Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 9:48 AM
Here's the numero uno story right here and right now in the National Football League: Scoring is up, up and away through the first two weeks of play as NFL games have averaged a whopping 46.9 points per game while NFL Totals players are well aware that the "Over" bettors are sitting pretty right now at 22-8-2 ATS (against the spread) ... now that really deserves a wow!
In NFL Week #1 play there were 752 points scored and so the per-game average for the first week of regular-season play was 47 points while there were a nearly-identical 750 points registered in NFL Week #2 action for a per-game scoring average of 46.87 points a game.
No doubt that no NFL season has ever started off with such explosiveness - that's a sum total of 1,502 points through the league's opening 32 games and consider that comes without an injured QB Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and with a grand total of Nine (9) new quarterbacks heading up their team's offenses as compared with who played the all-important position last year.
Here's that rundown of "new" QBs and their teams' points-per-game average through two weeks of play:
|TEAM||"NEW" QUARTERBACK||AVG POINTS|
As you can see, the nine "new" quarterbacks started these days have brought the league per-game scoring action down a touch - these teams are averaging only 18.4 ppg through the initial two weeks of regular-season play while on average NFL teams are scoring 23.45 points a game.
Keep in mind that there were eight special team returns for touchdowns in Week 1 action - that was an NFL high for a single week of play in league history - and so that dramatically affected the points-per-game average but right now it's pass-happy offenses, leaky defenses and - let's not forget - summertime-like weather that's helping the present-day NFL appear very much like the 1960s' American Football League ... remember when?
Meanwhile, you do have to wonder whether this surge in scoring will continue in NFL Week #3 play - and one reason we're asking aloud is because there are so many rivalry games on the docket (see New York at Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys, etc.) that it's possible some semblance of defense will return here just based on familiarity with opposing offenses.
P.S., one scoring-related NFL note to pass along ...
The league's highest-scoring game so far in this 2011 season was the 76 points scored in the NFL Kickoff Game - Green Bay 42, New Orleans 34 (remember the totals price in that prime-time affair was a now-laughable 47 ½ points) -- while the league's lowest-scoring game to this stage was last Sunday's tilt at Heinz Field - that was Pittsburgh 24, Seattle 0 - and oddly enough the only two NFL team to have been involved in a pair of "under" games was ... and get a load of this ... the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars (you can look it up!).
Meanwhile, we mentioned some of these NFL rivalry games and let's touch on the ones mentioned strictly from a pointspread standpoint:
New York Giants at Philadelphia - The Eagles have covered the last six in a row in this NFC East battle royale and that includes last year's 38-31 last-second triumph at the Meadowlands as 3-point underdogs ... did anyone paging DeSean Jackson? Note the Giants snapped a four-game spread losing streak that dated back to late last year with Monday Night's 28-16 victory against 7-point pup St. Louis.
Green Bay at Chicago - The Packers have notched spread wins in 13 of their 20 head-to-head showdowns with the Bears and that, of course, includes last year's 21-14 triumph as 3 ½-point road favorites in the NFC Championship Game. Note that Chicago's a rotten 3-8 ATS (against the spread) at home against G-Bay while dating back to the 2001 campaign.
Washington at Dallas - The Redskins have snagged nine spread wins in their last dozen helmet-to-helmet battles with the rival Cowboys and last tear the D.C. crew swept the season's series spreadwise with a season-opening 13-7 win as 3 ½-point home dogs and later a 33-30 loss-but-cover at 9-point favorite Dallas. Note that the teams taking points are 13-7 versus the vig the past years.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK:
THURSDAY & FRIDAY NITE PREVIEW PLUS MUCH MORE!
Let's kick off our College Football segment here with a quick-hitter look at This Thursday and Friday's TV action:
THURSDAY: N.C. STATE (2-1) at CINCINNATI (2-1) - 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
It's football on a school night in the Queen City and no question both of these clubs are searching for a "signature win" this young season: The visiting N.C. State Wolfpack last won a really "meaningful" game when they crushed West Virginia 23-7 in last year's Champs Sports Bowl and so the Atlantic Coast Conference guys head into play here with a real sense of urgency after snagging so-what non-cover wins against Liberty and South Alabama with a 34-27 loss at 1-point home dog Wake Forest tossed into the mix.
No doubt the off-season loss of aforementioned QB Wilson first to baseball and than to Wisconsin's gridiron team has come back to haunt the Pack who these days are counting on QB Mike Glennon (745 yards passing with 8 TDs and 1 INT) to put up the points on this team. Here, look for Glennon to throw lots of screen passes to RBs Curtis Underwood, Jr. and James Washington - those fellas have combined for 390 yards rushing and 4 ground scores thus far - as Cincinnati's ultra-aggressive defense figures to blitz early and often here.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati's still trying to get its footing under second-year head coach Butch Jones who has not exactly endeared himself to the natives (see lots of empty seats in home games against Austin Peay and Akron so far in 2011) and folks simply want Jones to have veteran QB Zach Collaros cut it loose - the tough-minded Collaros has 7 TDs and 0 INTs while throwing for 521 yards this season but the potential is for bigger/better things from this offense that also stars wide receiver D.J. Woods (15 catches and averaging a nifty 15.5 yards a grab).
Spread Notes - As you can see, N.C. State is on our list of sad-sack spread losers this season with back-to-back-to-back pointspread defeats to start off this current campaign and note back in head coach Tom O'Brien's debut season in 2007 the Wolf Pack failed to cover its first four on-the-board games. Overall, however, State's a solid 16-9 ATS (against the spread) in away games since the start of the O'Brien Era. On the flip side, Cincinnati has covered two of its first three games this year with spread "W's" versus Austin Peay and Akron and that painful 45-23 loss at 4-point fav Tennessee back on Sept. 10th. The Bearcats are just 7-11 spreadwise in non-conference affairs since the start of the 2008 campaign.
FRIDAY: CENTRAL FLORIDA (2-1) at BYU (1-2) - 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Are you liking your independence now, BYU? The Cougars made for big news last year when they announced that they were exiting the Mountain West Conference for life as an Independent and yet here sits Bronco Mendenhall's club fresh off back-to-back losses to Texas and archrival Utah ... and all of a sudden there's not a whole lot of national juice when it comes to talkin' up BYU football.
Here the Coogs will count on QB Jake Heaps (722 yards passing but with only 3 TDs and 4 INTs) to confound a Central Florida defense that's allowed a grand total of 13 points to be scored on 'em this season but last week's 17-10 loss at 6 ½-point home dog Florida International proved that "bad breaks" can happen anytime as FIU returned a fumble by UCF quarterback Jeff Godrey 51 yards for a critical touchdown and note Godfrey was sacked six times in that tilt.
Spread Notes - BYU's failed to cover two of its first three games this season and the Cougars are a shoddy 5-10-1 ATS at home while dating back to the middle of the 2008 season. Central Florida, meanwhile, is an electric 12-3 spreadwise in its last 15 on-the-board games and that includes covers in two of its first three games this year.
Now hear this ...Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will win big-time this College Football week/weekend continuing here with Thursday's NC State - Cincy game, and Friday's Central Florida at BYU bash on ESPN (an 8 p.m. ET kickoff) plus there's a full slate of College Football Games on Saturday plus there's NFL Week #3 action too along with the final regular-season weekend of Major-League Baseball and so please make sure you're all aboard for all the action right through Super Bowl XLVI on February 5th. Hey, it's gonna be a great ride! Just remember to call our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else go online right here for the NFL, NCAA Football and MLB winners!
In other College Football News & Notes ...
The marquee matchup on Saturday's College Football menu comes from Morgantown where #3 LSU (3-0) tangles with #16 West Virginia (also 3-0) and the $64,000 question is can you be any hotter to start a season than Mountaineers slinger Geno Smith?
The junior - who has helped to engineer early-season wins over Marshall, Norfolk State and Maryland - already has thrown for 1,008 yards with 7 TDs and just 1 INT as brand-new head coach Dana Holgorsen's souped-up attack is helping to place the spotlight on Smith who figures to land on our opening edition of the Jim Sez "Heisman Trophy Watch" sometime next week.
Smith's favorite target thus far is junior WR Tavon Austin who's nabbed 20 balls in all (including a long of 47 yards) but the gunslinger has spread the wealth - keep in mind LSU slowed down high-octane Oregon 40-27 in a season-opening affair and now would likely sign for keeping WVU to 24 points or less here as these 2011 'Neers are averaging 42 ppg - and that's with a rain-shortened 34-13 victory against Marshall back on Sept. 4th...
Finally, there's a truly underrated showdown of Top 10 teams on the Saturday docket as #7 Oklahoma State is at #8 Texas A&M in a Big 12 donnybrook and as long as we brought up Mr. Holgorsen, his old players at Okie State (he was the team's offensive coordinator there last year) are ripping it up with QB Brandon Weeden having already thrown for 1,154 yards with 8 TDs as the 3-and-oh Cowboys have scored 61, 37 and 59 points in early-season wins against UL-Lafayette, Arizona and Tulsa (yes, the latter game ended at 3:35 a.m. ET last weekend following a three-plus hour rain delay).
Yo, there's offense everywhere you turn these days!
NOTE: More NCAA Football Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.