MNF Bears-Jets Preview

Hurley goes 5-1 On NFL Sunday! Covers Club 2-0 with Giants and Steelers, Gold Key 2-0 with Redskins and Raiders, Closed Circuit 2-1!





Hey, the adult beverages are “on us” if you happened to predict prior to the start of this here-and-now 2014 NFL season that the three teams standing 3-and-oh SU (straight-up) heading into the final weekend in September would be Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Arizona!

Just to remind you of two things:

Since 1970, NFL teams that do open up the year with three consecutive wins make the playoffs better than 70 percent of the time and - get this - none of the above triumvirate registered a single win in last year’s post-season as the Bengals and Eagles were beaten at home in their playoff games and Arizona didn’t make it there despite the solid 10-win season.

Gotta believe that Houston, Denver and Carolina - all of whom entered this past weekend’s action at 2-0 - never did entertain serious thoughts of matching the 1972 Miami Dolphins for a perfect season but nevertheless we’ll shine a light on their respective Week 3 losses in just a bit here in today’s jam-packed Jim Sez column … okay?

First off, though, a reminder that NFL Week 3 Betting Favorites are 9-6-0 ATS (against the spread) while heading into the Monday Night Football bash between the Chicago Bears at the New York Jets (see preview below) and so that makes the up-to-the-minute spread mark read NFL Betting Favorites are 21-24-1 ATS with one pick ‘em affair so far this season.

Secondly, no doubt about it that the likes of the previously 0-and-2 Indianapolis Colts, the New Orleans Saints, the New York Giants and the Kansas City Chiefs all won what we’d call S.O.S. games as in “Save Our Season” - now all these teams remain “relevant” for a little while longer and perhaps even through the entire NFL regular season.

Heck, if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could smile this past Sunday - he was at the Houston Texans at NY Giants game and the cameras caught him having a good time - then the Colts, Saints, Giants and Chiefs all can put on a big smile today!

Here’s the Monday Night Football preview followed by our key NFL Week 3 re-caps:

CHICAGO (1-1) at NEW YORK JETS (1-1) - 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The New York-area media folks pounded something into the heads of the NY Jets all late summer long...Following a Week One game against Oakland rookie QB Derek Carr, the J-E-T-S were gonna have to face a murderer’s row of star quarterbacks.

Last week the results were not good as the Jets blew a 21-3 first-half lead and allowed Green Bay slinger Aaron Rodgers to throw for 346 yards and three scores including an 80-yard scoring strike to WR Jordy Nelson and now in comes strong-armed QB Jay Cutler fresh off a three-TD showing in last Sunday Night’s come-from-down-17 point-deficit 28-20 win at San Francisco.

Cutler took a hellacious shot to the sternum in that clash at Levi’s Stadium but rebounded in a big way to air two touchdown passes to WR Brandon Marshall and one to TE Marcellus Bennett but the $64,000 question here is can the Jets’ meek pass rush apply enough heat to Cutler here?

The Jets spent the better part of this past week answering all the questions about that ill-fated “time-out” in Green Bay when a QB Geno Smith to WR Jeremy Kerley pass looked to be a game-tying score in the final six minutes of play - you all know what happened there -- but note here that top target WR Eric Decker (hamstring) is being listed as questionable and odds are the off-season free-agent pick-up won’t play and so Smith may have to do more with his legs should his receivers not get open against a tattered/battered Chicago secondary missing CB Charles “Peanut” Tillman (triceps/out for the year).

Note the Bears are 7-3 SU (straight-up) all time in this interconference series.

Spread Notes - The New York Jets are 6-3 ATS at home since the start of last year and that includes the 19-14 non-cover win against 6 ½-point underdog Oakland back in Week One play. On the flip side, Chicago’s an ugly 7-15-1 spreadwise as dogs the past three-plus seasons but the Bears “cashed” big-time last week with that aforementioned upset win at 7-point fav San Francisco.

Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers will storm our way to the winner’s circle with a Side & Totals play on the NFL Week 3 Monday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears at the New York Jets (ESPN) -- and remember the NFL Week 4 menu gets jump-started Thursday Night with an NFC East battle between the New York Giants at the Washington Redskins.

Plus, the college kids are back on the gridiron come Thursday night too as there are three on-the-board games on tap including Texas Tech at Oklahoma State (ESPN) and UCLA at Arizona State (Fox 1). And it’s the final regular-season week in Major-League Baseball, so make sure you pile up the diamond profits today! Check with us right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight action and after 10 a.m. ET for the Saturday and Sunday NFL. NCAA and MLB winners!

In NFL Week 3 action, it was …
SEATTLE 26, DENVER 20 (overtime) - Do you wonder what would have happened in this “Super Bowl rematch” had Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning called “heads” on the overtime coin flip - won the toss - and then led an 80-yard touchdown drive to beat the Seahawks?

Well, a gazillion Denver fans must be wondering that today as Manning’s fateful call of “tails” wound up being the most important part of this tilt in the Emerald City.

As everyone knows by now, Seattle got the ball and drove 80 yards in 13 plays and won it on RB Marshawn Lynch’s bullish six-yard scoring run but the key to this whole drive were those third-down runs made by Seahawks QB Russell Wilson - so we never got to see Manning attempt an OT win and now you wonder - “moral victory” or not (we heard you Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison) whether this loss will have a longer-lasting effect to the Broncos’ season such as perhaps having to play a post-season game on the road instead of at home.

One major point to make here is that Manning and Company didn’t score a single first-half TD and the Denver offense constantly was hemmed in by some great punts by Jon Ryan who shouldn’t get overshadowed in victory after booting five punts inside the 20-yard line while averaging 50.2 yards per punt.
P.S., some ultra-conservative first-half play-calling by Broncos’ offensive coordinator Adam Gase really hurt … what was Denver doing running on a third-and-nine anyway?

PITTSBURGH 37, CAROLINA 19 - Sure looked as if Las Vegas had the “wrong favorite” after this Sunday Night clash in Charlotte as the Steelers steamrolled their way to 28 second-half points and survived despite the fact as slew of players (namely CB Ike Taylor and rookie LB Ryan Shazier) went down with serious arm/leg injuries, respectively.

Okay, so Carolina QB Cam Newton was hardly his nimble self as a sore ankle - on top of his already sore rib cage - contributed to a 2.0 version of Newton here and all you really needed to know here is that the former Heisman Trophy winner rushed the ball twice for seven yards. Ugh!

Meanwhile, it’s becoming painfully obvious that Steelers’ RB Le’Veon Bell (game-high 147 yards rushing on 21 carries) can be that workhorse back that this franchise has grown used to over the years and it doesn’t hurt that QB Ben Roethlisberger (196 yards passing with two TDs and 0 INTs) is an tough as ever to take down as his one seven-yard scoring strike to WR Antonio Brown was typical “Big Ben” with an awesome pass fake and that usual ability to shrug off tacklers.

Could the Steelers - as NBC’s Al Michaels artfully pointed out - now be ready to make a major with the next month worth of games against Tampa Bay, at Jacksonville, at Cleveland and home to Houston. Smells like a very possible 6-1 SU start to us!

NEW YORK GIANTS 30, HOUSTON 17 - If Tom Coughlin and this year’s Giants were gonna stagger out to another 0-6 SU start (see last season), then you might have see heads roll at MetLife Stadium but instead the G-men shrugged off a costly fumble near the goal line and a horribly botched snap from center on a gimme field goal to obliterate a Texans’ team that was without star RB Arian Foster (hamstring) and likely jet-lagged after last week’s trip from Oakland-back-to-Houston and then on to New York City … and you thought that MLB’s Seattle Mariners were the only guys belly-aching about their sked!

The truth is the Giants’ real elixir here was former Raiders RB Rashad Jennings who posted an NFL Week 3-best 176 yards rushing and - better yet - he showed a real toughness to his between-the-guards runs that it energized a Giants team that flopped out of the starting gate with losses to Detroit and Arizona and didn’t force a single turnover along the way. In this lopsided win/cover, the 1-point favored Giants picked off three passes from journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and sacked the bearded one twice as NYG made damn sure there wasn’t gonna be an 0-6 start in this year’s cards.


Okay, Jameis Winston, you can put your helmet and pads on now! The Florida State quarterback - who may or may not be more trouble than he’s worth these days on the college level - will get to play for the still top-rated Seminoles this Saturday at N.C. State after being suspended for last week’s whole game as FSU topped Clemson 23-17 in overtime and you wonder if FSU’s nail-biting win the other night was a prelude to tough games ahead or was it the one bullet this team had to dodge before landing up in this year’s College Football Playoff?

Meanwhile, what was really important about that “W” at noisy Tallahassee was that the rest of the Florida State team came together in Winston’s absence and even a nervous QB Sean Maguire (305 yards passing with 2 INTs) held up at crunch time with his 74-yard scoring strike down the right sideline to WR Rashad Greene with 6:04 left in the game basically saving the season while at the time tying the game at 17-apiece.

And how about #2 Oregon?

The Ducks had their hands absolutely full at Washington State en route to the 38-31 non-cover win as 23-point favorites and - lest you didn’t get to stay up and watch at approximately 1:45 a.m. ET (we did!) there was a blatant pass interference penalty not called against Oregon on a critical late-game third-down play and gotta say we didn’t care for Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich’s snippy answer to ESPN’s Shelly Smith afterwards.

Hey, the woman was just doing her job right and all the TV replays proved that Oregon’s DB committed a penalty.

The bottom line here is that the Ducks remain “soft” on defense as they allowed Washington State 499 offensive yards … think that’s College Football Playoff-worthy when you think of who else is out there in the race for those four spots?

NOTE: Get our Jim Sez Mid-Week Update in the next column that’ll be littered with NCAA Football and NFL Week 4 News/Notes/Previews.


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