And with this article and pick, we are faring a goodbye to the NFL preseason, and entering the official start of the regular season next week. The college football season begins tomorrow night with a showcase of games to kick start things, so it is a good time of the year for football fans. While preseason is essentially just glorified practice games, I have come out in the positive on these games. Not big numbers, but I have made a profit and that is all you can ask for in preseason. All eyes are set on the start of the NFL season with the Ravens vs. Broncos, but let’s try in cash in one last time on a preseason matchup.
Giants vs. Patriots Betting Odds:
New York Giants +1 (-110)
@ New England Patriots -1 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Giants vs. Patriots Pick:
A Super Bowl rematch of two years ago awaits us on Thursday night! Well, not quite, the Giants and Patriots meet once again, albeit in a less meaningful game. The 4th preseason game is mostly known as the most pointless, but final roster cuts are being made on Saturday, so this is a critical time for plenty of players. In fact, as funny as it sounds, it’s more important than playing in the Super Bowl to some players, given the fact this is the difference between an NFL contract and looking for a job in another field.
After last week’s performance from the Patriots, it would seem that there are a lot of members on the team that should be looking for another job. The Detroit Lions walloped the Patriots for a 40-9 final. The Patriots only touchdown coming with less than 30 seconds left, a swing pass to the fullback on the 5-yard line delivered by Ryan Mallett. Tom Brady looked off and Mallett didn’t fair much better. The Patriots are now 0-6 in the 3rd game of the preseason, so that tells you how much they care about that game. However, what you look for is effort from your team, most notably from your second stringers, and the Patriots just didn’t give any. They were beaten up severely at the line of scrimmage, allowing several Lions’ running backs to run wild on them. In addition, backup quarterback Kellen Moore finished with a perfect passer rating while dishing out 2 touchdowns. While it was only a preseason game for the Patriots, I can tell you that practice in Foxborough probably wasn’t too fun with Bill Belichick breathing down their necks after that pitiful display. One bright spot for the Patriots in that game, and this entire camp, has been the play of receiver Kenbrell Thompkis. Thompkins is an undrafted rookie out of Cincinnati that has been absolutely dazzling. Last week he hauled in 8 balls for 116 yards, mainly against starting cornerback of the Lions, Chris Houston. Keep an eye on him tonight and as the season progresses.
The defense for the Patriots was a joke last year and lived up to that billing last week against the Lions. I can’t fault the starters too much, but the second unit was an embarrassment for the Patriots. Linemen were getting blocked 5-yards down the field on nearly every play. The linebackers were invisible because they were getting washed out as well. The Patriots sent a message today with the release of former highly touted cornerback Ras-I-Dowling. Dowling never lived up to expectations, as his career has been derailed by injuries throughout. The backup defense will have an opportunity to redeem themselves at home against the Giants, their last chance before several will be getting the axe. The offense will rely heavily on Mallett on Thursday night, with you guessed it, Tim Tebow getting plenty of snaps in the second half. It could very well be the last we see of Tebow in a football uniform.
After the Giants escaped major injuries to center David Baas and receiver Victor Cruz, they are just looking to get this season started before anymore near catastrophes. The offense hasn’t looked particularly good, with their only offensive spark coming on an 84-yard touchdown run by David Wilson on the first play from scrimmage. Cruz didn’t play due to his injury in the previous week, and it was evident the Giants are not the same team without his services. Quarterback Eli Manning looked dismal, passing for 83-yards on only 8 of 20 passing in the teams’ dress rehearsal in the third week of the preseason. The Giants ended up losing the contest 24-21 to the Jets in OT, in a game that was primarily focused around the Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith debacle. The Giants’ starters will take around 13 snaps before giving way to the second and third stringers. There is an ongoing quarterback battle for the backup role between Curtis Painter and David Carr. Both are ugly options if you ask me.
As ugly as the Patriots were last week, including the starters and backups, I think Belichick instilled a little more discipline in his bunch for this week. It’s only preseason, but I think the Patriots put a complete effort together, from the starters to the guys that may be selling cars for a living next month. I really like the Patriots in this game when it comes to the quarterback situation. Mallett isn’t in any kind of battle, but this is his last chance this year to showcase that he can be a starting quarterback. He wasn’t great last week and I think he bounces back with a quality performance. Also, this could be Tebow’s last game. Unless he really wows Belichick in this final game, I think he’s getting shown the door. Tebow has surprised us before, so don’t count him out just yet, I think he makes a mark late in this game. I’ll take the Patriots for my final play of the preseason. See everyone next week for week 1!
PICK: Patriots -1 (-110)