NFL fans got their long awaited return of football last week with a full slate of preseason games. Some rookies impressed, while some veterans and newcomers looked lost in their openers. With the shortened training camps and lack of practice time, the play was sloppy at times. Hopefully it looks better this week and certainly in time for the regular season. Without further ado, here is a look at some of the best picks for Week 2 preseason action in the NFL…
Preseason Week 2 NFL Picks
New England Patriots @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Thursday)
Point Spread: Tampa Bay -2.5
Over/Under: 37 points
Both of these teams won their exhibition openers in convincing fashion last week. New England rested many of its starters, including Tom Brady, Wes Welker and Jerod Mayo and still managed to pound the Jaguars 47-12 on the strength of 335 passing yards from their backup and 3rd string quarterbacks, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet. The Pats also got a great effort from their defense and allowed under 200 total yards to an anaemic Jags squad. New England may have found a surprise in rookie running back Stevan Ridley of LSU, who ran for 64 yards and had 3 total touchdowns. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, disposed of the Kansas City Chiefs easily, by a score of 25-0. The Bucs forced 2 turnovers and allowed just 137 yards of total offense to the Chiefs. Starting quarterback Josh Freeman looked sharp in limited action, completing 9 of 13 passes. Second year receiver Dezmon Briscoe turned a few heads with 4 catches for 60 yards in the opener. Bill Belichick keeps things close to the vest (or hoodie) and it is unclear if Brady et al will be playing in this one, but take the points and the deep Patriots squad.
Washington Redskins @ Indianapolis Colts (Friday)
Point Spread: Washington -5.5
Over/Under: 34 points
Each of these teams fared far differently in their opening preseason games as the Skins got a win over Pittsburgh and the Colts looked sleepy in a loss to the Rams. Washington is widely considered a contender for worst record in the NFL this season but took care of business by a score of 16-7 against the Steelers last week. A swarming defense that allowed just 186 yards was key in the victory over the defending AFC champs. Rex Grossman put in a strong effort, going 19 of 26 for 207 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions for the Redskins. Meanwhile, newly acquired running back Tim Hightower acclimated well to his new team and had 44 yards on 10 carries. Indianapolis struggled mightily against the Rams last week and lost the game 33-10. This is nothing new under head coach Jim Caldwell, as the team has managed just one win against the spread since he took the reins in 2009. With quarterback Peyton Manning on the sideline with a neck injury, the team was sloppy and threw 3 interceptions. The team hopes Manning doesn’t miss any regular season time, after his backup, Dan Orlovsky, went just 4 for 10 passing. With no Manning this week, expect more of the same for Indy.
Oakland Raiders @ San Francisco 49ers (Saturday)
Point spread: San Francisco -3
Over/Under: 34 points
The battle of the bay area will pit two teams that lost last week and struggled to find offensive consistency. The Raiders come in to the game having dropped a 24-18 decision to Arizona. The team ran for under 100 yards and got mediocre production from its quarterbacks. Kyle Boller was the strongest of the 3 QB`s who played, as he hit on 7 of 8 passes. San Franciso looked even worse in a 24-3 shellacking from the Saints last week. They ran the ball effectively but passed for just 98 yards. Incumbent starter/whipping boy Alex Smith did not play last week but the team may have gotten a glimpse in to their future in 2nd round pick Colin Kaepernick, who threw for 107 yards and ran for 47 more, but was inconsistent and threw 2 interceptions. With the team auditioning Duante Culpepper this week, fresh out of the UFL, look for points to remain at a premium in this contest.
San Diego Chargers @ Dallas Cowboys (Sunday)
Point Spread: Dallas -1
Over/Under: 37 points
Sunday night will see an inter-conference battle between the Chargers and Cowboys at Jerry’s World in Texas. San Diego dropped their opening preseason game to the Seahawks 24-17 last week. The first team offense looked good and the team displayed some depth, but eventually coughed up the lead for good. Phillip Rivers hit on 5 of 6 passes in limited action, including a 48 yard bomb to always disgruntled receiver Vincent Jackson. The defense was gouged for over 300 yards and created zero turnovers however as the total went over. Dallas downed the Denver Broncos with a late 2 point conversion, by a score of 24-23 last week. The team pretty much looked as advertised, with a potent offense and poor defense. Third string quarterback Stephen McGee turned heads, as the product of Texas A & M piled up 208 yards through the air and 3 touchdown passes. Rookie Dwayne Harris out of East Carolina was a surprise, hauling in 5 balls for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Cowboys defense was routinely gashed and gave up 357 yards. Both of these teams have very deep and capable offense to go with lacklustre defenses. Expect a bit of a shootout in this one.