Sunday NFL Previews




SAN DIEGO (1-1) at SAN FRANCISCO (0-2)—4 p.m. ET, Fox
Now that San Fran 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has “explained” his foot injury from a year ago that hampered his production, the $64,000 question is when exactly does this Niner offense show up?

So far through the first two games of this 2014 preseason, the NFC West crew has registered a grand total of three points and in last Sunday’s 34-0 home loss against 3 ½-point underdog Denver, the Niners averaged only 3.9 yards per play and the aforementioned Kaepernick completed 5-of-9 passes for only 39 yards.

CINCINNATI (0-2) at ARIZONA (1-1)—8 p.m. ET, NBC
No doubt that the season-ending ACL injury suffered earlier this week by Arizona Cardinals’ Darnell Dockett has forced this NFC West squad to scramble for bodies along the D-line and we should see some playing time here from new signees Isaac Sopoaga and Ryan McBean—note the latter has not played in a regular-season game since 2011.

Cincinnati’s priority in this game is to jump-start a ground game that rushed for only 87 yards on 24 carries in last weekend’s 25-17 loss to the Jets. The Bengals’ most productive ball carrier in that tilt was RB Cedric Peerman (34 yards on 7 carries/that’s 4.9 yards a pop) but Cincy would like to see more from second-year Gio Bernard, who gained just 22 yards on seven carries last week versus the J-E-T-S.

Let’s go ahead and cap off our conference-by-conference look at the FBS leagues with a look at the Mountain West and the Sun Belt Conferences:

The MWC said bye-bye to stat-sheet stuffing QBs Derek Carr (Fresno State) and David Fales (San Jose State) and this year the “hot” slinger in this league figures to be Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson, who threw for 3,696 yards last year and led the Rams to a wild 48-45 comeback win against Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl.

If Grayson (23 TDs a year ago) gets the green light to throw it plenty this year, Colorado State could bring down the FBS likes of archrival Colorado right out of the proverbial starting gate (see Aug. 29th).

If there’s one defensive player to watch in this year’s Mountain West Conference, it’s Fresno State FS Derron Smith, who is considered a sure-shot NFL player who shows great instinct and that always great “nose for the ball”.

Don’t be shocked if it’s Grayson versus Smith and a Colorado State vs. Fresno State showdown in this year’s MWC Championship Game.

You need a compass to find everyone on the map in this 11-team league that nowadays includes the likes of Appalachian State and Georgia Southern.
The odds-on favorite to win this year’s Sun Belt is the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns who come off back-to-back-to-back 9-4 SU (straight-up) seasons and note consecutive bowl wins against San Diego State, East Carolina and Tulane.

Still, gotta point out that Louisiana is just a composite 12-13 versus the vig the past two years and so the good folks in Las Vegas seemingly have “caught up” to the Cajuns.

NOTE: Lots of NFL and NCAA Football coverage/previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.


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