Week 17 NFL Previews and Monday Bowl Previews
THERE’S MORE NFL WEEK 17 PREVIEWS AS WE CHECK OUT JETS-DOLPHINS AND NINERS-CARDINALS …
PLUS THERE’S MONDAY BOWL PREVIEWS TOO INCLUDING TEXAS-OREGON IN THE ALAMO BOWL
By Jim Hurley
It’s good to see everyone keeping track of all the gazillion playoff possibilities out there in NFL-land … but not everyone’s gonna be smiling come first thing Monday morning.
We’ll have plenty to say about all the NFL Week 17 games after they happen plus there’s Tuesday’s College Bowl games on the docket so make sure you’re back with us for the next edition of Jim Sez … okay?
Now, here’s a look at a couple of NFL Week 17 games on Sunday …
NEW YORK JETS (7-8) at MIAMI (8-7) – 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Plan A for the Miami Dolphins here is win this game and then have Baltimore lose in Cincinnati or win here in South Florida and have San Diego win … then the Fish would be en route to their first post-season berth since 2008 and who would have thunk that amidst all of this year’s “BullyGate”?
Last week Miami was blanked for the first time since last year’s season finale, and so if Joe Philbin’s club is gonna get its offense jump-started here then getting the ground game purring is key as Miami rushed the ball for 125 yards in a 23-3 walkover win at the J-E-T-S back in Week 13 action at MetLife Stadium.
The NY Jets are trying to play spoiler and possibly “save” the job of fifth-year head coach Rex Ryan and rookie QB Geno Smith (only two picks thrown in his last 89 passes) must also make some plays with his legs here.
Notice how the Jets are the team “taking money” these days?
Spread Note – Miami has covered six of its last eight games overall and the Dolphins are 6-3-1 ATS (against the spread) in their last 10 games against the Jets.
SAN FRANCISCO (11-4) at ARIZONA (10-5) – 4:25 p.m. ET
You can’t blame the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers for “dreaming big dreams” these days …
After all, a win here in the desert and losses by Seattle and Carolina actually would make the 49ers this year’s No. 1 seed in the NFC Playoffs, but reality says that Jim Harbaugh’s club probably will be playing a wild card round playoff road game next week.
On the flip side, Arizona could become an 11-win team that doesn’t make it to the playoffs with a “W” here and a New Orleans win against 12-point pup Tampa Bay – but if the Cardinals are gonna get revenge for a 32-20 loss back in Week 6, then protecting QB Carson Palmer (3,867 yards passing) is key as the Niners have registered 16 sacks during this current five-game SU (straight-up) winning streak.
Spread Note – San Francisco is a rotten 4-10 versus the vig when playing fellow NFC West foes while dating back to late in the 2011 campaign.
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NFL FINAL FOURSOME Sunday
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Get all the College Football Bowl Games including all the upcoming December bowl games and the BCS bowl games beginning Jan. 1st plus get all the NFL Week 17 games too when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network.
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THE COLLEGE BOWL REPORT –
Here’s a look at the four Bowl Games on tap for Monday, December 30th:
ARMED FORCES BOWL – at Fort Worth, TX
NAVY (8-4) vs. MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (8-4) – 11:45 a.m. ET, ESPN
The $64,000 question here was the 22 days that Middle Tennessee State had to prep for Navy’s triple-option attack “enough time” to decipher this offensive scheme?
No doubt Navy QB Keenan Reynolds – who set an FBS single-season record by quarterbacks with 29 touchdown rushes this year – is one tough dude to defend, but keep in mind the MTSU Blue Raiders own a pretty potent ground game of their own (ranking 25th nationally with Navy ranking #2) as RBs Jordan Parker and Reggie Whatley combined for more than 1,400 rushing yards.
If State QB Logan Kilgore (2,289 yards passing with 16 TDs) can zing the Navy secondary with some deep balls, then we might be on “upset alert” here deep in the heart o’ Texas!
Spread Notes – Navy is 9-3 ATS overall this year, but the Middies are just 6-12 spreadwise as betting favorites the past three seasons. Middle Tennessee State’s 5-7 against the odds this 2013 season and did you know the Blue Raiders are 1-6 ATS away since late last year?
MUSIC CITY – at Nashville, TN
OLE MISS (7-5) vs. GEORGIA TECH (7-5) – 3:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Let’s put this into the category labeled “salvage the season” as both of these BCS conference teams have been a tad ragged this year, although Ole Miss does own wins against both Texas and LSU while Georgia Tech’s beaten fellow bowl squads Duke, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
Now, G-Tech makes its 17th consecutive bowl appearance with a ground game ranked fifth in the land (311.7 rushing yards per game) against an Ole Miss defense that’s not allowed more than 24 points in its last six games.
However, if the 3-point favored Rebels are to win/cover here than QB Bo Wallace – who threw for only 17 TDs with 9 INTs – must connect plenty with top wide-outs Laquon Treadwell, the SEC’s Freshman of the Year who caught a team-high 67 balls, and Donte Moncrief.
Obviously, lots of eyes here on Ole Miss star frosh DE Robert Nkemdiche, who either will get faked out plenty by Georgia Tech QB Vad Lee or else he’ll swallow up plenty of Tech ball-carriers here.
Spread Notes – Ole Miss is a dead-even and vig-losing 6-6 ATS this year and the Rebels enter this bowl bash with a spiffy 16-5 ATS mark in non-conference games while dating back to 2008. Georgia Tech is 5-6-1 odds-wise this ’13 season and the Yellow Jackets have failed to cover six of their last eight bowl tilts.
MONDAY'S "MINOR" BOWLS MAKE MAJOR MONEY!
I like the edges I'm getting on 2 of the 4 games!
We have two big favorites and two moderate favorites. I see a blowout and an upset brewing and I'll have at least 2 of these 4 games as very strong plays on Monday. Just $25...
ALAMO BOWL – at San Antonio, TX
TEXAS (8-4) vs. #10 OREGON (10-2) – 6:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
When this 2013 season started, the Oregon Ducks were ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and the Texas Longhorns were ranked #15 – and so let’s just say both clubs had bigger/better bowl dreams and both could have been conference champs if not for sour losses to Stanford and Baylor, respectively.
No doubt the Ducks – who average an eye-popping 46.8 points per game – are the Page 2 guys here as the lead to this game is this represents the final chapter in Mack Brown’s 16-year career at Texas.
Hey, don’t get us started with how the school administration handled this mess – but Brown’s hoping to see his team rising to the occasion and cop a second straight Alamo Bowl (see last year’s come-from-behind 31-27 win against 3-point favorite Oregon State). One thing Brown would like to see here is his team pound the ball at an Oregon defense that ranked 64th nationally against the run while yielding 164.3 yards per game, and remember Ducks defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti just announced his retirement following this game.
Stay tuned if Texas RB Jonhnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown (a combined 1,554 rushing yards) can dent this Ducks defense.
On the flip side, one-time Heisman Trophy hopeful QB Marcus Mariota (3,412 yards passing with 30 TDs and just 4 INTs) will look to carve up a Texas defense that surrendered 30-or-more points on six different occasions this year, and we’ll be paying special attention to clutch WR Josh Huff who nabbed 1,036 yards worth of passes along with 11 TDs.
Will this be the first team to 40 points wins? Hmmm.
Spread Notes – Texas has split its 12 pointspreead verdicts this year and the Longhorns enter this game at 6-12 ATS as dogs the past five years. Oregon is 5-5-2 against the odds this season and did you realize the Ducks are an electric 13-5 ATS away since the start of the 2011 season?
HOLIDAY BOWL – at San Diego, CA
TEXAS TECH (7-5) vs. #14 ARIZONA STATE (10-3) – 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
In case you had lost count, the Pac-12 put nine teams into the post-season bowl party this year, and this here-and-now Arizona State Sun Devils squad might have as much/more talent than anyone in the league – just one reason why Todd Graham’s crew is a two-TD betting favorite for this game in SoCal.
Arizona State lost two of its three games this year to rival Stanford – including a 44-14 beat-down in the Pac-12 Championship Game earlier this month – but here QB Taylor Kelly (3,510 yards passing with 28 TDs) will look to scorch a slumping Texas Tech team that lost its final five regular-season games and here there’s distractions brewing with Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year QB Baker Mayfield gone after announcing back on Dec. 11th that he would be transferring out of town, and so that leaves the quarterback duties here to Davis Webb and Michael Brewer (hey, the Techsters rank second nationally in pass offense while averaging 392 yards per game).
If there’s an X-factor that could help the heavy-duty dogs from Lubbock it’s that maybe Arizona State won’t have a 100 percent healthy RB Marion Grice (leg) as he missed ASU’s final two games after rushing for 5.2 yards a pop this year with 996 yards and 14 TDs.
Spread Notes – Arizona State’s 7-6 against the Las Vegas price tags this year and the Sun Devils have covered five of their last six games when placed in the role of double-digit favorite. Meanwhile, Texas Tech is 5-7 ATS overall this season and that includes the current five-game spread losing skid. The T-Tech Red Raiders also are 1-6 vig-wise in bowl games dating back to the 2005 season.
Hey, lots more Bowl Games in the next few Jim Sez columns!
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