Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 11:03 AM
You realize what NFL Preseason Week 3 means, don't you?
The starters will play more minutes than at any other time in the summer and - it's safe to say - many of the NFL head coaches who have yet to win a game this exhibition season really/truly will look to come up with a "W" just so their team has a good taste in its mouth.
On this final Thursday in August, there are Three (3) NFL Preseason Week 3 games on the docket and one of the teams involved in tonight's games still is looking for its first win of the summer … hello, Cincinnati Bengals!
The AFC North crew hosts Carolina tonight plus there's a tilt between Cleveland at Philadelphia too but shortly we'll focus our Thursday Nite attention on the "Beltway Battle" between the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens plus there's some College Football goodies comin' your way too - but first this key reminder as we draw ever-so-closer to the start of the NCAA and NFL Regular Seasons:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers win with Sides & Totals all throughout the NFL Preseason and right into the upcoming College Football Season too. America's #1 Handicapper continues to rock Las Vegas big-time all summer long and right into September … you'll see!
Plus, make sure to get all the Major-League Baseball Winners too each and every day -- just remember to call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here and make sure you're all aboard for a summer filled with all our NFL Preseason and MLB winners!
The calling/check-in times are after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays; anytime after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday Baseball action; and than anytime after 1 p.m. ET for all the weeknight action in both Football and Baseball.
And don't forget that the 2011 NCAA Football Season swings into action next Thursday with a batch of on-the-board games including TV tilts between UNLV at Wisconsin (on ESPN) and Miss State at Memphis (Fox Sports Net) and so make sure you're all aboard for the College Gridiron Winners!
P.S., there's a full slate on College Football Games set for Labor Day Weekend (that's September 2nd-through-September 5th) including key out-of-conference games between Boise State-Georgia, Oregon-LSU and the Labor Day evening bout inside the ACC between Miami at Maryland..
Now, here's a quickie preview of tonight's Redskins-Ravens tussle:
WASHINGTON (2-0) at BALTIMORE (1-1) -- 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Now that the earth has stopped shaking 'round these parts, these all-not-so-friendly neighbors can duke it out and really look to rattle one another. Okay, so if you're "into" Preseason revenge than take note that last year the 3-point underdog Ravens walloped the 'Skins 23-3 (the game easily went "under" the totals price tag of 37½ points) back on August 21st in a Preseason Week 2 affair. Currently, the Ravens are listed as a 5-point betting fav for this affair with a totals price of 33½ points.
Now, here the 'Skins would like to "settle the score" but it's truly way more important to get this quarterback derby settled as Rex Grossman and John Beck battle it out here with the "winner" likely named sometime after this prime-time clash. Beck sports a quarterback rating of 101.0 this summer - that's very good - while Grossman's QB rating thus far is 89.3 (good but not great) and if you listen to head coach Mike Shanahan and his offensive coordinator son Kyle than you get the feeling that Grossman's behind a bit after a sluggish showing last Friday night in that 16-3 win in Indianapolis.
On the flip side, Baltimore's hoping for instant rapport between QB Joe Flacco and WR Lee Evans - the latter played the last eight years in Buffalo - and so far, so good but the real test is to see whether Evans can be a big-play guy. Keep in mind that since 2000 only two Ravens receivers have averaged 15 yards or more when catching 30-plus balls in a season while Evans has averaged in excess of 15 yards a reception is six of his pro seasons.
Spread Notes - The Ravens have split their first two NFL Preseason spread verdicts this year as they lost 13-6 at 3-point favorite Philadelphia back on August 11th and then followed that up with a 31-13 triumph over 6½-point road pup Kansas City (but remember Baltimore trailed that game heading into the fourth quarter 13-10). Meanwhile, Washington's a perfect 2-and-oh spreadwise this summer with back-to-back covers against a pair of AFC foes: The 'Skins bested 2 ½-point road dog Pittsburgh 16-7 and later extinguished 6-point home dog Indianapolis 16-3.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT
Hopefully, you were able to check out the opening Associated Press Top 25 poll that was released last weekend.
Okay, so no major arguments here although we do believe both Oregon (#3) and Texas A&M (#8) are rated a little too high and we think TCU (#14) is too low but that's nit-picky stuff, right?
Instead, let's take a look at a couple of teams not rated inside the current AP Top 25 that must be closely watched:
ARIZONA STATE - Last year's Sun Devils didn't even make the cut in terms of bowl teams despite six wins (that's because two of those victories came against non-FBS teams in Portland State and Northern Arizona) and now here Dennis Erickson's crew has been relegated to the "Others Receiving Votes" category outside the Top 25 but make no mistake:
This Pac-12 team has the goods to make some major noise this year as long as giant QB Brock Osweiler (he's 6-foot-8, folks) makes the correct choices inside the red zone and as long as the defense gets some solid play from a secondary that was scorched often a year ago. Note that A-State's won a grand total of 15 games the past three years and so the heat is on boss-man Dennis Erickson but don't be entirely shocked if the Tempe team wins nine games and makes it to a January bowl.
HAWAII - Hey, no one's blaming you for not staying up for those Hawaii home games that often don't kick till midnight (or later) Eastern time but it is high time to recognize the fact the 50th State team is "for real". The Warriors - like Arizona State named above - find themselves on that dreaded "Others Receiving Votes" list in the AP poll but this Western Athletic Conference crew earned only four total votes in all and something tells us Greg McMackin's club could be a Top 15-to-25 team when all the dust finally settles this 2011 season.
No doubt Hawaii has one of the nation's most gifted passers in senior QB Bryant Moniz - unlike ASU's Osweiler he's only 6-feet tall - but did you realize that last year's 10-4 Hawaii team was sparked by the country's top passer as Moniz threw for 5,040 yards and 39 TDs. Now, go check out Hawaii's schedule 'cause if it can win in Washington on September 10th than there's a very good chance Hawaii will be 9-and-oh while heading into its November 12th game at Nevada … you heard it here first!