Look for scoring!

August 14, 2007 7:53 AM
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At press time, all but two games are in the books for the first full week of preseason football. Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the opening week’s action has been the low scoring nature of the games.

Only the New York Jets managed to score more than 27 points, scoring 31 in their win over Atlanta. A dozen teams failed to score more than 14 and of the 28 clubs that played prior to Monday night, only 9 totaled at least 21 points.

But don’t be fooled by those overall results.

In a number of games the first team offenses played only a series or two. However, they were effective in that short period of time.

In the games this coming weekend, we should see many starting units play a full quarter, often into the second quarter. The scoring should be up and there may be some value for bettors in this week’s OVER / UNDER line.

Based upon the full game results of Week 1, the linesmaker may keep the totals relatively low. But with the starters playing additional time we should see better execution on offense and more points as a result.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding preseason games, lines are often not established at the sports books around Nevada (and offshore for that matter) until late Monday or, in some cases, Tuesday. Thus our analysis for this week’s games will be done without knowledge of opening or current numbers. Those numbers that do appear were edited in as the lines moved prior to deadline.

Keep in mind that even though starters will see increasing action, the straight up and pointspread results of these games will still often be decided by players struggling to make rosters in the fourth quarter. As is always the case in preseason, proceed with caution.

The full complement of 16 games will be played beginning on Thursday and ending with single games both Sunday and Monday night.

Thursday, Aug. 16

Dolphins +3½ at Chiefs (34): It’s a homecoming, of sorts, for Miami QB Trent Green who is vying for the starting job in Miami. Kansas City also has a QB competition with veteran Damon Huard looking to hold off promising Brodie Croyle. OVER.

Friday, Aug. 17

Panthers +3½ at Eagles (35): Carolina has a scheduling advantage as Philly just played Monday and has a much shorter week of practice to make progress from Game 1. Philly coach Andy Reid takes a rather laid back approach to these exhibition games. PANTHERS.

Falcons +3 at Bills (34): Atlanta figures to give new starting QB Joey Harrington additional work in this game after his encouraging showing in the opener. Buffalo is likely to continue to place emphasis on the running game in trying to replace the departed Willis McGahee. FALCONS.

Titans +5½ at Pats (35): Tennessee QB Vince Young should see his first action of the preseason after sitting out last week’s game. New England’s mission in these games is to develop depth at most positions, especially on defense. UNDER.

Vikings +4 at Jets (35): Minnesota has many more situations that need to be resolved than do the Jets. New York had to be pleased with its starting and backup units last week. The Jets are more concerned with depth, while the Vikings seek continuity on offense. VIKINGS.

Saturday, Aug. 18

Texans +3 at Cards (35½): Both teams saw many positives from their opening games. The Cardinals did suffer some key injuries along the offensive line, an area of great weakness. In fact, both teams have goals of improving the line and providing better QB protection. UNDER.

Lions +3 at Browns (35): Both teams are in the process of building a competitive football team with Detroit further along than the Browns. Cleveland does have more of an unsettled situation at QB with rookie Brady Quinn likely to see his first NFL action. BROWNS.

Saints +3 at Bengals (38): Both teams have high powered offenses and questions on defense. Both starting units should be productive, making the first half OVER worth considering. Having played in the Hall of Fame game, the Saints should be further along in readying for the regular season. SAINTS.

Bucs +3½ at Jaguars (33): Tampa has more concerns about the development of the offense than does Jacksonville. The Jags are deciding between Byron Leftwich and David Garrard for starting QB. Both should see extended action in this contest, perhaps alternating series with the starting line and receivers. JAGUARS.

Steelers -1½ at Skins (33½): The Steelers have played well in the first two preseason games, making the coaching transition from Bill Cowher to Mike Tomlin. Washington’s Joe Gibbs has never placed a great emphasis on winning preseason games. Instead, Gibbs concentrates on the fundamentals of blocking and tackling. UNDER.

Chargers +1½ at Rams (37½): Both teams have plenty of offense with their starting units and figure to work on adding depth at key positions. Both coaches like the passing game and are known for aggressive play calling. OVER.

Broncos +5½ at Cowboys (35½): Both teams figure to be playoff contenders this season with most of the starting positions fairly well established. Each has a young, developing QB but the backups are largely open for competition. Thus we may see both teams working on the passing game in the fourth quarter. OVER.

Seahawks +1½ at Pack (35½): Seattle has more stability in the starting units on both sides of the ball and should be more concerned with deciding on backups. Green Bay needs to work on the running game and giving QB Brett Favre’s backup Aaron Rodgers more work with the starting unit. PACKERS

Raiders NL at 49ers (NT): Oakland has two extra days of practice as the 49ers played Monday night. Oakland has a true QB competition with a new coach in place and NFL’s top draft pick JaMarcus Russell still unsigned. OAKLAND.

Sunday, Aug. 19

Giants NL at Ravens (NT): Both teams have veteran coaches who understand the purpose of preseason games. As such this figures to be a conservatively called contest with more emphasis on running, especially with both teams thin at the RB position. UNDER.

Monday, Aug. 20

Bears +2½ at Colts (35½): The stakes are not the same as six months ago for Super Bowl XLI. However, but both the Bears and Colts are heavily favored to again make the playoffs. Even though this is a "meaningless" exhibition game, the Bears might bring a bit more intensity and motivation to succeed against the team that contained them last February. BEARS.

Last week: 7-6-1

Preseason record: 8-6-1.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Several NFL games did not have early lines due to late Monday action.