Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, September 9, 2016 at 10:47 AM
THE NFL '16 SEASON IS OFF AND RUNNING - BRONCOS HANG ON FOR 21-20 WIN AGAINST THE PANTHERS AS CAROLINA'S QB NEWTON TAKES A BEATIN'
COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S WEEKEND MENU: LET'S REV UP THE ENGINES FOR VIRGINIA TECH-TENNESSEE
Let's just say the Carolina Panthers would have preferred not to hit the "rewind button" when it came to last night's 21-20 loss to the 3-point home underdog Denver Broncos ... at least Ron Rivera's crew is comforted by the fact that someone not named Denver is up next on the sked (see a Week 2 game at home versus San Francisco).
Last year a Super Bowl loss to the Broncos, this time a terribly frustrating one-point loss in which defending NFL MVP Cam Newton was battered from head-to-toe and that may be the single-biggest part of this "L" for the Panthers ... will Newton be A-OK after getting sacked three times and hit hard all night long? Time will tell, right, but Cam kept his cool in the post-game presser until finally walking out on the media ... again!
In any event, the Panthers lost a season-opening game in which they faced a novice QB as Trevor Siemian's 178 passing yards was solid stuff but the kid still needs lots of polish, they won the turnover battle 3-to-1 and kept Super Bowl MVP Von Miller to a mere one sack - yup, that's a discouraging way to start the year.
In other NFL Week 1 games on Sunday, it's ...
CINCINNATI at NEW YORK JETS - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The visiting Bengals won't have injured TE Tyler Eifert (ankle) or crazed LB Vontaze Burfict (suspension) but the Vegas hot-shots still have 'em as 2.5-point favorites here against a J-E-T-S bunch that's without DL Sheldon Richardson (one-game suspension) - maybe it's worth mentioning that Cincinnati went 8-and-oh against the odds on the road a year ago while NYJ is 6-11-3 ATS (against the spread) in non-divisional games the past two years.
DETROIT at INDIANAPOLIS - 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
If Lions' third-year head coach Jim Caldwell wants his return to Indy to be a sweet success than someone's gonna have to step into the retired shoes of WR Calvin Johnson - and WR Golden Tate (ankle) is far from 100 percent and TE Eric Ebron (ankle) must be a red-zone warrior and that hasn't been the case in his pro career. Pointspread goody when it comes to the Colts: They are an electric 22-10-2 spreadwise as hosts since the start of the 2012 season.
We started the NFL season winning with the Broncos outright, and there's plenty of NCAA Football, NFL Week 1 and Major-League Baseball winners this weekend and all you need to do is check in right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight action and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday. Sign up today either here online or at the 800# and we'll offer you a great discount price!
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On Saturday, it's ...
VIRGINIA TECH (1-0) vs. #17 TENNESSEE (1-0) -- (at Bristol Motor Speedway), 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Va-room! Crank up the engines for the marquee matchup of this college gridiron weekend and don't be shocked if there's in excess of 150,000 fans at "The Battle at Bristol" but sort through the crowd noise (and the leftover exhaust fumes too) and consider that both of these teams looked less than ordinary in snagging wins last weekend. Hey, Tennessee's well-documented 20-13 overtime non-cover win against 22-point dog Appalachian State had several shaky moments for QB Joshua Dobbs who must be a stat-sheet stuffer here (and we mean 200-plus passing yards and close to 100 rushing yards on his own). The Techsters, meanwhile, lost four fumbles in its season-opening 36-13 non-cover win against Liberty - one reason why Tennessee's moved up from a 10- to 11.5-point betting fav here.
Spread Notes - Tennessee is just 13-18 ATS when playing non-SEC foes while dating back to the start of the 2008 season; Virginia Tech's covered eight of its last dozen games as underdog sides.
ARKANSAS (1-0) at #15 TCU (1-0) - 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Old pals from the Southwest Conference - remember that one, kiddies? - renew acquaintances here in Fort Worth where it's Texas A&M transfer QB Kenny Hill who accounted for five TDs and 439 passing yards in last week's 59-41 non-cover win against South Dakota State (Hill also threw INTs on back-to-back passes at one point). Game plan for the brutish Hogs is simple: Control the ground game/clock and hope RB Rawleigh Williams III can smash a TCU defense that could be tissue-paper thin this year.
Spread Notes - Since the start of the 2104 season, TCU's 9-3 ATS when in the favorite's role while Arkansas has failed to cover its last five consecutive away openers.
TEXAS TECH (1-0) at ARIZONA STATE (1-0) - 10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Here's a hidden gem on this second Saturday of the '16 college football season - and a game Jim Hurley and his staff has been eyeballing all week long - and it could well be a last-score-wins tilt in the desert where the current totals price is 79.5 points ... yow!
Texas Tech slinger Patrick Mahomes II threw for 483 yards and 4 TDs in last week's scrimmage-like 69-17 win/cover versus Stephen F. Austin but you better believe he could find his way onto that Heisman Trophy wish list with a big stat game here.
Spread Notes - The A-State Sun Devils have covered 15 of their last 25 home games since the start of 2012 while Texas Tech enters this clash having covered eight of its last nine road openers and that includes the 35-24 upset win at 10-point fav Arkansas last season.
NOTE: Get more NFL Week 1 Previews including the Sunday Night game between the New England Patriots at the Arizona Cardinals in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez.