The Week 9 NFL Report
CARDS ARE DEALIN’ AS THEIR 28-17 WIN AGAINST ROMO-LESS COWBOYS STEALS THE SUNDAY HEADLINES PLUSPATRIOTS & EAGLES NAB KEY WINS
THE MNF PREVIEW’S HERE AS COLTS-GIANTS COLLIDE IN NEW JERSEY
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND ROUNDUP: SO MUCH FOR THE GEORGIA DAWGS WINNING IT ALL!
Hey, doesn’t everyone really like to be a “Monday Morning Quarterback”?
The fact of the matter is sports talk radio and all those ESPN-related yak-fests that fill the cable airwaves are always at their best on a Monday after all the NFL games have been played and when we here at Jim Sez have a “bone to pick” with someone/some team in the NFL, we get right to the point:
And today we make it a family matter - as in the Harbaugh Brothers.
No doubt both Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh and kid brother Jim of the San Francisco 49ers are among the elite sideline generals in this sport - we’d rate both of ‘em in our “top five” along with the likes of New England’s Bill Belichick, New Orleans’ Sean Payton and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin - but let’s just say neither Harbaugh enjoyed their Week 9 games.
In San Francisco, the 10-point favored 49ers gagged it up big-time with that 13-10 home loss to short-handed St. Louis - and we’re still scratching our head as to why SF boss-man Harbaugh/offensive coordinator Greg Roman called for a quarterback sneak from the one-yard line with :09 remaining while down three points.
As it turned out, Niners QB Colin Kaepernick - who apparently “telegraphed” the whole play to the Rams with his body movements - fumbled short of the goal line and the Santa Clara crowd was left in stunned disbelief but why not throw the ball there and if it’s incomplete then go for the game-tying/overtime-forcing field goal?
What a waste of a 13-play, 87-yard drive!
Then on Sunday Night there was big bro’ Harbaugh guilty of the following: He didn’t (or couldn’t) control his amped-up players who committed a slew of silly personal foul penalties, he failed to correct offensive line mishaps that allowed ancient Steelers’ LB James Harrison from totally disrupting the game and - last but not least - he didn’t make any adjustments with his club’s secondary that wound up getting torched for six QB Ben Roethlisberger touchdown passes in that 43-23 Steelers’ win.
Okay, so the Ravens played this AFC North battle royal without key CB Jimmy Smith but just how many breakdowns in coverage did Harbaugh have to witness before doing something different back there?
It was almost comical how the Steelers scored that last touchdown on a Roethlisberger-to-TE Matt Spaeth 33-yard hook-up - quite frankly, Pittsburgh was just chucking it up there on fourth down and still the Ravens’ secondary was lost.
Maybe when the dust settles this winter we’ll get another Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh showdown in the Super Bowl - but neither gentleman is gonna look back at Week 9 as their “finest hour”.
We’ll dig into a couple more NFL Week 9 key storylines in just a second plus get you’re the MNF preview/forecast of the game between the Indianapolis Colts at the New York Giants but first this key reminder ...
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all mapped out for tonight’s NFL Week 9 tilt and you can get the MNF and NBA winners when you check with us here at Jim Hurley’s Network at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or right here online. In fact, get all the NCAA Football, NFL Week 10 and NBA nightly winners as we plan on dashing right through the month of November with another major hot streak!
Here’s some other game re-winds from NFL Week 9 ...
ARIZONA 28, DALLAS 17 - The last time the Cardinals sported the NFL’s best record at this late stage of a season, Gerald Ford was just starting to warm up his seat as President of the United States and the Redbirds were the pride-and-joy of St. Louis, not suburban Glendale.
But check it out: In Sunday’s electric win against the albeit QB Tony Romo-less Cowboys, there was head coach Bruce Arians’ club banging out its seventh win against one loss behind three touchdown passes from QB Carson Palmer and a defense that held Dallas RB DeMarco Murray to his first sub- 100-yard rushing game of the season (see 19 carries for 79 yards).
The Cardinals overcame a DB Tyler Patmon “pick six” less than five minutes into the game and rattled 31-year-old still-novice QB Brandon Weeden as the Cowboys converted just 3-of-11 third-down plays and allowed Dallas just 266 total offensive yards.
Don’t look now but Arizona - the host of this year’s Super Bowl come February 1 - has home games these next two weeks against St. Louis and Detroit and it is quite possible that Arians and Company could clinch the NFC West crown by Week 13 or 14 ... we’re serious!
NEW ENGLAND 43, DENVER 21 - The much-hyped 16th edition of the “Manning vs. Brady” matchup turned out to be rather one-sided, so don’t go telling us that Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning threw for 438 yards and completed 34 passes ... this game was blowout city from the get-go.
Tom Brady mastered the spread-the-wealth offense that New England runs these days as his 333 yards passing and 4 TDs featured four different players who caught 5-or-more balls including TE Rob Gronkowski (9 catches for 105 yards and one TD) and check the numbers to see in the past five games - all Patriot wins (and four of them pointspread covers) - Brady has 18 TDs and 1 INT. Yeah, he’s finished!
PHILADELPHIA 31, HOUSTON 21 - Did you find it a tad ironic that on the day one-time New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez came in an rescued the 6-and-2 Eagles with his 202 yards passing and two TD strikes, his old team was getting clocked 24-10 in Kansas City and NYJ signal-caller Michael Vick was getting his head slammed to the ground on one pass attempt?
Okay, so there’s plenty of folks who believe that karma is working against Vick for his past off-the-field sins but what about the fact that by year’s end it could be the unemployment line for Vick, one-time Jets starting QB Geno Smith and head coach Rex Ryan ... while Sanchez might wind up leading his team to the playoffs (and maybe even deep into the post-season)?
Sanchez got his shot here when QB Nick Foles (broken collarbone) went down early in the second quarter and second-year boss Chip Kelly didn’t pare back his playbook one bit.
As Sanchez said, “He (Kelly) had me coming out ‘taking three-pointers’ right away,” and don’t discount the importance of Philly discovering its long-lost ground game as RB LeSean McCoy rushed for 117 yards on 23 carries.
How about the Monday Night Football stage next week for Sanchez? You got it against Carolina!
In the NFL Week 9 Monday Night Football game, it’s ...
INDIANAPOLIS (5-3) at NEW YORK GIANTS (3-4) - 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Will the real Indianapolis Colts defense please stand up? Okay, so by now you’re well aware of the recent Jekyll-and-Hyde display by this unit that completely stifled Cincinnati in a 27-0 win two weeks ago and then last Sunday surrendered 522 passing yards to Pittsburgh gunslinger Roethlisberger en route to a painful 51-34 road loss.
For the record, the Colts rank 21st in the league in pass defense, a solid 9th in rush defense and the key here is getting in the grill of Giants QB Eli Manning who was not sacked in a 31-21 loss in Dallas two weeks ago (the Giants had a Week 8 bye) after New York Giants’ QBs Manning and Ryan Nassib were sacked a grand total of eight times in a humbling 27-0 loss in Philadelphia back in Week 6.
Naturally, the flip side here is Indy QB Andrew Luck who is looking to bounce back from a season-low 57.8 completion percentage rate in that loss at Heinz Field.
Luck (2,731 yards passing with 22 TD and 9 INT) has a whole lot of able-bodied targets here including wide out T.Y. Hilton (53 catches and averaging 16.3 yards per grab) but something tells us ex-Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw (team-best 371 rushing yards) must be a red-zone whiz or the Giants could post the mild home upset win here at MetLife.
Spread Notes - Indianapolis is 6-2 ATS (against the spread) this season and the Colts are a collective 27-15-1 spreadwise since the start of the 2012 season. Meanwhile, the NY Giants are 3-4 vig-wise this year and note the G-men have failed to cover seven of their last eight games played against AFC competition.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL UPDATE
Hope you saw that article last week that stated one Las Vegas area casino was listing the Georgia Bulldogs as their “favorite” to win this year’s College Football Playoff ... the logic being the Dawgs were gonna walk right into next month’s SEC Championship Game and beat either Miss State or Alabama or Auburn and thus become a part of this four-team playoff fandango.
Uh, hope you didn’t buy a ticket!
Georgia’s hopes were squashed by 11-point underdog Florida 38-20 in Jacksonville this past Saturday and, boy, did the Dawgs go up in smoke while allowing Gator RBs Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor to combine for 389 rushing yards ... how does the Outback Bowl sound to you Georgia folks right around now?
In other College Football News/Notes ...
Is there a more important game on this weekend’s menu than Kansas State at TCU? We think not!
The TCU Horned Frogs (7-1) scooted past West Virginia 31-30 last weekend, thanks to a game-winning/last-second 37-yard field goal by PK Jaden Oberkrom and stop and consider that TCU’s remaining game after this Saturday’s clash with K-State are as follows:
At Kansas, at Texas and home to Iowa State ... and there’s no Big 12 Championship Game to potentially bog down the Frogs at year’s end.
Is TCU the team outside the “top four” right now that has the best shot at making it into the College Football Playoff?
We’re nodding our heads “yes”!
Finally, a couple of crazy stat lines from this past weekend’s games:
Arizona State managed to convert only 2-of-14 third-down plays (and went 0-for-1 on fourth down) but still bested Utah 19-16 in OT as PK Zane Gonzalez kicked four field goals.
And an Arizona team that had scored a minimum of 26 points in its seven previous games was held to one touchdown in a 17-7 loss at 6 ½-point fav UCLA.
In case you didn’t stay up, it’s worth noting that Arizona QB Anu Solomon completed just 18-of-48 passes - this from a guy with 2,605 yards passing with 21 TDs and 5 INTs on the year. Talk about your rough night at the office!
NOTE: Get our latest Heisman Trophy Watch List plus lots of College Football News & Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez.
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