A Jim Sez Merry Christmas!
NOW JUST WHO'S GONNA GET THE WINS THAT THEY "ASKED FOR" THIS SUNDAY IN NFL WEEK 16 PLAY?
PLUS WE PREVIEW SATURDAY'S PINSTRIPE, INDEPENDENCE AND FOSTER FARMS BOWLS
What NFL teams are gonna find "wins" under their tree this holiday weekend? Well, right here/right now we get you focused on two of Sunday's gigantic Week 16 games with a reminder there's more previews comin' your way in tomorrow's jam-packed edition of Jim Sez ... Merry Christmas!!!
On Sunday, it's ...
NEW ENGLAND (12-2) at NEW YORK JETS (9-5) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Round One was a 30-23 Patriots' win/cover as 6.5-point home favorites but things could have really been different had NYJ wide-out Brandon Marshall just held onto a pass as he was about to cross the goal line ... does that mean the Jets "have what it takes" to spring the mildish upset here - the Pats are listed as a 3.5-point betting favorite - or is Tom Brady and Company gonna seize the day with TE Rob Gronkowski (11 catches in that first game versus the Jets back in Week 7)?
The Jets need Pro Bowl DL Muhammad Wilkerson and mates to get in Brady's grill from the get-go - expect 'em to throw lots of screens and quick out passes and so the NYJ linebackers/defensive backs better tackle in the open field ... or else.
Spread Notes - New England is 3-0-1 against the odds in AFC East games this year after going a composite 4-8 ATS (against the spread) in divisional games the past two years. On the flip side, the New York Jets are 7-6-1 vig-wise overall in Year One of the Todd Bowles Era and that includes a current 3-0-1 ATS run.
GREEN BAY (10-4) at ARIZONA (12-2) - 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
It's time to bow down to this Arizona Cardinals offense: Quarterback Carson Palmer (4,277 yards passing with 32 TDs and just 9 INTs) has helped the Redbirds score 30+ points in eight different games this year and - surprise, surprise - Arizona is a sizzling 7-1 versus the vig in those tilts. Now, Palmer eyeballs WR Larry Fitzgerald (99 catches for 1,131 yards) and friends against a Green Bay defense that ranks a better-than-you-think 10th in the league against the pass (allowing 235.1 ypg).
The real storyline here is whether the Packers can get a near 50-50 run/pass balance but do you ever really know whether or not RB Eddie Lacy (just 664 rushing yards this season) is gonna be a plus-factor or not?
Both teams have clinched a post-season berth but there could be some late-year jockeying for seed positions ... and did you know the Cardinals' only home loss this year came against lowly St. Louis?
Spread Notes - Arizona is a collective 29-17-1 ATS (against the spread) under third-year head coach Bruce Arians but note the Redbirds have failed to cover five of their last eight games when in the favorite's role. Green Bay, meanwhile, rolls into this Week 16 bash on a three-game spread winning streak but the Packers are just 4-10-1 vig-wise as underdogs the past three-plus seasons.
Get all the College Football Bowl Games continuing plus all the NFL Week 16 games too when you check with us here at Jim Hurley's Network. And, of course, make sure you're all aboard for the NBA Christmas Day/Night games and NCAA Basketball daily/nightly winners all this week/weekend action either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. (Office is closed Christmas Day)
THE COLLEGE BOWL REPORT
Here's a look at the other three College Bowl Games on tap for Saturday, December 26th (check yesterday's Jim Sez for game previews of the St. Petersburg, Sun and Heart of Dallas Bowls):
PINSTRIPE BOWL - at The Bronx, NY
INDIANA (6-6) vs. DUKE (7-5) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
The Duke Blue Devils don't wish to be known as the "Buffalo Bills of bowl games" - after all, this is the fourth year in a row the Dookies have gone bowling but they've come up short the past three years in losses to Cincinnati, Texas A&M and Arizona State (the latter two by a combined 9 points) and now David Cutcliffe's club gets a shot at ending a drought that goes back to the 1961 Cotton Bowl. Here, the ACC Devils get a crack at one of college football's worst defenses (ranked 120th in FBS play) and QB Thomas Sirk (2,462 yards passing and a team-leading 648 yards rushing) must both produce some points and keep Indiana's high-powered attack off the field.
The Hoosiers - who have not won a bowl game since 1993 - look to QB Nate Sudfeld (3,184 yards passing with 24 TDs) to light up the skies and keep in mind that Duke's without ACC Defensive Player of the Year safety Jeremy Cash (recent wrist surgery).
The totals price has climbed from 66 to 71 and the New York City weather reports claim it could be a mid-to-high 60 degree day ... might the totals price not be high enough?
Current Line: Indiana (- 2) and 71 points
Spread Notes - Duke is a dead-even but vig-losing 6-6 against the odds this year and the Blue Devils enter this bowl bash at 13-5 ATS away since the start of the 2013 season. Indiana is 7-5 against the Las Vegas price tags this year and that includes covers against fellow bowl teams Western Kentucky, Ohio State and Michigan.
INDEPENDENCE BOWL - at Shreveport, LA
TULSA (6-6) vs. VIRGINIA TECH (6-6) - 5:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
It's bye-bye time for Virginia Tech's iconic head coach Frank Beamer - but has this Las Vegas wagering line (the Techsters are a two-TD betting favorite at press time) gotten out of whack because of all the emotions of his sendoff after 29 years on the job?
The truth of the matter is Virginia Tech - playing here in a 23rd consecutive bowl game - only beat one bowl team this year (see 28-13 triumph over N.C. State back in early October) and needed much help to secure a .500 record with that hang-on-for-dear-life 23-20 non-cover win at Virginia on Thanksgiving weekend. No doubt this ain't like the good old days as the Hokies rank 114th among FBS teams with a shabby 3.6 yards-per-carry rushing average and this once-stout defense allowed five different teams to register 30-or-more points.
If Beamer's gonna be sent out a winner then shutting down the Tulsa aerial attack is a must: QB Dane Evans (3,958 passing yards with 22 TDs and 8 INTs) is keeping fingers crossed there's lots of YAC (yards after catch) from key targets Keyarris Garrett and Joshua Atkinson (a combined 2,383 receiving yards).
We say farewell to coach Beamer but we remind y'all that V-Tech is just 4-4-1 spreadwise in its last nine bowls. Nothing to celebrate, for sure!
Current Line: Virginia Tech (- 14) and 61.5 points
Spread Notes - Virginia Tech's split its dozen pointspread verdicts this year and note the Hokies have failed to cover eight of their last nine games when placed in the role of double-digit betting favorite. Tulsa is 6-5-1 against the prices this year but 2-10-1 ATS in non-league games the past three seasons.
FOSTER FARMS BOWL - at Santa Clara, CA
UCLA (8-4) vs. NEBRASKA (5-7) - 9:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Ever think you'd see the day a 5-and-7 Nebraska team would have reason to smile: Well, thanks to the abundance of bowls and the 80 teams needed to slot into said bowls, this Big Red bunch gets an opportunity to play one mo' time and to re-cap you'll recall that Nebraska lost five games this year by five points or less ... and also beat national semifinalist Michigan State.
If Nebraska is gonna enjoy this holiday season than QB Tommie Armstrong - a turnover machine in the team's season finale against Iowa the day after Thanksgiving - must steer clear of making the big boo-boo and this 117th-ranked 'Husker pass defense must contain UCLA's frosh QB Josh Rosen who threw for 3,349 yards and 20 TDs but couldn't deliver a win in big games against Arizona State, Stanford, Washington State and ... egads ... USC.
The truth of the matter is Jim Mora's Uclans started off this 2015 season ranked 13th and had sights set on a January bowl but instead "settle" here and so you do wonder about the Bruins' "motivation". Note UCLA has allowed 30-or-more points in six of its last nine games.
Current Line: UCLA (- 6.5) and 61 points
Spread Notes - UCLA is 5-6-1 against the odds in 2015 (while never covering back-to-back games) and the Bruins enter this prime-timer having covered six of their last eight away games. Meanwhile, Nebraska is 6-6 ATS this season and a collective 10-3 spreadwise as underdog sides these past three years.
NOTE: More NFL Week 16 Previews plus more College Bowl action too in the next edition of Jim Sez.
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