Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 9:34 AM
So, what are National Football League folks supposed to glean from last night's Preseason Week 1 action?
Well, for starters, take note that four of the five teams that lost on Friday night – that's Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Kansas City -- combined to score a grand total of 13 points and so maybe you should really be surprised to discover that after the first 10 games of this NFL Preseason there have been six 'overs' and four 'unders'.
Also, the Las Vegas line moves last night really had major meaning as three-of-four games that moved 1 ½ or more points proved to be 'correct' with only the Detroit Lions price at minus 3 points (down from an opening line of minus 5) confounded bettors in their 34-3 walkover win against Cincinnati.
Here's how those other line moves went:
*Atlanta went from – 3 to – 1.5 and lost to visiting Miami 28-23;
*Washington went from + 1.5 to – 2.5 and the Redskins beat visiting Pittsburgh 16-7;
*And visiting Tampa Bay went from + 2 to – 2 and the Bucs blanked Kansas City 25-0. Note that in the evening's other game the New Orleans Saints opened at -3 and than closed at -3 and the home chalk beat up San Francisco 24-3.
Want a couple of other nuggets?
So far through the first 10 NFL Preseason games rookie head coaches are 1-2 ATS (against the spread) with the aforementioned SF 49ers joining the Oakland Raiders on the loser's side spreadwise as both San Fran's Jim Harbaugh and Oakland's Hue Jackson were money-burners in their debuts while Denver's John Fox 'cashed' in the Broncos' 24-23 straight-up loss at 2 ½-point fav Dallas on Thursday night.
We'll drop some knowledge on your regarding a couple of Friday night's games but first this key reminder: 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. We'll see YOU in the winner's circle!
NFL PRESEASON WEEK 1 – FRIDAY RE-CAPS
AND SATURDAY PREVIEWS
MIAMI (+ 1 ½) 28, ATLANTA 23 – No doubt that the Chad Henne 'Era' may be short-lived as the Dolphins' still-young quarterback aired a pair of interceptions on two of Miami's first three possessions and so nobody in South Florida should get excited about his final stat line of 4-of-8 completions for 77 yards and one touchdown (a 44-yarder to WR Brian Hartline). The Fish tried hard this off-season to bump the erratic Henne from the starter's role and the replacement could here in Matt Moore – the former Carolina slinger completed 11-of-18 passes for 123 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT.
P.S., note afterwards that Henne claimed WR Davone Bess ran a 'wrong route' and then the quarterback made a bad decision – just more reason for Miami fans to shake their heads and you might not have known this but the Fish are a collective 3-8 ATS in regular-season action as betting favorites since Henne came aboard as the starting signal-caller in 2009.
WASHINGTON (- 2 ½) 16, PITTSBURGH 7 – The Steelers are not about ready to get all hot-and-bothered regarding this Preseason Week 1 loss in the nation's capital but there were some items of interest here including the fact CB Ike Taylor broke his left thumb and could be gone for two-to-three weeks plus this Pittsburgh defense only allowed a single TD (a QB Rex Grossman 8-yard touchdown strike to WR Santana Moss) to go along with three Graham Gano field goals but surrendered 452 offensive yards.
There's no doubt that in the immediate days following the end of the NFL's lockout that tackling has been and will continue to be a problem for many teams and well-respected Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin grumbled after the game that his team 'has got a lot of ground to cover'.
Now, here's a little of what is on the NFL Preseason Week 1 docket for this Saturday night:
GREEN BAY at CLEVELAND (7:30 p.m. ET) – Note that the Las Vegas price tag for this exhibition tilt moved from an opener of pick ‘em to the Browns minus a deuce and so that tells you the Super Bowl champion Packers won't be playing their starters all that long here but the $64,000 question is who kicks for Green Bay if PK Mason Crosby (ankle) can't?
Crosby is listed as the only kicker on the Green Bay roster but look for the Pack to insert someone else here in FG and PAT situations plus two other Packers who are not likely to get on the field here are WR Greg Jennings (hip) and LB Clay Matthews (glute). One guy to watch is rookie G Derek Sherrod who's battling T.J. Lang at the left guard spot. So far Sherrod (Mississippi State) – a first-round draftee this past April -- has been shaky in team practices and one report said GB's coaches are quickly losing faith in his ability to switch from tackle to guard.
INDIANAPOLIS at ST. LOUIS (8 p.m. ET) – Here's another Preseason bash where the Las Vegas number really moved as the Rams opened as a 4-point betting favorite and at press time now here's the NFC West laying a full touchdown (a/k/a a 7-point price) and that's a clear indication that the Colts will play lots of backups for lots of minutes.
On the flip side, St. Loo head coach Steve Spagnuolo told the media that his club's first-team offense would play 12-to-15 snaps here even though QB Sam Bradford is pushing for more reps/minutes. Let's see if Bradford can establish an instant rapport with new WR Mike Sims-Walker, the former pass-catcher with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sims-Walker could be targeted a few times early especially with WR Donnie Avery slowed by a recent tight hamstring.
MINNESOTA at TENNESSEE (8 p.m. ET) – Here's two teams looking to put ugly 2010 seasons behind ‘em and the Las Vegas oddsmakers have installed the host Titans as 3 ½-point betting favorites (up from an opening price tag of 3 points).
Note that the visiting Vikings still must answer a slew of questions most notably who plays left tackle this year now that Bryant McKinnie (allegedly at 400 pounds when reporting to camp last week) has been released. No doubt Minny's counting on LT Charlie Johnson but monstrous RT Phil Loadholt could be moved there – it'll be interesting to see if Loadholt gets any snaps at left tackle here while trying to protect the likes of QBs Donovan McNabb, rookie Christian Ponder (Florida State) and Joe Webb.
P.S., let's see if rookie TE Kyle Rudolph (Notre Dame) gets any passes thrown his way here after showing good hands early on in camp.
NOTE: Catch more NFL Preseason News/Notes and Previews in the next Jim Sez.