Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 11:31 AM
GET YOUR RED-HOT NFL PRESEASON WEEK 3 PREVIEWS/COMMENTS AS WE GET YOU STARTED
WITH THURSDAY'S GAMES -- THAT'S THE FALCONS-DOLPHINS ON NBC AND COWBOYS-SEAHAWKS ON NFL NETWORK ...
PLUS OUR JIM SEZ COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONFERENCE-BY-CONFERENCE GLANCES - HERE WE CHECK OUT THE ACC & SUN BELT
Okay, so we're allowed to "plagiarize" if it happens to be what we said here at Jim Sez one year ago at this very time ... so here goes:
"The NFL's Preseason Week 3 games have long been called "dress rehearsals": Starters -- or "ones" -- tend to play at least a half and coaches take one really last long look before eventually slicing down a team's roster to 53 players just prior to the start of regular-season play (everyone knows the Preseason Week 4 games next week are nothing more than glorified scrimmages)."
But is there anything else of major interest we all should be watching as these NFL Preseason Week 3 games swing into high gear on Thursday night with tilts from Miami and Seattle (see previews/comments below)?
You better believe there is!
On Thursday, it's ...
ATLANTA (2-0) at MIAMI (1-1) - 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Talk about dress rehearsals - the Fish were dressed down to the tune of 41-14 last week at Dallas as the much-hyped defensive line starring Ndamukong Suh and Mario Williams were MIA as Miami surrendered 433 offensive yards and now the talk is DE Cameron Wake (Achilles) will be a game-time decision for this national TV bash ... let's see if the Miami D-line "cares" here against a Falcons' offense that figures to go deep into the third quarter with starting QB Matt Ryan (6-of-11 for 78 yards passing in last week's 24-13 win/cover in Cleveland) and note that Atlanta has a spirited battle for Ryan's backup with vet Matt Schaub and youthful Matt Simms looking to prove their individual cases here.
Current Line: Dolphins (- 2.5) and 43.5 points
DALLAS (1-1) at SEATTLE (1-1) - 10 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Loved the commentary on one of the web sites that called for just "limited seating remaining for the Dak Prescott Hall of Fame train" ... very funny!
The truth is Prescott's been the biggest summertime star in the league where they play for pay - he's completed 22-of-27 pass attempts for 338 yards with four touchdowns plus he has rushed for a pair of scores in Cowboys' pointspread wins against Los Angeles and Miami. Obviously, Prescott will start this tilt on the bench as Tony Romo starts but he won't have favorite target WR Dez Bryant (concussion) here.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks say RB Thomas Rawls (ankle) will be ready for the regular season but head coach Pete Carroll won't play 'em here and so that means RB Christine Michael gets the lion's share of carries in this one ... don't be surprised if Seattle spends a major portion of its time running the ball while giving QB Russell Wilson a bit of a break.
Current Line: Seahawks (- 6) and 44.5 points
Yes, the NFL Preseason Week 3 card rolls on this Thursday-thru-Sunday with national TV tilts such as Atlanta at Miami, Cleveland at Tampa Bay (Friday on CBS), New York Giants at New York Jets (one of six games on Saturday) and that Sunday tripleheader (a Fox twin-bill beginning at 1 p.m. ET and Cincinnati at Jacksonville at night-time on NBC). As you well know, the College Football 2016 campaign swings into high gear this Friday when California battles Hawaii in Sydney, Australia (10 p.m. ET kickoff) and then there's a full week/weekend card scheduled for Thursday, September 1st and going right through Labor Day.
Folks, you definitely want to be in the winner's circle for all the big opening-week tilts such as #2 Clemson versus Auburn, #5 LSU versus Wisconsin, #3 Oklahoma vs. #15 Houston and #1 Alabama vs. #20 Houston - all of these games are on Sept. 3rd and there's plenty of exciting tilts before and after that key football Saturday. Take note that Jim Hurley -- America's #1 Handicapper - also continues to bang out lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do to win in the NFL Preseason, NCAA Football and MLB is to check in either right here online 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 ... can't beat that, right?
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK
Our Jim Sez conference-by-conference look at this upcoming 2016 season rolls on with two-for-the-price-of-one: First, it's the ACC and then it's the 11-member Sun Belt Conference:
THE FAVORITE - Clemson
Last year's national championship runners-up have the Heisman Trophy favorite (see QB Deshaun Watson) on their side plus the defense is better than advertised led by LB Ben Boulware but Dabo Swinney's squad may have to win that game in Tallahassee on Oct. 29th to cop the Atlantic Division again.
THE DARK HORSE - Louisville
No secret that QB Lamar Jackson will be a stat-sheet stuffer this year once he gets to start from the get-go plus the 'Ville has loads of speedy guys and OLB Devonte Fields (10.5 sacks and 22 tackles for losses last year) could be a first-team All-America if he shines versus Clemson and FSU.
COACH ON THE HOT SEAT - Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson has lots to fix after last year's Yellow Jackets finished 3-9 and thus ended an 18-year bowl run for the school.
GAME OF THE YEAR - Yup, it's that above-mentioned Clemson at Florida State battle royal just two days before Halloween.
THE SUN BELT
THE FAVORITE - Appalachian State
Quarterback Taylor Lamb (31 TDs and just 9 INTs last year) leads a Mountaineers team that could make it back-to-back double-digit win seasons and this Boone (NC) bunch has a top-flight back in RB Marcus Cox who rushed for 162 yards in a Camellia Bowl win against Ohio last December.
THE DARK HORSE/SLEEPER - Idaho
Classy slinger Matt Linehan - yes, the son of Dallas Cowboys OC Scott Linehan - is good to go following a 2015 foot injury and he could be a true star this year.
GAME OF THE YEAR - Oct. 27
It's Appalachian State at Georgia Southern and remember the home team - generally considered to be the second-best team in the SBC - has revenge following last year's 31-13 "App State" win.
NOTE: More NFL Preseason News/Notes in tomorrow's Jim Sez.