Colts will continue negative
attitude against Saints

Aug 22, 2006 5:31 AM

Historically, the third week of games will be played as closely as possible to regular season games.

Limited game plans may be employed, while starters will play into the second half and often into the fourth quarter. These "dress rehearsals" allow coaches to gauge the progress of the team before resting starters in the final preseason game to make final evaluations on backups.

Keep in mind, of course, that stellar performances in the preseason rarely if ever portend regular season success. Similarly, poor preseason results especially for contending teams should not be taken as a sign all is not well. Last season, Indianapolis Colts went winless in the preseason, then won its first 13 regular season games.

Here’s a brief look at this week’s games.

Thursday, Aug. 24

Dolphins +4 at Panthers (36½): This game could see both starting QBs not see the usual extended third game action. UNDER.

Friday, Aug. 25

Cards +4 at Bears (35): Arizona still has major concerns along the offensive line. Chicago has some issues at RB. Ball control is the theme. UNDER.

Giants -3½ at Jets (36½) Jets have greater sense of urgency, needing to get newly acquired RB Kevan Barlow into the offense. Giants more likely concerned with backups. JETS.

Ravens +2½ at Vikes (35): Baltimore look at RBs with Jamal Lewis sidelined. Minnesota has wide receiver concerns. OVER.

Steelers +3 at Eagles (35): These teams have met in each of the last three preseasons with each game surprisingly higher scoring than expected. OVER.

Lions +3½ at Raiders (38): Oakland has won its first three preseason games with a defense having shown significant progress. Both teams might want to open things up. OVER.

Saturday, Aug. 26

Browns +3½ at Bills (35½): Buffalo is finalizing a decision to name J.P. Losman its starting QB. Browns figure to give starting QB more playing time. BROWNS.

Colts PK at Saints (37½): Little cause for concern with Indy other than backup QB Jim Sorgi being banged up. New Orleans has more reasons to play hard. SAINTS.

Skins +3½ at Pats (36½): Washington has more of a need to work on the RB position with Clinton Portis banged up. Patriots had their ”˜statement’ game last week. SKINS.

49ers +5½ at Cowboys (35): San Francisco was woeful last week at Oakland and should come out more aggressive. Dallas is off a Monday night game. Terrell Owens is expected to see action. 49ERS.

Bucs +3 at Jags (34½): Both teams should be rather conservative in approaching this game. Still, Jacksonville has more to prove. JAGUARS.

Falcons +1 at Titans (37): The Falcons have the better defensive talent which should provide a good test for the Titans’ offense. Backup QB Vince Young should see extended playing time. TITANS

Rams +4 at Chiefs (40): Even though only 9 of 32 preseason games have exceeded 40 points, these teams figure to open up their offenses. OVER.

Seahawks +3 at Chargers (37): Chargers QB Phillip Rivers can use the extra work, suggesting the Chargers’ offense will outperform Seattle. CHARGERS

Sunday, Jan. 27

Texans +5½ at Broncos (40): Houston should be the more aggressive team offensively as the players become more familiar with Gary Kubiak’s system. TEXANS.

Monday, Jan 28:

Packers +4½ at Bengals (39): Bengals’ QB Carson Palmer should see his first action, maybe a quarter. Cincy has one of the more aggressive defenses and could present some problems for the Green Bay offensive line. BENGALS.

Last week: 9-6

Preseason: 22-12