Jim Sez Week 8 NFL Wrap and MNF Preview

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In the NFL Week 8 Monday Night Football game, it's ...

INDIANAPOLIS (3-4) at CAROLINA (6-0) - 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Okay, so there's now four undefeated teams left standing in the league while heading into this prime-time clash in Charlotte - and who would have given a proverbial plugged nickel that the Panthers would have been one of 'em come Week 8?

True, Carolina was a division winner a year ago despite the sub-.500 record (see 7-8-1) and Ron Rivera's crew showed lots of last-season/post-season moxie and there's naysayers claiming this year's perfect record doesn't amount to much because the wins came against Jacksonville, Houston, New Orleans (when playing poorly), Tampa Bay, Seattle and Philadelphia but here comes QB Cam Newton and mates looking to join New England, Cincinnati and Denver as the last of the unbeatens ... the Vegas hotshots have the Panthers listed as 6.5-point betting favorites here and only the 9.5-point price against a Drew Brees-less Saints team in Week 3 (see Panthers 27, N'Orleans 22) was a larger "asking" price.

Hey, Newton doesn't have any Hall of Fame pass receivers at his beck-and-call - the Panthers are ranked 29th in the NFL in passing; first in rushing (144.7 yards per game) - but for Carolina to win/cover here than Newton (9 TD passes and 7 INTs) may have to go "north" a few times with throws while balancing out the ground game starring RB Jonathan Stewart.

Hey, all this chatter on Fox-TV yesterday that Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck has been playing with fractured ribs the past couple of weeks is "no biggie" as Luck has tossed six TDs in his two games back but he needs to be more a running threat here too in order to handcuff a Carolina defense that's allowed 23 points or less in all six of its games.

Spread Notes - Carolina is a sweet 5-1 ATS (against the spread) so far this 2015 season and note the Panthers are a collective 13-6-1 versus the vig as betting favorites while dating back to midway of the 2013 campaign. Meanwhile, Indianapolis is a rotten 2-5 against the odds so far this season and the Colts also have failed to cover five of their last seven games played against NFC competition.


Okay, so you can set your clock to it ...The Kansas City Royals win the World Series every 30 years but this time there wasn't gonna be a team coming from three games-to-one down to win a World Series.
The Royals - who did just that to the St. Louis Cardinals way back in 1985 - didn't need some umpire's help nor did they require a wet-behind-the-ears ace to save 'em (see 1985's Brett Saberhagen) but let's just say respect came awfully slowly to Ned Yost's Royals.

Following KC's Game 5 series-clinching 7-2 win in 12 innings against the imperfect New York Mets, we did some digging and found the Royals had an "over/under" wins total of 80.5 at the start of the year and they were listed at 30-to-1 to win it all.

Toss into the mix the fact that Kansas City was a tiny -140 betting favorite to beat the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series; the Royals were +120 against the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL Championship Series; and they were pick 'em in this year's World Series against the Mets.

Maybe the oddsmakers were never sold on the Royals but this team that outscored foes 51-11 from the seventh inning on this post-season turned out to be super-clutch - they trailed in each of the five games against the defensively-challenged and offensively-challenged Mets - and now that "90 feet from home plate" mantra they sang last winter after losing the 2014 World Series in seven games to the San Francisco Giants seem like a long time ago.

The Royals became the first Major-League Baseball team since the 1989 Oakland A's to win a World Series one year after losing in the Fall Classic ... now the $64,000 two-part question is this: Will the Mets be the next ones to follow up a World Series loss with a title and - better yet - will the Royals gain the nation's respect now that they answered every single question posed to 'em.

Hey, don't be funny and say we'll see you back in the Series in 2045 - the Royals could be regular October participants for years to come.

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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