The NFL Preseason Gets on a Roll -- Here’s Thursday’s Games

NFL PRESEASON WEEK 1 - HERE'S THE THURSDAY NITE MENU WITH SEVEN GAMES ON THE DOCKET ...

THE BASEBALL NOTEBOOK: CHECKIN' OUT THE CURRENT WIN-IT-ALL ODDS

It's the age-old question when it comes to handicapping NFL Preseason action: What teams really want to win these exhibition games?

No doubt that there are a slew of teams each/every summer that would like to get a feel of a "winning culture" beginning in the preseason though it's no secret than many (most?) NFL teams simply want to let their starters get enough reps for the regular season, steer clear of major injuries and then hash out the remainder of the depth chart.

We'll track down what's ahead on the NFL Preseason Week 1 schedule starting with Thursday's busy menu but first this key reminder from Jim Hurley ...

The 2017 NFL Preseason really swings into high gear this week as there's a full slate of games beginning with Wednesday's tilt between the Houston Texans at the Carolina Panthers (that's on NFL Network) plus there's 7 games on Thursday and there's more action Friday/Saturday/Sunday as all 32 NFL teams hop into the pool. Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be banging out tons of Sides & Totals NFL Preseason Week 1 winners with a reminder there's College Football on tap beginning August 26st - and get the daily winners in Major-League Baseball too when you check in either right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.

NFL PRESEASON WEEK 1
On Thursday, it's ...

ATLANTA at MIAMI - 7 p.m. ET
New Dolphins' QB Jay Cutler will be toting a clipboard and checking out things from the sideline here while we don't expect Falcons' WR Julio Jones to get in for more than a play or two following off-season bunion surgery as the super-stud receiver has been limited in recent practices.
Current Line: Falcons (- 1.5) and 36.5 points

MINNESOTA at BUFFALO - 7 p.m. ET
The Bills made some minor news this week with the signing of veteran WR Anquan Boldin but it's oft-injured wide-out Sammy Watkins (foot) who will get a quarter's worth of action here versus a hands-on Minny secondary. Hey, the Bills could be one of those teams taking the won/loss record seriously this preseason under new head coach Sean McDermott.
Current Line: Vikings (- 1.5) and 36.5 points

WASHINGTON at BALTIMORE - 7:30 p.m. ET
The 'Skins will have a real ding-dong battle going for the starting running back position as current No. 1 Robert Kelly must fend off Oklahoma rookie Samaje Perine this summer while the Ravens figure to allow QB Ryan Mallett more snaps than usual for a first-stringer as Joe Flacco (back) continues to rehab and may not play at all this summer.
Current Line: Ravens (- 1) and 36.5 points

JACKSONVILLE at NEW ENGLAND - 7:30 p.m. ET
The defending champion Patriots bulked up this past off-season with a slew of personnel upgrades and we'll be watching multi-faceted RB Rex Burkhead who could be getting more than a handful of "touches" in this preseason opener. The Jags ranked 22nd in the league in rushing and 20th in passing last year so there's a lot of work to be done starting here but likely no WR Allen Hurns who got tangled up with a defender in Monday's practice and stayed on the ground for minutes.
Current Line: Patriots (- 3.5) and 40 points

DENVER at CHICAGO - 8 p.m. ET, NFL Network
The national TV audience will catch Part I of the Broncos' unfolding quarterback drama as Trevor Siemian will start here and second-year pro Paxton Lynch already has been announced as next week's starter. Insiders say Siemian right now holds the slightest of edges but rookie head coach Vance Joseph stresses the job will be won - or lost - based on the results of these preseason games.
Current Line: Broncos (- 1) and 35.5 points

PHILADELPHIA at GREEN BAY - 8 p.m. ET
No QB Aaron Rodgers here as Packers' boss-man Mike McCarthy has tabbed Brett Hundley as this game's starter while word out of Philly is second-year QB Carson Wentz figures to see more than the usual amount of preseason playing time while trying to establish a rapport with new wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.
Current Line: Packers (- 1) and 38.5 points

NEW ORLEANS at CLEVELAND - 8 p.m. ET
Here's the latest on the always-entertaining search for a Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback: Brock Osweiler - late of the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans - will get the start here followed by Cody Kessler, Notre Dame rookie DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan. On the flip side, the Saints curiously signed PK Patrick Murray last weekend and he'll provide some competition for incumbent kicker Will Lutz here.
Current Line: Browns (- 3) and 38 points

Editor's Note: Don't forget, we'll preview the NFL Preseason Week 1 action for Friday night (including Pittsburgh at New York Giants and San Francisco at Kansas City) in tomorrow's jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.
 

BASEBALL NOTEBOOK

Lots of chatter lately regarding how the Los Angeles Dodgers will be overwhelming favorites to win this year's World Series - but the all-knowing Las Vegas/off-shore books have not exactly buried the competition just yet. Here's a look at the up-to-the-moment Odds to Win it All (based on $100 per play wagers) in Major-League Baseball as of August 8th:

TEAMODDS COMMENT
LA Dodgers+ 200Who can beat them in a series?
Houston+ 250AL's best bunch still needs an arm
Boston+ 500If Sox just had some power bats
Washington+ 500Is this the year Nats get hot in Oct?
Chi Cubs+ 600Will the champs finally "fire"?
Cleveland+ 600Rotation starting to heat it up
NY Yankees+ 800Bullpen is no sure thing anymore
Arizona+ 2000D-Backs' lineup has plenty of pop
Tampa Bay+ 3500Rays sneaky-good and pitching rich

NOTE: There's more NFL Preseason Week 1 goodies plus College Football Conference Snapshots and Baseball too in the coming editions of Jim Sez.

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Aug

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