Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:43 AM
Doesn't everyone seem to be in a better mood these days just 'cause football is back?
Now we roll out the NFL Preseason Week 1 games for Friday night with something to say about each and every one of these eight games:
But first this key reminder:
Me and my veteran Handicappers and Bloggers will bring you a bunch of summertime winners on the gridiron and make sure to cash in with all the NFL Preseason Sides & Totals Winners. Remember there's NFL Preseason Week 1 games right through the weekend-on Saturday it's the New York Giants at Pittsburgh Steelers in prime time and Sunday afternoon it's the Buffalo Bills at the Indianapolis Colts with both of these tilts to be aired live on the NFL Network. So make sure you hook up with me, Jim Hurley -- America's #1 Handicapper -- plus make sure you cash in with loads of Major-League Baseball Winners, too, as we've been raging hot ever since the All-Star Game. Check with us right here online or call us toll-free at 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight NFL and MLB action, after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday Baseball games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Football/Baseball Winners.
NFL PRESEASON WEEK 1-THE FRIDAY NIGHT GAMES
NEW YORK JETS at DETROIT-7:30 p.m. ET
All the buzz in/around Jets camp has been about the QB battle between four-year starter Mark Sanchez and West Virginia rookie Geno Smith, but it's safe to say neither guy's exactly lit things up in Cortland (N.Y.)-and Sanchez was actually booed loudly after throwing a "pick" in a green-and-white scrimmage last Saturday night.
Head coach Rex Ryan says Sanchez will get the start here, but both slingers will get time with the first-teamers here in Motown, where the talk lately has been about how free-agent RB Reggie Bush has been suffering a case of the "dropsies" with a slew of practice passes.
The early word from Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz is that he'd like Bush to catch up to 80 passes this season ... we'll see about that!
Las Vegas Line: Detroit-3.5; O/U 36 .5 Points
MIAMI (0-1) at JACKSONVILLE-7:30 p.m. ET
The Dolphins are back at it following last Sunday's 24-20 Hall of Fame Game loss to 3-point underdog Dallas, and right away second-year boss-man Joe Philbin will be quick to focus on QB Ryan Tannehill who aired four INTs in a Tuesday practice following an 11-yard passing performance in a quarter's worth of play against the Cowboys.
Tannehill also botched a handoff to RB Lamar Miller deep in Miami's end that helped get the Cowboys started in that H.O.F. Game, so there's some growing concern that the absence of LT Jake Long (now with the St. Louis Rams) could have the former Texas A&M signal-caller a tad rattled.
Las Vegas Line: Miami-1; O/U 35.5 Points
NEW ENGLAND at PHILADELPHIA-7:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network
No doubt the Riley Cooper mess dominated much of the past 7-to-10 days in Philly Eagles camp but it does appear-and to rookie head coach Chip Kelly's credit-that the NFC East team is "moving past" Cooper's major mea culpa.
Now, it'll be interesting to see how the backup-turned-starting wide receiver plays here as the Eagles continue to search out down-field targets. Don't forget the ACL injury that ended WR Jeremy Maclin's season a few weeks back, as well as promising WR Arrelious Benn, who was just lost for the 2013 campaign after tearing his left ACL in a Tuesday practice.
The Patriots and Eagles have been going at it in scrimmages the past few days-something former and 14-year Eagles coach Andy Reid didn't believe in-but remember that the aforementioned Kelly has a good relationship with Pats' boss-man Bill Belichick.
One New England note here: Both RB Shane Vereen and WR Danny Amendola (free agent pick-up from St. Louis) will get their share of touches this summertime as the Patriots look to plug up the team's production problems left by injured TE Rob Gronkowski and incarcerated TE Aaron Hernandez.
Las Vegas Line: Philadelphia-4.5; O/U 40.5 Points
HOUSTON at MINNESOTA-8 p.m. ET
One year after Minnesota Vikings' mega-star RB Adrian Peterson rushed for an eye-popping 2,097 yards and 12 TDs in regular-season play, the focus this preseason will turn to Minny's passing game that finished a crummy 31st in the NFL a year ago (averaged only 172 yards a game).
QB Christian Ponder-who sat out the Vikings' 24-10 NFC Wild Card Game playoff loss in Green Bay back on January 5th -- claimed last weekend that his arm is as strong as he was before he completely separated his shoulder as a junior at Florida State back in 2009.
Ponder probably won't play more than five or six snaps here in this home tilt against the Texans but he's anxious to get an on-the-field rapport going with rookie WR Cordarelle Patterson (Tennessee) and somersaulting wide-out Jerome Simpson. Keep in mind last year the Vikes had an NFL-low 28 completions of 20-or-more yards.
Las Vegas Line: Pick 'Em; O/U 35.5 Points
KANSAS CITY at NEW ORLEANS-8 p.m. ET
Well, look who's back!
The New Orleans Saints opened their arms wide for the return of suspended head coach Sean Payton, who surely has a long to-do list with this NFC South club.
One of the major priorities is to get RB Mark Ingram going after he averaged just 3.9 yards a carry in limited play his first two years in the league. Ingram simply hasn't possessed the burst or the strength that he illustrated as a Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama, but the Times-Picayune reports so far in practice that Ingram has looked "strong, fast and fluid", and you can expect him to play with the first-team offense here against a rebuilding Chiefs team that announced their first-team offense will play the first quarter for new boss Reid with a QB rotation here that includes starter Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, rookie Tyler Bray (Tennessee) and Ricky Stanzi.
Las Vegas Line: New Orleans-3; O/U 36.5 Points
CHICAGO at CAROLINA-8 p.m. ET
Well, that was awfully nice of one-time Bears legend middle linebacker Dick Butkus to publicly announce last weekend that he believed this year's Chicago team will win "11 or 12 games"-please take note that the Las Vegas projected wins total right now is 8 .5 games for these 2013 Bears!
Still, there are high hopes in the so-called Second City for the Bears to bang out a big year under new head coach Marc Trestman, but much of the team's success will hinge on an offensive line that has not exactly been stable in the past few seasons under former head coach Lovie Smith.
The Bears brought in LT Jermon Bushrod and rookie RG Kyle Long (Oregon) this past off-season, but note Bushrod is not expected to see action in this road game (injured calf) while Long has some catching up to do after NFL/NCAA rules prevented him from participating in most of the Bears' off-season workouts.
Las Vegas Line: Carolina-2.5; O/U 34 Points
ARIZONA at GREEN BAY-8 p.m. ET
The Bears are not the only NFC North club with some injury issues at the all-important left tackle spot:
By now you know that Green Bay LT Bryan Bulaga-who tore his ACL in last weekend's intrasquad scrimmage-was scheduled for surgery that more than likely will kayo him from this entire 2013 season, but GB insiders still believe Bulaga could be kept on the team's active roster and may have a slight chance of playing later this year.
In this home preseason game at Lambeau Field, the Packers will keep Marshall Newhouse at his customary right tackle position and look for rookie David Bakhtiari-a fourth-round draft choice from Colorado-to start and play well at left tackle. Got a feeling we won't be seeing much of QB Aaron Rodgers here?
Meanwhile, Arizona claims it has installed some offensive plays this year for athletic CB Patrick Peterson, and the former LSU star could get active here and so Green Bay's secondary better keep its track shoes on when he's in the lineup on offense.
Las Vegas Line: Green Bay-3.5; O/U 34.5 Points
DALLAS (1-0) at OAKLAND-10 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Is there anything that can be gleaned from the Cowboys' aforementioned 24-20 win against Miami last weekend in Canton?
Well, one thing that pops up is that the 'Boys rushed the ball 34 times and threw it only 24 times in the play-calling debut of offensive coordinator/O-line coach Bill Callahan, and while some of that may be attributed to the fact QB Tony Romo suited up but didn't play, much of it rests with the fact Callahan wants to bone up rush production one year after Dallas finished 31st (that's next-to-last) in the NFL in rushing with just 79 ground yards per game.
Dallas RB Phillip Tanner (10 carries for 59 yards against the Dolphins last weekend) could get another major opportunity to regain his #2 spot on the depth chart at running back behind DeMarco Murray with another strong showing here.
Las Vegas Line: Dallas-1; O/U 35.5 Points
NOTE: More NFL Preseason News & Notes and NCAA Football goodies too in the coming editions of "Jim Sez", so keep it right here!