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2022-08-26 19:38:21 By : Mr. Bruce Shen

Thanks to the NFL collective bargaining agreement (CBA), preseason Week 3 will be the last set of practice games before teams start the regular season on September 8, with undrafted players given this last shot to make a team and veterans given a chance to get a few reps.

Experienced players with a guaranteed spot on their roster have instead been using the joint team practices to remove offseason rust, a safer place to get ready for the speed of the game without putting themselves in as much physical danger as the preseason games can bring.

Meanwhile, sports gamblers have been having a blast trying to outguess these preseason game plans where halftime leads are being blown by second-half newbie players and lost games are won by newfound heroes whose bright play here could be what helps them make the team.

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How to watch: Thursday, 8:00 PM ET, NFL NET

These preseason games are all about giving the young players a chance to improve and audition for whatever team may need their set of skills, and last week the Green Bay Packers got to see an improved backup QB Jordan Love help beat the Saints after a Week 1 disaster where he threw three picks in the game, his Week 2 numbers (12/24, 113 yds, TD) much better.

Kansas City Chiefs fans got a preseason treat when starting QB Patrick Mahomes took the field for two drives looking sharp as ever with an 87-yard TD drive followed by an 82-yard TD series that left little doubt that this offense can exist without the Cheetah, and the defense also shone with an impressive showing by backup CB Chris Lammons who led with 5 tackles and 2 PDs.

It would be nice to think that fans will get to see a little Rodgers vs Mahomes in this one, but chances are this will be another battle of the backups so flip a coin and take your favorite.

How to watch: Thursday, 8:15 PM ET, PRIME VIDEO

The San Francisco 49ers are still betting on young QB Trey Lance to lead their offense, but last week they gave his backups some snaps in that 17-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings, with Nate Sudfelt connecting with dual-threat RB JaMycal Hasty for a score, a game where RB Jordan Mason took 9 carries 57 yards and RB Tyrion Davis-Price had 10 rushes for 41 yards in the win.

Looks like the Houston Texans will be getting an offensive lift from their young second-year receiver Nico Collins who last week made four catches for 48 yards including an impressive touchdown grab that he had to fight for, his QB Davis Mills also having himself a decent outing completing 10-of-17 for 96 yards and that TD with no interceptions by any Texans on the day.

Both of these teams have been perfect in the preseason but one of them will have to lose this game so expect that to be the Texans who lack the kind of depth the Niners seem to have.

How to watch: Friday, 7:00 PM ET, TBA

It’s Buffalo Bills new coordinator Ken Dorsey’s offense now after the previous OC, Brian Daboll, got hired away by the New York Giants, and last week they made easy work of the Denver Broncos’ scrubs, 42-15, with starting QB Josh Allen even getting a few reps in that win, this upgraded team now with James Cook in the backfield looking a lot like his older brother Dalvin.

Last week, the Carolina Panthers showed why holding joint practices with grouchy veterans might not always work as plenty of “extracurricular activities” began to break out among the players, but their front line was reportedly getting manhandled by the Patriots’ D-line, and in the game it was backup QB PJ Walker getting sacked four times and getting picked off twice.

The Bills are a traveling wrecking machine so expect them to use their roster depth to take care of the Panthers in front of their home crowd.

How to watch: Friday, 8:00 PM ET, NFL NET

There is a quarterback competition happening in Seattle as Seahawks head coach Pete Carrol tries to find his next team leader, but Drew Lock was out with covid last week and Geno Smith got the starting nod but could not get the job done well enough to steal the job, so expect Lock to get some serious playing time in this one if he can test negative from Covid.

There are plenty of playmakers on the Dallas Cowboys but all anyone is talking about is WR KaVontae Turpin, the former USFL star who was signed by Jerry Jones last month and has already shown why he was worth the effort, returning a kickoff from the 2-yard line to the house as well as taking a punt return 86-yds for another TD, an NFL special teams stud in the making.

The Seahawks have yet to win a preseason game and they are still figuring out who they like under center, so take the home team Cowboys to cover the spread and get the win.

How to watch: Friday, 8:00 PM ET, TBA

Last week, the preseason Los Angeles Chargers put on the Joshua Palmer show, a second-year receiver who caught three of his four targets from backup QB Easton Stick for 75 yards and a TD, his longest a 41-yard contested catch, another solid receiver for QB Justin Herbert to throw balls at joining Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, and soft-handed TE Gerald Everett.

This offseason, the New Orleans Saints front office decided to get QB Jameis Winston another solid receiving target, so they drafted OSU star Chris Olave in the first round (11th pick overall), and last week it already paid off as the young playmaker capped off a 37-yard drive with an acrobatic catch and flip touchdown from backup QB Ian Book, a good sign of things to come.

The Chargers and Saints are winless in the preseason so this one is anyone’s game – expect the hometown Saints to have a slight advantage so take them to cover the spread.

How to watch: Friday, 8:15 PM ET, TBA

Thanks to defensive HC Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots will always be strong on that side of the ball, but now that the offense no longer has Josh McDaniel at the helm, it could take a while for young QB Mac Jones to fully develop, as evidenced by his slow start last week against the Panthers that eventually culminated in an impressive 81-yard scoring drive.

The Las Vegas Raiders fielded only backup QBs last week and probably will again this outing although it must be tempting for new head coach Josh McDaniels to play with his new roster toy, veteran WR Davante Adams who used to be college teammates at Fresno State with starting QB Derek Carr, a combo that looks to be deadly in this pass heavy league nowadays.

Expect to see quite a few new players in this one as both HCs work down to their final 53-man roster but take the home team Raiders to cover this spread over the traveling Patriots.

How to watch: Saturday, 3:00 PM ET, NFL NET

It must be nice for Jacksonville Jaguars starting QB Trevor Lawrence to get some preseason snaps like he did last week when he completed 14/21passes for 133 yards with no TDs or turnovers, his new HC Doug Pederson obviously doing what he was hired to do which is to better develop this young talented playmaker who was sorta abused and misused last season.

The Atlanta Falcons with QB Marcus Mariota starting controlled the first half of their preseason Monday Night Football matchup with the NY Jets but then their offense went scoreless in the second half while their defense allowed their opponents to score 21 unanswered points, not as big a letdown given this was not a regular season game but still a sign that they need work.

This will be the last chance for these to rebuilt teams to work out the preseason kinks so expect a lot of lineup changes throughout the game and take the home team to cover.

How to watch: Saturday, 6:00 PM ET, NFL NET

A clear sign that this is the preseason is that last week the Los Angeles Rams got beat by the rebuilding Houston Texans, but that is only because Rams HC Sean McVay was giving his young recruits a chance to be seen, like rookie NB Cobie Durant who did not disappoint with his playing time posting 2 tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a pass defended, and a quarterback hit.

The Cincinnati Bengals gave some of their younger players a shot last week and they stepped up, like rookie Dax Hill who posted six tackles, a pass defended, and an interception, a free safety that might work well in that Super Bowl worthy secondary, as well as rookie WR Kwamie Lassiter II, who caught 7 balls off 7 targets for 91 yards, another Bengals star in the making.

Expect this game to be played by mostly young undrafted athletes who are trying to make it on an NFL roster so there should be plenty of exciting plays as the Bengals cover the spread.

How to watch: Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, TBA

The Chicago Bears have won both of their preseason games so far despite giving limited playing time to their starters including QB Justin Fields who seems to be continuing his connection building with TE Cole Kmet, this final preseason game a chance for new head coach Matt Eberflus to work the kinks out of his game planning and give his rookies some snaps.

Two bright spots have appeared for the Cleveland Browns who are in the middle of some off-the-field grief, the first being backup QB Joshua Dobbs who seems capable of running OC Alex Van Pelt’s offense with his generous football IQ and scrambling ability, and the second being rookie PK Cade York, the fourth round pickup who is booting 50-yarders with ease at FirstEnergy.

This game could see some starters in the first half so expect the home team to jump out ahead of the traveling Bears as the Browns begin their life with Jacoby Brissett under center.

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How to watch: Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, TBA

The Arizona Cardinals took a look at their QB depth last week as Trace McSorley and rookie Jarett Guarantano both took snaps in that loss to the Baltimore Ravens, with McSorley throwing two interceptions and Guarantano throwing for a TD and scrambling for 15 yards, a battle that could continue here against the Titans as several other key positions are watched by the staff.

There is no doubt that QB Ryan Tannehill is the franchise man under center for the Tennessee Titans, but during this preseason HC Mike Vrabel and his staff are taking a look at their rookie QB, a third-round draft pick named Malik Willis who has been showing improvement each week, so far showing signs of getting more comfortable in the pocket, now with a big league TD pass.

These two teams have each won a preseason game and they could have some starters play in the first few series, but this will be a newbie audition so take the home team Titans to win. If you’re a Cardinals fan – we suggest you to check out our best promos for Arizona Cardinals!

How to watch: Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, TBA

It was Gardner Minshew time for the Philadelphia Eagles, and he did a good job against the Cleveland Browns’ solid defense, his 14-for-17 completions going for 142 yards but no touchdowns, his ability to run that offense a help since their young starting QB Jalen Hurts still developing, and now new HC Nick Sirianni will get this last preseason game to find his roster.

Last week, the Miami Dolphins gave starting QB Tua Tagovailoa a chance to shine and he completed 6/8 for 58 yards with no TDs or turnovers, his backup Teddy Bridgewater only completing 50% of his passes while rookie QB Skyler Thompson had himself a decent game connecting on 9-of-10 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders’ scrubs.

Take the home team here as the Dolphins should benefit from the preseason crowd noise as the Eagles put their finishing touches on a roster much improved.

How to watch: Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, TBA

The Washington Commanders starting QB Carson Wentz did okay last week completing 6-of-9 targets for 64 yards but no TDs or INTs though he was sacked for six yards, a game where the RBs got to showboat a bit including Antonio Gibson who received a kickoff and third-round draft pick RB Brian Robinson who started the game in the backfield, a battle that could continue here.

The Baltimore Ravens have won 22 straight preseason games and last week was no exception, a win that featured their rookie TE Isaiah Likely, a 6’ 4” 235 pass-catching blocker who showed off his soft hands in that game with 8 catches for 100 yards and a TD, a good sign for starting QB Lamar Jackson who loves throwing to tight ends like starter Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle.

The Ravens will most likely win their 23rd preseason game in a row but take the Commanders to cover the spread here when the backups should rule the second half of the game.

How to watch: Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, TBA

Despite missing their valuable GOAT last week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still managed to field a team last week in their loss to the Tennessee Titans, a game where RB Leonard Fournette got to show off a bit as he carried the ball five times for 20 yards plus caught two passes for six yards, with absent starting QB Tom Brady no doubt ready for his Week 1 start.

So far the Indianapolis Colts are winless in the preseason, but they are getting excellent QB pay from their backups, with Sam Ehlinger tossing two TD passes and Jack Coan throwing for one, and even journeyman backup Nick Foles got some snaps and completed five of six for 56 yards, a huge target in that one WR Dezmon Patmon who caught five balls for 103 yards and a TD.

These are two winless teams in the preseason so don’t expect them to fight for a victory here, a tossup that the team with more theoretical depth should win in the end, so take the Bucs.

How to watch: Saturday, 9:00 PM ET, NFL NET

The Minnesota Vikings are showing depth on their defensive line as DE T.Y. McGill has shown up in the preseason, last week with a sack and a half (that makes 3.5 preseason sacks total) plus 5 tackles (one for a loss), and four hits on the quarterback, good news for starting DEs Dalvin Tomlinson and Armon Watts who should also get output from rookie DE Esezi Otomewo.

Denver Broncos new HC Nathaniel Hackett was not happy that his starting TE Albert ‘O’ Okwuegbunam had to play last week since rookie TE Greg Dulcich was forced to sit out due to a hamstring injury, so expect to see Dulcich in this game assuming he can play, a former UCLA standout who caught 76 passes in three seasons while scoring 11 touchdowns as a Bruin.

A fun Saturday night NFL matchup that should feature lots of competition for the final 53 roster spots on each team but take the Vikings in this pick ‘em since they are at home.

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How to watch: Sunday, 1:00 PM NFL NET

This preseason battle of New York should be fun to watch on Sunday, the Giants are undefeated in the preseason so far as their young QB Danny “Dimes” Jones continues to develop under center, last week completing 14/16 of his passes for 116 yards and an interception, with four completions to both WR David Sills and RB Antonio Williams, a good sign for this offense.

The New York Jets are lucky that they have veteran QB Joe Flacco ready to go in for starter Zach Wilson who is still recovering from a procedure on the knee he injured in preseason, though his backup Chris Streveler showed some promising stats (8/11, 119 yds, TD, INT) during his play vs Atlanta last week as he brought his team back in the second half for the 24-16 win.

Expect to see some starters in this one as both teams do their best to clean whatever offseason rust is left but this Jets team seems to have enough steam to take the win here.

How to watch: Monday, 4:30 PM ET, CBS

It’s a new Detroit Lions attitude that follows them around everywhere and it’s fueled by HC Dan Campbell who has this rebuilding team convinced they are winners, starting with a solid outing last week by backup QB Tim Boyle who completed 12/15 for 99 yards and a TD in that win despite getting sacked twice, his counterpart David Blough tossing a TD and a pick with a sack.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have won both of their preseason outings so far, their depth at QB one of the main reasons why, their future under center looking secure in rookie Kenny Pickett’s hands, last week with an impressive showing posting 6 completions for 76 yards and a TD, and that’s despite his young teammates’ multiple penalties that made his audition even tougher.

The Lions need to protect their QBs against this Steelers team that will be honing in on the sacks, a game of backups that the Steelers should win but take the Lions to cover the spread.

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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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