NFL Overview + College Football Previews for Thursday/Friday
OUR JIM SEZ NFL OVERVIEW
WE KICK THINGS OFF TONIGHT BUT HERE’S SOME WHAT-TO-WATCH ITEMS FOR THIS SURE-TO-BE-THRILLING 2013 SEASON …
COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S THURSDAY/FRIDAY TV PREVIEWS FEATURES ACC CLASH BETWEEN WAKE AT BC
By Jim Hurley
Hey, NFL, welcome back!
It only seems like a lifetime ago when the Baltimore Ravens were hanging on in their 34-31 Super Bowl win against the San Francisco 49ers back on Feb. 2nd, but at least now we know the long off-season (and too-long preseason) are in the rear-view mirror, so it’s full speed ahead for this here-and-now NFL 2013 campaign.
Hey, there’s a gazillion topics that can be tackled here as we head into tonight’s Kickoff Game between the aforementioned Ravens at the Denver Broncos (8:30 p.m. ET on NBC) but let’s settle on a handful of quick-hitter subjects...here’s what we’ve got:
1 - ARE THE RAVENS GOOD ENOUGH/DEEP ENOUGH TO GET BACK TO ANOTHER SUPER BOWL THIS SEASON?
Well, the short answer is probably no... and no. But keep in mind the Ravens’ offense starring QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice and a better-than-you-think receiving corps/offensive line could steal a couple of tough road games along the way. Gut feeling is Baltimore will be battlin’ for a playoff berth come the final weekend of the season.
2 – WILL LAST YEAR’S SNAZZY ROOKIE CLASS OF ELITE QBs BE BETTER OR JUST AS GOOD THIS YEAR?
Gotta believe that Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck will be – by year’s end – pulling in some MVP votes for a Colts club quite capable of another double-digit win season (keep in mind Indy’s over/under wins figure is only 8 1/2 ) while Washington’s Robert Griffin III remains a sky’s-the-limit player as long as his health holds out... and we give it no better than 50-50 that RG3 will play 15 or 16 games this year while Seattle QB Russell Wilson probably won’t find success so much in NFC West games as the defenses in San Francisco, Arizona and St. Louis will do a better job containing him as a runner.
3 – WHAT TEAM MAY JUST RISE FROM THE ASHES... AND WHAT NFL TEAM IS BOUND TO DISAPPOINT?
Something tells us the Detroit Lions – a 4-12 team a year ago – will be bidding for a playoff spot this season providing they cut back on those mindless personal foul penalties. Heck, there’s solid talent on board here and QB Matthew Stafford could be a Pro Bowl slinger if he stays in one piece while it won’t shock us if the SF 49ers (13-5-1 last year) find the path to the playoffs much rockier than they can imagine.
4 – WHAT FIRST-YEAR NFL COACHES ARE BOUND TO MAKE THE BIGGEST SPLASHES IN 2013?
Sorry, if you’re expecting us to say Philadelphia’s Chip Kelly or Kansas City’s Andy Reid, you’re wrong.
When all the dust settles this ’13 season, look for the likes of Arizona’s Bruce Arians and San Diego’s Mike McCoy to make the biggest headlines with teams that could well be ready to simultaneously stop their three-year playoff droughts.
Arians was a modern-day miracle-worker as an “interim” boss in Indianapolis last year – heck, we really thought he deserved Coach of the Year status while filling in for a then-ailing Chuck Pagano – while McCoy should energize this Chargers offense.
5 – FINALLY, WHO’S OUR PICK TO PLAY IN SUPER BOWL XLVIII IN POTENTIALLY FROSTY NEW JERSEY?
Heck, we’re sticking to our guns with a Denver vs. Atlanta “Super” matchup with the thought process being that Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning will win it all while playing in little brother Eli’s “backyard” – remember Eli won in all with the New York Giants two years ago with the Super Bowl that season played in Indianapolis where Peyton was finishing his career in that city.
Okay, so how about a dark horse-type Super Bowl?
Right, Denver’s 5-to-1 to win it all while Atlanta’s currently 16-to-1 to win this year’s Super Bowl, in case you were wondering, and so maybe you desire a more off-the-beaten-path pick...
How about a Chicago vs. Cincinnati showdown in the Super Bowl...maybe they’ll start and end the season against one another.
Now hear this …
My veteran Handicappers and Bloggers are all revved up for this NFL season and we’ll storm our way to the winner’s circle beginning tonight with a Side & Totals winner in this prime-time clash between Baltimore at Denver.
Last weekend we smoked Las Vegas big-time with the College Kids as America’s #1 Handicapper banged out wins with Toledo (+ 23) over Florida, Northern Illinois (+ 3) over Iowa, Alabama (- 21) over Virginia Tech and Clemson (+ 2) over Georgia.
And remember the College Football season rolls on this week with Florida Atlantic at East Carolina tonight on Fox Sports 1, then on Friday night it’s Wake Forest at Boston College on espn2 and then – of course – there’s a whole slew of key games on Saturday headlined by Notre Dame at Michigan, Florida at Miami and South Carolina at Georgia.
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.
Now, here’s the lowdown:
Check with us right here online at www.jimhurley.com or call toll-free at 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight NFL, NCAA Football and MLB action, after 12 p.m. ET for the weekday Baseball games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday and Sunday action.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S TV PREVIEWS
FLORIDA ATLANTIC (0-1) at EAST CAROLINA (1-0) – 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
The good news for the FAU Owls is they covered the 30-point price tag in last Friday’s 34-6 loss at “rival” Miami... the bad news is that a schedule that calls for back-to-back-to-back season-opening road games (and five road tilts in the first six games) rolls on here with Carl Pelini’s team a 3-TD underdog against an explosive East Carolina team.
Note the Pirates’ QB Shane Carden threw for a school-record 447 yards and 5 TDs in last weekend’s 52-38 non-cover win against Old Dominion and keep close eyes on WR Davon Grayson (three short scoring grabs against ODU).
P.S., this is a Conference USA game as remember this league has really undergone a major facelift.
Spread Notes – East Carolina is a decent 12-9-1 ATS (against the spread) at home since late in the 2009 season. Florida Atlantic’s covered nine of its last dozen games since the start of last year.
On Friday, it’s...
WAKE FOREST (1-0) at BOSTON COLLEGE (1-0) – 8 p.m. ET, espn2
Both these teams stammered at times in winning non-league openers a week ago, but now it’s ACC time and you better believe Boston College has boned up on special teams trick plays (see what Villanova did to ‘em with a double-snap, fake punt score that even faked out the ESPN regional camera guys/gals in last week’s 24-14 non-cover win by the BC Eagles) while Wake Forest – fresh off a ho-hum 31-7 win against 40-point pup Presbyterian – is keeping fingers crossed that star WR Michael Campanaro (hamstring) will be good-to-go here after sitting out the season opener.
Wake Forest slinger Tanner Price did have a favorite receiver last week not named Campanaro as redshirt freshman WR Jonathan Williams nabbed five passes good for 143 yards.
Spread Notes – Last year Wake Forest won this matchup 28-14 as a 3 ½-point home favorite but did you know the Demon Deacons are just 6-11 ATS away since the start of 2010? Meanwhile, Boston College is 3-9 ATS overall since the start of last year.
NOTE: Catch our College Football Saturday Game Previews in tomorrow’s edition of "Jim Sez" plus we will have NFL Week 1 Sunday Game Previews in our weekend column … so don’t dare miss out!
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