NFL Week 6 Key reviews

PATS-BILLS, COWBOYS-SEAHAWKS AND GIANTS-EAGLES HEADLINE THE ACTION

Okay, so the NFL may no longer have any unbeaten teams out there but there’s plenty of hot action when it comes to divisional races - just this weekend alone we’ve got an early-season battle for the top spot in the AFC East between New England at Buffalo and the NFC East has its own little race these days with Philadelphia hosting the New York Giants on Sunday night while 4-1 Dallas travels to Seattle.

Might the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys all be 4-2 SU (straight-up) by the end of Sunday evening? We’ll see.

Lots of goodies here with our NFL Week 6 Key Sunday Previews - we’ll get to them in a moment - but first a little bit of handicapping housekeeping if you will: The NFL Betting Favorites exited Thursday’s game - Indianapolis (- 2.5) beating Houston 33-28 - with a modest 38-36-2 ATS (against the spread mark) with one pick ‘em game tossed into the mix - that’s a .514 winning percentage for the chalk sides.

In case you were wondering NFL Betting Favorites have enjoyed better-than-.500 records the past three weeks in a row after faves started off this current campaign by going 5-10-1 ATS and then 7-8-1 versus the vig in Weeks 1 and 2.

In terms of the totals players, take note that the Indianapolis-Houston “over” winner makes the men/women who wager all the “overs” as 41-35-1 ATS this year (that’s a .539 winning rate).

NFL WEEK 6 PREVIEWS

CAROLINA (3-2) at CINCINNATI (3-1) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
If you watched Cincinnati’s 43-17 meltdown loss in Foxboro last Sunday night, then you know NBC play-by-play man Al Michaels and sidekick/analyst Cris Collinsworth (a long-time Bengals star wide receiver) were quite critical of the Bengals when they played in front of the “bright lights”.

Well, maybe Cincy’s prime-time record/post-season record ain’t great in recent years but “Sunday at 1” the Bengals are a whole different story and now we’ll see what sort of fury the Bengals unleash here against a Carolina club that finally got its offense rolling in last week’s 31-24 win/cover against 1.5-point underdog Chicago.

The Panthers went no-huddle on the final drive of the first half and the opening second-half drive and QB Cam Newton went 8-of-11 for 124 yards and a TD on those drives - so don’t be shocked if Carolina goes no-huddle here against a Cincinnati defense with something to prove (and one that ranks a lowly 27th in the NFL in rush defense).

Key to the Bengals if WR A.J. Green (right toe injury) can’t go here: The QB Andy Dalton-to-WR Mohamed Sanu tandem could make noise against a Carolina defense that’s allowed 37, 38 and 24 points to be scored in its last three games.

Spread Notes - Carolina is 1-4-1 versus the vig when playing AFC foes the past year-and-change and that already includes pointspread setbacks this year against both Pittsburgh and Baltimore. On the flip side, Cincinnati’s covered three of its first four games this year and the Bengals are 20-9-1 ATS overall since the mid-way point of the 2012 season.

NEW ENGLAND (3-2) at BUFFALO (3-2) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
The numbers don’t lie and they say that the New England Patriots have won 25 of the last 27 games played in this AFC East “rivalry” but you’re sure hearing a lot of rumbling about the here-and-now Bills and how this time it will be “different”.

Okay, so Buffalo’s hearty 17-14 come-back win at Detroit last Sunday was a real momentum lift while heading into this tilt but note the Bills still rank just 20th in the league in both passing and rushing offense and we’re still waiting for RB C.J. Spiller (10 carries for only 8 yards last week versus the Lions) to come alive.

Meanwhile, New England QB Tom Brady silenced his many critics last Sunday Night with season-high 292 passing yards plus two TDs in the aforementioned 26-point win against Cincinnati and did you know Brady’s thrown 54 TD passes in his 24 career games against the Bills?

Spread Notes - Buffalo is 7-13 ATS in its last 20 head-to-head pointspread verdicts against New England while dating back to the 2004 season. Note the NE Patriots are just 5-8 ATS in divisional play the past two-plus seasons.

My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get the NFL Week 6 Side & Totals winners this Sunday when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network and then keep rollin’ in the green all week/weekend long with all the NCAA Football, the NFL and the on-going Major-League Baseball Playoffs. Check with us on game days either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - make this an October to remember! The MLB American League and National League Championship Series are off and runnin’ - so make sure you cash in big-time with all the diamond action!

DALLAS (4-1) at SEATTLE (3-1) - 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
Can we be the first ones to say...How about this as a potential/possible NFC Championship Game preview?

Whoa, we blew you away with that one, right Cowboys’ fans?

The fact of the matter is the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks remain the class of the National Football League but there are only three teams with a league-best 4-1 SU mark and, you got it, the ‘Boys are one of those teams.

If the 8.5-point underdog Cowboys are gonna be a threat here in the great northwest, then it’s a no-brainer that RB DeMarco Murray (five consecutive 100-plus yard rushing performances) must show up and post some great stats - but Seattle enters this affair having allowed a league-best 62.3 rushing yards per game so far this season and the ‘Hawks have their own plans here in terms of the ground attack where their own RB Marshawn Lynch (306 rushing yards so far this season) probably needs more totes because Pete Carroll’s crew can’t expect QB Russell Wilson (11 rushes for 122 yards and a TD in last Monday’s 27-17 win/cover at 7-point dog Washington) to keep running with the ball so often - a firm hit or two to Wilson in the open field is gonna make Carroll and Co. re-assess that strategy sooner rather than later!

Okay, the big matchup that we’ve buried till now is the one between Cowboys WR Dez Bryant and Seattle CB Richard Sherman - and let’s just say Sherman (0 INTs but rarely challenged) figures to be tested with some “jump balls” here, so we’ll see if he has on a good pair of kicks to deal with the high-flying Bryant whose spectacular 37-yard catch of a QB Tony Romo aerial last weekend set up the game-winning score in Dallas’ 20-17 OT non-cover win against Houston.

Spread Notes - Dallas is a tasty 8-4 against the odds when in the underdog role dating back to the start of last year while Seattle is a spectacular 39-17-1 ATS overall (a .696 winning rate) since the start of the 2011 season. The Seahawks are also a sparkling 21-7 spreadwise in their last 28 non-NFC West affairs (a .750 winning rate).

On Sunday Night, it’s ...
NEW YORK GIANTS (3-2) at PHILADELPHIA (4-1) - 8:30 p.m., ET

Are you a big believer in “momentum”? We ask this because the New York “Football” Giants have turned the beat around on their here-and-now season with three consecutive wins/covers and no doubt you’ve noticed the Giants have averaged 35 points per games in recent triumphs over Houston/Washington/Atlanta.

On the flip side, the Philadelphia Eagles may be 4-1 SU and knotted with Dallas for the top spot in the NFC East but Chip Kelly’s crew has staggered in recent weeks with last Sunday’s hang-on-for-dear-life 34-28 win/cover against 3.5-point dog St. Louis featuring yet another sub-standard game for RB LeSean McCoy (see 24 carries for 81 yards and four receptions for five yards).

If McCoy and this Eagles offense can’t get the ground game untracked here, then you can fully expect heavy-duty heat on QB Nick Foles whose modest 207 yards passing and two TDs against the Rams last week is getting to be par-for-the-course stuff after his glittery 2013 season.

P.S. Foles ranks just 23rd in the NFL in QB rating at 82.5 and you get the sense he’s had some “happy feet” when challenged in the pocket - let’s see if pass-rushing fiend Jason Pierre-Paul can get in his grill here after a real full week of trash talk.

On the other hand, the Giants continue to master the West Coast offense these days - QB Eli Manning has thrown 8 TDs and only 1 INT during this three-game winning streak and watch out here for rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. who finally made it back from his much-publicized hamstring injuries to register a four-catch, 44-yard, 1-TD showing in the 30-20 win/cover against 4.5-point pup Atlanta last week at MetLife Stadium.

Spread Notes - The NY Giants enter this prime-time tilt on a three-game spread winning streak and did you know the G-men are 2-0-1 ATS in their last three games in Philadelphia? Note that the Eagles are just 9-15-1 ATS as betting favorites since the start of the 2012 campaign.

NOTE: Catch all our NFL Week 6 re-caps plus the Monday Night Football Preview - that’s the San Francisco 49ers at the St. Louis Rams - in the next edition of Jim Sez.

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