Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 12:00 AM
THE JIM SEZ WEEKEND UPDATE: NFL WEEK 2 / KEY PREVIEWS AHEAD
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Let's stay on our little topic of divisional matchups and examine some of Sunday's biggest rivalry games:
NFL WEEK 2
CAROLINA (1-0) at ATLANTA (0-1) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
The Falcons have been chomping at the bit following that sloppy 18-12 loss in Philly back on opening night (Sept. 6th) but the $64,000 question here is can this oft-dysfunctional offense get its collective act in order inside the red zone? Quarterback Matt Ryan has been beset by wildness / happy feet when h gets his troops inside the 10-yard line and do keep in mind Carolina yielded just one TD a week ago in that 16-8 triumph over Dallas - old man DE Julius Peppers still a force for the Panthers' defense.
Spread Note - Atlanta has covered eight of its last 10 home games against Carolina.
MIAMI (1-0) at NEW YORK JETS (1-0) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
If you didn't know any better, you would have thought the NY Jets just won their first Super Bowl in 50 years! Yes, rookie QB Sam Darnold (198 yards passing and two TDs in Monday's 48-17 win against 7-point favorite Detroit) was rock-solid after airing out a pick-six on his first-ever NFL pass but it was the Jet's defense / special teams that really wowed us with each unit scoring a touchdown and now here the newly-named "New Jack City" secondary must corral Miami wide out Kenny Stills who hauled in a pair of touchdowns in last week's 27-20 marathon win against Tennessee. Who knew there could be a key AFC East game not involving the New England Patriots?
Spread Note - The Dolphins are a rotten 1-6-2 ATS (against the spread) in their last nine head-to-head battles with the J-E-T-S.
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MINNESOTA (1-0) at GREEN BAY (1-0) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
"Day-to-day" is how Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy described the status of his mega-star QB Aaron Rodgers but, c'mon, would anyone out there at Lambeau Field be shocked if/when ole #12 came off the bench with his wobbly knee to direct another fourth-quarter rally here? Last week's epic comeback from a 20-0 deficit against Chicago was "Chip Hilton" stuff for you folks that grew up on those fictional sports books but the pure reality here is Minnesota brings in a fierce defense (forced four turnovers in last week's 24-16 win/cover against San Francisco) and there'll be very little wiggle room for Mr. Rodgers should he play in this key NFC North contest. Could be game-time decision - and we say Rodgers plays and Pack will be a 2- or 3-point favorite.
Spread Note - Minnesota is a solid 6-3 ATS in its last nine showdowns with rival Green Bay.
On Sunday Night, it's ...
NEW YORK GIANTS (0-1) at DALLAS (0-1) - 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Gee, we don't need the sport talk geeks in New York City and Dallas / Fort Worth telling us that the loser of this game is "in trouble" ... thanks, guys! Heck, not only are one of these teams headed to an 0-2 SU (straight-up) start but there's major concern with both offenses but for differing reasons: The Giants have a major hole (or two) along the offensive line and so giving veteran QB Eli Manning enough time to stand and deliver here could be a major problem - can't they simply rid themselves of RT Ereck Flowers already! - while the Cowboys' blocking wall remains without key C Travis Frederick (illness) and QB Dak Prescott has no reliable targets save for slot man Cole Beasley (7 catches for 73 yards in last week's aforementioned loss in Charlotte). First team to 20 wins this NFC East tilt?
Spread Note - Dallas is an ugly 2-8 versus the vig in its last 10 home openers.
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NOTE: Catch our Monday Night Football preview - that's Seattle at Chicago - plus lots more in the next edition of Jim Sez.