Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, August 26, 2013 at 12:02 PM
Maybe it means nothing at all but the Minnesota Vikings, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the St. Louis Rams, the Atlanta Falcons and the Pittsburgh Steelers all will enter the final week of preseason play this Thursday night without a single summertime win.
Does it matter - or should it matter - if you happen to be content with just how your team looks after three preseason games?
Or do any/all of these above-mentioned 0-and-3 preseason squads have some reason to fret as we draw nearer to the NFL Regular-Season Openers on September 5, 8 and 9?
Gut feeling is that the likes of Minnesota boss-man Leslie Frazier, Rams' head coach Jeff Fisher, Falcons' coach Mike Smith and Steelers' sideline general Mike Tomlin are not losing any sleep over a winless (thus far) preseason but make no mistake about it:
None of these guys should feel ultra-confident about their teams as - for instance - the Steelers have some well-documented issues at running back even with the recent addition of RB Felix Jones (see 8 carries for 29 yards in last Saturday's 26-20 OT loss to Kansas City) and what about the Falcons who were forced to settle for a slew of field-goal attempts in their 27-16 loss at Tennessee this past Saturday night (and six sacks allowed to boot too!).
In short, no one necessarily needs to push the proverbial panic button but - than again - it's always nice to tuck a Preseason Week 1, 2 or 3 win under your belt 'cause these Week 4 exhibition games on Thursday night don't exactly get anyone too excited!
And speaking about getting excited - along with a bit testy and a little obnoxious - by now you've no doubt witnessed the post-game meltdown by New York Jets fifth-year head coach Rex Ryan who didn't exactly make too much sense standing at the podium moments after his J-E-T-S snagged a 24-21 overtime win against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium this past Saturday night.
The questioning was - at times - rather fierce by the cynical New York media but it was fair:
Why did Ryan decide to play one-time - and possibly, future - starting QB Mark Sanchez behind a second/third-string offensive line when it appeared evident to everyone watching that rookie QB Geno Smith had played himself out of any chance to start after airing three INTs and also stepping out of the end zone for a safety?
In short, the Jets already knew what they needed to know:
Smith wasn't ready for "prime time" and so Sanchez would be the No. 1 guy again but here was Ryan sticking Sanchez into the game with 11-plus minutes remaining even though it was fourth-stringer Matt Simms warming up on the sidelines in the early moments of the fourth quarter.
Sanchez - like a good solider - went into the game and was immediately sacked for a nine-yard loss and then eight offensive plays later there was Giants' DL Marvin Austin crushing the former USC star and causing a right shoulder injury to Sanchez.
Okay, so Ryan butchered the post-game Q&A session - true, some of those NYC reporters have been waiting to pounce and slam the big-mouthed Ryan for a while now - but the bottom line is nothing the head coach said made any sense and putting Sanchez into the game in that situation made zero sense too.
Now, the Jets will play the day-to-day game with Sanchez and his bruised shoulder joint - if he's not ready for the September 8th opener against Tampa Bay, you'll know who to blame!
Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers are storming their way towards the start of this 2013 NFL season with even more NFL Preseason Week Sides & Totals plays and so make sure you're on board this Thursday for all the action.
America's #1 Handicapper cleaned up this past week/weekend - there was last Thursday's sweep with wins by Detroit (-2 ½) over New England 40-9 and Carolina (+2 ½) over Baltimore 34-27 and then on Saturday we went 3-and-oh including our August Game of the Year winner on Philadelphia (-4 ½) over Jacksonville 31-24. Remember that the College Football season swings into gear this Thursday with Eight (8) on-the-board games and we'll be banging out NCAA gridiron winners all Labor Day Weekend long... count on it! Here's the list of 7-0 winners this past week
|Mon 8/19||Redskins (-2.5) Steelers||WON||24-13|
|Thu 8/22||Lions (-2) Patriots||WON||40-9|
|Panthers (+3) Ravens||WON||34-27|
|Sat 8/24||NFL Preseason Game of Year|
|Eagles (-3.5) Jaguars||WON||31-24|
|Buccaneers (+3) Dolphins||WON||17-16|
|Titans (-3) Falcons||WON||27-16|
|Sun 8/25||Saints (+2.5) Texans||WON||31-23|
Plus cash in with loads of Major-League Baseball Winners too as we've been banging out lots of "W's" in recent weeks as we head to the home stretch of this 2013 MLB season. Check with us right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 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.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S TOP 5 STORYLINES FOR THE 2013 CAMPAIGN
The clock is tick, tick, ticking ever closer to the start of this 2013 NCAA Football Season - we simply can't wait to kick things off at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday when #6 South Carolina hosts North Carolina in an ESPN bash - and so as we have done in recent years right here in the Jim Sez column space we'll tackle the Top 5 Storylines for this NCAA season....
So here goes:
1 - WHAT ARE ALABAMA'S BIGGEST OBSTACLES WHILE ATTEMPTING TO BE THE BCS CHAMP FOR A THIRD STRAIGHT SEASON (AND FOR A FOURTH TIME IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS)?
It's easy to point at the fact Alabama plays in the toughest league in the land and thus road games at Texas A&M, Miss State and archrival Auburn are far from "gimmes" but we wonder aloud as to whether or not this 'Bama secondary is up to the challenge of facing some top-flight passing games. Remember the Tide's without one more DB in its opener against Virginia Tech as head coach Nick Saban last week suspended CB Geno Smith for this Saturday's tilt because of a DUI charge.
2 - WHO WILL BE "THIS YEAR'S" NOTRE DAME?
You know what we mean: Last year the ND Fighting Irish started off the season not ranked at all in the Associated Press Top 25 but there was the South Bend crew 12-and-oh and playing aforementioned Alabama in the BCS Championship Game in Miami.
If there's a non-Top 25 team that right here and right now piques our interest, it's Baylor but we must admit we don't like the fact that so many of the TV "experts" also believe the Bears are headed to a monstrous season.
Still, there's mucho team speed on hand and a real-live self-appointed Heisman Trophy contender in RB Lache Seastrunk. Hey, if Baylor can KO host Kansas State on October 12th, than Art Briles' crew figures to be 7-0 while heading into a home game against Oklahoma... excited now?
3 - WHO IS THIS YEAR'S OFF-THE-RADAR SCREEN HEISMAN TROPHY SHOCKER?
Nobody saw Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel coming to claim the famed bronze statue a year ago at this very time... right? Well, if the all-too-controversial Manziel doesn't win it again and/or if fellow signal-callers Braxton Miller (Ohio State), A.J. McCarron (Alabama), Aaron Murray (Georgia) and Tahj Boyd (Clemson) don't claim the prize - and if South Carolina DL Jadeveon Clowney doesn't win - than look out for sleeper pick RB Venric Mark of Northwestern fame. The senior star rushed for 1,366 yards and 12 TDs last year and he'll be featured more this time around - a 2,000-yard season ain't out of the question.
4 - WHAT EARLY-SEASON UPSETS WILL CHANGE THE COMPLEXION OF THIS '13 SEASON?
Okay, so don't etch this is stone or anything but if Miss State knocks off #13 Oklahoma State this Saturday in Stillwater you shouldn't be totally shocked and keep an eye out for Virginia in its September 7th home game against #3 Oregon. The game's in Charlottesville and the Wahoos - boned up by a season-opening game against BYU this weekend - could be revved up for a major upset that would shake up the top five.
5 - NOW, WHAT LATE-SEASON GAMES COULD WELL CHANGE THE FATES/FORTUNES OF SOME OF THE NATION'S HEAVYWEIGHTS?
If you wish to sneak a peek down the road - way down the road, actually - then Georgia's game at Georgia Tech on November 30th could have national title game implications and ditto for the annual Cal-Stanford game slated for November 23rd... it's quite possible that losses here by Georgia and/or Stanford could change the at-the-top rankings and thus allow someone else to reach up and make a play at the BCS crown.
So stay tuned!
NOTE: We'll have NCAA Football Thursday Nite Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez and that includes the above-mentioned North Carolina at No. 56 South Carolina affair and the showdown between #24 USC at Hawaii.