Saturday's NFL Preseason Previews

JIM HURLEY AND HIS NETWORK SWEEP THURSDAY'S PRESEASON GAMES!  LIONS (-2) AND PANTHERS (+3) BOTH WIN OUTRIGHT! PASSED ON FRIDAY FOOTBALL.

EXTRA, EXTRA ...IT'S TIME TO GRAB A GRIDIRON GLANCE AT A BUNCH OF NFL PRESEASON WEEK 3 SATURDAY TILTS

By Jim Hurley:

This is it.

It's the last of the NFL preseason games that truly amounts to anything in terms of examining personnel and fine-tuning one's roster.

The 16 preseason games that will go come Thursday (August 29th) star mainly backups and guys that simply ain't gonna make the final cuts and so this is when/where you tune in as more starting quarterbacks will be going deep in Preseason Week 3 games and more NFL head coaches - especially the young ones and the folks considered on the proverbial "hot seat" - will care about that final score.

We'll get you to a batch of NFL Preseason 3 games that will be played on this next-to-last Saturday in August but first this key reminder ...

Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers will bring all the summertime winners with NFL Preseason Sides & Totals Winners now through these next couple of weeks.

There's NFL Preseason Week 3 games all week/weekend long including a double-dip on this Friday night featuring the CBS game between the Seattle Seahawks at the Green Bay Packers (8 p.m. ET on CBS).

Then there's 10 games on this Saturday's menu including St. Louis at Denver on CBS along with Cincinnati at Dallas, Cleveland at Indianapolis and the annual Big Apple battle between the New York Jets vs. the New York Giants - and then there's another pair of tilts on Sunday including matinee action between New Orleans at Houston and then it's Minnesota at San Francisco on NBC in prime time - so make sure you're part of all the winning ways!

Plus cash in with loads of Major-League Baseball Winners too as we've been banging out lots of "W's" in recent weeks as we head to the home stretch of this 2013 MLB season.

Check with us right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 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.

NFL PRESEASON WEEK 3 PREVIEWS/NEWS/NOTES
On Saturday, it's ...

BUFFALO (2-0) at WASHINGTON (2-0) - 4:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network
If you caught the Steelers-Redskins game this past Monday Night, than you know that Washington QB Robert Griffin III - who didn't play a single down even though he was in uniform - still got more "air time" than anyone in the building.

The ESPN cameras stayed glued to the thrill-a-minute 'Skins star and he even did a quickie interview with roving sideline gal Lisa Salters.

Hey, go ahead and get used to more of the same in this late-afternoon bash at FedEx Field 'cause Griffin - whether he likes it or not - is gonna sit here and so you'll be seeing a whole lot of one-time Super Bowl QB Rex Grossman who completed 10-of-16 passes for 133 yards with one touchdown and one interception in that 24-13 win/cover against the Steelers.

Grossman - as you know - got lots of action there because second-string QB Kirk Cousins suffered a sprained right foot on a play where he was attempting to get out of bounds and the former Michigan State star said he thought it might be "pushing it" to be back here.

No doubt the Bills have their own quarterback story as rookie E.J. Manuel sits out the remainder of the preseason after undergoing minor knee surgery and so that means a heavy dose here of journeyman Kevin Kolb who completed 13-of-21 aerials for 111 yards with 0 TD and 1 INT in last Friday's 20-16 win/push against Minnesota.

P.S., Kolb should have an extra weapon added to the mix as WR Stevie Johnson (hamstring) says he is ready to go.

NEW YORK JETS (1-1) at NEW YORK GIANTS (1-1) - 7 p.m. ET
If you listen to some of the cynical New York City media types, they'll let you know that the New York Jets are doing everything in their power to christen rookie Geno Smith as the team's starting quarterback - even though he's played only 14 snaps in the preseason (all in a 26-17 loss in Detroit two weeks ago).
The reason (they say) is because first-year GM John Idzik wants it that way - he wants Mark Sanchez bounced as the team's No. 1 quarterback - but we say unless Smith (47 yards passing and no major impact in that game against the Lions before suffering an ankle sprain) shows something here in this Gotham City rivalry game then it will be Sanchez under center for the season-opening tilt on September 8th versus Tampa Bay.

One thing to be watching for is how Smith is able to plant and throw after injuring his untapped ankle two weeks back - expect the Giants to throw some blitzes his way and really test 'em right out of the starting gate.
 
CLEVELAND (2-0) at INDIANAPOLIS (1-1) - 7 p.m. ET
Okay, so if they handed out a Most Valuable Player trophy for the preseason - yes, we realize that's a silly idea! - than Browns' QB Brandon Weeden would win it hands down.

Weeden has completed 18-of-25 passes for 229 yards with three TDs so far this summer and he easily won the team's starting job that first-year head coach Rob Chudzinksi threw wide open at the start of preseason play.

In this bash at the Indy Colts, Weeden figures to play more than a half and we're interested to see what success he has with new favorite target TE Jordan Cameron as that dynamic duo hooked up for scoring plays of 10 and 5 yards in last week's easy 24-6 win against Detroit.

The Colts - who collected six sacks in their 20-12 win last Sunday night at the New York Giants - will show Weeden some different looks here and so don't be surprised if the soon-to-be 30-year-old takes a step or two back on the progress meter.

PHILADELPHIA (1-1) at JACKSONVILLE (0-2) - 7:30 p.m. ET
It came as absolutely no surprise to the folks at Jim Hurley's Network that first-year Eagles boss-man Chip Kelly named Michael Vick his starting quarterback for this upcoming 2013 campaign - but should that mean new No. 2 QB Nick Foles now gets traded?

No doubt that's been the buzz in/around Philly the past couple of days but that's crazy talk when you consider how often Vick gets battered/beaten/injured and those odds of getting hurt may well increase in this high-octane, up-tempo offense.

Okay, so Vick's been sharp this summer while completing 13-of-15 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown (plus one INT) in games against New England and Carolina but Foles could still wind up playing plenty this year and Kelly should keep him sharp with at least a quarter-and-a-half's worth of action in this bash in northern Florida.

One quickie note from the Jaguars:

Chad Henne - who lost out as the #1 signal-caller to Blaine Gabbert - will start these final two preseason games for J'ville as Gabbert heals up a thumb injury that is expected to take at least two weeks to get right.
Henne will get some much-needed help at wide receiver as Cecil Shorts is back after sitting out all the team's practice sessions since August 5th with a calf injury.

ST. LOUIS (0-2) at DENVER (1-1) - 8 p.m. ET, CBS
The key words being bantered around the Broncos camp the past few days has been ... ball security.

In last weekend's ugly 40-10 loss to Seattle, the Denver offense committed four turnovers including one that RB Ronnie Hillman fumbled on the goal line that was brought back 106 yards for a Seahawks score by Brandon Browner.

Now, even though Denver QB Peyton Manning is showing better "arm strength" at this point in the summer as compared to a year ago, there's a worry that Denver's been far too loose with the ball and even offensive coordinator Adam Gase called the whole thing "unacceptable".

Hey, in a week where Denver LB Von Miller was slapped with a six-game NFL suspension for violating the league's drug policy, maybe a few turnovers in an otherwise meaningless preseason game means diddly but the Broncos - maybe now more than ever - need to be safe with the pigskin and so let's keep tabs on how Hillman and Company handle "the rock" here.

The Rams, meanwhile, must kick things into gear after last week's 19-7 home loss to Green Bay.
In that tilt, St. Louis QB Sam Bradford played four offensive series and didn't put a single point on the board as his own fourth-and-one fumble at GB's one-yard line was a killer.

Keep in mind the other day Rams' head coach Jeff Fisher announced Daryl Richardson had won the No. 1 starting spot at running back - now you can expect him to get 12-to-15 touches in this nationally televised TV tilt.

SAN DIEGO (0-2) at ARIZONA (2-0) - 10 p.m. ET, NFL Network
There's late-night action on the "tube" as a pair of the NFL's rookie head coaches battle it out: San Diego Chargers boss Mike McCoy figures to be minus a pair of playmakers here as both WR Malcom Floyd (knee strain) and WR Eddie Royal (concussion/bruised lung) both are expected to sit tight and so that means the Bolts might be turning more and more to TE Ladarius Green who snagged five balls worth 78 yards and one touchdown in last week's 33-28 loss-but-cover at Chicago.

Then there's Arizona head coach Bruce Arians who was more than a bit miffed that last week's multi-opportunity game against Dallas resulted in just three first-half field goals in an eventual 12-7 win - even though the Cowboys turned the ball over five times in the first half and once more following intermission.

Maybe 'Zona QB Carson Palmer (7-of-15 for 66 yards last Saturday afternoon) just has to trust himself more with those "dig" patterns to WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts ... we'll see.

NOTE: More NFL Preseason Week 3 Previews in tomorrow's Jim Sez.

IT'S THE JIM SEZ WEEKEND REPORT - THERE'S NFL PRESEASON WEEK 3 SUNDAY PREVIEWS OF SAINTS-TEXANS AND VIKINGS-49ERS ...

PLUS OUR COLLEGE NOTEBOOK EXAMINES THE COACHES ON "THE HOT SEAT"

By Jim Hurley:

So, the National Football League regular season is now less than two weeks away (see Baltimore at Denver on the night of Thursday, September 5) and yet you gotta admit there's a whole lot of "mystery" teams out there: Will the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens be better than the "experts" think after all their personnel changes on defense?

Remember the good folks in Las Vegas have the Ravens' wins total at just 8 ½ games at the current time. Hmmm.

Too light ... or just right?

Will the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers be back for another crack at winning it all come February?

Keep in mind no Super Bowl loser has made it back to the "big game" since the Buffalo Bills did so way back in the early 1990s.

The Las Vegas number-crunchers have the Niners at 11 ½ wins this year.

But are they even the best team in that NFC West?

And what to make of last year's .500 teams -- the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys?

Are the arrows "pointing up" for these proud franchises or are they headed for another less-than-stellar season ahead?

Ahh, we begin to get the answers soon enough but right now there's some more NFL Preseason Week 3 games to examine but first this key reminder ...

Jim Hurley and his veteran Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to roll out all the summertime winners with NFL Preseason Week 3 Sides & Totals plays through this weekend. There's 10 games on this Saturday menu including St. Louis at Denver on CBS along with Cincinnati at Dallas, Cleveland at Indianapolis and the annual Big Apple battle between the New York Jets vs. the New York Giants - and then there's another pair of tilts on Sunday including matinee action between New Orleans at Houston and then it's Minnesota at San Francisco on NBC in prime time - so make sure you're part of all the winning ways! Plus cash in with loads of Major-League Baseball Winners too as we've been banging out lots of "W's" in recent weeks as we head to the home stretch of this 2013 MLB season. Check with us right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 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.

NFL PRESEASON WEEK 3 PREVIEWS/NEWS/NOTES
On Sunday, it's ...

NEW ORLEANS (2-0) at HOUSTON (2-0) - 4 p.m. ET, Fox
Everyone in the "Space City" is keeping fingers crossed that star RB Arian Foster will be A-OK to handle a major work load once again this season and the good news coming down the pike on Friday was that Foster (calf and back injuries this summer) looked good in a team practice session - his first since coming off the PUP list.

Okay, so maybe Foster won't get 20-or-so touches in the early portion of regular-season play but - for now - the plan is for him to share carries with RB Ben Tate although the latter likely will see only limited action here so as to keep 'em fresh for that Week One prime-time tilt in San Diego.
 In this home game, Houston QB Matt Schaub is hoping he can gain further rapport with rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins who might get clearance to play here after suffering a concussion in last Saturday's rough-and-tumble 24-17 win/cover against Miami.

On the flip side, the visiting N'Orleans Saints - who've already scored preseason home wins against Kansas City and Oakland (not exactly a couple of stellar teams, you know!) - would like to spread the wealth in the passing game here and so that means expect more tosses in the direction of WR Lance Moore who was targeted just once (a 14-yard completion) in that aforementioned 28-20 win/cover against the Raiders. No WR Marques Colston here for the Saints as he continues to re-hab a foot injury that will keep him out till the regular season opener.


MINNESOTA (0-2) at SAN FRANCISCO (1-1) - 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Note that the Las Vegas price tag on this preseason bash dropped two points a couple of days ago - it went from the 49ers favored by 5 to San Fran favored by just 3 points - and one reason for the price drop is the Niners will play brand-new QB Seneca Wallace for a chunk of time - and keep in mind Wallace just signed on the dotted line after getting released earlier in the week by New Orleans.

So, San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh - never shy about being an out-of-the-box thinker -- says Wallace will get tossed right into the frying pan here while some combination of Colt McCoy, Scott Tolzien and rookie B.J. Daniels (South Florida) will share plenty of snaps while starting QB Colin Kaepernick is pretty much kept under wraps.

Two quick-hitter notes on the Vikings here:

Minnesota mega-star RB Adrian Peterson will get a few first-half handoffs here in his first preseason action since 2011 (the gut feeling is Minny won't make him run it more than three or four times - tops) while Vikes' QB Christian Ponder may stay in beyond the first half while trying to "work out the kinks" with veteran WR Greg Jennings and rookie wide-out Cordarrelle Patterson. Note that Jennings and Patterson were targeted just three times apiece in last week's 20-16 loss at 4-point fav Buffalo.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: HERE'S THE REAL "HOT SEAT" COACHES

Let's face it: College Football head coaches - now more than ever before - face a "win-now" mandate and it doesn't matter if you need a year, two years or five years to rebuild a program as university presidents want results immediately ... if not sooner!

So, you could say that there are 124 (out of 125) FBS head coaches facing the heat this year - hey, Alabama's Nick Saban could lose all his games and he ain't get the axe! - but for realistic purposes we've come up with a handful of head coaches that better win games, cash a bowl check and/or maybe even need to win their respective conference/league or this is gonna be their swan song season.

Roll call!

PAUL PASQUALONI, Connecticut - It's Year 3 in the Pasqualoni Era and so far the Nutmeg State guys only have a 10-14 SU (straight-up) mark to show for two years on the job and don't forget UConn is just 8-12-3 ATS (against the spread) during this time frame. The defensive-minded Pasqualoni has brought zero buzz into this program and there's already whispers in/around Storrs that "new blood" is needed with administration folks already said to be eyeing some young head coaches not from these parts. Gut feeling is Pasqualoni must at least win six games ... or else.

TIM BECKMAN, Illinois - Last year's shaky 2-10 SU debut (and 3-9 versus the vig) put this former Toledo boss in the cross-hairs and already the Big 10 coaches figure the Illini will finish either fifth or sixth (that's dead-last) in the Leaders Division and an offense that last year scored more than 24 points just once - a so-what 44-0 win against someone named Charleston Southern - is facing major heat to produce. The team's new offensive coordinator is Beckman's former Mid-American Conference buddy/former Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit - but is he really the answer to saving Beckman's hide?

RANDY EDSALL, Maryland - It's hard to believe that this "marriage" between the once-successful head coach/program-builder at UConn and this ACC school has been such an utter disaster but the facts are the facts: Maryland's gone 2-10 and 4-9 SU in Edsall's two years in College Park and the Terrapin fans have been driven away in droves. Gotta believe the only way Edsall gets a "stay of execution" is if Maryland gets to a bowl game this year and there are 35 of them on the docket, so we say that's a fair deal.

KYLE WHITTINGHAM, Utah -- Wait a second... isn't this the guy who coached up the Utes to a 31-17 Sugar Bowl win against Alabama back in the 2008 season? It sure is but Whittingham - now entering his ninth year on the job - has found the road treacherous inside the Pac-12 these past two years with Utah a collective 13-12 SU overall and 7-11 SU in league action since the start of the 2011 and so there's rumblings that he's now in over his head while coaching in one of the BCS leagues and a schedule that includes Pac-12 road games at Arizona, USC and Oregon could help sink his ship in '13. Hey, better beat Utah State on Thursday night (the Utes are only a 3-point home favorite) or the Salt Lake City natives will be banging the drum!

NOTE: Catch more NFL News/Notes and NCAA Football Previews too all next week right here at Jim Sez.

18
Aug
19
Aug

Today’s Hot Plays