Jim Sez for Monday, Sept. 14 …
NFL WEEK 1 KEY RE-CAPS –
HOW “BIG BLUE” BLEW IT IN “BIG D”
PLUS OUR MNF PREVIEWS (THAT’S EAGLES-FALCONS & VIKINGS-49ERS) …
THE COLLEGE WEEKEND IN REVIEW:
THE BEST & WORST FROM AN IRISH WIN
In case you were unaware, there were five Super Bowl-winning head coaches directing their teams in NFL Week 1 action this past Sunday – four of ‘em lost and two of them have been finding themselves “under the microscope” for the past 24 hours or so.
Welcome to the here-and-now worlds of New York Giants boss-man Tom Coughlin (see Super Bowl champs in 2007 and 2011) and Seattle Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll (see Super Bowl champ in 2013) … and more about them and their teams in just a few moments.
And it’s not as if the other two Super Bowl-winning head coaches were spared major heartache in their Week One games – New Orleans’ Sean Payton (see Super Bowl champ in 2009) was a 31-19 loser at Arizona even though the Saints had mucho chances to score “7’s” when they reached the red zone and yet all too often settled for “3’s” while Baltimore boss-man John Harbaugh (Super Bowl champion in 2012) suffered through a 19-13 what-could-have-been win in Denver.
Okay, so we’ll send a shout out to Green Bay Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy (Super Bowl winner in the 2010 season) as his club downed 6.5-point underdog Chicago 31-23 to make “Coach Mac” the one-and-only Super Bowl-winning coach to win and cash in a Week One game this past Sunday.
Lots to say about the Giants’ and Seahawks’ losses but first hear this …
Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers are all revved up for this NCAA and NFL season and we’ll continue to storm our way right to the winner’s circle all year long:
Make sure you’re banging out lots of winners this week beginning with tonight’s pair of NFL Monday Night Football games – the Philadelphia Eagles at the Atlanta Falcons followed by the Minnesota Vikings at the San Francisco 49ers – and then don’t forget this week begins the NFL’s weekly Thursday Night Games on CBS as we’ll have the Side & Totals winners on the AFC West battle between the Denver Broncos at the Kansas City Chiefs.
Plus, get all the important College Football games this week/weekend starting off with Thursday’s Clemson at Louisville bash on ESPN, Friday’s Florida State at Boston College tilt on ESPN and note it’s a real slam-bang Saturday with major matchups on tap including South Carolina at Georgia, Auburn at LSU, Ole Miss at Alabama, Georgia Tech at Notre Dame and BYU at UCLA.
Plus cash in with loads of Major-League Baseball Winners too as we’ve been banging out lots of “W’s” in recent weeks as we head to the home stretch of this 2015 MLB season with the Wild Card Games and Playoffs set to begin in early October.
Now, here’s what you gotta do:
Check with us right here online at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for tonight action and after 10 a.m. ET for the Saturday and Sunday NFL. NCAA and MLB winners!
NFL WEEK 1 RE-CAPS –
DALLAS 27, NEW YORK GIANTS 26 – Let’s just say both coach Coughlin and veteran QB Eli Manning decided to fall on their respective swords following this Sunday Night horror show in Dallas. Yes, Coughlin’s post-game presser revealed the team should have called for a running back with 1:37 remaining in the game and the G-men facing third-and-goal and up 23-20. Instead, clueless offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo had Manning play fake and throw a pass (that was incomplete) and it cost the Giants 40-or-so seconds and, literally, the ball game.
Please, we don’t want to hear how Manning should have “taken a sack” because a quarterback’s simply not thinking that when trying to add points to the scoreboard but a simply dive play that may or may not have resulted in a touchdown should have been the no-brainer play call … now we say let McAdoo take the heat from now until Sunday when the Giants look to bounce back with a Week 2 home tilt against Atlanta.
Hey, Coughlin could have overruled the call – we know – but did not and the Giants’ defense that created 17 points off three Dallas turnovers could have put up more resistance on that game-winning 72-yard Cowboys’ scoring drive but instead was exposed in the middle and in the secondary. Both were considered weak links in the Giants’ defense heading into this NFC East showdown.
The ‘Boys survived without WR Dez Bryant who is expected to miss the next six weeks with a broken bone in his foot but even with that bit of bad news owner Jerry Jones, head coach Jason Garrett and the rest of “America’s Team” should have been thanking someone up above for answering their Week 1 prayers.
P.S., that Cowboys’ ground game minus DeMarco Murray (see Philadelphia Eagles) rushed for 80 yards on 23 carries – now no Murray and no Bryant (for the next handful of games) probably means no real Super Bowl hopes for Dallas.
ST. LOUIS 34, SEATTLE 31 (overtime) – Hmm, so Seahawks’ head coach Carroll is on an eight-month losing streak, as it turns out.
No doubt Carroll was the February-through-August whipping boy for his team’s decision not to run the ball with sledgehammer RB Marshawn Lynch at the end of last year’s 28-24 Super Bowl loss to New England but here we are in Week 1 of a brand new year – no, we’re not going to slam Carroll for running Lynch on that fourth-and-one play from the Rams’ 43-yard line that ended this Week 1 affair but rather for that silly overtime kickoff that wound up looking all the world like an onside kick even though Carroll claims the ball was supposed to be kicked further down the field, “We didn’t execute the kick right, simple as that,” said Carroll afterwards.
No, no dice.
When you have one of the league’s best defenses – albeit one that allowed three offensive touchdowns and a pair of field goals to a rather pedestrian St. Louis offense in the Week 1 tilt – you kick off in a conventional manner and look for your “D” to hold the fort. Even without S Kam Chancellor – a holdout who could be back faster than you can say Puget Sound – the Seahawks should have the OT edge with the superior defense but Carroll and/or the special teams coach Brian Schneider should have nixed the dopey idea to attempt a trick kick and gone straight-up here.
On a day when Seattle’s red zone offense sputtered – see FGs of 25, 27 and 35 yards by PK Steve Hauschka – there was no excuse for dropping this opener and making the post-Super Bowl hangover from last February go on even longer.
Now, the ‘Hawks have a prime-time Sunday night game in Green Bay on tap for Game 2 and, suddenly, it’s looking as if the two-time defending NFC champs are gonna be digging a major hole for themselves this year (note the Seahawks host Chicago in Week 3)
On Monday Night Football, it’s …
PHILADELPHIA at ATLANTA – 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN
No doubt the late, great Frank Sinatra would have been proud of Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly … after all, Kelly is doing things “My Way” after shipping out a bunch of star players and importing a new cast of characters for this here-and-now 2015 season.
It all starts with new QB Sam Bradford and new RB DeMarco Murray who bring their one-punch to the Birds and the $64,000 question here is will Philly’s new-look offense be able to dictate terms of this game against a rejiggered Falcons’ defense headed up by new head coach Dan Quinn.
Folks seem to forget that the Eagles have put together back-to-back 10-win seasons – the first was good enough to land a playoff berth in 2013 but last year’s 10-win campaign was not – and while Kelly’s club is getting mucho ink these days (the Eagles are 9-to-1 to win it all this season) don’t sleep on Atlanta QB Matt Ryan who has thrown for 4,000-plus yards the past four consecutive seasons.
Our Jim Sez sources say Ryan’s adapted well to new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s schemes but is Atlanta’s oft-leaky O-line good enough to protect Ryan here?
Spread Notes – Philadelphia has covered six of its last nine season-opening games but the Eagles are a collective 24-31-1 ATS (against the spread) as betting favorites. Atlanta’s a horrid 7-13 versus the vig against non-NFC South foes the past two years.
MINNESOTA at SAN FRANCISCO – 10:20 p.m. ET, ESPN
Ask most folks in/around the NFL and they’ll be quick to tell you that’s Minnesota’s “arrow” is pointing up these days; they won’t be saying the same for the SF 49ers.
In fact, you could make the case that you need a program to know these Niners who – among other things – waved bye-bye to head coach Jim Harbaugh following last year’s sour 8-8 SU (straight-up) season but it’s the new face on the other side of the field that’s getting all the attention for this late prime-time affair.
Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson – back after doing an almost full-year penance for whacking his young son – looks to perk up a ground game that ranked 14th in the league a year ago (averaged 112.8 yards per game) and most “fantasy league” owners will tell you A.P. is among the two or three-most important players in the league but whether the Vikings win here or not as 2.5-point road favorites likely depends on second-year QB Teddy Bridgewater who threw for 2,919 yards with 14 TDs and 12 INTs last year.
Can new Niners’ head coach Jim Tomsula’s defense get in Bridgewater’s grill here and force some of those red-zone errors? Stay tuned.
Our Jim Sez insiders claim San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick will be chucking it more than usual with WRs Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith on board.
Spread Notes – Minnesota covered eight of its 10 non-division games a year ago and note the Vikings closed last year covering five of their final six games overall. On the flip side, San Francisco is 3-9 vig-wise as hosts since late in the 2013 season but the Niners have covered their last four consecutive Week One games.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEKEND REPORT
Let’s take care of a couple of “loose ends” here …
This past weekend’s College Football Betting Favorites registered a 24-27-0 ATS mark and so – following two full weeks of college action – the Betting Favorites are a composite 42-45-2 for a .483 winning rate.
Okay, so that’s pretty much par-for-the-course stuff as we here at Jim Sez have been doing this column for close to a quarter century now and Favs/Dogs generally lands near the .500 mark when all the dust settles but what’s interesting thus far here in 2015 is that there’s a batch of “name” teams already staggering out of the gate with 0-and-2 spread marks and they include Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Boise State, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Penn State …
One of the more exciting games this past weekend in the FBS was Notre Dame’s 34-27 non-cover triumph at 13-point underdog Virginia.
As it turned out, both the “best” and “worst” of that Fighting Irish win involved the quarterbacks as starter Malik Zaire broke his ankle in the third quarter and will be lost for the year but better believe this DeShone Kizer kid can play. In fact, the backup-now-turned-starter aired out the game-winning 39-yard touchdown pass to speedy WR Will Fuller with 12 seconds left in that game – the Virginia fan hanging over the concrete railing was priceless video, wasn’t it? – but even before his winning chuck you could see that Kizer was the “real deal” with a rocket arm, a real escapability to his game in the pocket and a good head.
Maybe that’s why ND head coach Brian Kelly wasn’t about to pout after the last-minute victory – Kizer could be a major star for a team that could still make a major run at a playoff spot this year …
Finally, we’re weeks away from beginning any sort of Jim Sez “Heisman Trophy Watch”, you know, but just in case you might want to toss somebody’s hat into the ring early on then consider Florida State RB Dalvin Cook who rushed for 266 yards and three TDs in the 34-14 non-cover win against South Florida. Cook – who fell some 56 rushing yards short of Greg Allen’s 322-yard rushing game for FSU back in 1981 – is a six-foot, 205-pound sophomore who rushed for 1,008 yards last year on a team dominated by then-QB Jameis Winston and if the Heisman voters can ignore some off-the-field incidents he could be a genuine candidate.
NOTE: Catch our Jim Sez Mid-Week Report next with more NFL/NCAA Game Previews!
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