NFL Pre-Season Week 1 Quick Hitters + BCS Odds to Win

THE NFL PRESEASON WEEK 1 MENU—

IT’S TIME TO GET YOU QUICK-HITTERS ON THURSDAY’S SIX GAMES…
PLUS OUR COLLEGE GRIDIRON REPORT GETS YOU THE UPDATED BCS CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS

By Jim Hurley

The National Football League Preseason is off-and-runnin’ with the New York Giants’ 17-13 win against the 3½-point favorite Buffalo Bills “popping the top” last Sunday night in the league’s annual Hall of Fame Game (please no more Michael Strahan media coverage for a while, okay!) and now we go full speed ahead into the NFL Preseason Week 1 games with six tilts on tap for this Thursday night… no time to waste, so let’s get you our Jim Sez quick-hitter comments:

On Thursday, it’s…

INDIANAPOLIS at NEW YORK JETS— 7 p.m. ET
Maybe you don’t consider the Indy Colts a “dark horse” to win Super Bowl XLIX next February in Glendale (they’re listed at 17-to-1 odds to win it all right at this moment), but this club has all the goods with last year’s top-rated passing game and an ever-maturing QB Andrew Luck.

No doubt one major key for the Colts is veteran WR Reggie Wayne, who won’t play here in this preseason opener as he continues to mend his torn ACL from a year ago, but keep an eye peeled here on Indianapolis new #1 receiver T.Y. Hilton (82 receptions for 1,083 yards and 5 TDs last year), who may test the Jets’ new-look secondary in the first quarter here.

P.S., no surprise at all but the J-E-T-S announced 2013 starter QB Geno Smith will start here (he’s been getting 70-percent-or-more of the snaps in team practices) with Michael Vick likely playing a quarter or so in reserve. Meanwhile, free agent WR Eric Decker has been getting rave reviews at the team’s SUNY-Cortland practices as some folks claim he’s the Jets’ best route-runner in years (although is that really saying all that much?).

NEW ENGLAND at WASHINGTON— 7:30 p.m. ET
The Patriots and Redskins have been practicing/scrimmaging against one another for the past few days, but expect New England to throw some different defensive looks at QB Robert Griffin III here while challenging him to run— if the Redskins have their way in the new head coach Jay Gruden offense, then Griffin will be more of a pocket passer, and one guy he’ll be searching out is rookie WR Ryan Grant (Tulane), who was a fifth-round draftee but a real training camp star.

The Pats, meanwhile, have been sitting out TE Rob Gronkowski as he makes a comeback from last year’s knee surgeries, but QB Tom Brady has been clicking with new favorite target WR Julian Edelman, who at one point in Monday’s practice with the ‘Skins caught three straight passes as Brady completed 11-of-14 tosses and looked razor-sharp.

SAN FRANCISCO at BALTIMORE— 7:30 p.m. ET
There’s Super Bowl talk swirling ‘round the San Francisco 49ers these days (they’re listed at 7-to-1 odds to win it all right now) but not so much with the Baltimore Ravens who beat the Niners just two years ago in a wild Super Bowl bash in New Orleans.

Don’t know if you noticed but the Ravens just went from 25-to-1 to win it all to 30-to-1— all in the aftermath of the highly-controversial two-game suspension handed down to RB Ray Rice, who will miss the first two games of the 2014 regular season.

But what about the Ravens’ ground game in general— one that last year ranked a rotten 28th in the NFL while averaging a paltry 83 ground yards per game?
No doubt RB Bernard Pierce has turned heads in Baltimore practices so far as he has lost 26 pounds (from 248 to 222) following offseason shoulder surgery and odds are he’ll average closer to that 4.9 yards-per-carry from two years ago than the 2.9 yards a carry he averaged last year.

CINCINNATI at KANSAS CITY— 8 p.m. ET
Last year’s KC Chiefs went from a 2-14 team to a playoff bunch that won 11 regular-season games—and don’t forget that 9-0 SU (straight-up) start— but if Andy Reid’s club is gonna keep climbing the ladder of success than everyone’s gotta be healthy and note S Eric Berry (sore heel) has been back at practice for the past few days and he is expected to start here against the Cincy Bengals.

Naturally, all the buzz in/around Bengals camp surrounds the just-inked $117 million guaranteed contract signed by QB Andy Dalton (there’s a base value of $96 million on his six-year deal) but when you’re watching this preseason opener for both teams see if Dalton has good chemistry with WR Mohamed Sanu who— as one Bengals’ source said— is “in the middle of a monster camp” and Sanu could be elevated to a starter opposite A.J. Green should he continue to shine this summer.

SEATTLE at DENVER— 9 p.m. ET
So, what do the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks do for starters in this year’s preseason action?

They stay healthy and motivated— and so even though most of Seattle’s 22 position player “battles” pretty much have been settled— fifth-year head coach Pete Carroll will spend much of this summer eyeballing prospective new contributors and among them is rookie WR Paul Richardson (Colorado), who runs a 4.33 time in the 40 and has a vertical leap of 38 inches— throw into the mix the fact that Richardson has been getting deep repeatedly and we could get a splash of what he can do here in this “Super Bowl rematch” against the Broncos.

Denver has licked its wounds from last year’s ugly 43-8 loss in the Super Bowl, but there’s other scars on this Broncos team— namely the fact RB Montee Ball just had an emergency appendectomy this past Monday and that pretty much kayos him from playing this summer in the team’s preseason games.

DALLAS at SAN DIEGO— 10 p.m. ET
Maybe it wasn’t exactly a news flash, but just days ago the Cowboys announced that QB Tony Romo won’t play here in this preseason opener against the SD Chargers or in the team’s preseason finale on August 28th versus Denver.

Romo, who is coming off back surgery and has been managing his snaps this summer, claims the re-hab is going well but our $64,000 question is will this lack of game work hinder the Cowboys’ passing chemistry come opening day?

On the flip side, here’s the San Diego Chargers, who covered five of their final six games a year ago including a pair of playoff spread wins at Cincinnati and at Denver, and one piece of big summertime news here involving this AFC West squad is this idea of a “three-headed monster” at running back as RBs Ryan Mathews, Donald Brown and Danny Woodhead are expected to share carries this summer and keep in mind they’ll have to sprinkle in some ground plays for rookie RB Marion Grice (Arizona State).

Note that there are six more NFL Preseason Games slated for Friday night— including Philadelphia at Chicago— and then another four NFL Preseason Week 1 games set for Saturday featuring Pittsburgh at the New York Giants and we’ll provide quickie previews for all the games right here in these Jim Sez columns… so don’t dare miss out!

Important Note…

Folks, Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers want to welcome you to the start of the 2014 Football Season.
It all began with Sunday’s annual Hall of Fame Game between the Giants versus the Bills but remember now there’s another four weeks of money-making NFL Preseason Games that get revved up beginning Thursday Night (the aforementioned six games on that evening’s docket) plus the College Football campaign swings into high gear later in the month with a full weekend card scheduled for Thursday, August 28th through Monday, September 1st.

Also, take note that America’s #1 Handicapper continues to bang out lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners and get all the Football & Baseball winners … can’t beat that, right?

The NFL Preseason, the start of the College Football year and Baseball action too—always a major money-making time of the year for the Jim Hurley Network!

COLLEGE GRIDIRON REPORT
Let’s get you caught up on the top 50 “favorites” to win it all this year’s in College Football’s newfangled Playoff System… here goes with a reminder that all odds here are based on $100 per-play wagers:

TEAM  ODDS TO WIN IT ALL
Florida State+ 300
Alabama  + 600
Oregon+ 700
Oklahoma + 800
Auburn + 1000
UCLA+ 1000
Ohio State+ 1200
Georgia+ 1500
Baylor + 2000
LSU+ 2000
Michigan State+ 2500
South Carolina+ 2500
Wisconsin+ 3000
Ole Miss + 4000
USC+ 5000
Florida+ 6000
Stanford + 6000
Clemson+ 7500
North Carolina+ 7500
Notre Dame+ 7500
Washington + 7500
Arizona State + 10000
“The Field”+ 10000
Iowa+ 10000
TEAM  ODDS TO WIN IT ALL
Kansas State+ 10000
Michigan+ 10000
Miss State+ 10000
Missouri+ 10000
Nebraska+ 10000
Texas A&M+ 10000
Arizona+ 20000
Miami+ 20000
Northwestern+ 20000
Oklahoma State+ 20000
TCU+ 20000
Tennessee+ 20000
Texas+ 20000
Virginia Tech+ 20000
BYU+ 30000
Louisville+ 30000
Boise State+ 50000
Texas Tech+ 50000
Utah State+ 50000
Duke+ 100000
Georgia Tech+ 100000
Oregon State+ 100000
Pittsburgh+ 100000
Utah+ 100000
Vanderbilt+ 100000
Washington St.+ 100000
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