Seahawks always seem to play hard for Coach Pete Carroll
August 08, 2017 3:12 AM
by Jim Feist
A sampling of some NFL preseason matchups.
Cowboys at Rams: It’s a short week for Dallas off the Hall of Fame game, heading on the road again to Los Angeles to play the rebuilding Rams. The Cowboys didn’t care much about preseason last August, going 1-3 SU/ATS, including a Week 1 loss at these same Rams, 28-24. Their other road game they lost at Seattle, 27-17.
Falcons at Dolphins: Atlanta takes the field for the first time as a unit in a game at Miami. The Falcons have a loaded team on offense and a speedy young defense that impressed… until the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. They were involved in a high scoring Week 1 preseason game last August, topping Washington 23-17. They also played this Miami team in Week 3 and got routed on the road, 17-6. The Dolphins don’t have much to prove this preseason, making the playoffs last year under first-year Coach Adam Gase. If there’s any place they need to improve it’s on defense, 30th in yards allowed and last in yards per attempt against the run.
Bills vs. Vikings: Buffalo has a new coach in Sean McDermott after six seasons as the Carolina defensive coordinator. He’s seen the playoffs a lot and even a Super Bowl, neither of which the Bills have experienced in a while. They face the Vikings this weekend, a team that has excelled in preseason under Mike Zimmer. Last August they lost QB Teddy Bridgewater and it’s still not known whether he will be back or healthy. They added Case Keenum this offseason, joining Sam Bradford, along with Taylor Heinicke, who’s never thrown a regular-season pass during his two years with the team.
Jaguars at Patriots: The Pats certainly have nothing to prove with a loaded roster and 40-year-old QB Tom Brady. Jacksonville has been stockpiling high draft picks for years but never seems to improve. They didn’t even show much last preseason, going 1-3 while losing the opener, 17-13 at the NY Jets. For the record, Bill Belichick rarely uses franchise Tom in Week 1. Last August they smoked the Saints, 34-22, as Jimmy Garoppola played most of the way.
Broncos at Bears: If there’s any team that needs to see a QB emerge this August it’s the Chicago Bears. They signed Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez, while trading up for Mitch Trubisky. This is a rematch of a Week 1 preseason game last August where Chicago was home but Denver stuffed the Bears, 22-0. Four Chicago QBs combined for 82 yards passing, 7 sacks and a pick. Incentive for a better showing this August? About as much as you could find in Week 1.
Titans at Jets: The Jets have plenty to prove after a train-wreck 2016 campaign (5-11). The offense was a turnover-machine and never got going, 30th in the NFL in points (17.2 ppg). QB Josh McCown looks like the starter with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg vying for backup.
Seahawks at Chargers: Seattle always seem to play hard for Coach Pete Carroll, even in August. The new Los Angeles Chargers are playing in a ridiculously small stadium in Carson. After winning the Super Bowl a few years back they opened the preseason in a rematch and the Broncos won at home, 21-16. However, Carroll got his team up the next two weeks, crushing the Chargers (41-14) and Bears (34-6) at home.
Redskins at Ravens: Both teams have established veteran QBs, so the backups will be fighting for a job. The Redskins have QBs Colt McCoy and Nate Sudfeld, while the Ravens have Ryan Mallett and Dustin Vaughn backing up Joe Flacco. Mallett was impressive in Week 1 last August throwing for 91 yards on 11-of-15 passing in a 22-19 win over the defending NFC champion Panthers. Sudfeld and McCoy shared time in their opener, a 23-17 loss at Atlanta, where Sudfeld was sacked three times.
Saints at Browns: The young Browns have plenty to prove after going 1-15. Cleveland lost the 2016 preseason opener, 17-11, totaling 95 passing yards from four QBs! Last preseason the Browns scored 11, 13, 13 and 7 points (0-4). This season the Browns will sort through QBs Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan and rookie DeShone Kizer.
Finally, keep an eye on home field. In one recent season home teams went 21-10-1 against the spread the first two weeks of preseason. Two years later the home team went 10-5 SU/ATS the first week. There are edges in preseason football, you just have to know where to look and what to look for, even in August.