NFL Week 5 Recaps and MNF Preview


Think a team's "reputation" carries too much weight when it comes to the all-important Las Vegas pointspread? We ask because the three teams we mention in our Jim Sez headline here - the New York Football Giants, the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs - all failed in their missions to cover the number in NFL Week 5 games and all were way-too-heavy betting favorites, if you ask us! We had the 49'ers as a Blue Ribbon winner and the Browns on our Hotline service, so this is no Monday moring quarterbacking. Consider our case-by-case analysis:

NEW YORK GIANTS 30, SAN FRANCISCO 27 - The G-men bumped up slightly from being a 7-point to 7.5-point betting fav on game day afternoon and Tom Coughlin's club didn't get the cash (a big Jim Hurley Network winner!). In fact, all week long leading up to this prime-time game at MetLife Stadium, we wondered why the Giants (3-2) were getting so much "respect" when you consider they had blown a pair of fourth-quarter double-digit leads right out of the starting gate (versus Dallas and Atlanta) and were aided/abetted by 17 Buffalo penalties in a 24-10 win in upstate New York in Week 4 action.

The Giants' defense doesn't have a quality pass rusher these days without Jason Pierre-Paul, the ground game is abysmal at best and - in reality - NYG doesn't deserve to be a TD-plus betting favorite against anyone out there and that showed when San Francisco scored TDs at the end of a pair of long scoring marches in the final quarter.

Okay, so Giants' QB/savior Eli Manning (441 yards passing with three TD strikes) held it together on a final drive without his two best pass-catchers (yes, the teary-eyed WR Odell Beckham Jr. returned for the final play or two while battling hamstring woes - whatta actor this kid is!) and so Coughlin's club snared the SU (straight-up) win in the end but the number was too fat from the start and we recognized it -- cha-ching city with Niners plus the bundle of points.

We'll get you our Monday Night Football preview/forecast of tonight's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers at the San Diego Chargers in just a moment but first this key reminder ...
Jim Hurley's Handicappers and Bloggers have everything all mapped out for tonight's game and you can get the Side & Totals 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. Then remember to get all the NCAA Football, NFL Week 6 and Major-League Baseball Playoff winners all this week/weekend and don't miss a beat as we tear it up this month of October! We're already looking ahead to some key college games this Saturday such as Alabama vs. Texas A&M, Florida at LSU, Michigan State at Michigan and USC at Notre Dame.

CLEVELAND 33, BALTIMORE 30 (OT) - If you were watching the terrific NFL Red Zone channel on Sunday then you eyeballed a slew of great finishes from between 4 p.m. ET and 4:25 p.m. ET and this Browns' win at 6.5-point fav Baltimore was something special with Cleveland QB Josh McCown (team-record 457 yards passing) carving up a mediocre Ravens' defense ... and that's the deal here as Vegas oddsmakers continue to think it's 2012 with this Baltimore defense that yielded 25 first downs, 505 net yards and didn't force a single turnover. Sure, the Browns don't deserve a heckuva lot respect from the price-makers but Baltimore (1-4) is a leaky ship these days and we will add that the absence of WR Steve Smith Sr. was important even though the Ravens' offense starring QB Joe Flacco did register four touchdowns on the day.

CHICAGO 18, KANSAS CITY 17 - As we said earlier in a Jim Sez column, guilty as charged!
We thought the KC Chiefs were legit Super Bowl contenders at the start of this 2015 season (okay, we were a little nostalgic thinking a KC vs. Green Bay Super Bowl 50 was on the way after these storied franchises played one another back in "the big game" 50 years ago) but folks that laid the hefty 9.5-point price with Andy Reid's team here really feel foolish today.

Consider that the Chiefs didn't score a single touchdown in that 36-21 loss in Cincinnati in Week 4 - yes, seven FGs from Cairo Santos - and yet here they were nearly a twin-figure favorite against a Bears bunch that, like 'em or not, have a strong-armed slinger in Jay Cutler and a pass rush that figured to wreak havoc on a patchwork Kansas City offensive line.

The end result was the Bears scored the game's final 15 points - including that Cutler-to-RB Matt Forte 7-yard TD strike with just 18 seconds remaining in the game - and KC couldn't rely on RB Jamaal Charles following his crucial knee injury early in the third quarter. Still, what right did the Chiefs have in laying a TD-plus price when they had failed to cover their last three consecutive games? Now, KC's "reputation" is shot!

In other NFL Week 5 News & Notes ...
You could make the case that NFL Week 5 action this past weekend was S.O.S. time - as in Save Our Season - and the likes of the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Bucs responded with big "W"s but let us be the first to say shame, shame on the Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys who were put to the test and failed in key tilts ... they all may be needing help to get their respective seasons back on track.

On a football Sunday when NFL Betting Favorites went a grand total of 5-4-2 ATS (against the spread) with one pick 'em tossed into the mix (see Buffalo 14, Tennessee 13) what jumped out at us besides the obvious that Cincinnati, Atlanta, Green Bay, New England and Denver all stayed unbeaten was that eight of the day's 12 games were decided by one score and that blowing twin-figure leads appeared more the rule than the exception with Seattle, Kansas City and Baltimore all coughing up big leads while basically watching their seasons slide into the old toilet. Do you really think the Seahawks are getting back to a third straight Super Bowl 'cause we don't! ...

One other major storyline of NFL Week 5 was - what else - QB play as Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell properly benched scatter-armed QB Matthew Stafford in  that lopsided 42-17 home loss against Arizona while both Dallas and Oakland should have benched their starting slingers as Brandon Weeden (Cowboys) and Derek Carr (Raiders) were downright rotten against New England and Denver, respectively. Obviously, all the twitter buzz last night was about the 'Boys likely benching Weeden for journeyman Matt Cassel but the Lions and Raiders have bigger woes - exactly where do they go for relief? ...
Finally, three cheers for the Green Bay Packers who are now the only unbeaten/untied spread team in the league standing at 5-and-oh vig-wise following Sunday's work-manlike 24-10 win/cover against 9-point pup St. Louis. No need to rant on here about Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers' ability to overcome being sacked twice while throwing two rare Lambeau Field picks because the "real news" here is the Green Bay defense snagged four INTs of QB Nick Foles and St. Loo PK Greg Zuerlein missed 3-of-4 FGs - hey, it's been a pretty rough year on NFL kickers as witness Atlanta's Matt Bryant banking not one but two FG tries off opposite goal posts in the Falcons' 25-19 non-cover win against 7-point dog Washington ...
Check out the NFL Week 6 menu and you see we could be talking about "wrong favorites" at this time next week - after all the likes of Detroit (- 3.5) over Chicago and Houston (- 1.5) over Jacksonville don't exactly have veteran handicappers looking to take the plunge on chalk sides with lots of flaws.  

In the NFL Week 5 Monday Night Football game, it's ...
PITTSBURGH (2-2) at SAN DIEGO (2-2) - 8:30 ET, ESPN
The good news for the SD Chargers is that veteran TE Antonio Gates is back from his league-imposed four-game suspension for PEDs; the bad news for the Bolts is the visiting Steelers have had three extra prep days to get ready for their third prime-time game this young season.

No doubt Pittsburgh QB Michael Vick (just 124 yards passing and one TD in the Steelers' 23-20 overtime loss to Baltimore back on October 1) needed some extra time to get into the swing of things with a passing attack that ranks in the middle of the NFL pack (14th out of 32 teams) but he'll be looking to gear things up with WR Antonio Brown just as San Diego slinger Philip Rivers may need some reps before he and Gates get back on the proverbial "same page".

Hey, one Jim Sez source told us the Steelers will bring plenty of blitzes against Rivers from the left side of the SD offensive line as there continues to be injury issues here - LT King Dunlap, LG Orlando Franklin and C Chris Watt all have been hurtin' lately and they've missed a batch of practices.

Spread Notes - San Diego has failed to cover its last three in a row following a season-opening 33-28 win/cover versus Detroit and note the Chargers are a solid 15-9-1 ATS against non-AFC West the past two-plus seasons. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is 2-0-2 vig-wise this year with covers against San Francisco and St. Louis and pointspread "pushes" against New England and Baltimore and remember the Steelers are 19-12-3 ATS as pups since the start of the 2008 season.

NOTE: Catch our Mid-Week Report in the next edition of Jim Sez and get our NFL Week 6 Thursday Night Preview - that's 5-0 Atlanta at New Orleans - plus lots of College Football goodies.


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