Sunday Preseason Week 2 Game Previews + Friday Night Review (August 18, 2013)

WEEKEND UPDATE: WE PREVIEW SUNDAY NIGHT'S COLTS-GIANTS CLASH AT THE SITE OF SUPER BOWL XLVIII IN NEW JOISEY

PLUS THERE'S FRIDAY NIGHT POST-GAME NOTES FROM BOTH FOXBORO AND KANSAS CITY

By Jim Hurley

Ohh, about that Tom Brady knee injury:

The three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the New England Patriots not only got on the field for Friday night's NFL Preseason Week 2 home tilt against the 3-point underdog Tampa Bay Bucs, but he wound up - surprise, surprise - playing the star role as he completed 11 consecutive passes following a first-pass incompletion, and so his two-game stats through these exhibition games now read 18 completions in 20 pass attempts for 172 yards.

Ho-hum, right?

Now that ought to be an end to any/all talk that Brady would not "be himself"two days after suffering a right knee sprain on a freaky practice play where OT Nate Solder was pushed back deep into the pocket by Tampa Bay DL Adam Clayborn, who was starting to rival New York Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez as the biggest "public enemies"in/around the Boston area.

Brady was mum to the media following the Patriots' 25-21 win, but his play said plenty and how about the instant success he's met up with when it comes to new WR Danny Amendola (six catches for 71 yards including a 26-yard TD pass from Brady that capped a 15-play, 80-yard scoring drive in the first quarter)?

Right, Wes Welker... who?

One other key item from New England's second win in as many exhibition games:

The pass rush was superb as the Patriots sacked Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman three times in his first eight snaps from center - two of the sacks registered by ever-active LB Brandon Spikes.

No doubt that Brady's health and well-being was the biggest football story the past 48-or-so hours, but if you'd like to think the Pats have a legit shot at getting to Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey come February, then the defense better show up each and every week.

Meanwhile, in Friday's 15-13 come-from-behind win by the San Francisco 49ers at 3-point favorite Kansas City, all eyes were on just how Chiefs QB Alex Smith - the former Niners slinger - would fare in this game against his former mates.

Well, Smith sure spent a whole lot of time running for his life as he finished 7-of-16 passing for 62 yards as he played the entire first half and wound up getting whacked, bloodied and banged around for much of the time. Hey, hope they can get all those grass stains out of his uniform!

Maybe new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid had to see it for himself - how would Smith stand up to a relentless pass rush that pushed the Chiefs' wobbly offensive line backwards all night long? But, Smith held tough even after a helmet-to-helmet blow that cost Niners' DT Tony Jerod-Eddie a 15-yard personal foul penalty.

As it turned out, the lone Chiefs' TD came via a thrilling 104-yard kickoff return by Quintin Demps, as otherwise KC scored on PK Ryan Succop field goals from 47 and 23 yards out. It was tough to ignore the fact that Kansas City totaled just 170 offensive yards - yes, against a strong Niners first-string defense for much of the first half, but Reid, Smith and that above-mentioned O-line all have to get back to that drawing board immediately.

Finally, one cool stat from this 49ers win: The defending NFC champions rushed for an eye-popping 160 yards (while averaging 4.3 yards a pop) and didn't lose a single fumble on some 37 carries. Now that type of ball security will have never-happy head coach Jim Harbaugh pleased for a day or so... right?

And now hear this...

My veteran Handicappers and Bloggers and I will bring you a bunch of summertime winners with NFL Preseason Sides & Totals Winners now and through the next three weeks.

Remember there's NFL Preseason Week 2 games all weekend long continuing with six gridiron games on Saturday, and then those "stand-alone"single games Sunday evening (that's Indianapolis at the New York Giants on Fox - see our quickie preview below) and Monday Night (that's Pittsburgh at Washington on ESPN).

So make sure you hook up with me, Jim Hurley -- America's #1 Handicapper who comes off a sizzling 6-2 Preseason Week 1 spate of games that included pointspread wins by Detroit over the New York Jets and Carolina over Chicago.

Plus make sure you cash in with loads of Major-League Baseball Winners, too, as we've been raging hot ever since last month's All-Star Game.

Check with us right here online at www.jimhurley.com or call toll-free telephone at 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight NFL and MLB action, after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday Baseball games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Football/Baseball Winners.

Got it?

Onto NFL Preseason Week 2 action on Sunday:

INDIANAPOLIS (0-1) at NEW YORK GIANTS (1-0) - 7 p.m. ET, Fox

If you were listening to all the pre-August buzz, then you know the Indianapolis Colts were a major vogue pick to get to this year's Super Bowl that just so happens to be scheduled for February 2, 2014 right here at MetLife Stadium.

Let's just say the "buzz"was toned down quite a bit following on the heels of last Sunday's 44-20 home loss to the Buffalo Bills:

Okay, so we're only talking about one single/solitary preseason game, but there were a few glaring problems such as second-year QB Andrew Luck getting sacked, the mainly second-string defense allowing a Bills' two-minute drive at the end of the first half to go for a touchdown, and let's not forget Indy converted just 3-of-13 third-down plays and had a pair of passes picked off too.

No wonder Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay had plenty of Twitter material following that game, and we'll see if the Colts show a bit more urgency here against a Giants team that suffered a huge scare this past week when S Antrel Rolle injured his ankle on a "jump-ball"type play with teammate TE Bear Pascoe.

Okay, so Rolle wore a walking boot for one day and then discarded that - "Boots are for wimps, man!"exclaimed the always-chatty Rolle - and while that right ankle heals and Rolle sits here, the Jints are extremely interested in seeing what WR Hakeem Nicks can give 'em in a quarter-or-so of action here.

Remember that the oft-injured Nicks - currently coming off a groin injury - is expected to play here (he could go for close to a half) and we'll see what sort of chemistry he has with QB Eli Manning, who certainly knows his other receivers were not always on the "same page"with him in last weekend's 18-13 win in Pittsburgh, save for that catchy 57-yard TD score with WR Victor Cruz.

Hey, it could be high time to see if WR folks such as Ramses Barden and/or Jerrel Jeringan are gonna be a part of this team's future or not!

P.S., maybe there isn't such great heat on two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Tom Coughlin of the Giants - note that in a New York City tabloid last weekend it was "announced"that Coughlin could coach the Giants for as long as he likes and he is 67 years old right now - but the detail-oriented boss-man was not always thrilled with the effort level of this team last year and now we'll see how far he pushes 'em here in the team's preseason home opener.

NOTE: Get our key NFL Preseason Week 2 wrap-ups in the next edition of "Jim Sez", plus we'll bring you a quick-hitter preview of Monday's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Washington Redskins.

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