Thursday Night Football Previews
Here's a fact: It's never too early in the NFL for an S.O.S. (as in Save Our Season) game.
Just ask the New York Giants who avoided an ugly 0-3 SU (straight-up) start last weekend with that wildly-entertaining 32-31 come-from-way-behind win in Tampa Bay (down 28-10 at halftime) and what about back in Week 2 when the Chicago Bears nailed that last-second field goal in the 16-14 win at Denver? Think Da Bears wouldn't have been feeling the heat if they had exited that road tilt at 0-and-2?
Okay, so NFL teams have been known to survive losing streaks in the course of a season and still make the playoffs but, heck, you've heard the TV talking heads lately tell us that only six teams out of the last 176 teams that started off a season 0-3 qualified for the playoffs. So there!
Now, we're headed to a key Week 4 and - sure enough - there's a couple more "name" teams that find themselves in S.O.S. situations ... and one of 'em is the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Super Bowl 52 winners have been besieged with a batch of injuries this season - you've gotta go pretty deep on that depth chart to find who has been playing at wide receiver lately - but nobody outside Philly is feeling sorry for this NFC East crew. Now, gamblin' man head coach Doug Pederson and Company is facing an S.O.S. game - in all places - at Lambeau Field in Green Bay and this one's under the lights, to boot!
Check it out: The Eagles could well have a gimme "W" in Week 5 when they host the rudderless New York Jets but then the next three games are as follows: At Minnesota in Week 6, at Dallas in Week 7 and at Buffalo in Week 8 and then it's home to Chicago in Week 9. In other words, lose this prime-timer in Wisky and the Eagles could be "digging out" the rest of the year.
In NFL Week 4 action on Thursday Night Football, it's ...
PHILADELPHIA (1-2) at GREEN BAY (3-0) - 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox
Now go ahead and tell us you thought the Green Bay Packers would be sporting the NFL's second-best scoring defense after three weeks of play! In fact, Green Bay's yielding a mere 11.7 points per game while winning / covering versus Chicago, Minnesota and Denver - only New England's better and the Patriots' defense has not allowed a single offensive TD yet! - and the funny thing is all the chatter this past summer was about Pack QB Aaron Rodgers and his "relationship" with new head coach Matt LaFleur. Who knew? Rodgers has yet to toss a single interception (he's completed 61.3 percent of his passes while throwing for 647 yards with 4 TDs) and here could well be eying some deeper throws against a leaky Philly secondary,
So, how do the Eagles win in this S.O.S. game? Well, we say they'll need to win that all-important turnover battle (of course) plus QB Carson Wentz (803 yards passing with 6 TDs and 2 INTs) must make some key plays with his legs here. Or else!
Spread Notes - Green Bay's a perfect 3-and-oh ATS (against the spread) thus far in this here-and-now 2019 season but did you know this NFC North crew has cranked out double-digit win seasons spreadwise seven times in the last 10 years? In fact, the Pack's a collective 99-75-5 against the odds since the start of the 2009 campaign (that's a hearty .569 winning percentage). On the flip side, Philadelphia's winless against the vig so far this year in three outings and the Eagles are 5-8-1 vig-wise away since that SB win against New England two years ago.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK
Folks, there's plenty of goodies on this week's NCAA Football menu even before we get to Saturday: It all gets jump-started with a Thursday Nite bash between Navy (2-0) at Memphis (3-0) and all eyes will be on the home team's starry WR Damonte Coxie (see 15 receptions for 237 yards / a 15.8 yards-per-catch average). The Midshipmen so far have not been challenged by any great offenses with wins against Holy Cross and East Carolina. Could be that Coxie flips the field on 'em here a couple of times ... Spread Note: Navy is a healthy 19-9 against the odds when taking points dating back to the start of the 2013 campaign.
On Friday night, there's four TV tilts on the agenda - that's Duke at Virginia Tech (7 p.m. ET, ESPN), #12 Penn State at Maryland (8 p.m. ET, FS1), San Jose State at Air Force (8 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network) and Arizona State at #15 Cal (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The Big 10 battle in College Park - Nittany Lions vs. Terrapins - could be especially fun viewing as Penn State's QB Sean Clifford (781 yards passing with 6 TDs and 0 INTs) has been a godsend. Spread Note - Penn State's won / covered the last three meetings with Maryland while outscoring the Terps 142-to-20. Note Penn State's a 6.5-point road fav here.