NFL Thursday Night Preview and College Football

Go ahead and check it out: Three of the AFC's four divisions sport a first-place team that's already lost two-or-more games and that includes the wild, wild AFC West:

Sure, reigning champ Kansas City (4-2) - for the moment - still resides in first place in this AFC West but back-to-back home losses have brought Andy Reid's crew back to the proverbial pack. On the flip side, Denver (2-4) has climbed back into the fray these days after losing its first four games under first-year head coach Vic Fangio.

You could say that the Broncos' "karma" has changed after a few really rough losses in September and we've all noticed the Las Vegas line swing this week: The KC Chiefs opened as 5.5-point betting favorites and it's dipped precipitously to Chiefs minus three.

Meanwhile, you get a sense that the AFC West this year may not be a powerhouse division - everyone seems to have a crack at first place - and take note that the quartet of teams here (including the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland, of course) are a sub-par 10-13 ATS (against the spread) overall.

We shall see if the tide keeps turning against the Chiefs here on this Thursday Night Football clash ...

NFL WEEK 7

On Thursday Night Football, it's ... KANSAS CITY (4-2) at DENVER (2-4) - 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox
Short week plus travel for the Chiefs here and - let's face it - mega-star QB Patrick Mahomes (ankle) is far from 100 percent. In last Sunday's 31-24 home loss versus 3.5-point dog Houston, the reigning MVP had zero mobility (see one rush for minus 1 yard!) and if he can't buy some time here with hurtin' Chiefs 'offensive line then this could be another sack fest for the Broncos (see seven sacks in last week's 16-0 win against Tennessee). Key for the home folks is this: Feed RB Phillip Lindsay (15 carries / 70 rushing yards /1 TD last Sunday) some 20+ times and hope the QB Joe Flacco-to-WR Courtland Sutton combo can hit a couple of "home runs."
Spread Notes - Kansas City's an electric 13-5-1 ATS in divisional games since the start of the 2016 campaign; Denver enters this prime-time bash at 4-1-1 vig-wise as home dogs the past year-plus.

In other NFL Week 7 News / Notes ...

Rookie quarterbacks square off at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Sunday but did you know Arizona QB Kyler Murray has rushed for an effective 238 yards (a haughty 6.1 yards-per-carry average) while New York Giants' kid Daniel Jones must avoid the costly turnover (six INTs and a bevy of lost fumbles). Two of the most recent NFL Draft's top six choices - Murray at #1 and Jones at #6 - right now would get grades of B+ for the former and C for the latter ...

Hey, here's some pointspread stuff that might surprise you: The Baltimore Ravens have not covered a spread since that Week 1 blowout against Miami while the Detroit Lions have not lost a spread verdict since Week 1. Note the best against-the-odds record the Lions have sported the past decade was the 11-6 ATS mark back in 2014 and gotta believe Matt Patricia's squad (now 4-1 ATS) can top that, right?

 

THE COLLEGE GRIDIRON REPORT

In Thursday Night action, it's ...

UCLA (1-5, 1-2) at STANFORD (3-3, 2-2) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
There's four Pac-12 teams currently residing in the Top 25 and none close to striking up a playoff pose (see #12 Oregon and #13 Utah as the best of the bunch): Still, there's intrigue here considering the host Cardinal is attempting to win its third game in a row after suffering through a three-game SU (straight-up) losing streak earlier in the year. Stanford RB Cameron Scarlett (his 564 rushing yards leads the Pac-12) comes off a 33-carry, 151-yard ground game in last week's 23-13 shocker win against two-TD fav Washington and expect a heavy dose of Scarlett runs here.
Spread Note - Stanford is 9-1-1 ATS versus the Uclans while dating back to the 2009 season.


In other College Football News / Notes ... Looking for a little list on the "most disappointing teams" in NCAA Football so far here in this 2019 season? Here's what we've got three-deep:

NEBRASKA - The Cornhuskers (4-3 SU) are a rotten 1-6 against the odds this year and they've underachieved pretty much on a weekly basis this year. The Big 10 tam ranks a lowly 98th in rush defense and 90th in passing offense and, so what was supposed to be a banner year for second-year head coach Scott Frost has turned sour fast. See you in the Pinstripe Bowl, guys!

KENTUCKY - True, last year's magical team (see 10-3 including a Citrus Bowl upset win against Penn State) lost a batch of players to the NFL but who knew Mark Stoops' squad would score just 20 total points in back-to-back SEC road losses at Miss State and South Carolina? We get it that the UK 'Cats are a profitable 4-2 ATS so far thanks in large part to wins /covers against Mid-American Conference teams Toledo and Eastern Michigan but that 1-3 SU mark in SEC play is a bummer.

ARMY - Hey, we love the service academy kids but the '19 Black Knights on the Hudson really have had just one "shining moment" and that actually was the 24-21 twin-OT loss at Michigan. Otherwise, it's been a disappointing year at West Point with two spread wins in six tries and back-to-back losses the past two weeks against Tulane / Western Kentucky. At 3-3 and with games at Air Force, at Hawaii and that neutral site game against archrival Navy, there's the possibility Army won't make it to a fourth consecutive bowl game.