Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 12:00 AM
THE NFL PRESEASON REPORT
BROWNS DOWN GIANTS 10-6 BUT BECKHAM'S THE NEWSMAKER (AGAIN!)
PLUS A LOOK AT THE TOP TEAMS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S PRESEASON AP TOP 25
One way or the other, it was New York Giants' WR Odell Beckham Jr. that figured to "make news" in Monday night's NFL Preseason Week 2 tilt in Cleveland:
Oh, yes, the 1.5-point underdog Browns held off the Giants 10-6 in a game that featured plenty of fourth-quarter bloopers but it was a first-half left ankle sprain suffered by Beckham (three receptions for 37 yards) that created all the buzz in a game that illustrated the G-men really still don't have a quality backup starting quarterback.
Veteran Geno Smith was horrendous in relief of Eli Manning (see near goal-line pick in the final quarter of play) while Cleveland fans might not be all that supportive (already) of QB Brock Osweiler (25 passing yards and some inaccurate tosses that caught the attention of ESPN analyst Jon Gruden).
But back to Beckham: One year after the controversial star caught 101 passes for 1,367 yards and 10 TDs, he's promised teammates/management/coaches alike that he will tone down the drama - but there was Beckham collapsing in the hallway at Browns Stadium while heading in for X-rays on the ankle and concussion protocol. Puh-leeze!
Heck, it was a bad night all around to be a Giants' pass-catcher as WR Brandon Marshall (shoulder) and Tavarres King (sprained ankle) checked out of the game prematurely and that was after Marshall "short-armed" a catchable pass from Manning and King failed to wrangle extra yards following his lone reception for seven yards.
Throw in the fact the Giants' ground game totaled just 65 yards and, well, the NFC East team wasn't feeling great after this prime-timer and now it's the proverbial short week before the annual "Snoopy Bowl" game against the talent-less New York Jets this Saturday night. Ugh!
The Browns? Well, they were happy top draftee DE Myles Garrett collected a sack and late-round RB Matt Dayes showed some shifty moves as ESPN play-by-play voice Sean McDonough practically guaranteed that he "was going to make the team". Steady there, Sean!
NFL Preseason Notes ...
Take note that through two-plus full weeks of NFL Preseason action, NFL Betting Favorites are a cumulative 13-14-2 ATS (against the spread) with a whopping Four (4) Pick 'Em games tossed into the mix. For the record, the only NFL teams to sport 2-0 ATS marks so far this summer are: Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh and Seattle.
The Jim Hurley Network is smashing all the books with the NFL Preseason Week 3 card that rolls on this Thursday-thru-Sunday with national TV tilts such as Kansas City at Seattle (that's Friday on CBS), the Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (on Saturday, CBS), the Fox double-dip on Sunday with Chicago at Tennessee (1 p.m. ET) followed by Cincinnati at Washington (4:30 p.m. ET) and then it's San Francisco at Minnesota (NBC, 8 p.m. ET). Make sure you're all aboard with Side & Totals winners as America's #1 Handicapper bangs out lots of winners in the NFL Preseason, this weekend's NCAA Football and all the daily Major-League Baseball action either right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S TOP 25 IS OUT - HERE'S CHATTER ABOUT THE BEST OF THE BUNCH
It only seems as if the Alabama Crimson Tide starts each/every single College Football season sittin' there at #1 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 - they did last year but didn't win the national championship - and so no shockeroo that 'Bama is there at #1 to start off this 2017 campaign.
Okay, it might be a bit surprising to discover that Alabama collected 52 of the possible 61 first-place votes - the country's #2, #3 and #4 teams gobbled up the rest - but Tide-haters believe that Nick Saban's crew could be bopped right out of the top spot with that season-opening game against #3 Florida State (in Atlanta).
Here's the upper crust of the preseason AP Top 25 and a quickie comment on each team (we'll touch on the others later this week here in Jim Sez):
1 - ALABAMA ... One of six SEC teams to land in preseason top 25 but QB Jalen Hurts may have to "rescue" his club if the Crimson Tide's defense falls off.
2 - OHIO STATE ... The Big 10 has just four Top 25 teams and Buckeyes are the best-balanced bunch of 'em all but they must finish the regular season at Ann Arbor, remember.
3 - FLORIDA STATE ... Better-than-you-think ACC has five teams in the top 25 mix but do these 'Noles trust QB Deondre Francois to make the big 4th-quarter play in the close ones?
4 - USC ... If you're keeping track, the Pac-12 has four Top 25 teams but Troy Boys have legit Heisman contender in kid QB Sam Darnold who is apple of every NFL team's eye and last year's momentum could help
5 - CLEMSON ... Last year's national champs will host Florida State on 11/11 and that could be "Game of the Year II" (behind Alabama-FSU, of course) and now Tigers say Kelly Bryant will inherit job from QB Deshaun Watson
6 - PENN STATE ... One-two punch of QB Trace McSorley and RB Saquon Barkley makes this most fun Nittany Lions team in decades and this Big 10 team might average better than 35 ppg
7 - OKLAHOMA ... The Bob Stoops-less Sooners are one of five Big 12 teams in this 25-squad mix and QB Baker Mayfield has designs on another NYC trip as a Heisman finalist.
8 - WASHINGTON ... The Huskies made it to the playoffs last year before getting vanquished by Alabama 24-7 in the "Peach Bowl" and word is QB Jake Browning is a lot more polished in this go-around
NOTE: Lots of NFL Preseason Week 3 goodies in the next edition of Jim Sez, so don't miss out!