Thursday Night NFL and Saturday Key College Previews
NFL WEEK 11 GETS INTO HIGH GEAR WITH TONIGHT'S TITANS-JAGS DUEL PLUS DENVER'S MANNING NOT THE ONLY "INT"-CHUCKER IN THE LEAGUE
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: OUR HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST IS HERE AND WE GET YOU TWO MORE KEY GAME PREVIEWS (SEE #9 MICHIGAN STATE AT #3 OHIO STATE, #4 NOTRE DAME VS. BOSTON COLLEGE AT FENWAY PARK)
Okay, we know it. Not a whole lot of folks in the western world are gonna be all that juiced up about tonight's NFL Week 11 clash between the two-win Tennessee Titans and the three-win (and it should be two!) Jacksonville Jaguars but someone's gotta kick off what's sure to be yet another wild weekend in the league where they play for pay.
One player who doesn't figure to get off the bench - Denver Broncos' QB Peyton Manning - still is in the forefront of major discussions 'round the league and we'll admit that here at Jim Sez we've pounded the once-great signal-caller but, be sure, he's not alone in slinging interceptions all over the park.
In fact, while Manning gets some pine time for this Sunday's game in Chicago with his league-worst 17 interceptions, there are other guys dodging the national media spotlight despite tons of picks:
Here's the "hit list":
MATTHEW STAFFORD, Detroit - The Lions head into Sunday's home game against Oakland with a quarterback that's flung 12 INTs so far this year to go along with 15 TD passes. Sure, Stafford's received more than a few tongue-lashings from his ever-evolving coaching staff and we claim his biggest problem is slow decision-making - it seems this year enemy defensive backs know where the ball is gonna be thrown before Stafford even does!
ANDREW LUCK, Indianapolis - Before he went down following Week 9 action with kidney/abdominal issues (he's expected to be sidelined for 4-to-6 weeks), this one-time golden boy of the franchise was a major mess with 12 INTs in just 293 pass attempts (that's one pick for every 24 throws) and it's safe to say regarding "fantasy league" owners that no player in modern history was picked as high as Luck was and yet ranks as one of the worst stat guys for a single season. The $64,000 question is when Luck returns will his decision-making be better and will he be better able to throw it on the run - now that was a major problem the first nine weeks of play.
JOE FLACCO, Baltimore - Okay, so we know Jacksonville's Blake Bortles has 11 INTs and now-injured Philadelphia QB Sam Bradford has been picked off 10 times this year but we'll "pick on" Flacco here. True, so not having any reliable targets following the season-ending mid-season injury to WR Steve Smith Sr. hurts but Flacco's been really careless with the ball (see two INTs and one key lost fumble last weekend in that controversial home loss to the Jaguars) all year long and has been a true red-zone disaster in many key moments this season. So, Mr. Manning, you are not alone in your propensity to throw the not-so-almighty pick but none of these guys got the hook ... at least not yet!
Tonight, it's ...
TENNESSEE (2-7) at JACKSONVILLE (3-6) - 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Get this ... the Jacksonville Jaguars have not won back-to-back games since the latter portion of their 2013 schedule but here third-year head coach Gus Bradley's guys - gifted a win in Baltimore last Sunday by more incompetent NFL on-field officials (really, are there any other kind this season!) - have a shot to string together consecutive wins for the first time in 30 football weeks. If oft off-target QB Bortles can find his receivers - remember WR Allen Hurns (sports hernia) has caught TDs in a franchise-record seven straight games - and new star PK Jason Myers can be clutch beyond 40 yards out then the 2.5-point favored Jags should prevail but keep a close eye on Titans' rookie QB Marcus Mariota who won't have WR Justin Hunter (ankle) at his disposal here.
Spread Notes - Jacksonville is riding a season-best three-game pointspread winning streak into tonight's AFC South tilt and did you know the Jaguars are a decent 14-10-1 ATS (against the spread) in divisional games since the start of the 2011 campaign? Meanwhile, Tennessee is 4-5 vig-wise overall this year and a collective 1-7-1 ATS in head-to-head dealings with J'ville in recent years.
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all mapped out and you can get the NFL Week 11 Side & Totals winners beginning with tonight's game between the Tennessee Titans at the Jacksonville Jaguars when you check with us here at the red-hot Jim Hurley's Network and then keep rollin' in the green all week/weekend long with all the NCAA Football, the NFL, the NBA and NCAA Basketball too! Check with us on game days either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - pile up the profits this November!
THE JIM SEZ HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST
We're back with the latest Installment of the 2015 Heisman Trophy Watch List where we offer up our top five weekly contenders for college football's most coveted individual award ... now here's how we see things shaping up as we get set to head into another big-time gridiron week/weekend.
DERRICK HENRY, RB, Alabama - Our new #1 Heisman Trophy guy has rocketed up the list the past couple of weeks ... and why not? Henry's fresh off a second straight 200-yard rushing game (see 204 yards and two TDs in the 31-6 blowout win at Miss State) and he enters Saturday's game against Charleston Southern with 1,458 yards rushing, 19 TDs and a 6.1 yards-per-carry average.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT, RB, Ohio State - This Buckeyes back has been part of our Jim Sez "top five" since we started posting our Heisman Watch List back on October 14th and we've jumped 'em to #2 here following his 181-yard, two-TD showing in last Saturday's 28-3 win/cover at Illinois. Elliott's season-long stats heading into Saturday's titanic game against Michigan State (see preview below) includes 1,425 rushing yards with 16 TDs and 6.5 yards per pop.
DESHAUN WATSON, QB, Clemson - Maybe it was an oversight on our part not to have included this dual-threat star on our Heisman Watch List but here he is following last weekend's 37-27 non-cover win at Syracuse when he threw for 360 yards with two TDs and rushed for 105 yards and one score. For the year, Watson's delivered the goods with 2,593 yards passing and note the 23 TDs and 8 INTs to go along with 598 ground yards and 5 TDs. Has a shot to win this award but still has some late-year work to do.
COREY COLEMAN, WR, Baylor - Last week's leader in this Jim Sez space, we've knocked down this play-making stud three spots following a sub-par three-catch game against Oklahoma but note the season-long stats that include 61 catches for 1,229 yards and 20 TDs. If Coleman's a stat-sheet stuffer at Oklahoma State this Saturday, he'll climb the charts again but the fact that Baylor's likely cooked when it comes to CFP hopes means Coleman's candidacy has been silenced.
LEONARD FOURNETTE, RB, LSU - Not about to KO this Bayou Bengals' star completely from our hit list as this sophomore star has 1,474 yards rushing with 17 TDs (a 6.9 ypc average) while heading into Saturday's game at Ole Miss. Sorry, not about to make up for that shoddy showing against Alabama a few weeks ago.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL KEY PREVIEWS
#9 MICHIGAN STATE (9-1, 5-1 Big 10) at #3 OHIO STATE (10-0, 6-0 Big 10) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Guess it's time for Ohio State to truly prove it belongs in this College Football Playoff picture: After all, the defending national champion Buckeyes have managed to cover just 4-of-10 tilts this year and Urban Meyer's crew has come under stark criticism for "playing down to its competition" but perhaps you've noticed Ohio State's a solid two-TD betting favorite here against Sparty and maybe it's finally become clear that J.T. Barrett and not Cardale Jones is gonna be the quarterback that takes the 'Eyes to the promised land (if anyone's gonna do it!).
Here we'll expect Barrett to mix in some downfield chucks against the country's 84th-best pass defense with some RB Ezekiel Elliott runs and - bank on this one, folks - for the 'Eyes to get the cover here we say Elliott must get 25 "touches" and the Ohio State defense starring DE Joey Bosa must sack creaky QB Connor Cook (sore shoulder) at least four or five times.
Spread Notes - The road teams have covered six of the last eight games in this Big 10 series and note Ohio State's a crummy 1-5 ATS as hosts this year. Meanwhile, Michigan State has notched spread wins in three of its last four games following an 0-6 ATS start to this season.
#4 NOTRE DAME (9-1) vs. BOSTON COLLEGE (3-7) - (at Fenway Park) 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports
Play ball! It's time to introduce the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to the famed "Green Monster" - but it's that top-ranked Boston College defense that really figures to make things a bit sticky for the South Bend squad and when you add up the fact the Eagles had a bye last week (more prep time can't hurt, right?) with this defense you do wonder aloud if that 16-point spread is a tad too high ... even for an Irish gang that's put aside a slew of key injuries and finds itself on the doorstep of the CFP tournament.
Look for Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer - one of our favorite players in this 2015 season - to try and establish that pass/catch game with WR Will Fuller after the latter nabbed just three receptions a week ago in that 28-7 non-cover home win against Wake Forest and keep in mind running back C.J. Prosise has 975 yards rushing despite missing the last game-plus because of a concussion.
Boston College has scored a grand total of 56 points during this current six-game SU (straight-up) losing skid - can a unit ranked 119th in pass offense and 88th in rushing put any fear into ND here?
Spread Notes - Notre Dame is a tasty 7-3 versus the vig overall this year and that makes 'em a collective 36-35-4 ATS in the Brian Kelly Era that started in 2010. On the flip side, Boston College enters this prime-time tilt having covered 11 of its last 18 games when placed in the underdog role.
NOTES: Lots more NFL Week 11 and NCAA Football goodies in tomorrow's jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.
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