Saturday’s NFL Divisional Games

“BEST FOOTBALL WEEKEND OF THE YEAR”GETS JUMP-STARTED WITH SATURDAY’S TWO NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF TILTS  AS CHIEFS-PATRIOTS & PACKERS-CARDS COLLIDE

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times this week …

This is the “best football weekend of the year” with four bang-up games in the NFL’s Divisional Playoff Round and – one week after all four road teams survived-and-advanced in the league’s Wild Card Round Games – everyone’s wondering just how many roadies will bag wins here.

Hey, if we happen to have a repeat of last week’s action, then we’d be looking at a #6 Pittsburgh at #5 Kansas City showdown in the AFC Championship Game set for Sunday, January 24th … and what would you say to a #6 Seattle at #5 Green Bay tilt in the NFC Championship Game on that same day?

As NFL historians tell us, in both 2005 (see the Steelers) and 2010 (see the Packers) we had #6 seeds go ahead and win it all … so maybe following in that “five-year-plan” we’ll have a #6 seed cop the Vince Lombardi Trophy here in the 2015 NFL season.

Stay tuned.

Make sure you cash in big with Side & Totals winners this Saturday and Sunday in the NFL Divisional Playoff Games as the Kansas City Chiefs are at the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers are at the Arizona Cardinals in Saturday games – and they’re followed on Sunday by the Seattle Seahawks at the Carolina Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers are at the Denver Broncos:

Just check with us at Jim Hurley’s Network right here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 on game day mornings. Plus remember all the NBA and College Basketball action when you check with us each and every day all throughout this winter of fun-n-games!

 

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

Let’s get you right to our Jim Sez Game Previews with game-by-game charts included below:

In the AFC, it’s …

#5 KANSAS CITY (12-5) at #2 NEW ENGLAND (12-4) – 4:35 p.m. ET, CBS

Not often that you’re gonna have the lower-seeded team streaking into this playoff round on an 11-game SU (straight-up) win streak and the higher-seeded team slogging in off a two-game losing skid but that’s the deal here in chilly Foxborough where the Kansas City Chiefs and NOT the defending Super Bowl champs are the “real story” here.

Consider that KayCee lost its star running back Jamaal Charles just five games into this current campaign and yet the Chiefs have lost just once since while patch-working the backfield behind no-frills QB Alex Smith (190 yards passing with one TD and one INT last week) and here it’s a major question mark as to whether or not top WR Jeremy Maclin (ankle) can play after getting hurt in last weekend’s 30-0 Wild Card win in Houston. Okay, so what’s KC’s game plan then for a well-rested Patriots team that is bringing back some key troops (see WR Julian Edelman, among others) with New England’s worst injury perhaps that black eye suffered – we don’t know how – by head coach Bill Belichick.

Expect QB Smith to look and expose New England’s defense deep (as in 25 to 30 yards downfield) in the middle of the field with active TE Travis Kelce the key but we say coach Andy Reid’s club is well served with an array of draws/traps/screens to offset DE Rob Ninkovich and this hard-charging Pats’ pass rush.

On the other side of the ball, it’s no secret that New England QB Tom Brady (4,770 yards passing with 36 TDs and 7 INTs in the regular season) has carried the load this year with assorted injuries to TE Rob Gronkowski (team-leading 72 receptions) and the aforementioned Edelman (61 receptions in just nine games played) – and don’t forget Brady’s coming off an ankle sprain in that Week 17 loss in Miami (yet another cheap shot by Ndamukong Suh, so what else is new!).

The Chiefs’ defense – a sack-crazy bunch starring still slowed-by-injury OLB Justin Houston – knows Brady will get the ball out quickly to his targets so “hands up” will be key in trying to bat some Brady passes but the X-factor – the way we see it – is containing Gronkowski, Edelman and WR Danny Amendola on those third-and-five type plays. Hey, the more opportunities that Brady has to beat you, he will!

Current Line: Patriots (- 5) and 42.5 points

Spread Notes – New England is 8-6-2 ATS (against the spread) overall this year and that makes the Patriots 48-40-2 vig-wise the past five years. Note that New England is a solid 16-9-1 spreadwise when playing non-AFC East foes since late in the 2013 season and that includes last year’s infamous 41-14 Monday Night Football loss at Kansas City. On the flip side, the KC Chiefs own a 9-8 ATS mark so far this season including last weekend’s 30-0 whitewash win in AFC Wild Card action at 3-point home underdog Houston. Notice that Kansas City’s just 9-8 spreadwise as underdogs in the Andy Reid Era that started in 2013.

 

Here’s the last three head-to-head meetings between the Chiefs and the Patriots (note all home teams are in CAPS):

YEAR      

WINNER        

 SPREAD        

  LOSER 

    SCORE

2014     

CHIEFS           

+ 3                 

Patriots 

41-14

2011    

PATRIOTS     

- 17                  

Chiefs  

34-3

2008      

PATRIOTS     

- 16                   

Chiefs 

17-10

Here’s the team-by-team charts for both the Chiefs and the Patriots this year (note all home teams are in CAPS below and spread listed is according to the winner):

 

KANSAS CITY (12-5)

WEEK # 

WINNER        

SPREAD 

LOSER    

SCORE

1             

Kansas City   

- 1          

HOUSTON   

27-20

2             

Denver          

 + 3         

KANSAS CITY

31-24

3             

GREEN BAY  

- 5.5   

Kansas City 

38-28

4             

CINCINNATI  

- 3          

Kansas City   

21-36

5             

Chicago         

+ 9.5      

KANSAS CITY

18-17

6            

MINNESOTA

- 3.5       

Kansas City   

16-10

7             

KANSAS CITY

- 3.5      

Pittsburgh    

23-13

8*     

Kansas City   

- 3          

Detroit          

45-10

9             

Bye

 

 

 

10          

Kansas City   

+ 3.5      

DENVER     

29-13

11         

Kansas City   

 - 3          

SAN DIEGO   

33-3

12         

 KANSAS CITY

- 4.5       

Buffalo        

30-22

13          

Kansas City   

- 3        

OAKLAND

34-20

14          

KANSAS CITY

- 12.5    

San Diego 

10-3

15          

Kansas City   

 - 6.5       

BALTIMORE 

34-14

16          

KANSAS CITY

- 11        

Cleveland      

17-13

17          

KANSAS CITY

- 6.5       

Oakland       

23-17

WC         

Kansas City   

 - 3          

HOUSTON    

30-0

  • = at London

 

NEW ENGLAND (12-4)

WEEK # 

WINNER        

SPREAD 

LOSER            

 SCORE

1     

NEW ENGLAND   

- 7          

Pittsburgh    

28-21

2     

New England       

+ 1.5      

BUFFALO      

40-32

3     

NEW ENGLAND   

- 14        

Jacksonville  

51-17

4     

Bye

 

 

 

5     

New England      

 - 9          

DALLAS         

30-6

6     

New England       

- 8.5       

IND’POLIS     

34-27

7     

NEW ENGLAND   

 - 6.5       

NY Jets        

30-23

8     

NEW ENGLAND   

 - 8         

Miami         

36-7

9     

NEW ENGLAND   

 - 13.5     

Washington 

27-10

10  

New England       

 - 7         

NY GIANTS   

27-26

11  

NEW ENGLAND   

 - 7          

Buffalo      

20-13

12  

DENVER                

+ 2.5

New England     

30-24 (ot)

13  

Philadelphia         

 + 9.5     

NEW ENGLAND     

35-28

14  

New England       

 - 4.5     

HOUSTON    

27-6

15  

 NEW ENGLAND   

- 14.5   

Tennessee    

33-16

16  

NY JETS                 

+ 2.5

New England     

26-20 (ot)

17  

 MIAMI                  

+ 10      

 New England

20-10

       

 

In the NFC, it’s …

 

#5 GREEN BAY (11-6) at #2 ARIZONA (13-3) – 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC

Funny thing about Arizona’s resounding 38-8 win against Green Bay back on December 27th: If you listen to the “experts” they’ll say the Cardinals exposed the Packers’ weak/then-injured offensive line and made Green Bay slinger Aaron Rodgers a mere mortal but if you listen to the folks that follow the “cheesehead” team on a regular basis you get the sense that 30-point Week 16 loss in the desert is only gonna motivate Rodgers and Company who roll into this one fresh off the 35-18 wild card win in Washington … the best all-around game the Pack played in more than a month.

Rodgers was sacked eight times in that earlier game at ‘Zona (backup QB Scott Tolzien also was sacked once in that game) but last week there was Green Bay’s star signal-caller slinging it to a batch of different receivers and only getting sacked once as the O-line shined and played close to perfect after a slumbering start (see 11-0 early deficit).

The Cards love to blitz and will test Rodgers and that blocking wall plenty here and so – very much like the Chiefs’ game plan above – we’d expect a slew of delayed draws, quick screens to slow down the pass rushers and you can trust that Rodgers will test this secondary that’s without Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu who was the heart-and-soul player on this Arizona defense until his “good knee” went out in garbage time against Green Bay in that first meeting. Okay, even if CB Patrick Peterson bottles up either Green Bay WR Randall Cobb or fellow WR James Jones, be sure that Rodgers will try out TE Richard Rodgers with the hope that no Mathieu means big-yardage plays here for the visiting side.

Naturally, Arizona – winners of nine in a row until that rather meaningless Week 17 setback against Seattle – has plenty of ammo on its attack that stars Pro Bowl QB Carson Palmer (4,671 yards passing and with 35 TDs and 11 INTs) and WR Larry Fitzgerald (109 receptions and 9 TDs) but if this NFC West champ is gonna deliver the KO blow to Green Bay’s season here than that born-again ground game (ranked eighth in the NFL with 119.8 ypg) must perk up from the start and that means rookie RB David Johnson has to move the chains and avoid the normally sure tackling ways of ILB Clay Matthews.

Do the Packers ride in here with any “momentum” from last week’s win … or is that Arizona team that flexed its muscles in Week 16 gonna stand tall once again?

Current Line: Arizona (- 7) and 50 points

Spread Notes – Green Bay is 10-7 versus the vig overall this year and note the Packers are 7-5-1 ATS all-time in post-season games under 10th-year head coach Mike McCartney. Meanwhile, Arizona enters this tilt at 9-7 against the odds this season and the Cardinals are 15-11-1 ATS as betting favorites under third-year boss-man Bruce Arians. The Redbirds also boast an 8-4 ATS log this year when playing NFC opponents.

 

Here’s the last three head-to-head meetings between the Packers and the Cardinals (note all home teams are in CAPS):

YEAR      

WINNER        

SPREAD         

 LOSER    

 SCORE

2015      

 CARDS           

 - 6                  

Packers 

38-8

2012      

 PACKERS       

- 10.5             

Cards     

31-17

2009 *   

CARDS           

+ 2.5

Packers 

51-45 (ot)       

  • = NFC Wild Card Game

 

 

Here’s the team-by-team charts for both the Packers and the Cardinals this year (note all home teams are in CAPS below and spread listed is according to the winner):

 

GREEN BAY (11-6)

WEEK # 

WINNER        

SPREAD 

LOSER            

SCORE

1             

Green Bay    

- 6          

CHICAGO      

31-23

2             

GREEN BAY  

- 3          

Seattle           

27-17

3             

GREEN BAY  

- 5.5       

Kansas City   

38-28

4             

Green Bay    

- 7.5       

SAN FRAN    

17-3

5            

GREEN BAY  

- 9          

St. Louis        

24-10

6             

GREEN BAY  

- 10        

San Diego    

27-20

7             

Bye

 

 

 

8             

DENVER      

+ 2.5      

Green Bay  

29-10

9             

CAROLINA    

+ 2.5     

Green Bay   

37-29

10          

Detroit         

+ 10      

GREEN BAY

18-16

11          

Green Bay    

+ 1          

MINNESOTA

30-13

12          

Chicago        

+ 8          

GREEN BAY  

17-13

13          

Green Bay   

- 2.5      

DETROIT    

27-23

14          

GREEN BAY  

- 6.5      

Dallas         

28-7

15          

Green Bay    

- 4          

OAKLAND    

30-20

16          

ARIZONA      

- 6          

Green Bay    

38-8

17          

Minnesota    

+ 3          

GREEN BAY  

20-13

WC         

Green Bay    

+ 1.5      

WASHINGTON 

35-18

 

ARIZONA (13-3)

WEEK # 

WINNER        

SPREAD 

LOSER            

SCORE

1             

ARIZONA      

- 2.5       

New Orleans

31-19

2             

Arizona         

- 2          

CHICAGO      

48-23

3             

ARIZONA      

- 7          

San Fran        

47-7

4             

St. Louis        

+ 7          

 ARIZONA      

24-22

5             

Arizona         

- 4.5       

 DETROIT       

42-17

6            

PITTSBURGH

+ 5.5      

Arizona         

25-13

7             

ARIZONA      

- 10        

Baltimore    

26-18

8             

Arizona         

- 7          

CLEVELAND  

34-20

9             

Bye

 

 

 

10          

Arizona         

+ 3          

SEATTLE        

39-32

11          

ARIZONA      

- 4          

Cincinnati     

34-31

12          

Arizona         

- 8.5       

SAN FRAN  

19-13

13          

Arizona         

- 3.5       

ST. LOUIS      

27-3

14          

ARIZONA      

- 10        

Minnesota    

23-20

15          

Arizona         

- 5.5       

PHILADELHIA

40-17

16          

ARIZONA      

- 6          

 Green Bay    

38-8

17          

 Seattle           

 + 5.5      

ARIZONA      

36-6

NOTE: Catch Sunday’s NFL Divisional Playoff games in tomorrow’s edition of Jim Sez plus lots of College Hoops Notes this weekend too!

 

21
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