August about new additions

Aug 5, 2008 6:56 PM

Feist Facts by Jim Feist | Remember that each NFL season is different, with players changing teams, new coaches and assistants coming aboard, and star college players joining the pros as highly touted rookies.

August football offers fans their first peak at all the new additions.

This weekend, the Jaguars and Falcons meet in a matchup of teams with some interesting changes. Jacksonville dished out $30 million for wide receiver Jerry Porter, the former Raider, who is being penciled in as the No. 1 receiver.

On defense, longtime run stuffer Marcus Stroud went to Buffalo and DE Bobby McCray went to the Saints. First-round draft pick DE Derrick Harvey, the No. 8 overall pick from Florida, and DE Quentin Groves will play for new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Keep in mind Jack Del Rio is 15-5 SU, 14-6-1 ATS as the Jags head coach in preseason.

For Atlanta, there’s a new head coach (Mike Smith) and offensive coordinator (Mike Mularkey). Smith was the defensive coordinator of the Jaguars, so he is very familiar with his opponent.

The QB situation is a stark contrast of youth versus old, with rookie QB Matt Ryan and veteran Chris Redman.

The Ravens head to the Patriots and Baltimore has a new coach in John Harbaugh. Throughout training camp, Kyle Boller, Troy Smith and Joe Flacco have rotated at quarterback with the starting offense. Expect to see that trio trying to produce as the No. 1 job is wide open.

The Saints head to Arizona this weekend, a game on ESPN. New Orleans loaded up in the offseason trying to improve a defense that was 26th overall. They moved up in the draft to take USC nose tackle Sedrick Ellis with the seventh pick, along with DT DeMario Pressley (5th round, NC State).

Speaking of defense, that’s also what the Cardinals focused on, drafting CB Dominick Rodgers-Cromartie (Tennessee State) with the 16th overall pick and tall DE Calais Campbell (Miami) in the second round.

The Broncos and the Texans hook up in their first preseason game. The Houston coach, Gary Kubiak, spent over a decade as offensive coordinator at Denver under Mike Shanahan. Note that Shanahan is 14-7 SU/12-9 ATS the last five Augusts.

In August 2004, home teams went 21-10-1 against the spread the first two weeks of preseason. Three years ago, the home team went 10-5 SU/ATS the first week of exhibition play, and in 2006 went 11-5 SU, 8-7-1 ATS.