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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, August 13, 2018 at 12:00 AM


Okay, so what did we all learn about the National Football League's opening week of preseason play ... and what might we be looking for in Preseason Week 2 action straight ahead?

Let's face it, most of the chit-chat regarding the NFL Preseason Week 1 games revolved around quarterbacks - the new ones such as rookies Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns, Sam Darnold of the New York Jets and Josh Rosen of the Arizona Cardinals along with second-year stud Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs - and the so-called old faces in new places such as Minnesota's Kirk Cousins and Denver's Case Keenum, who just so happened to be going up one another last Saturday night when the one-point road-favored Vikings clocked the Broncos 48-28 (a Jim Hurley winner)... and so let's start there:

The aforementioned Cousins was smooth in his Minny debut as he completed 4-of-4 passing tries for 42 yards and one touchdown in that Vikings' win/cover but do keep in mind the former Washington Redskins' slinger didn't have to go against all-world pass rushing OLB Von Miller. Cousins zinged a one-yard scoring strike to WR Stefon Diggs and then afterwards admitted to media folks that the short stay in that game represented a "small sample size" but it was encouraging stuff nonetheless for a dude that inked an $84 million contract this past offseason. The Vikes have big plans with Cousins at the helm but remember last year's offense ranked 11th in the league in passing and that wasn't so bad.

Meanwhile, Keenum - the former starter at quarterback for Minnesota - didn't match that Cousins success as he threw four passes and completed just one for five yards and thereby called the experience "frustrating". Hey, Denver's current #2 guy on the depth chart - one-time first-round draftee Paxton Lynch - didn't fare a whole lot better as he completed 6-of-11 passes for only 24 yards with one interception and sure looks to us as if Lynch will be the odd man out by season's start because former Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly - albeit against second-, third- and fourth-stringers - completed 14-of-21 passes for 177 yards with two TDs and one INT and had the fans chanting "Kelly, Kelly" following a go-ahead 19-yard TD strike to RB Phillip Lindsay with 10 minutes left in the game.

Maybe the biggest irony in Minnesota's preseason win was that former Broncos' starting QB Trevor Siemian (12-of-18 passing for 163 yards with 3 TDs and 1 INTs) was so sharp for the Vikes. Siemian led Minny on three separate scoring drives and could wind up being a perfect backup to Cousins this year.

In terms of some other names mentioned:

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland - The draft's numero uno pick is getting lots of love while heading into Friday's Preseason Week 2 home tilt against Buffalo (on NFL Network) what with HBO's Hard Knocks spending mucho time on the newly-minted millionaire who's fresh off a 212-yard / two-TD showing last Thursday night in a 20-10 win at the New York Giants. Again, the word we use here is "moxie".

Sam Darnold, New York Jets - One night after Mayfield starred on the MetLife Stadium field, there was the NFL Draft's No. 3 pick looking super-sharp with 96 yards passing and one scoring strike but gotta admit that the J-E-T-S kept their prized rookie under wraps with short/safe stuff and so we'll be looking for the former USC star to "expand his horizons" with some deeper throws here in Thursday's Preseason Week 2 game at Washington.

Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals - The stat line wasn't great as the former UCLA slinger completed only 6-of-13 throws for 41 yards while playing the whole first half after the opening series in the 24-17 home win/cover against the 3-point underdog Los Angeles Chargers. Rosen didn't get helped by a pair of dropped passes and the pass protection was rather spotty but - still - Arizona coaches are gonna look for more productivity come Friday's Preseason Week 2 bash at New Orleans.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City - The Chiefs exiled past Pro Bowler Alex Smith so this former Texas Tech star could play and, truthfully, the early results were mixed as Mahomes completed 5-of-7 passes for 33 yards on two drives in KC's 17-10 home loss to 2.5-point underdog Houston. Mahomes sports the bazooka arm but the Chiefs only managed to net 29 yards in his two possessions as the Texans took away his deep-throw possibilities. We'll see if he gets to play "bombs away" in Friday's Preseason Week 2 game in Atlanta.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will go on bashing the books plenty this NFL preseason (went 5-2 on opening weekend!) with lots more winners straight ahead as this week's card starts off with three games on Thursday night featuring a "Super Bowl rematch" between Philadelphia at New England along. Plus, don't forget that Jim keeps piling up the profits with Major-League Baseball too - so go ahead and get all the NFL Preseason / MLB winners online or 1-800-323-4453.


Gonna spend the next couple of weeks getting you quick-hitter comments from 'round the NCAA Football universe and our conference-by-conference updates begins here with the Mountain West:

THE CONTENDERS - Boise State, San Diego State and Utah State. Now the $64,000 question is will any of these clubs have a bust-out / unbeaten regular season and perhaps land in a New Year's Six Bowl Game (that hasn't happened to a MWC team since 2014 when Boise State beat Arizona in a thrilling Fiesta Bowl).

THE DARK HORSE - Wyoming lost NFL first-round QB Josh Allen (Buffalo) but the Cowboys' defense is stout led by Africa's Youhanna Ghaifan at defensive tackle.

BEST PLAYER - San Diego State RB Juwan Washington figures to be the latest in the line of uber-productive backs for the Aztecs ... might he put up a 2,000-yard season just as predecessor Rashaad Penny did a year ago?

CIRCLE THE DATE - Oct. 6, San Diego State at Boise State should be a real doozy and this is major revenge for the Aztecs who lost 31-14 in their own backyard in last year's showdown.

NOTE: Lots more NFL Preseason Week 2 previews / goodies in the next Jim Sez.

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