The NFL Preseason continues Sunday with a couple of games to conclude Week 2. Next week we’ll get a good look at starters as Week 3 is the dress rehearsal for the regular season. Last night was exciting, or something like that. The Bengals decided to stand there and take it without much motivation. I tend not to look too closely into final scores in preseason games, but there are other things you can note. Mainly the Bengals time management skills at the end of the first-half.
AJ McCarron connected on a pass to bring the Bengals to the 10-yard line with one timeout in their back-pocket and 13 seconds remaining. Instead of calling a timeout the Bengals ran up to the ball and tried to kill the clock. They ended up calling a timeout with 4 seconds left rather than with 13 seconds left to give McCarron a couple cracks at the end zone. I would say it’s the preseason, but the Bengals are known for stupidity whether it’s the preseason, regular season, or postseason.
We head to Pittsburgh where the Falcons and Steelers meet. This would make for an exciting regular season matchup, but the best we can do is a Week 2 preseason game. It would take the Super Bowl for them to see each other again. The Falcons, well, you all know what happened to the Falcons this past Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. The Steelers lost their most recent Super Bowl appearance against the Green Bay Packers in 2011.
Reports out of camp say that Roethlisberger hasn’t thrown an interception in training camp. He isn’t going to get the start tonight, as indications are that rookie Josh Dobbs will indeed be front and center on Sunday. The Steelers hope that Dobbs can develop into a backup, but if last week was any kind of sign, they have to do a bit more evaluating.
In other words, this is a big start for Dobbs who needs to bounce back after looking bad vs the Giants. They still won the game, but it wasn’t without their struggles. Landry Jones, the current Steelers’ backup is still nursing himself back from an abdominal injury. He could see some action, but was limited in practice this week. Head below for our free NFL Preseason pick between the Falcons and Steelers.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Odds:
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Falcons vs. Steelers Pick:
While Roethlisberger sat out Week 1 of the preseason, Matt Ryan opened the preseason looking crisp. In the only action he saw, Ryan went 3/3 and hitting Devonta Freeman for a 15-yard touchdown. That was all for Ryan, but he made the most of it. Behind Ryan is Matt Schaub, who is a serviceable enough backup for the Falcons. Schaub is aging and nearing the end of his career.
Nevertheless, he is still decent enough as an NFL backup. He actually started his career with the Falcons in 2004 and may end his career here. Preseason lifer Matt Simms rounds out the top 3 quarterbacks in Atlanta. Alex Torgerson, a rookie out of Penn, is looking to impress and cling on with them or another team.
All of the quarterbacks that entered the game last week for the Falcons looked pretty good. In total, they connected on 66% passing. Simms got the most work, attempting 20 passes for 104 yards. While the Falcon quarterbacks didn’t make any mistakes, Dobb’s professional career got off to a rocky start. He threw a couple of inexcusable interceptions on 8-of-15 passing. Dobbs did connect with Cobi Hamilton for a touchdown, though. He was undoubtedly nervous to open his career in the NFL.
Dobbs is going to get the vast majority of this game, especially if Landry Jones doesn’t play. Behind Dobbs is Bart Houston. Do you know who Bart Houston is? If you do, congrats, because you would have to be a hardcore football fan to know where he came from. Houston is an undrafted rookie out of the University of Wisconsin. The last guy to make a name for himself from Wisconsin is a guy by the name of Russell Wilson. Houston isn’t the next Wilson, but he could find a job as a backup somewhere. The most likely scenario is he will bounce around practice squads.
With no Roethlisberger playing in this game, and Matt Ryan presumably getting a quarterback of work, I find an advantage in the Falcon’s favor. Not only that, I like Matt Schaub over Josh Dobbs, too. Other than the Steelers playing at Heinz Field, it’s hard for me to find a reason to back them. And then behind Schaub there is a quarterback battle between Simms and Torgerson. I like the Falcons to take this by a touchdown.
PICK: FALCONS -3 (-110)