Jim Sez for Monday, November 30 …
THE BRONCOS HAND “BRADY BUNCH” ITS FIRST LOSS
PLUS MORE NFL WEEK 12 NEWS/NOTES …
THE COLLEGE GRIDIRON WEEKEND WRAP –
WHY THE BIG 12 IS HAVING THE “LAST LAUGH”
Okay, so you all just knew that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady were not gonna be all smiles following Sunday night’s wild 30-24 overtime loss at snowy Denver.
The officiating didn’t exactly cut the now 10-1 Patriots many breaks and the late-game knee injury to all-world TE Rob Gronkowski was a major bummer (although immediate post-game reports claim he may not miss much time at all as a cell phone camera captured him walking the stadium hallways with just a slight limp) but perhaps we can say something here that nobody else did last night from NBC announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, to the folks at ESPN and the NFL Network and that is:
Why, exactly, were the Patriots throwing the ball on first down with 2:53 remaining in the fourth quarter with New England up 21-17 and with Denver holding out hope with just one single timeout along with the two-minute warning?
The Brady-to-Gronkowski pass went incomplete, “Gronk” suffered his knee injury on the fateful play and then to compound matters the Pats threw it again on second-and-10 with yet another incomplete pass to TE Scott Chandler.
We realize the Patriots basically needed just one first down to ice this game and go 11-and-oh but instead play-caller Josh McDaniels got a little too “gutsy” and it helped cost his club a “W” and may have cost his team the services of Gronkowski till further notice.
Maybe a single play call here or there can be micro-managed to death but – after watching 11 hours of NFL action on this final Sunday in November -- we’re hard-pressed to find a more deadly call by any team in this man’s league.
Now, get this:
The Patriots enter Week 13 – a home game against free-falling Philadelphia -- just one full game ahead of both Cincinnati (10-2) and Denver (also 10-2) and wouldn’t it be something if both the Bengals and Broncos surged past the Pats into those #1 and #2 seeds and left Belichick’s bunch having to play a first-weekend playoff game? P.S., we know the Broncos hold the tie-breaker over the Pats but take note New England won’t be playing Cincinnati this regular season.
Good grief, that single pass play with two-plus minutes to go should cost McDaniels any/all head-coaching interviews this winter … right?
And now hear this …
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all mapped out for tonight’s NFL Week 12 tilt between the Baltimore Ravens at the Cleveland Browns 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 at www.jimhurley.com.
Go ahead and close out a great 30th Annual Jim Hurley Turkey Shoot with Ravens-Browns plus get all the basketball action all week long!
Remember it’s a monster weekend on tap for the college kids with all the Conference Championship Games – they get kicked off Friday night in the Mid-American Conference with 10-point favorite Bowling Green playing Northern Illinois and roll on Saturday with some great matchups such as USC versus Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game, Florida versus Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and Iowa vs. Michigan State in the Big 10 title tilt plus there’s the ACC Championship Game between Clemson vs. North Carolina … so do make sure you’re all aboard for this weekend’s College Football Winners.
In Monday Night Football, it’s …
BALTIMORE (3-7) at CLEVELAND (2-8) – 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Nobody out there in football-land thought this would be a great game in terms of TV ratings but, once the Cleveland Browns announced that second-year bad-boy QB Johnny Manziel would go from starter to third-stringer, suddenly the History Channel started to look like a viable alternative.
Hey, the Ravens are minus QB Joe Flacco and RB Justin Forsett – both injured last week in that otherwise gutty 16-13 win/pointspread push against St. Louis – and so that means the QB Matt Schaub show takes center stage for Baltimore (whoopee!) while we’ll see if Browns’ QB Josh McCown can get the ball to Pro Bowl-bound TE Gary Barnidge (see seven TD catches in his last eight games) here.
Spread Notes – Baltimore is a dreary 1-7-2 ATS (against the spread) so far this season and that includes a 33-30 overtime home loss against 6.5-point dog Cleveland back in Week 5 play. Note the Browns stagger into this under-the-lights bash on an 0-4-1 ATS skid the past five weeks.
In other NFL Week 12 Sunday Notes …
There was an unusual amount of QB talk in/around the league this week from the Dallas slinger Tony Romo season-ending collarbone injury on Turkey Day to the whiffs of Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger possibly playing a whole series after suffering a concussion in that 39-30 loss in Seattle but how about the fact the likes of New Orleans’ Drew Brees, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston – the three NFC South starting signal-callers not named Cam Newton – combined to put up two total touchdowns on the scoreboards in respective setbacks by those three squads.
Meanwhile, whatta weekend for Newton who first beat the Cowboys 33-14 on Thanksgiving Day, then dropped in on the Charlotte Hornets’ NBA game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday and then there was Newton at Alabama versus alma mater Auburn last Saturday afternoon …
Last week in a Jim Sez column we spoke of “hot” and “not” teams in terms of the almighty pointspread and how about Atlanta dropping a seventh consecutive decision to the vig with Sunday’s 20-10 loss to 2-point dog Minnesota and let’s not forget that Cincinnati is now 9-1-1 spreadwise following that show-no-mercy 31-7 win/cover against 9.5-point pup St. Louis?
Glad to hear ESPN Red Zone announcer Scott Hanson declare Bengals’ TE Tyler Eifert (now has 12 TDs this year) as one of the great “fantasy league” stars this year – both he and Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin (97 yards rushing on Sunday and 1,038 yards rushing this year) came off injury seasons in 2014 to become two of the league’s top 10 most-productive players in the fantasy league world …
NFL Week 12 Betting Favorites headed into Monday Night’s game at 9-6 versus the vig and so that makes NFL chalk sides 73-88-9 ATS with 5 Pick ‘Ems this season (that’s a below-par .453 winning rate) while you might be interested to note “Totals” players have seen “Overs” go just 84-88-3 spreadwise on the year …
Finally, the Carolina Panthers (11-0) may now be the last team standing without a loss but otherwise the hottest teams out there are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Arizona Cardinals, both of whom exited Sunday’s action on five-game SU (straight-up) winning streaks.
The Chiefs – a 30-22 winner over 4.5-point pup Buffalo – actually had a wide receiver (that’s Jeremy Maclin) catch nine balls for 160 yards with one touchdown … and when is the last time KC had a pass-catcher put up single-game numbers like that while the Cardinals trimmed 8.5-point dog San Francisco 19-13 as WR Larry Fitzgerald nabbed 10 passes worth 66 yards and 36-year-old QB Carson Palmer registered the game-winning touchdown on an eight-yard score.
Right now the mass media’s not talking about either the Chiefs or Cardinals all that much – we’re wondering if that’s gonna change come January?
COLLEGE GRIDIRON REPORT
The $64,000 question now is how does anyone rated lower than #5 in the College Football Playoff rankings make a run at getting into the four-team post-season mix?
The not-so-subtle answer?
Consider what’s ahead for the CFP committee folks come the Tuesday night announcement:
The top five teams – that’s Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Iowa and Michigan State – all won this past Thanksgiving Day weekend and none of ‘em figures to move an inch when it comes to the rankings and the bare facts are if/when Clemson and Alabama win their ACC and SEC Championship Games, respectively this weekend they’ll join Oklahoma and the Big 10 Championship Game winner in filling out the four slots.
And, as we have been pointing out for weeks now, a Clemson loss in the ACC Championship Game isn’t gonna kayo the 12-and-oh Tigers from the four-team playoff party because the committee simply isn’t gonna reward the likes of then-#8 Ohio State if the Buckeyes didn’t even get to their conference title game and then-#9 Stanford – slated to play USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game -- won’t get in because it has two losses.
Think about it …
The lack of a Big 12 Championship Game not only insured #3 Oklahoma (a rollicking 58-23 winner at 7.5-point underdog Oklahoma State last weekend) would get into the playoffs, it once-and-for-all kicked a few teams to the curb namely Ohio State and maybe even then-#14 North Carolina who won’t get rewarded if/when the Tar Heels upset Clemson this Saturday night in Charlotte.
Funny how things work out in this second year of the CFP:
Last year TCU and Baylor were hurt by the lack of a championship game as their “co-championship” status wasn’t good enough to bump a surging Ohio State team and this time the fact that Oklahoma doesn’t have to win a conference championship game gets this 10-team league off the hook.
Folks, next year we better see the Big 12 having a title game just so the proverbial “playing field is leveled” because this system of not having every league play in a conference championship game is a major flaw, for sure!
NETWORK TURKEY SHOOT FINALE
Ravens at Browns: Monday Night Game Of The Month
Low Level Teams BUT Big Level Profit
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NOTE: Catch more College Football Notes plus our Heisman Trophy Watch List in the next edition of Jim Sez.
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