The Jim Sez NFL Week 9 Report




As everyone well knows, the Green Bay Packers were knocked from the ranks of the NFL's undefeated squads last Sunday night with that 29-10 loss in Denver - so who's next to tumble among those unbeaten teams that still include New England, Denver, Carolina and Cincinnati?

The Bengals shoot for an historic 8-and-oh SU (straight-up) start this evening when challenged by QB Johnny Manziel and the 11.5-point underdog Cleveland Browns - otherwise this Sunday the Patriots are a two-TD home favorite against Washington, Denver's a 5-point road favorite at Indianapolis and Carolina is a 2.5-point home underdog against aforementioned Green Bay.

Think we're still gonna have four undefeated teams by early evening this Sunday? Hmmm. Something tells us we will not!

Tonight, it's ...
CLEVELAND (2-6) at CINCINNATI (7-0) - 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Think about it ...Maybe a year or so ago the Browns starting 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Manziel would have been front-page news on and all those other NFL media venues but the reality is the much-troubled backup-turned-starter barely gets the enthusiasm meter moving forward these days ... the still-perfect Bengals are all the rage instead and we're sure you've noticed that Marvin Lewis' squad has won all four of their "one-score" games including last Sunday's 16-10 knock-'em-down, drag-'em-out victory in Pittsburgh when Cincy QB Andy Dalton suffered through a two-INT, three-sack game and still prevailed.

Here, Dalton expects to get a major boost as Cleveland CB Joe Haden and S Donte Whitner both are expected to sit with concussion-like issues. Hope you've gt some Bengals' wide receivers and tight ends on your fantasy league team, bub!

Our Jim Hurley Network sources tell us the Bengals are quietly seething after getting ripped 24-3 on national TV by Cleveland a year ago but let us remind you that Cincinnati hasn't had to lay more than 3.5 points in any game this year and so this is somewhat foreign territory in that pointspread regard.

Spread Notes - Cincinnati is a dazzling 6-0-1 ATS (against the spread) so far this season and note the Bengals are an electric 15-4-1 spreadwise at home since the start of the 2013 season. Cleveland, meanwhile, enters this prime-time game at 3-4-1 versus the vig this year but the Browns are a nifty 7-4-1 ATS away the past year-and-change.

Lots of fantastic matchups on this early November card including this Thursday Night showdown between Cleveland at Cincinnati in NFL Week 9 play plus there's six on-the-board College Football games on tonight's docket including Baylor at Kansas State and Miss State at Missouri plus the weekend is chock full of great matchups on the college scene. My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get all the NCAA Football, NFL Week 9 and NBA and upcoming NCAA Hoops winners when you check with us here at Jim Hurley's Network. Check with us on game days either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Don't miss out!

On Sunday, it's ...
GREEN BAY (6-1) at CAROLINA (7-0) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox

True grit. No, we're not talking about that 1960s movie classic but rather what these here-and-now Carolina Panthers are playing with here in the 2015 season. Last Monday's 29-26 non-cover win by Carolina should have been - for all intents and purposes - been the team's first "L" this year after QB Cam Newton and mates blew a 23-6 fourth-quarter lead but a pair of overtime field goals by ace kicker Graham Gano saved the night and allowed Ron Rivera's crew to be 7-and-oh heading in here.

Carolina brings the NFL's top-rated rushing attack - averaging 144 yards a game - into this tile against a Green Bay stop unit that ranks a lowly 25th against the rush (allowing 124.4 ypg) and so might this be a simple case of Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart and the aforementioned Newton run, run, running their way to victory circle or will Green Bay stack the box and make the Newton-to-TE Greg Olsen connection beat 'em?

All we know is that the Packers are 95-65-4 vig-wise in the Mike McCarthy Era that began back in 2006 (that's a .594 winning rate, in case you were wonderin') but you'd be hard-pressed to find the Packers come off a more "offensive" game than last Sunday's 19-point loss in Denver when GB slinger Aaron Rodgers threw for 77 yards and didn't air a single touchdown. Is this part of Rodgers simply having run up against the league's best defense ... does it have to do with the Packers' more-than-occasional shaky showings on the road ... or is the absence of injured WR Jordy Nelson just now truly "catching up" with this NFC North crew?

Spread Notes - Carolina is 5-2 against the vig so far this season and overall the Panthers have covered seven of their last 11 games played against fellow NFC competition. On the flip side, Green Bay is 5-2 ATS this tear including road covers in Chicago and San Francisco but note the Packers overall are just 13-16 ATS away since the start of the 2012 campaign.

Editor's Note ... We'll preview the NFL's other undefeated teams - that's New England (7-0) and Denver (7-0) later this week in this Jim Sez space, so don't miss out!



Okay, so right at this very time a year ago we went down this path to let y'all know what first-year College Football head coaches were making some $$$ with pointspread success, so let's see who the rookie coach money-makers are here in 2015:

JOHN BONAMEGO, Central Michigan - Hey, it's not often that we'll mention the Chippewas in one of our Jim Sez columns but gotta give a shout-out to this CMU boss-man who's delivered a spiffy 7-1-1 ATS mark while heading into his club's bye weekend. Note that Bonamego's club owns '15 spread wins against Power 5 types Oklahoma State, Syracuse and Michigan State.

JIM McELWAIN, Florida - Don't mean to brag here in this Jim Sez column space but we loved the Gators' hire of this ex-Colorado State head coach last winter but who knew McElwain's guys would be riding high with a 6-2 ATS mark despite lots of quarterback issues and one much-publicized sideline screaming spat at a star player? Florida is a raging-hot 5-1 against the odds in the team's SEC games so far with three-TD dog Vanderbilt on deck Saturday afternoon in Gainesville.

TOM HERMAN, Houston - The former Ohio State offensive coordinator has worked wonders in the Space City en route to his club being unbeaten SU (see 8-0) while banging out a 6-2 spread mark that features covers versus Louisville and Tulsa. Herman's let QB Greg Ward Jr. cut it loose - the Cougars have scored 34-or-more points in all eight of their games thus far - but the real secret in recent weeks has been a defense that's allowed just 17 total points the past three games. The Homecoming bash against Cincinnati is next up on Saturday.

Meanwhile, let's take a moment to show you how all the first-year head coaches have fared spreadwise so far here in 2015 (not including interim coaches who took over during the season):

Cent. Mich.John Bonamego7-1-1.875
FloridaJim McElwain6-2-0.750
HoustonTom Herman6-2-0.750
BuffaloLance Leipold5-3-0.625
TroyNeal Brown5-3-0.625
TulsaPhil Montgomery4-3-1.571
MichiganJim Harbaugh4-4-0.500
PittsburghPat Narduzzi4-4-0.500
SMUChad Morris4-4-0.500
UNLVTony Sanchez4-4-0.500
NebraskaMike Riley4-5-0.444
WisconsinPaul Chryst4-5-0.444
Colorado St.Mike Bobo3-4-1.429
Oregon St.Gary Andersen2-6-0.250
KansasDavid Beaty1-6-1.143

Note: Lots of NCAA Football Previews in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez.


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