Lions at Jaguars Friday Preseason Preview

NFL PRESEASON DRESS REHEARSALS HIT THEIR FIRST TV NOTE WITH DETROIT/JACKSONVILLE FRIDAY ON CBS

It's not the most star-studded of affairs Friday night when the NFLX dress rehearsals hit their TV spotlight with the Detroit Lions visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars on CBS. You get the feeling that the league is sticking the worst teams with the networks so they can show better stuff on their own channel! We got Tennessee, then Tampa Bay last week to show off the top draft picks. Now Jacksonville...JACKSONVILLE kicks off the most important August weekend!

Well...at least football fans can check in with that great Lions' defense and man-monster Ndamukong Suh. Wait a minute...he plays for Miami now! Why is THIS game on television?! Let's run through JIM HURLEY key indicator stats to find some reasons that might make this game compelling...

2014 RECORDS (turnovers, strength of schedule)
Detroit: 11-5 (+7 turnovers, #21 rated schedule)
Jacksonville: 3-13 (-6 turnovers, #17 rated schedule)

There's been a lot of NFC North chatter this summer about Green Bay being a legitimate championship threat...and Minnesota being a very clear darkhorse. Futures prices have been lowering for the Vikings all month because the sharps like what they're seeing. Well, let's not forget about Detroit. That 11-5 record was pretty legitimate. Maybe they go 10-6 against a league average schedule. That's playoff caliber. Don't sleep on the Lions! Jacksonville has young talent that's supposed to be getting better this year. The dress rehearsal will provide a great chance to monitor that storyline.

2014 YARDS-PER-PLAY
Detroit: 5.2 on offense, 4.9 on defense
Jacksonville: 4.7 on offense, 5.5 on defense

Not many defenses were equal to or better than Detroit last year on a per-play basis. Seattle's defensive powerhouse only allowed 4.6 YPP. Detroit was second in the NFC at 4.9. Losing Suh hurts...but the defensive mindset is still there along with a lot of talent. Can conservative head coach Jim Caldwell coax more than 5.2 YPP from the offense? That's the key to becoming a dynamic threat. The Lions have to figure out how to move the ball without turning it over. Over the last two coaching regimes, they've either been productive but reckless, or safely non-productive. Obviously Jacksonville needs to improve its pathetic offense.

2014 THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS
Detroit: 39% on offense, 37% on defense
Jacksonville: 32% on offense, 43% on defense

At least we get a good test right away for evaluating Jacksonville's offense. If these guys CAN get some points on the board from long drives in their dress rehearsal...then they could become a sleeper value team in the regular season. If they continue to throw incomplete passes before punting...it's going to be another long year.

2015 PROJECTED WIN TOTALS IN LAS VEGAS
Detroit 8 or 8.5
Jacksonville 5.5 or 6

As we've been discussing through the month, the betting markets tend to regress everybody toward the .500 mark. The Lions may not fall that far back. But, if Minnesota really does step forward...it becomes more difficult for Detroit to stay in the playoff hunt. Somebody has to lose those divisional games. The market is expecting more respectability from the Jags...but nothing earth shattering.

PRIOR PRESEASON RESULTS
Detroit (-4) beat the NY Jets 23-3, winning yardage 428-123
Detroit (+3) lost at Washington 21-17, losing yardage 341-241
Jacksonville (pk) beat Pittsburgh 23-21, winning yardage 325-320
Jacksonville (+4) lost at the NY Giants 22-12, losing yardage 344-244

Both teams covered their openers at home...then laid big eggs on the road in the obvious sandwich spot before the dress rehearsal. In fact, the yardage stats were almost identical in those "Game Two" losses (Lions outgained 341-241, Jags outgained 344-244). Honestly, not much to go on from those two outings. Jacksonville is a 2-point favorite over Detroit on the early line...which is roughly the value of home field advantage in August (though it often moves to 3 when GOOD teams are hosting a dress rehearsal). The market is projecting a 22-20 game given the Over/Under of 42 points.

What is WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY projecting for dress rehearsal weekend? You can purchase NFL BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours. Be sure to check on our great season rates...college football begins next week!

TV football continues through the weekend as we prepare to wind down the NFL Preseason and crank up college football. Here's what's on tap here in the NOTEBOOK...

Saturday: NFL TV Preview...Seattle at San Diego on CBS
Sunday: NFL TV Preview...Houston at New Orleans on FOX
Monday: MLB Series Preview...Either Washington at St. Louis or San Francisco at the Los Angeles Dodgers
Tuesday: College Football Notes (the season begins Thursday!)
Wednesday-Thursday: College Football TV Preview...North Carolina at South Carolina

Get your man cave ready...you're about to see some REAL football beginning Friday Night. During the NFL dress rehearsals, you know that JIM HURLEY is going to be THE STAR OF THE SHOW!

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