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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, August 8, 2014 at 12:00 AM



By Jim Hurley

Do we look surprised, ‘cause we are!

Okay, so the NFL Preseason Week 1 card swung into action on Thursday night with six games from coast-to-coast and we had to rub our eyes to see if what we were seeing was true—there was Denver QB Peyton Manning playing into the third quarter in the “Super Bowl rematch” game against Seattle and what about the fact Seahawks QB Russell Wilson played deep into the second quarter of that same tilt?

We saw it with New York Giants slinger Eli Manning who played beyond the first quarter in last weekend’s Hall of Fame Game win against Buffalo and so maybe it’s all the craze early in the preseason—more star quarterbacks playing beyond a single series (although we did also have a fair share of one-and-dones such as Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck and note New England QB Tom Brady didn’t even dress for the Patriots in their 23-6 loss at 2½-point favorite Washington).

In any event, you have been forewarned that there could be more playing time than you might think for star QBs in these Preseason Week 1 games, so pay attention!

Now here’s an Important Note…

Folks, Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers want to welcome you to the start of the 2014 Football Season.

It all began with Sunday’s annual Hall of Fame Game between the Giants versus the Bills but remember now there’s another four weeks of money-making NFL Preseason Games that get revved up beginning tonight with six games on the docket plus the College Football campaign swings into high gear later in the month with a full weekend card scheduled for Thursday, August 28th through Monday, September 1st.

Also, take note that America’s #1 Handicapper continues to bang out lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online at or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners and get all the Football & Baseball winners … can’t beat that, right?

The NFL Preseason, the start of the College Football year and Baseball action too -- always a major money-making time of the year for the Jim Hurley Network!

On Saturday night in NFL Preseason Week 1 action, it’s…

Can’t have any sort of Cleveland Browns game preview without mentioning rookie QB Johnny Manziel… right?

Well, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner will indeed begin this game on the bench as Brian Hoyer gets the start for rookie head coach Mike Pettine’s club—the coach told media folks this week that Manziel will start next week’s Preseason game against Washington—but here Hoyer has a shot to open some eyes against a Lions defense that last year ranked 23rd against the pass (allowed 246.9 yards per game) and just 28th in sacks (with 33).

Note that Detroit has listed rookie TE Eric Ebron (North Carolina) as “questionable” for this bash with an undisclosed injury but even before this announcement there was Ebron looking awful in camp with a slew of dropped passes, incorrectly wrong routes and failure to line up right in many plays.
Not really what an NFL team wants with its first-round draft pick, eh?

It’s been an emotional week in Giants camp as popular RB David Wilson was forced to announce his retirement after his most recent neck-related/spinal injuries but there were some good moments that NYG liked about last weekend’s 17-13 Hall of Fame Game win against Buffalo such as the fact rookie RB Andre Williams (five carries for 37 yards including an impressive 21-yard dash) looked really sharp.

Meanwhile, in this preseason debut game for the Steelers, they’ll be keeping a close eye this entire summer on RB Le’Veon Bell who trimmed down from 244 pounds to 232 pounds this past offseason—you might see Bell get a handful of first-quarter carries here as he challenges a reshaped Giants defense that last year ranked only 25th in the NFL with its 34 sacks.

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The Packers —who last year ranked sixth in the league in passing (266.8 yards per game) despite the fact star QB Aaron Rodgers missed seven games with a broken collarbone—have some early-camp issues as WR Randall Cobb has been virtually invisible and one media report claimed Cobb (31 catches last year after missing a ton of action with a fractured leg) “hasn’t stood out” so far while opposite WR Jordy Nelson has been sharp.

Tennessee, meanwhile, is hinting that its running back spot is up for grabs with a seemingly three-headed duel going on this summer that includes Shonn Greene (the listed starter here), Dexter McCluster and rookie Bishop Sankey (Washington). The post-Chris Johnson Era could get messy in the Titans’ backfield if someone doesn’t put a chokehold on the position sometime this month.

Don’t look for second-year S Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu to be on the field this week or next week for the Cardinals—Mathieu is dealing with a knee injury from a year ago that’s been keeping him off the practice field and will continue to do so for the next several days.

Note that Houston—fresh off last year’s humbling/bumbling 2-14 SU (straight-up) season that included a 14-game losing skid to close out the 2013 campaign—will play here without top RB Arian Foster (hamstring) and WR Andre Johnson (hamstring) but first-year head coach Bill O’Brien has claimed neither injury is serious and both players will get their needed reps in practices.

One guy to watch for here on the Texans is second-year WR DeAndre Hopkins who has been a veritable vacuum while catching everything in sight in practice and it’ll be fun to watch Hopkins duel Arizona CB Patrick Peterson for a few plays in this Saturday night tussle in the desert.


Well, well.

The Detroit Tigers take their high-powered starting rotation—featuring the last three American League Cy Young winners in Max Scherzer, David Price and Justin Verlander plus 2014 AL All-Star Rick Porcello—and they still wind up losing three-of-four games to the injury-ravaged New York Yankees.

So, maybe there is “something missing” when it comes to this Motown bunch but first note that rookie manager Brad Ausmus elected to sit both 1B Miguel Cabrera and DH Victor Martinez on the same day and so should anyone really have been surprised that the Tigers lost Thursday afternoon’s game 1-0 at Yankee Stadium?

The fact of the matter is the Tigers scored a grand total of six runs in that four-game set in The Bronx and so it’s not as if the presence of the great Cabrera and V. Martinez meant all that much in the first three games of the series, right? Maybe the trade that imported Price from Tampa Bay and sent CF Austin Jackson to Detroit hurt Detroit a little more than it cares to admit…

Okay, so the Chicago Cubs’ rain-delayed 6-2 win at Colorado yesterday afternoon may well have been the most meaningless game on the MLB docket but better believe heads were turning to watch new Cubs 2B Javier Baez who whacked a pair of home runs and finished 3-for-4 with four RBI in just his third MLB game.

Baez already has three dingers and is hitting a healthy .286 after less than a full week in the bigs and so now you know why the Cubbies traded away Darwin Barney to the Los Angeles Dodgers a couple of weeks ago. We say Baez will be the National League’s All-Star starting second baseman next year, you’ll see.

NOTE: We’ve got lots of NFL Preseason Week 1 recaps and reviews in the next edition of Jim Sez.

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