Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 8:48 AM
You want instant parity in the NFL? You got it!
Okay, so we're probably not the first guys to point this out but while heading into NFL Week 3 action there are 20 teams in the league where they play for pay that sport 1-1 SU (straight-up) records - that's nearly 63 percent of the teams with break-even marks and what really would be fun stuff would be predicting which team(s) will stay unbeaten the longest this year:
Will that be the mighty San Francisco 49ers who already have chewed up and spit out a pair of 2011 playoff teams (see Green Bay and Detroit) and now look to bum-rush yet another NFC North crew this weekend in Minnesota?
Or perhaps the under-the-radar San Diego Chargers will stay unbeaten for a while longer as Norv Turner's team hosts what could be a travel-weary Atlanta Falcons club this Sunday on the left coast?
And what about those Philadelphia Eagles who've managed a pair of one-point wins right out of the 2012 starting gate? Is Andy Reid's up for the challenge this Sunday at 2-and-oh Arizona?
Lots more NFL goodies in the comin' days but our jam-packed Jim Sez Mid-Week Update gets rollin' with the Thursday Night Game, so here goes:
NFL THURSDAY NIGHT PREVIEW
NEW YORK GIANTS (1-1) at CAROLINA (1-1) - 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Wonder if the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants have been practicing their "victory formation" the past couple of days!
The hub-bub surrounding last Sunday's 41-34 win against Tampa Bay that featured a post-game scream-a-thon by Giants coach Tom Coughlin directed at first-year Bucs boss Greg Schiano grabbed up all the headlines in the New York City tabloids this week but what really was newsworthy from that clash was the NYG secondary continues to get toasted for big plays and that superior Giants pass rush only chalked up a pair of sacks in that tilt - if the likes of DL Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora don't get to elusive Carolina QB Cam Newton here, than the home folks could be doing their own victory formation at game's end.
Take note that Newton - who threw for 253 yards in addition to his career-best 71 yards rushing last week - now may actually have two favorite receivers as WR Brandon LaFell nabbed six balls worth 90 yards to go along with WR Steve Smith's 2-reception, 104-yard game in that 35-27 highly-emotional win against New Orleans.
Is this a pick-your-poison deal for the Giants? Hmmm.
Meanwhile, Giants QB Eli Manning rebounded from his 3-INT first half against the Bucs to throw for 510 yards last weekend and he was razor-sharp on deep pass plays to WRs Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and ditto on that 33-yard fourth-quarter scoring strike to TE Martellus Bennett.
Still, Manning can't afford a sluggish start here - and especially if those Giants pass rushers are not producing sacks/hurries of Mr. Newton.
Spread Notes - The NY Giants ended last year's Super Bowl run on a six-game season-ending spread winning streak but so far this here-and-now Jints team is 0-2 against the number with pointspread setbacks versus Dallas and Tampa Bay. Note that the G-men are 38-18 ATS (against the spread) away since the start of the 2006 season. On the flip side, Carolina has split its first two spread verdicts this year and the Panthers are a tidy 7-3 vig-wise at home since late in the 2010 campaign.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have all the NFL Week 3 winners beginning with the Giants-Panthers tilt on Thursday Night plus there are loads of NCAA Football and Major-League Baseball winners straight ahead too -- so go ahead and climb aboard right now with America's #1 Handicapper! Make sure to get all this week's key gridiron games! Check in with us on Game Days either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the winners.
NCAA FOOTBALL NEWS & NOTES
On Thursday Night, it's ...BYU (2-1) at #24 BOISE STATE (1-1) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Don't know if you happened to stay up till 2 a.m. last Saturday night to watch the end of that wild BYU-Utah clash but the Cougars actually had three chances late to win - including a field-goal try that clanked off the goal post after a silly penalty on the Utah crowd for storming the field - and so wonder what's left in the proverbial gas tank for Bronco Mendenhall's team here.
True, BYU is averaging close to 425 offensive yards a game this season and lefty QB Riley Nelson (5 TDs and 2 INTs this year) is a never-say-die character but here's short week plus travel for BYU while Boise State barely broke a sweat in last Saturday's 39-12 win against three-TD dog Miami-Ohio.
The Broncos have discovered a new star running back in D.J. Harper (see 162 yards rushing and three TDs last week) and the old gray-tooth was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the good NCAA folks and he should be kept quite busy here.
Spread Notes - Boise State rolls into this prime-time clash having already covered season-starting games against Michigan State and Miami-Ohio but did you realize the Broncos are 4-11 versus the vig on the home blue turf while dating back to late in the 2009 season? Meanwhile, BYU has failed to cover two of its first three games this season with a cover against Washington State followed by back-to-back spread losses to Weber State and Utah. Overall, the Coogs are a perfect 7-0 spreadwise as dogs since midway of the 2010 campaign. The last time these clubs collided was back in the 2004 season when 22-point home fav Boise State barely escaped with a 28-27 non-cover victory.
In other NCAA News/Notes ...
Count 'em up ... there's four games matching ranked teams this Saturday -- #18 Michigan at #11 Notre Dame, #15 Kansas State at #6 Oklahoma, #22 Arizona at #3 Oregon and last but not least there's #10 Clemson at #4 Florida State.
It's worth noting that home sides have won five in a row and nine of the last 10 games in this ACC rivalry between the Tigers and Seminoles - remember when it used to be called the "Bowden Bowl" back in the day? -- but if two-TD dog Clemson is gonna find a way to win in Tallahassee for the first time since 2006 than a rush defense that ranks just 81st in the nation (allowing 181 yards a game) better step it up 'cause now Florida State has a couple of ground-busting backs that must be eyeballed closely including James Wilder Jr. who's already scored four touchdowns on the young year ...
Finally, no national rankings attached here but pay close attention to this Saturday's showdown between Utah at Arizona State.
Both of these teams could well be on the brink of a big year and Utah - now with Jon Hays back under center following the "retirement" of Jordan Wynn - is quite capable of big things in the Pac-12. If the TD-underdog Utes are gonna pull off the upset in Tempe this Saturday night than Hays must chuck some deep balls to WRs Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott ... stay tuned!
NOTE: Get more NCAA Football Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.