Week 3 of the NFL Preseason begins on Thursday night with a couple of games. If you’ve been starving for games that resemble a regular season game, you will find some in Week 3. Yeah, you’re still going to find teams who just go through the motions and couldn’t care less, but in general, Week 3 is known as the dress rehearsal for Week 1. It’s also what I like to call hold your breath week if you are a fan.
With the starters getting about 2.5 quarters, there is always the possibility that an injury occurs. More so this week because of the added intensity and playing time. I think this week is a little more important for a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags are looking for a starter, and it doesn’t appear that Blake Bortles is up to the task.
I called the guy a bust before he was even drafted, and he’s a year away from getting the complete bust tag. I compared his career to Blaine Gabbert’s career, but I don’t know, Bortles might not have it in him to stick around as a career backup. He went 8-of-13 against the Buccaneers for 65 yards. It doesn’t sound all that bad, but if you watched some of the incompletions he made you’d be raising an eyebrow. Bortles had an opportunity to connect for a big gainer into Buccaneers’ territory, but woefully underthrew his target.
Chad Henne entered the game and immediately looked better. He had just 6 completions for 44 yards, but two sure touchdowns were dropped which would have resulted in a much more appealing outing for him. Statistics do not tell the whole story in the preseason.
Second-year quarterback Brandon Allen looked good on both accounts, though, finishing on 10-of-15 passing with a touchdown to lead the Jags. The Panthers dropped a 34-27 decision to the Titans in Week 2 of the preseason. Cam Newton will see the field for the first time in the preseason tonight. Remember, Cam is coming off shoulder surgery from an injury suffered in December. There is no word on exactly how long he’ll play, but we presume for at least the first-half. Get our free Panthers vs. Jaguars preseason pick below.
Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Betting Odds:
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Panthers vs. Jaguars Pick:
The Panthers will be careful with Cam. I do not believe they’re going to throw him into harms way, or at least, they told him to go down and not take any unnecessary contact. Derek Anderson is a competent enough backup to handle the majority of snaps in this game. When he had to step in for Newton last year, though, he didn’t look prepared or ready.
Anderson threw 2 touchdowns and 5 interceptions for a rather uninspiring finish to the Panthers’ season. On the positive, they got Kelvin Benjamin back, but it didn’t help them much. He was coming off an ACL injury so there were no guarantees. Benjamin hauled in 941 yards for 7 touchdowns, a drop from 1,008 yards and 9 touchdowns his rookie season.
Benjamin is another guy who I don’t feel needs much time in this game. Cam should get a taste, along with Benjamin, but I don’t like the idea of a full half. The game plan for this game for the Panthers should just be to stay healthy. Conversely, there will be some motivation on the Jaguars’ side. If they will be able to capitalize is another question all together, though. Bortles had to perform last week but fell on his face. Bortles and Henne will see about equal action this evening, with Henne getting the start.
I think what gave Henne the start tonight was due to that embarrassing pass Bortles threw last week. Note that both quarterbacks will see time with the starting unit. When Henne exits most of the starters should be in for Bortles. The Panthers haven’t cared much about this week in the past, as they are 0-3 the last three years in Week 3 of the preseason. Like I said, this should be a game of staying healthy for Carolina. Meanwhile, there is a lot to be decided in Jacksonville. It won’t be a popular pick, but I like the Jags at home in this one.
PICK: JAGUARS +1.5 (-110)