Lions over Colts: In preseason, yes!

August 21, 2007 7:59 AM
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Following Monday night’s Super Bowl "rematch" between Chicago and Indianapolis the NFL preseason will be half complete.

Two weeks remain for coaching staffs to tweak their offenses and defenses and to make what in many cases will be critical personnel decisions. Injuries always are a concern, especially when the games do not count in the standings. The loss of players in these games is something the NFL needs to be more concerned about.

Perhaps the long discussed reduction in the preseason from 4-to-2 will receive more serious consideration. Of course, that could also mean the addition of two more regular season games which would be welcomed by the fans, especially the wagering public, but not necessarily the Players’ Union.

Week 3 of the preseason is often used by coaches as a dress rehearsal for the regular season opener. Starters will often play a full half and more. Some semblance of a game plan, perhaps including scripted plays at the start, will be used.

As a result you might consider a first half wager on these games where available.

Again, scour the internet and newspapers for team reports as the coaches are likely to make public how they plan on treating this game. Coaches will use this game as a dress rehearsal with an eye towards resting the regulars in the final preseason game.

Thursday, Aug. 23

Jags -1½ at Packers (39): Both teams had great success on offense last week which should inflate the total. With both starting offenses looking sharp we could see more attention paid to the evaluation of the backups. UNDER.

Saints PK at Chiefs (37½): The Saints appear poised to show that 2006 was no fluke and they have decent depth at most positions. The Chiefs have significant concerns at QB as Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle compete for the starting job. CHIEFS.

Friday, Aug. 24

Titans +1 at Bills (35): The Bills have struggled on offense in their first two games, scoring just 13 and 10 points while seeking a solid replacement for departed RB Willis McGahee. BILLS.

Patriots PK at Panthers (38): Expect conservative game plans with more attention paid to the running games. UNDER.

Rams PK at Raiders (38): High powered St. Louis offense has had trouble finding the end zone in the preseason. We may see the offense put forth a more concerted effort, especially against an Oakland team that is solid defensively. QB Daunte Culpepper was impressive against the Niners and could emerge as the opening day starter. OVER .

Saturday, Aug. 25

Lions NL at Colts: Detroit has won both preseason games and the offense seems to be coming around nicely in Mike Martz’ second season as offensive coordinator. The Colts have a short work week after playing Monday and have taken a rather ambivalent approach to these games in recent years. LIONS.

Bucs PK at Dolphins (34): Both teams have had trouble scoring this preseason. Each has concerns at QB and might use this game to open up the passing game against two pretty good defenses. OVER.

Cowboys -2 at Texans (39): Dallas has looked sharp in winning the first two preseason games, both played at home. The transition from Bill Parcells to Wade Phillips appears to have gone smoothly. Houston is still a team looking for some confidence. Although they’ve played well in their first two games, this will be a measure of how improved they may actually be. TEXANS.

Ravens -3 at Skins (32): Both teams have played much better on defense than offense in their first two games. Washington has more concerns about their offense with more questions about depth. REDSKINS.

Jets PK at Giants (37): The Jets have the better overall roster and are healthier than the Giants, who suffered key injuries in Sunday night’s win at Baltimore. As such, the Giants are more likely to play conservatively and focus their attention on offense to further develop the running game. JETS.

49ers NL at Bears: Chicago is off Monday night’s game at Indianapolis and thus will have a short week of practice. The 49ers are still adjusting to a new offensive coordinator and more likely to treat this game with more meaning. 49ERS.

Browns +7 at Broncos (37): Denver suffered some key injuries last week including new RB Travis Henry. He’s likely out for the balance of the preseason. Cleveland rookie QB Brady Quinn looked impressive against backups last week, but is likely to see more meaningful action against better defenders. UNDER.

Vikings +8 at Seahawks (38): Minnesota’s 37-20 win over the Jets is misleading in that three TDs came on defense. Yet rookie RB Adrian Peterson was impressive. The Seahawks were embarrassed in Green Bay and that lackadaisical effort might provide some incentive for a sharper one here. SEAHAWKS.

Chargers -2½ at Cards (40½): San Diego might be the most talented team in the league and pretty much set in all positions. Arizona new head coach Ken Whisenhunt might want his team to put forth a good effort to measure how much progress has been made. CARDS.

Sunday, Aug. 26

Eagles +2 at Steelers (36): Both teams have playoff caliber rosters and are more concerned about depth than starting positions. With a new head coach Pittsburgh has more decisions to make and more likely to be the aggressor on both sides of the ball. STEELERS.

Monday, Aug. 27

Bengals -3 at Falcons (38): We might see both first team offenses have success moving the ball up and down the field. OVER.

Last week: 9-6

Preseason record: 17-13-2