Freeman was intercepted 18 times last year but now he's getting intercepted less than two percent of the time (he's thrown 388 passes) and so it'll be interesting to see whether S Ed Reed, LB Ray Lewis and Company can force him to pay for some downfield tosses here.
One thing to watch for with the Ravens is how they fare on third-down plays as Baltimore's converted just 34 percent of the time on third down the past five weeks and QB Joe Flacco (2,433 yards passing with 16 TDs and 7 INTs) has gotten a wee bit more tentative in recent weeks when facing third-and-five or more yards. If Flacco wants to make some hay here, than WR Derrick Mason could get targeted should Tampa Bay's secondary blanket wide-out Anquan Boldin.
Spread Notes - Baltimore is 16-8 versus the vig as betting favorites since the start of the 2008 season and the Ravens have notched spread wins in seven of their last nine games against NFC competition. On the flip side, Tampa Bay enters this tilt on a four-game spread winning streak and the Bucs last covered five in a row early in the 2008 season.
On Sunday Nite, it's ...
SAN DIEGO (5-5) at INDIANAPOLIS (6-4) - 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Could this amount to a playoff elimination game of sorts here? Keep in mind that the Chargers and Colts both have made it to the post-season in each of the last four years but it's been a major grind of late for Indianapolis as road losses-but-covers at Philly and New England have eaten away at Jim Caldwell's team and it will be interesting to see how QB Peyton Manning fares here following that late-game INT in Foxboro last Sunday in that 31-28 loss/cover.
Manning twice hooked up for second-half scores with WR Blair White but something tells us Pro Bowl stud WR Reggie Wayne must deliver at crunch time plus it would be nice if the Indy ground game showed a pulse: Note that the Colts are averaging just 88.5 yards a game rushing and Indy's averaged less than 60 rushing yards a game in its last five head-to-head tilts against San Diego.
The Chargers are keeping fingers crossed that TE Antonio Gates will play here (foot) but QB Philip Rivers (3,177 yards passing with 23 TDs and 9 INTs) doesn't seem to have any problems lining up his targets these days as evidenced by that 35-14 MNF win against Denver.
Spread Notes - Indianapolis is 15-9-1 against the odds when in the favorite's role since the start of last year but the Colts are 1-5 ATS when playing San Diego since 2004 and note that includes a pair of playoff setbacks. The Chargers are riding a three-game spread winning streak at press time and this figures to be the first time this season that San Diego's in the point-grabbing role (21-7-3 ATS as pups since the start of the 2004 campaign).
NFL WEEK #12 POINTSPREAD TIDBITS
Let's go 'round the league and get you our Jim Sez NFL Week #12 Pointspread Tidbits with all figures below against the spread:
- The Arizona Cardinals are 6-12-1 overall since the middle of last season;
- The Carolina Panthers are 2-8 overall this year;
- The Houston Texans have failed to cover six of their last eight games against Tennessee;
- The Kansas City Chiefs have covered five of their last six games versus Seattle;
- The Miami Dolphins are 6-1 away since late in the 2009 season;
- The St. Louis Rams have covered six of their last nine games as underdogs;
- The Washington Redskins are 7-12-2 at home the past two-plus seasons.
NFL NEWS & NOTES: THE LEAGUE'S "PROBLEM CHILDREN"
It's a daunting question when you really get right down to it:
What are some of the NFL member teams going to do with their "problem children"?
You know who we are talking about - Tennessee QB Vince Young, Miami WR Brandon Marshall and Cincinnati wide-out Terrell Owens come to mind first when we think about guys that simply are not worth the trouble to keep on a football team.
Young's post-game antics last week - which included tossing his shoulders pads and jersey into the crowd following Tennessee 19-16 overtime loss to Washington -- was just the latest bit of immaturity shown by the one-time University of Texas mega-star quarterback but that was a mere drop in the bucket as compared to what he's been putting Titans head coach Jeff Fisher through the past few years.
As you know, Young has been banished from the team via thumb surgery but most reports circulating out of Nashville claim that Fisher wants no part of the spoiled brat signal-caller even though owner Bud Adams is telling both sides to "work it out".
Miami pass-catcher Marshall, meanwhile, hasn't been taken to task as much by the mass media but here's the reality: The former Denver trouble-maker hasn't always run hard on his routes and is way too much of a diva for a guy who's only had a couple of big years. His recent hamstring injury is blessing-in-disguise stuff because it's gonna force the Dolphins to see how they can survive without him at times.
Then there's Owens who - we must admit - doesn't create the kind of angst these other players do but don't you think that the Cincy Bengals have tired of his post-game quotes that these days are nothing more than a moan-and-groan session. Sure, the Bengals have lost eight in a row following that 26-10 loss to the New York Jets on Thanksgiving Night but this is a guy in his first year with this AFC North crew and yet he appears to be a regular spokesman following dreary losses.
Advice to T.O. Shut up already!
Maybe Young, Marshall and Owens all will wind up posting nice stats in their respective careers when all's said and done but maybe the league's "problem children" shouldn't be treated with kid gloves - after all, the above-mentioned guys have all contributed to their teams demise in recent weeks and they should be held accountable instead of being allowed to whine.
NOTE: Get our Monday Night Football Preview - that's the San Francisco 49ers at the Arizona Cardinals -- plus all the NFL Week 12 and College Football weekend roundups in the next edition of Jim Sez.
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