NFL Preseason Week 2 + Mid American Conference Preview

THE NFL PRESEASON WEEK 2 GAMES GET ROLLIN' WITH THURSDAY'S JAGUARS AT BEARS BASH IN CHITOWN …

PLUS OUR COLLEGE GRIDIRON REPORT TAKES A LOOK AT THE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

By Jim Hurley:

Think America is ready for Football Season to start?

In last weekend's opening batch of NFL Preseason Week 1 games, the television ratings were "through the roof" in many markets as the San Diego Chargers' local affiliate – for example -- claims the team's 27-7 win against the Dallas Cowboys did a whopping 20.2 television rating and that's better than any NBA regular-season game last year or a whole lot of big Major-League Baseball games this 2014 season.

You get the idea …

The American public is super-hungry for its Football and there will be four different national TV games on this Preseason Week 2 docket – that's Jacksonville at Chicago on ESPN on Thursday, Kansas City at Carolina on Sunday on Fox and then comes Monday's fun-fun-fun game between Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns at Washington (on ESPN) and we haven't even mentioned Friday's NFL Network game between Philadelphia at New England for those folks lucky/smart enough to have that cable TV service.

So, while the Preseason heats up, there's plenty on the "tube" this week/weekend and gotta say it's all a whole lot better than another episode of "How I Met Your Mother"!

On Thursday Night, it's …JACKSONVILLE (1-0) at CHICAGO (1-0) -- 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Bears currently are listed as the 4-point betting favorites here one game after the NFC North crew toppled 1 ½-point road dog Philadelphia 34-28 – and don't think we didn't notice that second-year Chicago head coach Marc Trestman quickly got new TE Zach Miller (a pair of first-half touchdown catches against the Eagles) into the offensive flow!

In fact, the Bears' three quarterbacks here – that's starter Jay Cutler, Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen – combined to throw for 399 yards in that come-from-behind win/cover versus the Eagles and you can expect the ball to be in the air plenty here even if Chicago still might be missing the right side of its offensive line (see RG Kyle Long and RT Jordan Mills who sat out last week's game with ankle and foot injuries, respectively).

On the flip side, the Jaguars were encouraged by the play of second-string rookie QB Blake Bortles (UCF) who threw for 117 yards and directed a key second-half field-goal drive. However, there is a zero percent chance that Bortles will be the first-stringer this year and so it's got to be a concern that starter Chad Henne threw for just 30 yards in last Friday's 16-10 win/cover against 3-point road dog Tampa Bay.

Two shotgun snaps from center sailed wildly over Henne's head to cripple drives and generally the only other thing to smile about if you're a Jags fan is second-year RB Denard Robinson scampered 23 yards for the go-ahead TD with six-plus minutes remaining in the game and we'll keep our eyes on the former Michigan quarterback here 'cause he could be utilized as an option passer too. Click here to get Jim's pick on this Prime Time Play and top Thursday baseball too.

In other NFL Preseason News & Notes …
Keep in mind that NFL Preseason Betting Favorites enter Week 2 play at 9-6-1 ATS (against the spread) for a .600 winning rate and – sorry for repeating ourselves – but "Under" players are a dandy 13-4 ATS so far this exhibition season and that's a .765 winning percentage for the "under" crowd.

Again, there's four games on the NFL Preseason card on this Friday night and we'll preview all of 'em on tomorrow's docket – one Jim Sez item to check out is the born-again game of New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram who rushed for 83 yards on 8 carries and looked exceptionally quick/strong in his play in the 26-24 win at St. Louis with this next challenge coming at home against the Tennessee Titans.

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 the annual Hall of Fame Game back on August 3rd, then Jim's Preseason Service went 6-0 opening weekend! Rremember now there's still another three full weeks of money-making NFL Preseason Games straight ahead and it continues to rev up beginning Thursday night when the Jacksonville Jaguars battle the Chicago Bears on ESPN.

It then rolls on with Four (4) games on Friday featuring Philadelphia at New England and San Diego at Seattle – and then there's Eight (8) more games on Saturday including Baltimore at Dallas, Two (2) games Sunday including the prime-time Fox telecast between Kansas City at Carolina and then Preseason Week 2 wraps up with that aforementioned game between Manziel's Cleveland Browns at Washington next Monday Night on ESPN.

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 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!

THE COLLEGE GRIDIRON REPORT: TIME TO ZOOM IN ON THE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

In our continuing look at all the NCAA Football key conferences/leagues this month, we take the time today to check out the Mid-American Conference.
The "experts" claim Bowling Green is the favorite in the East while Northern Illinois is the choice in the West and it's expected that as many as five MAC teams will qualify for a post-season bowl game this year but let's take a few moments to check out "dark horse" team:

AKRON – Okay, so the Zips haven't exactly been world-beaters in the first two seasons under born-again head coach Terry Bowden.

In fact, Akron's a collective 6-18 SU (straight-up) and 11-12 ATS (against the spread) in the albeit brief Bowden Era but consider that Akron won its final three regular-season games a year ago – besting Kent State, UMass and Toledo by a combined 12 points – and this Chuck Amato-led defense held three of its final five foes to 17 points or less and you could make a case that Bowden's bunch will spring out of the proverbial weeds this year (most folks believe that Akron will finish fourth or fifth in the MAC East) and snag this division especially if the Zips can beat Bowling Green on November 4th at Akron's InfoCision Stadium.
Make sure you keeps tabs this year on Akron RB Jawon Chisholm – he's a senior who last year rushed for 869 yards and 8 TDs and he could have a bust-out year.

Bowden hasn't received much glory in his two years at Akron save for that near-miss 28-24 loss-but-cover at 35-point fav Michigan last September (that would have ranked as the biggest upset of the year if the Zips didn't slip up late) and something tells us "Bobby's boy" has a monster year in the MAC. You'll see!

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE SPREAD STANDINGS (2013)
Folks, let's take a step back and see what the MAC teams did last year spreadwise with overall and conference pointspread marks listed below …

TEAMOVERALLPCTCONFPCT
Bowling Green10-4-0.7147-2-0.778
Ball State8-5-0.6155-3-0.625
Buffalo8-5-0.6156-2-0.750
Toledo7-5-0.5835-3-0.625
No. Illinois8-6-0.5716-3-0.667
Akron6-6-0.5004-4-0.500
Cent. Michigan6-6-0.5006-2-0.750
Ohio6-7-0.4623-5-0.375
Massachusetts5-7-0.4173-5-0.375
Kent State4-8-0.3333-5-0.375
West. Michigan4-8-0.3332-6-0.250
Miami-Ohio3-9-0.3332-6-0.250
East. Michigan2-10-0.1671-7-0.125

Note …Last year Bowling Green bolted to the top of the MAC's pointspread standings with that dizzying .714 winning rate while covering 10-of-14 games overall and note that included the Mid-American Conference Championship Game when the Falcons (+ 3) blasted Northern Illinois 47-27 – and you've also noted that the BGs also sported the best conference mark spreadwise although both Buffalo and Central Michigan (each 6-2 ATS in league play) really "cleaned up" vig-wise. Did you know that one of Bowling Green's two spread setbacks in league play was a 28-7 non-cover win against 27-point pup UMass while the other was Toledo's 28-25 outright win as 4 ½-point road dogs … just thought you'd like to know!

NOTE: Get the NFL Preseason Week 2 Previews all this week right here at Jim Sez as tomorrow's column includes the Four (4) Friday games: That's Philadelphia at New England, Tennessee at New Orleans, Detroit at Oakland and San Diego at Super Bowl champ Seattle.

24
Sep

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