Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 9:23 AM
Suffice to say, making a change right now at the all-important quarterback spot in the NFL doesn't always ensure a quick-fix solution ... just look at the results from this past Monday Night Football game when the Minnesota Vikings' newly-installed starting QB Josh Freeman was downright horrible in that ugly 23-7 loss at the New York Giants.
Freeman - who suffered a mild concussion in that mess and isn't expected to play in Sunday Night's home game against Green Bay -- really struggled with a new offense as evidenced by some putrid stats that included 20-of-53 passing for 190 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT.
And that really only told part of the story as the former Tampa Bay signal-caller was high, wide and quite inaccurate for most of the night and he didn't even have the usual Meadowlands wind to blame for his erratic play.
The Vikings (1-5) were hoping that Freeman could "rescue" their season but Plan A didn't work out too well and now you have to wonder what's gonna happen in some other NFL cities with QB injuries so prevalent 'round the league the past couple of weeks.
Is there a "quick-fix solution" or are teams kidding themselves with savior slingers at this midway point of the 2013 season?
Here we've decided to play a mix-and-match game with the NFL Trade Deadline set for early next week ... here's some thoughts:
The St. Louis Rams (3-4) have some major soul-searching to do following the season-ending knee injury to QB Sam Bradford and let's just say backup Kellen Clemens is not the answer.
Note that Clemens completed two passes and was sacked twice in his brief relief role in the 30-15 loss at Carolina last Sunday afternoon and the rumor mill says St. Loo is not in the market to deal for a quarterback (the Rams did sign Brady Quinn earlier this week) but don't trust those reports entirely as head coach Jeff Fisher's club could try to pry loose someone for short-term help or the Rams' organization might try to make a big in-season splash while possibly drawing a close to Bradford's career in the "arch city" ... might the Arizona Cardinals entertain thoughts of dealing away up-and-down starter Carson Palmer (already 13 INTs and sacked 20 times) to St. Looie for draft picks-plus bodies?
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears (4-3) are telling folks that starting QB Jay Cutler will be out four weeks with his groin injury but insiders believe you likely won't see Cutler back till December (the Dec. 9th home game against Dallas is a realistic date, say some) and so the $64,000 question is does Marc Trestman's team look for relief elsewhere or is Josh McNown the immediate answer?
Maybe the Bears go "north of the border" where Trestman could be interested in a Canadian Football League slinger as he knows that league well or maybe McNown simply holds the fort one week after he completed 14-of-20 passes for 204 yards with 1 TD and 0 INT in a wild 45-41 loss at Washington.
Finally, two quarterbacks that probably could have brought back a nice haul but won't because they're injured include New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez - he's done in NYC these days with shoulder surgery and the arrival of rookie Geno Smith - and Minnesota's Christian Ponder who might have been trade bait save for the fact the Vikes now must start him versus Green Bay after the Freeman concussion. Yes, timing is everything in the league where they play for pay!
Tonight, it's ...
CAROLINA (3-3) at TAMPA BAY (0-6) - 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Perhaps you'd like to start a little "pool" to pick the date when Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Greg Schiano ... 'causes something tell us a loss here in prime time and next week in Seattle could seal his fate.
But why bother with the negatives here as the visiting Carolina Panthers roll in to town having won/covered their last two games over Minnesota and St. Louis by a combined 40 points. Quarterback Cam Newton (1,331 yards passing with 10 TDs) has been allowed a bit more freedom and note the past two weeks his stats has been shiny: He's 35-of-43 passing for 446 yards passing with four TDs and no picks and you might even see Newton pick on Bucs' CB Darrelle Revis who has not enjoyed his first year in new threads.
Spread Notes - Carolina is playing its first divisional game of the year and note the Panthers are a decent 34-26 ATS (against the spread) in NFC South affairs since the start of the 2003 season. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay's failed to cover its last four consecutive games this year and the Bucs are a collective 2-10 versus the vig in their last dozen overall tilts.
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get the NFL Week 8 Side & Totals winners beginning with tonight's game between the Carolina Panthers at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when you check with us here at Jim Hurley's Network and then keep rollin' in the green all week/weekend long with all the NCAA Football, the NFL and the World Series too! There's College Football this evening too with an SEC battle between Kentucky at Miss State on ESPN plus a Fox Sports TV tussle between Marshall at Middle Tennessee State. Check with us on game days either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155 - put a capper on this month of October with a slew of winners!
NCAA FOOTBALL PREVIEWS/FORECASTS
Here's some of what we'll be tracking on Friday/Saturday with the college kids and note the rankings below refer to the current BCS Standings ...
On Friday, it's ...
BOISE STATE (5-2) at BYU (5-2) - 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
It's "Friday Night Lights" in Provo where the BYU Cougars have revved it up with four consecutive SU (straight-up) wins - now BYU quarterback Taysom Hill (1,680 yards passing and a team-high 772 rushing yards) will look to keep the winning beat going one week after he delivered four scoring strikes and 417 passing yards in a wild 47-46 non-cover victory against Houston.
The key question here for Boise State is whether or not QB Joe Southwick (foot) will be cleared to play after injuring his right foot on the Broncos' first offensive play in last Saturday's come-from-behind 34-17 win against Nevada.
In that tilt, underrated Boise State RB Jay Ajayi busted free for a career-best 222 yards rushing but keep in mind BYU is in the top-quarter of rush defenses nationally.
Spread Note - Boise State is 25-10-1 ATS away since the start of 2008 while BYU's covered six of its last nine overall games.
On Saturday, it's ...
#12 UCLA (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) at #3 OREGON (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) - 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Gotta go all the way back to the 2007 season to discover the last time the Uclans won this head-to-head matchup - a 16-0 Bruins win back then - and the Las Vegas oddsmakers give Jim Mora's crew zero chance to pull off the upset ... or hadn't you noticed this price tag rose from 17 ½ points to 23 points faster than you could say "Quack Attack".
Okay, so everyone's quite away of Oregon QB Marcus Mariota and his dizzying stats that include 2,051 yards passing with 19 TDs and 0 INTs but have you noticed the glitzy numbers posted so far by UCLA slinger Brett Hundley?
The soph star - while leading UCLA to road wins at Nebraska and Utah - enters this Pac-12 away game with 1,661 yards passing and 13 TDs but expect the Oregon defensive game plan to bring lots of blitzes.
If Hundley can convert with some third-down runs then this one might just stay close for a while.
Spread Note - Oregon is 4-1-2 against the odds this season and 20-9-3 ATS overall since the start of the 2011 season (that's a .690 winning rate).
#21 SOUTH CAROLINA (5-2, 3-2 SEC) at #5 MISSOURI (7-0, 3-0 SEC) - 7 p.m. ET, espn2
It's not - at all - a crazy notion: The Missouri Tigers could well be standing 12-and-oh at the end of this 2013 regular season as the sked includes home games against Tennessee and Texas A&M and road games at Kentucky and Ole Miss but first things first and that means Gary Pinkel's crew must take care of business here against a South Carolina team that figures to be without gritty/gutty QB Connor Shaw (sprained left knee) but then that's only "fair" because Missouri's playing No. 2 QB Maty Mauk for an injured James Franklin (shoulder injury back on Oct. 12).
Even if the battle of the backups-turned-starters is a "wash" here in this high-profile SEC tilt, this one could be decided by what monster defender makes his presence felt more in the opponent's backfield:
Will Gamecocks' hot-and-cold DE Jadeveon Clowney finally be a full-game factor here and what about Missouri DE Michael Sam who's tied for the nation's most sacks with nine?
One X-factor ... If Carolina RB Mike Davis (879 yards rushing and a 6.7 ypc average) gets 25 touches here, the Gamecocks will win and kayo Missouri from the unbeaten ranks. Trust us!
Spread Note - South Carolina's failed to cover eight of its last 12 overall on-the-board games since last year while Mizzou is 6-1 vig-wise this season including covers against Vandy, Georgia and Florida in SEC play.