Jim Sez for Monday, January 19 …

SUPER BOWL XLIX IS SET —
IT’S SEAHAWKS vs. PATRIOTS
AS #1 SEEDS WILL TANGLE IN GLENDALE
(BUT THEY GET THERE WITH COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT TITLE GAME SCRIPTS!) …
THE COLLEGE B-BALL REPORT

It’s funny how football history can repeat itself:
Consider that just last year in our first post-NFL Championship Games column we wrote …

“Even the early-bird bettors/books have found it difficult to say who should be favored to win.”Of course, last year we were talking about the showdown between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks and here we are saying the same exact thing while heading into Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale (Az.) on Sunday, Feb. 1st:

The Las Vegas oddsmakers opened up with Seattle favored over New England by 2 ½ points and the number quickly settled (for now) at pick ‘em and just so you know we’ve never had a Super Bowl go off at pick ‘em in 48 previous matchups.
One other thing:

The Seahawks entered this here-and-now NFL season listed as a 4-to-1 favorite to win it all and repeat as league champion while the Patriots were priced at 6-to-1 to win it all and keep in mind this is the second consecutive year a pair of #1 seeds will square off in the Super Bowl and that’s only happened four times in the past 21 years.

But what entirely different paths these teams took to get here on Championship Sunday.
Plenty to digest/analyze about Seattle’s stirring overtime win against Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game and New England’s lopsided triumph over Indianapolis but first here this:

Jim Hurley will have the Sides & Totals Winners of Super Bowl XLIX when you check with us on game-day morning plus go ahead and continue to pile up the profits all this week with loads of NBA and NCAA Basketball winners right here online at www.jimhurley.com or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 — go ahead and pound the books today!

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
SEATTLE 28, GREEN BAY 22 (overtime) — A year ago the Seahawks sealed their NFC Championship Game win against San Francisco with an end zone INT of QB Colin Kaepernick … now this time in the very same end zone it was even more dramatic as WR Jermaine Kearse snared a perfectly-thrown 35-yard touchdown pass by QB Russell Wilson on the first and only possession of overtime.
And what makes that more amazing than the play itself is that Wilson — and the entire Seattle team, for that matter — was downright atrocious for the better part of three-plus quarters in this game whether we’re talking about turnovers (see four Wilson INTs plus a lost fumble), or critical penalties (8 for just 40 yards but most/all coming at inopportune times) or overall offensive execution as Seattle didn’t protect Wilson very well (five sacks) and the wide receivers didn’t do a very good of either getting open or hanging onto Wilson’s passes.
So, with Green Bay up 19-7 with the ball and with only 5:07 remaining in the game, you figured the Seahawks were deadsville.
Hmm, not so fast.

Okay, so you saw it for yourselves as the Seahawks utilized their timeouts perfectly, scored on a Wilson one-yard run and the recovered that miraculous onside kick before scoring again to actually take a 22-19 lead with 1:25 remaining before Green Bay forced OT with PK Mason Crosby’s fifth FG of the game.

Ahh, there’s the rub:
All of Packers Nation is spitting-mad today that head coach Mike McCarthy “wasn’t more aggressive” on those first two possessions that resulted in 18- and 19-yard Crosby field-goal makes in the first quarter and you always had in the back of your mind that those “3’s” might come back to bite the Packers but we’ll say McCarthy was correct to get points on the board the first time and incorrect to settle for 3 points the next time — where you might wish to bury the GB coach and his team is having the 12-point lead and the ball with five-plus minutes left and letting it slip away.

Why was someone known for blocking and not catching the ball put on the “hands team” — see TE Brandon Bostick — for that now-infamous onside kick botch and why didn’t Green Bay ever go after injured CB Richard Sherman once he was out there playing with one damaged wing?

Okay, so if the Packers recover that onside kick then nobody’s saying anything — it would have been an ugly Packers win against an undeserving Seahawks bunch but Green Bay left the door open and the heart-of-a-champion ‘Hawks kicked it in … plus QB Aaron Rodgers (just 178 yards passing with two INTs) didn’t call the OT coin flip right — he said “tails”, it came up “heads” -- and Rodgers and mates never again saw the ball.

The bottom line is Green Bay had a terrific defensive game plan here — kudos to DC Dom Capers — and should have done more scoring with those picks but you can’t let a dead-in-the-water Seattle team rise up for touchdown drives of 69 and 50 yards in the final four-plus minutes of regulation and sooner or later someone on defense has to necktie RB Marshawn Lynch (157 yards rushing) who wore out and wore down a smaller Green Bay defense late.

Dare we say this was the worst loss in Packers’ post-season history?
Good luck trying to find one that was worse!

THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES — PAST 10 YEARS
Here’s a little refresher on the past 10 NFC Championship Games (all home teams are in CAPS below):

SEASON

WINNER

SPREAD

LOSER

SCORE

2014      

SEATTLE

- 8.5

Green Bay 

(ot) 28-22

2013

SEATTLE

- 3.5

San Francisco

23-17

2012

San Francisco

- 4

ATLANTA

28-24

2011      

NY Giants

+ 2

SAN FRANCISCO 

(ot) 20-17

2010      

Green Bay

- 3.5

CHICAGO

21-14

2009      

NEW ORLEANS 

- 4

Minnesota

(ot) 31-28

2008

ARIZONA

+ 3.5

Philadelphia

32-25

2007

NY Giants

+ 8

GREEN BAY

(ot) 23-20

2006

CHICAGO

- 2.5

New Orleans

39-14

2005

SEATTLE

- 3.5

Carolina

34-14


Isn’t is amazing that four of the last eight NFC Championship Games have gone in to overtime and that only one home favorite — last year’s Seahawks — have won/covered in this round the past eight years.

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
NEW ENGLAND 45, INDIANAPOLIS 7 — Okay, so we’ve come to realize the following …
The NE Patriots never get tired of going to Super Bowls — this makes it six trips since the 2001 season — and they sure know how to whup

QB Andrew Luck and his Indianapolis Colts.
This fourth meeting in three years between Luck’s Colts and the Patriots produced yet another lopsided win for Bill Belichick’s team — how about 59-24, 43-22, 42-20 and now 45-7 or 189-to-73 in all! — and the best way to summarize this AFC Championship Game romp is to let you know a little secret:

After the Pats scored a TD at the end of an 87-yard march to start the second half — and thus take a commanding 24-7 lead — the Colts really didn’t want any part of this game.

The stats showed that New England QB Tom Brady hurled three scoring strikes and sledgehammer RB LeGarrette Blount erupted for 148 rushing yards and 3 TDs but dig a little deeper here and you saw that Indy wide receivers/tight ends didn’t do a great job fighting to get open and Luck (four carries for 18 yards) often decided to exit stage right once his targets didn’t get open.

Throw in the bum weather that bogged down the climate-controlled Indianapolis attack and the fact that Indianapolis just couldn’t get off the field on third downs — the Patriots converted on 12-of-18 third-down plays — and it added up to a major butt-kicking in Foxborough and blame Luck (12-of-33 passing) or point a finger at head coach Chuck Pagano who couldn’t get his club to rise up on the road one week after that stunning win in Denver but keep in mind the Pats kept their foot on the pedal right throughout … yes, something the Packers only wish they had done hours earlier in the day.

THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES — PAST 10 YEARS
Here’s the most recent AFC Championship Game winners and note all home teams in CAPS below:

SEASON

WINNER

SPREAD               

LOSER

SCORE

2014

NEW ENGLAND 

- 7

Indianapolis

45-7

2013

DENVER

- 5

New England

26-16

2012

Baltimore

+ 8

NEW ENGLAND 

28-13

2011

NEW ENGLAND 

- 7

Baltimore

23-20

2010

PITTSBURGH

- 4

NY Jets

24-19

2009

INDIANAPOLIS

- 8

NY Jets

30-17

2008

PITTSBURGH

- 6

Baltimore

23-14

2007

NEW ENGLAND 

- 14

San Diego

21-12

2006

INDIANAPOLIS

- 3

New England

38-34

2005

Pittsburgh

+ 3

DENVER

34-17

Check it out … AFC Championship Game Home Betting Favorites now have covered six of the last nine games in this post-season round and New England’s finally snapped a five-game AFC Championship Game winless spread streak that dated back to 2006.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT
Hey, isn’t about time that the heat gets turned up on a couple of high-profile College Basketball head coaches?
St. John’s boss-man Steve Lavin has been a major flop in New York City and — following his club’s 11-1 start (mainly against a cupcake sked) his Red Storm (12-5) is reeling with four losses in its last five games with Sunday’s careless 71-67 overtime loss at 6-point dog DePaul the latest bomb.

Keep in mind this is a veteran St. John’s team that’s “grown up” together and yet they still don’t know who should be taking a last-second shot … if you missed it defensive specialist F/C Chris Obekpa was taking the game’s final shot in OT after having scored all of 7 points in 35 minutes of game time.

St. John’s shot a wobbly 37.7 percent in the loss at DePaul and there’s no bench to speak of at all — so much for Lavin’s wonderful recruiting classes!

Then there’s the mess at Missouri:
The Tigers (7-10) were a one-point home dog in Saturday’s 59-51 SEC loss to Tennessee and Mizzou head coach Kim Anderson is proving to one-and-all that he’s in over his head as Missouri didn’t score for nearly 3 ½ minutes late after holding a 46-43 lead with five minutes to go.

The latest Mizzou loss “featured” 20-of-55 shooting from the floor (that’s 36.4 percent) and is there a reason the Tigers only got to the free-throw line six times (and made just 3) in this past weekend’s game?

Ole Mizzou could wind up being bottom-of-the-barrel guys in the SEC and — in case you were wondering — only Miss State has a lower RPI right now among SEC teams. Geez!

NOTE: Lots more Super Bowl XLIX News/Notes all week long plus NBA and NCAA Basketball Updates too right here at Jim Sez.

 

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