NFL Saturday Previews and MAC

NFL PRESEASON WEEK 2
On Saturday, it's ...

JACKSONVILLE (0-1) at MINNESOTA (1-0) - 1 p.m. ET, NFL Network
After all the off-the-field noise involving Jaguars' CB Jalen Ramsey, we remind you he won't be playing here and didn't even make the trip to the Twin Cities after getting whacked with a one-game suspension for violating team rules - too bad 'cause we would have liked to see Minny WR Stefon Diggs challenge the so-called "best cornerback in the NFL". Instead, Vikings' CB Terence Newman (he'll be 40 next month) will get some burn and he looked sharp in intra-squad practices this past week while picking off QB Blake Bortles on a red-zone opportunity.
Current Line: Vikings - 4.5 and 40 points

OAKLAND (1-0) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (0-1) - 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network
No sense in talking about the guy that's not here - see Rams' DL Aaron Donald - as that contract holdout could well last right into the regular season and the old/new faces on this Los Angeles defense bear watching as CBs Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib get into the action for a bit here against Oakland's vertical passing game guys. We would expect new/old Raiders head coach Jon Gruden to let RB Marshawn Lynch stretch his legs (see 60-yard scoring run called back by a penalty last week against Detroit) while QB Derek Carr likely plays a quarter .. yes, we have noticed how the totals price for this game has come way back from 42.5 to 38.5 points.
Current Line: Pick 'Em and 38.5 points

CINCINNATI (1-0) at DALLAS (0-1) - 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network
It's safe to say the Cowboys' offense is in a state of flux: Sure, that superior O-line figures to plow open huge holes this season for third-year RB Ezekiel Elliott but right here/right now this NFC East crew is severely short-handed with Elliott sitting it out here, C Travis Frederick suffering from stingers (won't play till regular season) and slot WR Cole Beasley (groin) out for this clash ... and you already know about the exodus of WR Dez Bryant and the retirement of TE Jason Witten. Hey, let's see how QB Dak Prescott's backups play here as Cooper Rush and Mike White figure to share the majority of snaps and all NFL coaches are weary about keeping in their starting QBs after both Nick Foles (Philadelphia) and AJ McCarron (Buffalo) have been injured the past couple of nights.
Current Line: Cowboys - 3 and 41.5 points

SEATTLE (0-1) at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (0-1) - 10 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Word is the LA Chargers will let QB Philip Rivers go a series or two here after he sat out last week's 24-17 loss at Arizona but major reps here for Cardale Jones / Geno Smith though neither guy excites us going against this post-Legion of Doom secondary. Keep in mind last week the Chargers committed 15 penalties and lost four turnovers ... ugh!
Current Line: Chargers - 3 and 39.5 points

 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONFERENCE REPORTS - THE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Gonna spend the next couple of weeks getting you quick-hitter comments from 'round the NCAA Football universe and our conference-by-conference updates continue here with the Mid-American Conference:

THE CONTENDERS - Expect either Northern Illinois or Toledo to face off versus Ohio in the next version of the MAC Championship Game come early December as these are the lead dogs in this league - remember Toledo bested three-TD dog Akron in last year's title tilt.

THE DARK HORSE - Buffalo. Maybe the Bulls don't consider themselves a "dark horse" but last year's 6-6 SU (straight-up) record featured mucho quarterback injuries and a painful 7-OT loss to Western Michigan.

BEST PLAYER - Buffalo WR Anthony Johnson scored 14 TDs and caught 76 balls worth 1,356 yards last year for the upstate New York school and he's being talked about as a late first-round NFL draft pick next spring.

CIRCLE THE DATE - Oct. 13, It's a major mid-season showdown between Ohio at Northern Illinois and note these clubs have not clashed since end-of-season in 2015 (a shocking 26-21 win by 11.5-point road pup Ohio).