Bears Packers TNF Preview - Heisman Watch and CFB Previews
BEARS-PACKERS THURSDAY NIGHT PREVIEW
HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST…PLUS WE CHECK OUT OLE MISS-LSU AND MORE!!!
Gotta say the best part of the Monday Night Football broadcast was watching those terribly bored New York Jets’ fans in the crowd at Arizona – the Cardinals’ workmanlike 28-3 win/cover against the hapless J-E-T-S happened to be a major snore-fest filled with penalty flags but it was amusing to see the NYJ fans decked out in the team colors roll their eyes with every bad QB Ryan Fitzpatrick pass. Ugh!
Just to think that Fitzpatrick (174 yards passing, one INT and 4 fantasy points!) held the Jets hostage this past off-season with his contract demands and the AFC East team should have let ‘em walk. Gee, that means more QB Geno Smith come Sunday versus Baltimore, whatta great way for the 1-5 season to continue!
Hey, there’s better stuff straight ahead and here’s how the NFL Week 7 menu gets started…
On Thursday Night, it’s…
CHICAGO (1-5) at GREEN BAY (3-2) – 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS/NFL Network
C’mon, we don’t need any “promos” hyping this one as the “NFL’s oldest rivalry” – we’re gonna tune in no matter what to see if Green Bay Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers may indeed be “shot”!
Rodgers has endured back-to-back brutal games – a 23-16 win/push against the New York Giants followed last Sunday by that 30-16 non-competitive loss to Dallas – please let us not hear anything this week about Rodgers telling the die-hard Packers’ fans to “R-E-L-A-X”!
Green Bay committed four big turnovers in last Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys including a lost fumble by the TV pitchman inside the Dallas five-yard line and you could even see the disgust of the Packers’ O-linemen when they realized Rodgers has lost the ball.
Gotta see a “clean game” here from Rodgers against the 8½ point underdog Bears who haven’t capitalized on four consecutive 300-yard passing games by journeyman QB Brian Hoyer – betcha he’s caused a stir in your little fantasy leagues, eh?
Spread Notes – Green Bay is 22-11 ATS (against the spread) in NFC North games dating back to the start of the 2011 season while Chicago is an ugly 2-9 versus the vig since late last season.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
Dang, it’s already Week 8 in this here-and-now College Football Season and this weekend’s card features three head-to-head Top 25 matchups – we’ll getcha quick-hitter previews on #23 Ole Miss at #25 LSU along with #17 Arkansas at #21 Auburn but we’ll save #6 Texas A&M at #1 Alabama for later in the week here at Jim Sez …okay?
On Saturday, it’s …
#17 ARKANSAS (5-2, 1-2 SEC) at #21 AUBURN (4-2, 2-1 SEC) – 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
Everyone’s trying to chase down Bama in the hotly-contested SEC West but it’s sure becoming a round-robin knockout division, if you ask us. Here, 10-point home favorite Auburn brings its vastly-improved defense (allowed just 34 total points in recent back-to-back wins/covers against LSU, UL-Monroe and Miss State) and the major job here is to flush Hogs QB Austin Allen (1,861 yards passing with 18 TDs) out of the pocket and into harm’s way. Major key for War Eagle is to grunt-and-groan its way to a major time of possession advantage with the country’s 12th best ground attack (averaging 262.8 ypg) and dual stars RB Kerryon Johnson (538 yards rushing) and Kamryn Pettway (505 yards rushing) are always threats to bust long runs.
Spread Notes – Arkansas has covered 12 of its last 19 SEC affairs dating back to the start of the 2014 season while Auburn’s racked up a nifty 5-1 ATS mark this year including conference covers versus LSU and Miss State.
#23 OLE MISS (3-3, 1-2 SEC) at #25 LSU (4-2, 2-1 SEC) – 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
You tell us:
Is there a more talented .500 team in the land than these Ole Miss Rebels? Sure, the Oxford gang’s blown leads against Florida State and Alabama, then last week shrunk in the late-game spotlight in that 34-30 loss at Arkansas – how is Ole Miss gonna respond here in Death Valley (yes, a night game!) is the proverbial $64,000 question.
LSU may have one eye peeled for that early November tilt against archrival Alabama but gotta believe interim head coach Ed Orgeron will be fretting it out till he knows for sure RB Leonard Fournette is a “go” here. The Bayou Bengals are a 5½ point (and growing) betting favorite for this clash and even if Fournette’s not 100 percent there is always RB Derrius Guice (564 yards and a silly 9.1 ypc average) – maybe the best SEC back nobody talks about, eh?
Spread Notes – LSU has failed to cover four of its last five home games against Ole Miss; meanwhile, the Rebels are a collective 34-19-1 ATS under fifth-year boss Hugh Freeze.
THE HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH LIST
Here’s how we see things shaping up while heading into this busy October weekend:
LAMAR JACKSON, QB, Louisville – Tops on our debut leaderboard with his 1,806 passing yards with 15 TDs and 4 INTs to go along with 832 rushing yards and 15 scores. What, you’re gonna punish this do-it-all mega-star because the Cardinals didn’t win that thriller at Clemson a few weeks back?
J.T. BARRETT, QB, Ohio State – Masterful job leading comeback OT win at Wisconsin last weekend has propelled this Buckeyes’ star into the #2 hole for our first Heisman Watch List. Barrett’s thrown for 1,207 yards with 16 TDs and 4 INTs plus he’s rushed for 434 yards and 6 TDs.
JAKE BROWNING, QB, Washington – The Pac-12’s best player comes off a bye but en route to the Huskies’ sensational 6-and-oh start (and 4-2 versus the vig) he’s thrown 23 TDs and just 2 INTs with 1,418 yards in all. P.S., he sported a 6-TD, 0-INT game in that 70-21 win against Oregon two weeks ago.
DESHAUN WATSON, QB, Clemson – Sorry, he’s not as high in our Heisman rankings as others may claim due in large part to 8 INTs and just a modest total of 279 rushing yards. Still, a big game at Florida State in two weeks (Clemson has a bye this Saturday) could jet ‘em back up our rankings.
GREG WARD, JR., QB, Houston – Yes, indeed, there’s five quarterbacks on our debut Heisman Watch List as this Cougars’ star exited last weekend’s scary 38-31 non-cover triumph over 22½ point dog Tulsa with 1,938 yards passing and 11 TDs plus another 414 rushing yards with 6 scores.