The AFC’s Top Defenses Plus Week 2 Goodies
THE NFL PRESEASON WEEK 2 REPORT –
WE CHECK OUT SUNDAY’S TWO TILTS
(THAT’S FALCONS-STEELERS & SAINTS-CHARGERS)
PLUS WEIGH IN ON WHO HAS THE BEST AFC DEFENSE …
OUR FINAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
SNAPSHOT GETS YOU THE SUN BELT
Memo to AFC fans out there … we didn’t forget about ranking the top defenses in your conference!
In an earlier-week column we addressed the NFC in terms of top defenses – we say it’s Minnesota, Arizona and Seattle as out top three – and so let’s spend a moment or two giving you our humble opinion of who has the top stop units in the AFC:
The Houston Texans get our vote as the numero uno defense in the AFC one year after ranking first in all the NFL in total defense while yielding just 301.3 ypg – and you have to believe that “D” will get even stingier with a full season from destroyer J.J. Watt;
We’re going with the defending Super Bowl champion New England as the second-best defense in this conference – true, the Pats ranked only eighth in yards per game allowed last year (326.4) but they play their best in the big games and this year added a couple of key pieces in CB Stephon Gilmore and DE Kony Ealy;
Let’s put the Denver Broncos third in our “ranking the AFC defenses” segment one year after this AFC West crew surrendered just 18.6 ppg (fourth-best in the NFL). Love the fact the here-and-now Broncos bulked up in the middle with NT Domata Peko who will allow the LBs more freedom to attack enemy ball carriers.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the 2017 NFL Preseason winners when you check in here online at www.jimhurley.com and at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. There’s NFL Preseason Week 2 games all weekend long and gear up with College Football beginning Saturday, Aug. 26th and cash in daily with our Major-League Baseball winners too.
NFL PRESEASON WEEK 2 –
On Sunday, it’s …
ATLANTA (1-0) at PITTSBURGH (1-0) – 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Big news here is Falcons’ WR Julio Jones (toe) won’t play in this exhibition game at Heinz Field but rookie DE Takkarist McKinley (shoulder) will and it’ll be interesting to see how Steelers’ RBs stay in and “chip” this yakky pass rusher.
Note Pittsburgh’s elevated rookie OLB T.J. Watt to a starting role following his two-sack game last weekend against the New York Giants.
Current Line: Falcons (- 3) and 38.5 points
NEW ORLEANS at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS – 8 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Did you realize the Saints have lost 10 consecutive Preseason games?
Guess we all know how N’Orleans head coach Sean Payton feels about these games – so get ready for a long of QB Chase Daniel here while Drew Brees plays very, very sparingly.
The LA Chargers say LT Russell Okung (left leg) is iffy here after suffering his injury in Thursday’s practice. Okung is part of a revamped O-line that is key for first-year boss Anthony Lynn.
Current Line: Chargers (- 3) and 42.5 points
COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT: THE SUN BELT CONFERENCE
No foolin’ …
Last year there were six bowl teams hailing from the oft-overlooked Sun Belt Conference and there’s whispers that early favorite Appalachian State could be a 12-and-oh bunch providing they stun host Georgia on Labor Day Weekend.
In any event, this is a league that could gum up the national title hopes of a few teams this year, not just the Georgia Bulldogs ‘cause the likes of Troy (at Boise State, at LSU) and Georgia Southern (at Auburn on Sept. 2) will try to make a national name for themselves with these out-of-conference affairs.
BEST TEAM – Appalachian State
Quarterback Taylor Lamb and RB Jalin Moore (he was the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in ’16) are the major stars on a team that could well be among the top offensive units in the land.
BEST PLAYER – Jalin Moore, RB, Appalachian State
One last thing on this junior star: Last year he rushed for 1,402 yards and 10 TDs and we’re expecting him to run to the right side plenty behind a pair of O-line senior blocks.
BEST GAME – Troy at Arkansas State, Dec. 2
You might have to wait till the final regular-season weekend here but this Trojans vs. Red Wolves battle will be a doozy.
HIDDEN STORY – New kid on the block Coastal Carolina could be a major spoiler with the teams at/near the top of standings.
SUN BELT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREDICTION – Appalachian State over Arkansas State
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