NFL Divisional Playoffs Kick Off Saturday
THE NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS –
THE SATURDAY PREVIEWS
AS FALCONS-EAGLES, TITANS-PATRIOTS CLASH
Hey, the NFL Playoffs are a whole new ball game on many fronts:
Note that in the final four weeks of 2017 NFL regular-season play, the league’s Betting Favorites compiled a healthy 34-23-4 ATS (against the spread) mark with 3 Pick ‘Em games tossed into the mix. Folks, that’s a solid .596 winning rate for the chalk sides.
So, what happens last week in the NFL Wild Card Playoff Round?
Right, all four Underdogs grabbed the cash with both 8.5-point pup Tennessee and 6-point dog Atlanta winning their post-season games outright while one day later 8.5-point underdog Buffalo and 6.5-point pup Carolina both slipped under those Las Vegas price tags.
Want to know who is gonna bang out the pointspread winners this winter weekend?
Well, now hear this …
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will get you the Side & Totals plays on all of this weekend’s NFL Divisional Playoff games when you check in with us on game-day mornings this Saturday/Sunday. Get ‘em right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 and cash in big. Plus – of course -- there’s College Basketball and NBA action each and every day/night as the hardcourt action is really heating up. Get 2018 rollin’ with nothing but Jim Hurley winners!
On Saturday, it’s …
ATLANTA (11-6) at PHILADELPHIA (13-3) – 4:35 p.m. ET, NBC
The $64,000 question – of course – is can the NFC’s top-seeded (and now 3-point underdog) Philadelphia Eagles survive-and-advance here and throughout this post-season without superstar QB Carson Wentz? The legit MVP candidate has been out since late in a Week 14 win at the Los Angeles Rams and – suffice to say – backup-turned-starting QB Nick Foles has not exactly light things up but our sources claim the Eagles won’t be shy about making some downfield chucks here against an Atlanta secondary that tackles great in the open field but can be toasted in one-on-one situations. If the Eagles’ offense is gonna “hold their own” here, then Foles likely has to make a handful of chunk plays in the passing game and then the Philly defense must batter Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan and force him to make some red-zone mistakes. Remember that Ryan took a ton of hits in last Saturday night’s 26-13 win at the LA Rams and he figures to face lots of exotic blitzes here – will RB Devonta Freeman pick up the oncoming blitzes and will WR Julio Jones (9 catches for 94 yards and a TD last weekend) carve up the Eagles’ defense when he does get his mitts on the football? One final X-factor at work here: The Eagles were a plus 11 in the all-important turnover margin category as they forced 31 enemy turnovers; the Falcons were a minus 2.
Spread Notes – Philadelphia is a solid 10-6 against the odds this year but the Eagles are 16-21 spreadwise as underdog sides while dating back to the start of the 2012 campaign; Atlanta is 8-9 ATS overall this season and note the Falcons covered just three of their nine road games after going 7-2 ATS away last Super Bowl-losing season.
TENNESSEE (10-7) at NEW ENGLAND (13-3) – 8:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Is it possible that the print media/social media is what’s finally gonna “take down” the New England Patriots’ dynasty?
Okay, so maybe all this talk about a “rift” among Patriots owner Robert Kraft/head coach Bill Belichick/QB Tom Brady is much ado about nothing – or maybe it’s a real problem that possibly has taken away some of the starch from this organization that’s shooting for a sixth Super Bowl crown later this winter.
The proverbial bottom line is the Pats must steer away all that chatter and get ready for a more dangerous-than-you-think Tennessee Titans team that last week rallied from down 21-3 at halftime to stun the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21 and keep in mind the Titans’ defense didn’t allow a single point following a mid-second quarter verbal “dress-down” from defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
Now, the nearly two-TD underdog Titans – who ranked first in the league in rushing defense (allowed 69 yards per game) and next-to-last in passing defense (yielded 256 yards a game through the air waves) – must batten down the hatches against Brady (4,577 yards passing with 32 TDs and 8 INTs) and Company and keep fingers crossed that this so-called controversy hamps the Pats’ play.
Tell us right now if Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota/RB Derrick Henry (a combined 202 yards rushing against KayCee last weekend) are gonna rush for somewhere in the neighborhood of a buck-fifty between ‘em and we’ll tell you the Titans will cover this somewhat bloated price tag.
Spread Notes – New England roars into the post-season having covered nine of its last 10 games overall beginning with a Week 7 win/cover versus Atlanta. Overall, the ’17 Patriots are 11-5 ATS and this AFC East club is a resounding 8-2 versus the vig when playing double-digit prices since the start of last season; On the flip side, Tennessee’s 8-7-2 spreadwise this year and that includes a dead-even but vig-losing 2-2-1 mark as an underdog. For what it’s worth, the Titans have closed out seven of their last 10 years with a pointspread loss.
NOTE: Catch our NFL Divisional Playoff previews – that’s Sunday’s games between Jacksonville at Pittsburgh and then New Orleans at Minnesota – in tomorrow’s jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.
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