Packers-Lions Wrap Up NFL Week 17; Plus Jan. 2 Bowls








Hey, it’s what the folks in the NFL offices hope for every single season:

That’s Week 17 drama and there’s plenty of it come Sunday Night at Ford Field in Detroit.

Okay, so the Green Bay Packers have broken lots of Motown hearts over the years … now, is it gonna happen again when the 3.5-point favored Pack take on the Detroit Lions in the evening’s one-and-only prime-time game (remember the College Football Bowls are taking this New Year’s Day off!)?

We’ll share our NFL Week 17 Sunday Night Preview with you folks in just a sec, but first this key reminder:


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On Sunday Night, it’s …

GREEN BAY (9-6) at DETROIT (9-6) – 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Last time Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers was in this very building he was hoisting up that 61-yard rainbow Hail Mary TD strike to TE Richard Rodgers (see Dec. 3, 2015) and many folks will remember that game well because the side and the total plays were impacted by that chuck (Green Bay was a 2-point favorite, the total price was 46 points in that Packers’ 27-23 win) – now the NFC North will be “impacted” here … win and you’re the division champ, unless Washington lost earlier in the day and if that’s the case both the Packers and Lions will enter this game with playoff berths.

Spread Notes – Green Bay has covered 15 of its last 21 head-to-head showdowns versus Detroit while dating back to the start of the 2006 season. Note the Lions enter this tilt on a three-game spread losing streak (their second such three-game against-the-odds losing streak of the year).



On Monday, it’s …


Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, FL

#17 FLORIDA (8-4) vs. IOWA (8-4) – 1 p.m. ET, ABC

Maybe you see this as a “consolation prize” game for the Florida Gators and Iowa Hawkeyes – that’s cool – but the bottom line is the SEC crew doesn’t want to end this year on a three-game losing skid while the Big 10 guys have something to prove in a bowl after getting swatted down 45-16 in last year’s Rose Bowl bash versus Stanford. Now that was some ugly stuff! The Vegas folks have Florida a FG favorite here and keep in mind this Gators team was “offensively challenged” for much of (or all of) this 2016 season while ranking 116th overall in total offense. If the ‘Eyes have it here, than veteran slinger C.J. Beathard (17 TDs, 7 INTs) must make some “vertical” pass plays … or else.

Spread Notes – Florida has covered five of its last seven bowl games since 2008; Iowa is a solid 11-6 ATS (against the spread) as underdogs the past four-plus seasons.



AT&T Stadium – Arlington, TX

#8 WISCONSIN (10-3) vs. #15 WESTERN MICHIGAN (13-0) – 1 p.m. ET, ESPN

Count us among the folks semi-curious to find out where will Western Michigan be ranked in the final Associated Press poll if the Broncos happen to pull off the upset here? Will WMU be in the top five … yay or nay? In any event, P.J. Fleck’s “row the boat” team has been one of college football’s grandest stories this 2016 season and now let’s see if the QB Zach Terrell ((3,376 yards passing with 32 TDs and 3 INTs)-to-WR Corey Davis (91 catches for 1,427 yards with 18 TDs) combo can strike fear into the hearts of a Wisky Badgers’ bunch that gagged up a three-TD lead in that eventual 38-31 loss in the Big 10 Championship Game. The X-factor here could well be whether not Western Michigan can run at all against the country’s second-best rush defense (97 ypg).

Spread Notes – Western Michigan’s 9-4 versus the vig overall this year and the Broncos are a super 11-3 ATS as pups the past three seasons; Wisconsin is 9-3-1 against the Las Vegas prices this year – better than you thought, right? – and overall the Badgers are 6-3-1 ATS in their last 10 games when laying points.



Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA

#9 USC (9-3) vs. #5 PENN STATE (11-2) – 5 p.m. ET, ESPN

Hard to believe that the USC Trojans have not played in a Rose Bowl game since the 2008 season – when they bested 10-point underdog Penn State 38-24 -- and that happened to be the last time the Nittany Lions participated in this “Battle of the Roses” and so it’s fitting these hot teams square off here in this New Year’s Six bowl bash.

Consider that USC has copped six straight double-digit wins since mid-October and QB Sam Darnold (2,633 yards passing with 26 TDs and 8 INTs) has been quick to land on everyone’s 2017 Heisman Trophy lists while Penn State hasn’t lost since Oct. 1st (see Minnesota 29-26 in OT) and RB Saquon Barkley (1,320 yards rushing with 16 TDs) and amped-up Penn State QB Trace McSorley (3,360 yards passing with 25 TDs, 5 INTs) may be the baddest couple this side of Bonnie & Clyde. Ask us and this current totals price – that’s 59.5 points – might seem a bit low considering these teams score well into/beyond the 30s in every game they play.

Spread Notes – Penn State rolls into this “Granddaddy of Them All” tilt on an eight-game spread winning streak; USC enjoys a six-game spread winning streak while entering this one and the Troy Boys are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games a favorites.



NOTE: Catch our Sugar Bowl Preview – that’s #14 Auburn vs. #7 Oklahoma – plus NFL Week 17 re-caps in the next edition of Jim Sez.


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