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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 1:18 PM



Folks, we usually don't start attaching a "must-win" label to any pro football game until we get to NFL Week 3 play - and take note that for many, many years here at the Jim Hurley Network we've liked to side with what we consider "good teams" plus points when they head into a Week 3 sked without yet cracking the "W" column.

So, not about to believe that any of these NFL Week 2 games are "must win" situations just yet but it is funny that Thursday's prime-time tilt between the Houston Texans at the Cincinnati Bengals is just one of four games on the card matching up two teams that lost in their season opener. We'll get you a quick-hitter Texans vs. Bengals preview in a second but first this key reminder ...

The Jim Hurley Network is just starting to heat up and we'll have NFL Week 2 Sides & Totals winners beginning Thursday night when the Houston Texans play at the Cincinnati Bengals plus get all of Sunday/Monday action too right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 on game days. There's a slew of great College Football Games this week including some Thursday/Friday tilts ... and note Saturday's menu features #23 Tennessee at #24 Florida and the real biggie - that's #3 Clemson at #14 Louisville. Plus get the Major-League Baseball down-the-stretch winners too before we get to what's gonna be another thrilling post-season!
On Thursday, it's ...HOUSTON (0-1) at CINCINNATI (0-1) - 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Forgive the Texans if they were not all that sharp in last Sunday's 29-7 home loss to the 6-point underdog Jacksonville Jaguars - sure, by now everyone's sounded off regarding the woeful Houston offensive line (the play at left tackle was about as bad as it gets!) as QBs Tom Savage and rookie Deshaun Watson were sacked a grand total of 10 times. But the whole Hurricane Harvey disaster was playing on the Texans' collective minds - maybe now that Bill O'Brien's club is on the road here it will actually work to a potential "advantage" here and maybe the move to start the more mobile Watson will be a plus too. Stay tuned!

On the flip side, Cincinnati was the league's only team to get shut out in Week 1 as the Bengals fired blanks in a 20-0 home loss versus Baltimore in which Cincy QB Andy Dalton aired four INTs and wound up with a putrid 28.4 QB Rating. Gut feeling is the Bengals will have Dalton throw lots of screens and dump-offs (if nothing else to give the rattled vet some confidence in his completion rate) and let's now see if RBs Giovanni Bernard and rookie Joe Mixon and friends can get moving in "space" beyond the Texans' hurtin' linebackers.
Spread Stats - Cincinnati registered a shoddy 3-6-1 ATS (against the spread) mark in non-AFC North games last year; Houston is a crummy 10-18-1 vig-wise as underdog sides in the O'Brien Era that began in 2014.

As far as those other NFL Week 2 games between winless teams this Sunday ...

ARIZONA at INDIANAPOLIS - Will the Colts have a "quick hook" here for veteran QB Scott Tolzien who managed to get his fantasy owners all of 1 point in last week's 46-9 loss at the Los Angeles Rams?

NEW ENGLAND at NEW ORLEANS - Extra prep time for Pats after losing to Kansas City last Thursday night; a shortened work week here for the Saints who come off sluggish MNF showing in Minnesota ... so is the pointspread right on here at New England minus 6.5 points? Good question ... we're still studying!

SAN FRANCISCO at SEATTLE - The Seahawks better stop griping about the officiating in last week's 17-9 loss in Green Bay and get their minds right here as near two-TD betting favorites. Can Seattle's loud-mouth DL Michael Bennett not jump offside on just about every other play!


You know the deal when it comes to College Football - you look up and teams have played a handful of games already and you're just noticing who's really "sneaky good" out there. Okay, so right now most teams 'round the land have played just a couple of games but we wanted to beat the holiday rush and let you know a couple of teams to keep an eye out for that's not named Oklahoma, Alabama, USC or Clemson:

DUKE - The Blue Devils had their four-year bowl streak short-circuited last year and nary a word was said about this club in the lead-up to the 2017 season but David Cutcliffe's crew is solid (2-0 SU/ATS so far) and last weekend's 41-17 blowout over 1.5-point fav Northwestern showed this Duke "D" was special with four sacks of ' Cats QB Clayton Thorson. Next Up: The Dookies are home to two-TD pup Baylor, Saturday at noon ET.

PURDUE - Don't tell us you thought this under-construction Boilermakers' bunch was gonna be any good after going a composite 9-39 SU the past four years. New head coach Jeff Brohm is working hard on "changing the culture" here in West Lafayette and so far the 'Makers gave 26.5-point favorite Louisville all it could handle in a season-opening 35-28 non-cover win for the U of L Cards and then last Friday night there was Purdue absolutely pummeling 3-point dog Ohio 44-21. Note that Purdue cranked out 558 offensive yards in that night-time rout. Next Up: Purdue is a 7-point dog at Missouri on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

In other College Football Notes ...

Is anyone off to a worst start to a season than these Baylor Bears? The once-upon-a-time national powerhouse has been beaten outright back-to-back by 34-point dog Liberty and 11.5-point pup UT-San Antonio and first-year head coach/former Temple boss Matt Rhule is already hearing some blistering criticism ...

Finally, with all the early-season debate regarding reigning Heisman Trophy winner Louisville QB Lamar Jackson and whether or not he was "respected" in the run-up to this here-and-now season, we wonder if Jackson (771 yards passing with 5 TDs plus 239 rushing yards with 3 TDs so far in '17) has a bust-out game in prime time versus Clemson then will anyone catch 'em this time? Last year Jackson started uber-fast and then bogged down late. Maybe he'll find a similar script to a second straight Heisman award. Yup, he's ahead in our "poll" so far.


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