NEW ENGLAND (1-0) at BUFFALO (1-0) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
First things first: The Patriots do have the extra prep/rest time following last Thursday's 28-21 win/spread push versus 7-point pup Pittsburgh but the two big questions here are can New England's O-line hold back possibly the best defensive line in the NFL (had the potent Indy Colts shut out till the final minute of the third quarter in last week's no-doubt 27-14 win) and will the Pats' revamped D-line be able to play better rush defense after the Steelers' DeAngelo Williams carved 'em up for 127 yards on 21 pops?
Spread Note - New England's covered eight of its last 10 games in Buffalo.
SAN FRANCISCO (1-0) at PITTSBURGH (0-1) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Hats off to the SF 49ers - a big-time Jim Hurley Network Winner here this past Monday Night!!! - as rookie head coach Jim Tomsula had his troops roarin' to go in 20-3 win against 2.5-point fav Minnesota but the $64,000 question here is will the Steelers' rush defense stuff RB Carlos Hyde (26 carries for a Week 1-best 168 yards rushing)? Our sources tell us the Niners plan on allowing QB Colin Kaepernick more downfield chucks against this wobbly secondary ... we'll see!
Spread Note - Pittsburgh is a solid 7-3 ATS in home openers the past 10 years.
SAN DIEGO (1-0) at CINCINNATI (1-0) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Guess you can't blame the SD Chargers for being on a real high here while coming off last week's 33-28 come-from-way-behind win against Detroit. Heck, the Bolts were down 21-3 before you could say Dan Fouts! Now, QB Philip Rivers (404 yards passing and two big TD passes in the game's final 20 minutes) and Company look to rattle a Cincy defense that has some issues at safety with George Iloka and Reggie Nelson having missed some practice time this week with foot and groin injuries, respectively. Watch for Bengals TE Tyler Eifert who last week nabbed nine balls worth 104 yards and two TDs in that easy 33-13 win/cover at 3-point underdog Oakland last week - the Chargers will sic S Eric Weddle on Eifert for much of this game, you'll see.
Spread Notes - San Diego is a solid 15-10-1 ATS (against the spread) in away games since the start of the 2012 season. Cincinnati's 12-4-1 vig-wise as hosts the past two years.
DETROIT (0-1) at MINNESOTA (0-1) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Here's the negatives heading into this game for the host Minnesota Vikings: Short week off MNF loss in San Francisco; Underwhelming 10-carry, 31-yard rushing game for "prodigal son" RB Adrian Peterson; And now here's second-year head coach Mike Zimmer suggesting publicly that maybe his team "isn't as good as we thought we were". Does it all add up to a monstrous effort by the Vikes here? Hmmm. Minnesota is going up against a Detroit defense that just yielded 483 yards in last Sunday's bitter 33-28 loss in San Diego in which the Lions blew an 18-point lead and LB DeAndre Levy (hip) could be missing here.
Spread Notes - Did you know that Minnesota is 13-5-2 spreadwise in their last 20 head-to-head showdowns with Detroit? On the flip side, the Lions are 12-23 ATS away since the start of the 2011 season ... ugh!
DALLAS (1-0) at PHILADELPHIA (0-1) - 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
Okay, so the Cowboys were "gifted" their above-mentioned one-point non-cover win against the New York Giants but there was plenty not to like for Dallas as ground game sputtered (RB Joseph Randle's 65 yards on 16 carries was the highlight) and now no WR Dez Bryant ... but here's a case where former Dallas star RB DeMarco Murray (8 carries for 9 yards versus Atlanta) will be feeling heavy-duty pressure to prove his old team wrong not for re-signing him. Might it be better strategy for the Eagles to throw deep early and loosen up this Dallas defense? Expect QB Sam Bradford (two INTs versus the Falcons) to hear the howls if Birdies don't start out with better start here.
Spread Note - Dallas covered eight-of-nine road games last year including a late-year 38-27 triumph at 3-point fav Philly.
2 FOR THE MONEY PRIME TIME PLAYS
Seahawks-Packers Plus Monday Night's Jets-Colts
Won last Sunday Night with the Giants and was 2-0 on MNF
On Sunday Night, it's ...
SEATTLE (0-1) at GREEN BAY (1-0) - 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
The marquee matchup in NFL Week 2 play comes from Lambeau Field where - get this - the Green Bay Packers are coming off a 9-0 SU/6-2-1 ATS season that included regular-season wins/covers versus Carolina and New England ... a pair of division winners a year ago. Now, the Packers are looking to put the smack-down on a wounded Seattle team that - among other things - still has key S Kam Chancellor in a protracted holdout, has RB Marshawn Lynch's mom trying to amend her words regarding offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and can't seem to get things right at the end of these close games.
Toss into the mix the fact that QB Russell Wilson chucked it way too many times last week in that 34-31 overtime loss in St. Louis - 41 pass attempts in all, folks - and there's major cracks in the foundation here for Pete Carroll's club while Green Bay is a bunch of happy campers after home-again WR James Jones snagged two touchdowns from ace QB Aaron Rodgers last week in that 31-23 win/cover at Soldier Field. Sure, the season-ending knee injury suffered by Packers' WR Jordy Nelson this past preseason is bound to "catch up" with Mike McCarthy's crew sooner than later but check out last week's stats and you'll see that four different players caught 3-or-more balls including new fantasy league darling Davante Adams (four receptions for 59 yards).
Our sources claim the Packers - out for revenge for last year's mistake-ridden 28-22 overtime loss versus the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game - will play plenty of fast-tempo, no-huddle offense while trying to limit Seattle's defensive substitutions here. Hey, maybe Green Bay can build a big-enough lead that "can't" be blown late this time.
Spread Notes - Seattle is a collective 46-25-2 ATS since the start of the 2011 season (that's a haughty .648 winning rate) while Green Bay enters this national TV tilt at 62-43-3 versus the vig since the start of 2009 (a .590 winning percentage).
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL UPDATE
Maybe nobody is pushing the proverbial "panic button" just yet when it comes to the handful-plus major-college football teams that have staggered out of the starting gate with 0-and-2 ATS (against the spread) records but what's happened so far with these teams and where are they headed?
ARIZONA STATE - True, the Sun Devils basically "lost their way" in that season-opening 38-17 loss versus Texas A&M when the Pac-12 guys surrendered 21 fourth-quarter points and then last weekend A-State didn't have the oomph to cover the 5-touchdown pointspread in a 35-21 SU (straight-up) win against Cal Poly ... hey, that game actually was knotted at 21-apiece heading into the final quarter and the Arizona State defense has been wobbly so far (see 422 yards allowed against A&M and 284 rushing yards by Cal Poly). Suffice to say, if Todd Graham's defense does not get straightened out in a hurry, the once-upon-a-time darlings of the Top 25 could be a sinking ship. Up Next: Host 28-point dog New Mexico on Friday night
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AUBURN - No need to press the re-wind button and explain last week's 27-20 OT triumph over 41-point dog Jacksonville State but there are major concerns for head coach Gus Malzahn with QB Jeremy Johnson already having tossed five INTs and the War Eagle defense having allowed 28 first downs to Jax State last Saturday.
Hey, this is an Auburn club that began the year ranked #6 in the Associated Press Top 25 but letting up so that Louisville could "back-door" 'em two weeks ago and then the near-disaster versus J-State says there could be issues here. Remember that Auburn's sandwiched 3-8 and 4-8 spread seasons in 2012 and '14 around an 11-2 ATS mark in 2013 and so that suggests this is a feast-or-famine program spreadwise and right now things are headed the wrong way. Up Next: Auburn's a current 6.5-point underdog at LSU this Saturday afternoon
OREGON STATE - The Gary Andersen Era hasn't started out so great for Beaver backers as this Pac-12 team has failed to cover season-starting games against Weber State and Michigan and note in last weekend's 35-7 loss at the 13.5-point favored Wolverines there was more herky-jerky play from OSU's two quarterbacks Seth Collins and Marcus McMaryion (a combined 9-of-19 for 79 yards) and some questionable strategy on Andersen's part - he punted on a fourth-and-three from Michigan's 39-yard line down 10-7 and it seemed to take major starch from his own team. Let's face it, this 2015 season is a major question mark for this Oregon State program that was rocked back when Mike Riley left to take over at Nebraska and a rough road sked that includes games in Arizona, Utah, Cal and Oregon could be hazardous to the Beavers' health. Up Next: Oregon State is a 7.5-point home favorite against San Jose State this Saturday
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PENN STATE - The natives in Nittany Lion Land are getting restless. Second-year head coach James Franklin returned Penn State to the bowl wars a year ago with an exciting overtime win against Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl but so far he hasn't exactly sported the Midas touch with the Nittanies failing to cover season-opening games at Temple and then home to Buffalo. Of course, Penn State lost the former 27-10 - the first time the Nittanies lost to Temple since 1941 - as QB Christian Hackenberg was sacked 10 times and then last week Penn State dragged its way past 16.5-point pup Buffalo 27-14 as Hackenberg was kept clean but managed to throw for only 128 yards. The offensive line remains in a state of flux and RB Saquon Barkley (12 carries for 115 yards and one TD versus Buffalo) isn't being utilized enough in open-field situations. Up Next: Penn State's listed as a 10-point favorite this Saturday against jailed-up Rutgers
Handicappers have heard all about "look-aheads" since the beginning of time, but check out what's on tap for a few teams this weekend that have monster games on deck:
- Duke has a whopper-sized ACC Coastal Division game against Georgia Tech set for Sept. 26th and so you wonder if David Cutcliffe's club has only one eye out for visiting Northwestern this week ...
- Missouri opens up SEC play on Sept. 26th at Kentucky and so the Tigers might not be "all in" this Saturday as 3-TD betting favorites against UConn. Keep in mind Mizzou is one of those 0-and-2 spread sides so far ...
- And Oklahoma State is posted as a 25-point betting favorite for this Saturday's home game against a kiddie corps UT-San Antonio team with Okie State staring straight ahead at a Big 12-opening game at Texas on Sept. 26th. Remember the Cowboys will be seeking revenge against rival Texas as the 'Horns copped a 28-7 in in Stillwater last year.
JIM HURLEY'S TV PARLAY OF THE WEEK
Looking at: Auburn-LSU (CBS) and Ole Miss-Alabama (ESPN)
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Finally, in case you were wondering here's the best non-Top 25 matchups on this weekend's college card:
- Illinois (2-0) at North Carolina (1-1) - Are the Illini ready to have a magical year under interim boss Bill Cubit?
- Louisiana Tech (1-1) at Kansas State (2-0) - The K-State kids are trying to make a go of it with backup-turned-starting QB Joe Hubener who has been showing some major anxiety so far.
- Florida (2-0) at Kentucky (2-0) - All this talk about the SEC West having all seven of its teams in last week's AP Top 25 but don't sleep on this SEC East matchup that the Gators have won for the past 28 years in a row. That's right, gotta go back to 1986 to find the last time the 'Cats won this game but note Florida's just a 3-point road fav this Saturday night.
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