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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, August 22, 2011 at 9:12 AM

IT'S TIME TO PUT A WRAP ON THE NFL PRESEASON WEEK 2 SKED AS BEARS-GIANTS COLLIDE TONIGHT IN PRIME TIME ...

WE CHECK OUT SUNDAY NIGHT'S NFL PRESEASON ACTION - JETS AND CHARGERS SNAG DOUBLE-DIGIT WINS ...

THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS OPENING TOP 25 IS ANNOUNCED AND WE DISH OUT SOME THOUGHTS

By Jim Hurley:

So, you tell us when it comes to the National Football League Preseason play: Is the offense"ahead" of the defense ... or is it vice versa now that we're nearly halfway through this exhibition schedule?

Okay, so we ask this question based on the fact that a handful of teams really had their rhythm down pat on offense in Preseason Week 2 games - note QB Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (of course) in last Thursday's easy 31-14 win at Tampa Bay along with a smooth sailing game for QB Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in their 28-20 win/cover against Arizona.

On the flip side, six different NFL teams scored 10 points or less this past week and it's easy to run down the list of NFL starting quarterbacks these days and claim the likes of Carolina rookie Cam Newton, Oakland's Jason Campbell, Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick and Cincinnati rookie Andy Dalton simply are not ready-for-prime-time players (or just yet they're not) - in short, there's a few slingers out there that don't deserve to be #1 quarterbacks in this man's league but right here and right now they are indeed"plugged in" as starters. It could be a really loooong year for the above-named teams that figure to struggle at quarterback all season.

Now, here's the rundown of the NFL Preseason Week 2 games heading into the Monday Night Football tilt in the Meadowlands in case you missed it and note all home teams are in CAPS:

DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
         
8-18 New England + 1 ½ TAMPA BAY 31-14
  PITTSBURGH - 3 Philadelphia 24-14
         
8-19 Washington - 6 INDIANAPOLIS 16-3
  Detroit + 2 ½ CLEVELAND 30-28
  MIAMI - 5 ½ Carolina 20-10
  BALTIMORE - 6 ½ Kansas City 31-13
  GREEN BAY - 4 ½ Arizona 28-20
  JACKSONVILLE - 3 Atlanta 15-13
         
8-20 ST. LOUIS - 3 ½ Tennessee 17-16
  HOUSTON + 2 ½ New Orleans 27-14
  SAN FRANCISCO - 2 ½ Oakland 17-3
  DENVER - 6 ½ Buffalo 24-10
  Minnesota + 3 SEATTLE 20-7
         
8-21 NY JETS - 6 ½ Cincinnati 27-7
  San Diego + 1 DALLAS 20-7

Okay, so here's how we finish out NFL Preseason Week 2 action and - take note - there's not much time to rest prior to the start of NFL Preseason Week 3 as there are a trio of Thursday night games including the"Beltway Battle" on ESPN between the Washington Redskins at the Baltimore Ravens.

Tonight, it's ...CHICAGO at NEW YORK GIANTS - 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
The last time the Bears came into the Jersey swamps there was QB Jay Cutler getting sacked nine times in a 17-3 loss last October and, sorry to report to die-hard Chicago gridiron fans but that much-maligned offensive line will be"on display" here.

Heck, in Chicago's 10-3 Preseason Week 1 win/cover against 2 ½-point underdog Buffalo last week, Bears quarterbacks were sacked three times on the first four passing plays (starter Jay Cutler was sacked once and backup Caleb Hanie was sacked twice). Note the Bears have some major position woes along the blocking wall but it does appear that C Roberto Garza will be moved back to right guard.

Meanwhile, the Giants spent the better part of the week dealing with the latest DE Osi Umenyiora controversy - he's out for at least the next four-to-five weeks after knee surgery - while QB Eli Manning tried to clarify his early-week statements that he considers himself a"top five" quarterback in this league.

Maybe the younger Manning will discover it's better to stay quiet than to open such a can of worms!

On Sunday Night, it was ...

NEW YORK JETS 27, CINCINNATI 7 - This was our big play last night as we cruised to an easy Jets win and cover. In case folks thought that it may"take time" for third-year Jets QB Mark Sanchez to work out all the kinks with WRs Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress on the field, be aware that both Super Bowl heroes nabbed scoring strikes as Holmes hauled down a 16-yard scoring strike and Burress made his return to the field after 20 months in prison by snatching a 26-yard over-the-shoulder catch for another NYJ touchdown. Better yet for the Jets: Sanchez threw for 173 yards and those two scores in a torrential downpour and thus dampened the argument that he's not a foul-weather signal-caller.

SAN DIEGO 20, DALLAS 7 - If the emphasis was on offense with the Jets, the flip side was true for the SD Chargers win in the great state of Texas. The deep San Diego defense - there might have been 10 defensive backs that shined on this night as aptly pointed out by NBC game analyst Chris Collinsworth - really put the clamps on the Cowboys with S Eric Weddle nabbing a key INT along the way. And one last thing here: Second-year RB Ryan Mathews scampered for a 15-yard TD run that capped an 11-play, 81-yard march for San Diego right before the two-minute warning in the first half and he sure looked healthier than he did a year ago.

Now hear this: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers win with Sides & Totals all throughout the NFL Preseason - now America's #1 Handicapper will rock Las Vegas big-time all summer long! 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 on Thursday, September 1st with a batch of on-the-board games including TV tilts between UNLV at Wisconsin and Miss State at Memphis and so make sure you're all aboard for 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 versus Georgia and Oregon-LSU.

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S AP TOP 25

  • 1 - OKLAHOMA ... Boomer Sooners have a legit Heisman Trophy candidate in QB Landry Jones but will the"D" make the big stands?
  • 2 - ALABAMA ... Could the Crimson Tide be the sixth straight SEC club to win a national crown?
  • 3 - OREGON ... This year's club is even quicker at the speed positions than last year's national title runners-up.
  • 4 - LSU ... Off-the-field problems with QB Jordan Jefferson could serve as early-season distractions.
  • 5 - BOISE STATE ... Blue turf bunch must win vs. Georgia inside noisy Georgia Dome just to get in conversation about the national title.
  • 6 - FLORIDA STATE ... Gut feeling is the Sems are good and getting better but maybe not top-shelf just yet in Year 2 after Bobby Bowden.
  • 7 - STANFORD ... If QB Andrew Luck throws for 4,500 yards (or more) we'll throw him a ticker tape parade.
  • 8 - TEXAS A&M ... Something tells us the Aggies defense (scorched in last year's bowl loss to LSU) isn't exactly a team strong point.
  • 9 - OKLAHOMA STATE ... Just hope head coach Mike Gundy doesn't spot anyone wearing Oklahoma tee-shirts in his office!
  • 10 - NEBRASKA ... Next time boss-man Bo Pelini screams at QB Taylor Martinez on TD we'll turn down the volume.
  • 11 - WISCONSIN ... Nowhere in the nation is ground-and-pound more a mantra than right here in Madison. Jump around!
  • 12 - SOUTH CAROLINA ... The hype is getting out of control with the Gamecocks but head ball coach Steve Spurrier's not muting any of the talk.
  • 13 - VIRGINIA TECH ... The lunch pail gang on defense could take a lot of heat off a rather ho-hum attack
  • 14 - TCU ... When they talk about best coaches in the land, why isn't Gary Patterson mentioned more often
  • 15 - ARKANSAS ... Life after QB Ryan Mallett might be more balanced for the Hogs but winning the SEC West is one tall task
  • 16 - NOTRE DAME ...If second-year boss Brian Kelly can just"wake up the echoes" than we might see his ND Irish back in a January bowl game
  • 17 - MICHIGAN STATE ... The green gang overachieved last year when head coach Mark D'Antonio was ill but can they do it again
  • 18 - OHIO STATE ... Go figure how this season is gonna go for the Buckeyes who are in so much trouble with the NCAA that they've been sent to their rooms
  • 19 - GEORGIA ... Let's just say that anything less than an 8-win season will get coach Mark Richt unceremoniously shipped out of town
  • 20 - MISS STATE ... Sometimes it's downright painful to watch this Bulldogs offense operate but an upset here or two could propel ‘em to 10 wins.
  • 21 - MISSOURI ... The Tigers just keep on cranking out high-quality quarterbacks under coach Gary Pinkel
  • 22 - FLORIDA ... Now that Urban Meyer finally retired the Gators go in a whole new direction where defense takes center stage
  • 23 - AUBURN ... Last year's national champs were #22 in the AP Polls to start things last summer ... really!
  • 24 - WEST VIRGINIA ... The off-the-field mess that's kayoed Bill Stewart in favor of Dana Holgorsen has Mountaineer fans in a tizzy
  • 25 - USC ... As long as the marching band gets to play"Fight On" a few times a game, we'll be okay even if the Troy Boys lose three or four times.

NOTE: Get more NFL Preseason News & Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez.

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