Network Notebook: NFC Trio of Marquee Matchups
WHICH NFC CONTENDER WILL MAKE A STATEMENT THIS WEEKEND IN MARQUEE MATCHUPS
The NFC has been fascinating to watch this season…as new contenders have risen to the top to challenge recent winners for the right to represent the conference in the Super Bowl. Many of the biggest threats crash head-to-head this weekend in must-see games for bettors and handicappers.
LA Rams at Minnesota (Sunday afternoon)
Philadelphia at Dallas (Sunday night)
Atlanta at Seattle (Monday night)
That bottom game features two teams who have represented the NFC in the last three Super Bowls. The three new up-and-comers (Rams, Vikings, and Eagles) are in earlier action. Who's most likely to make a big announcement this week about their postseason intentions? Let's run through them game-by-game.
LA Rams at Minnesota: The Rams are getting a lot of respect in the weekday line of +2.5. That means that many important people think they're the better team. Home field advantage by itself is worth three points, sometimes 3.5 at sites like this where visitors have trouble thriving. Yet, the low number says the Rams are capable of thriving, and even winning. JIM HURLEY will be focused on how THESE quarterbacks perform against THESE defenses because thriving under pressure against top units is a great predictor for playoff success (or failure). Is Jared Goff really ready to win playoff games? Should Case Keenum step by the wayside now that Teddy Bridgewater is back in uniform? We'll have answers to those questions by late Sunday afternoon. We will say this. If the Rams win straight up by more than a field goal at this site, they are definitely Super Bowl ready right now.
Philadelphia at Dallas: You'd get the sense that the Eagles had already won the next Super Bowl given how much money has been pounding them this week. They're now favored by well over a field goal on the road against a Cowboys team that had been hitting on all cylinders before losing Ezekiel Elliott to suspension. Maybe this is the game that cinches it for the Eagles. If they impress here, then they'll be in position to win out, take advantage of the perks of earning the #1 seed, and fly off with the Lombardi Trophy. Carson Wentz would like to spend prime time making people forget anything good Jared Goff might have done earlier in the day. Might be now or never for the Cowboys, who have a very tough schedule ahead and can't afford another loss this week.
Atlanta at Seattle: Both teams have been much shakier than expected this season. Each has suffered some bad home losses. Each has been outclassed on the road by top opposition. Yet, each also has stretches where they look like their old selves. Atlanta may have announced last week in the blowout of Dallas that they figured things out. Seattle might be ready to make that announcement themselves this week after having extra rest and preparation time for one of the most important games of their season. Bottom line in the bottom game…the LOSER here will be very tough to take seriously as a Super Bowl threat given the challenges still ahead…and the WINNER may still have trouble when matched up against the earlier winners.
JIM HURLEY can't tell you here in the HANDICAPPING NOTEBOOK who he'll be picking this weekend. That information is for paying customers. But, he can tell you that something very special is planned for at least one of these games. And, there's a "Game of the Year" caliber selection on the immediate horizon this weekend. What a great way to set up the annual "Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot" that's been cashing tickets for avid sports bettors for 25 years!
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Back with you Monday to preview the Iron Bowl, where new #1 Alabama will visit dangerous spoiler Auburn. Auburn has a chance to win out and earn a Final Four bid with two losses. Business is really about to pick up in college football as we approach Rivalry Weekend, the conference championships, and then all the bowls.
Business is BIG this weekend in the NFL with those three marquee matchups. Be sure you GET ALL THE MONEY with PROVEN WINNER JIM HURLEY!
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