It was a nice way to kick NFL wagering off last night with a victory. The Redskins and Titans provided a fairly entertaining game for a preseason matchup, with the ‘Skins ultimately winning the contest 22-21. In this respect, I was only two points off from predicting the final score correctly. The Redskins got a late rally led by 3rd string quarterback Pat White. The former West Virginia Mountaineer scrambled for a 9-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 20-21. Since this is preseason, the ‘Skins weren’t playing for overtime, so they went for 2. White pulled out his inner Robert Griffin III and eluded tacklers to toss a perfect ball to a receiver waiting in the end zone.
We look at another game tonight that features a few signal callers that either have plenty of game experience, or are fighting for a job. For my second pick of the preseason, we will be taking a look at the New York Jets vs. Detroit Lions matchup.
Jets vs. Lions Betting Odds:
New York Jets +3.5 (-105)
@ Detroit Lions -3.5 (-115)
Over 36 (-110)
Under 36 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Jets vs. Lions Pick:
The circus that is the New York Jets will travel to Detroit for a Friday night meeting with the Lions. Both squads are fresh off of disappointing seasons that saw them fall way short of pre-season expectations. Starting quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford were drafted in the same class several years ago, with it appearing like Stafford is the winner of that competition. Sanchez has taken the Jets deep into the playoffs in his career, but it is important to remember that the guy basically rode his defense during those years. Think Rex Grossman of the 2007 Bears in the Super Bowl.
The Jets, unhappy with what Sanchez has provided the franchise, went out and drafted quarterback Geno Smith out of West Virginia. Smith burst on the scene a little over a season ago with terrific quarterback play for the Mountaineers in the first half of their season. In fact, Smith had the Mountaineers as a top team in the nation for a few weeks. However, it all came crashing down as the season progressed, slipping down in the rankings until they found themselves in the Pinstripe Bowl against Syracuse, where they got trounced 38-14.
It is a little too early to tell, but all indications are showing that Smith has asserted himself well in camp. He has looked crisp and on point, perhaps a sign that Sanchez’s days may be numbered in New York. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, though. Smith hasn’t even taken a snap at the professional level yet; his first taste will be tonight against the Lions. When I look at this game from this standpoint, you have to think to yourself that we have a quarterback competition on our hands. Sanchez is undoubtedly going to try and silence critics early on this season, and I think it begins in the preseason. Finally with a legitimate threat behind him, Sanchez is going to need to perform at a much higher level. What this leads us to believe is that head coach Rex Ryan is going to want to see these guys air the ball out on a regular basis throughout Friday night’s game. I expect Sanchez to play around a quarter, with Smith maybe seeing the 2nd and 3rd.
Conversely, the Lions already know who will be leading them into this regular season, Matthew Stafford. The Lions signed Stafford to a big contract extension in the offseason to guarantee a spot with the team for the next several seasons. Stafford is entering the prime of his career, and it’s time for him to propel the Lions to the next level. It’s always easy on a quarterback when you have Calvin Johnson to toss the rock to. Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s regular season receiving record last season, and looks to duplicate that same success this year, perhaps even with a playoff berth to show for it. Stafford will more than likely only play a couple series in this one, then handing it over to the wily veteran Shaun Hill, who is one of the better backup quarterbacks in this league. Former Boise State Bronco Kellen Moore will then finish this contest up for the Lions.
While it’s always a frightening thing to think about the Jets’ offense, I think they are going to open things up in the preseason and let their quarterbacks air it out frequently. I can’t see myself banking on the Jets scoring many points in the regular season, but I think Rex Ryan is going to want to push the envelope a bit in the preseason to be able to compare Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith. I also like the fact that the Lions have one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL assuming backup duties. Consequently, I see another preseason game with enough points to cash another over bet. I’ll be on the OVER 36 tonight.
PICK : OVER 36 (-110)