Sunday’s Tip SheetBengals at Bills (-1.5, 41.5) - 4:00 PM EST
Head Coach: Marvin Lewis (32-31 SU, 33-29-1 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel, Matt Barkley, Logan Woodside (Rookie)
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Katherine Terrell
Head Coach: Sean McDermott (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Josh Allen (Rookie), Nathan Peterman
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Joe Buscaglia
For the first time since 2013, the Bengals have jumped out to a 2-0 start in the preseason. Cincinnati edged Chicago in the exhibition opener at home, 30-27 in a game that closed as a pick-em. Quarterback Andy Dalton tossed three touchdown passes in the first quarter, although only two counted for the Bengals. Dalton connected with running back Joe Mixon on a 24-yard strike and hit wide receiver Tyler Boyd for a three-yard score.
However, Dalton was picked off by Chicago’s Kyle Fuller in between the two early Cincinnati touchdowns as the Bears’ defensive back returned the interception 47 yards for a score. Chicago rallied back to take a 27-23 fourth quarter lead before backup QB Jeff Driskel hit Auden Tate for a 33-yard connection for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:04 remaining. Driskel finished with 140 yards passing, while Dalton threw for 103 yards in Cincinnati’s second straight preseason opener victory.
The Bengals overcame a 10-0 halftime deficit in last week’s 21-13 road triumph over the Cowboys as three-point underdogs. Cincinnati punted on all three of Dalton’s drives in the first half before the Bengals turned the ball over twice prior to halftime. Things turned around in the second half as the Bengals scored on each of their first four drives, including touchdowns from Tra Carson and Brian Hill. Cincinnati’s running game never took off as the Bengals rushed for 54 yards on 24 carries, one week after racking up 144 yards on the ground against Chicago.
The Bills lost their first three preseason games in 2017 before winning the meaningless finale against the Lions, 27-17. Buffalo has picked up a split through its first two exhibition contests in 2018, although it started with a 28-23 home defeat to Carolina in Week 1. All three Buffalo quarterbacks (Nathan Peterman, Josh Allen, and A.J. McCarron) threw for at least 116 yards, while Allen, the rookie from Wyoming, hit Ray-Ray McCloud for a 14-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to five in the final 70 seconds.
In the second preseason game at Cleveland last week, the Bills punted on the first four possessions with McCarron under center. However, Allen tried to make a case for the starting quarterback role as he led Buffalo on a 15-play, 80-yard drive that was capped off with a two-yard touchdown pass to Rod Streater to tie the game at 7-7. Peterman put the Bills ahead for good in the fourth quarter by hitting tight end Nick O’Leary on a 35-yard touchdown strike for the 19-17 win, but the game stayed UNDER the total of 42 ½.
Buffalo and Cincinnati are meeting in the preseason for the first time since 2010 when the Bills took care of the Bengals, 35-20 as three-point home underdogs. That game also took place during Week 3 of the preseason, as the Bills own a dreadful 1-5 SU/ATS record in the last six “dress rehearsal” contests, while hitting the UNDER four times in this stretch. Cincinnati has dropped each of its last two Week 3 preseason contests, even though the Bengals led Washington and Jacksonville in the fourth quarter before falling short.
Cardinals (-2, 40.5) at Cowboys - 8:00 PM EST
Head Coach: Steve Wilks (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Sam Bradford, Josh Rosen (Rookie), Mike Glennon
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Mike Jurecki
Head Coach: Jason Garrett (12-19 SU, 10-18-3 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Cooper Rush, Mike White (Rookie)
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: David Helman
Arizona is not only starting a new chapter this season as longtime head coach Bruce Arians is off to the television booth and veteran quarterback Carson Palmer announced his retirement. Former Panthers’ defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is the new head coach in the desert, while the quarterback competition is heating up with veteran Sam Bradford and former UCLA standout Josh Rosen vying for the top spot.
The Cardinals have picked up a pair of preseason victories over the Chargers and Saints through two weeks, while allowing a total of 32 points in those wins. In week 1 against Los Angeles, the Cardinals took advantage of four Chargers’ turnovers and a defensive touchdown to grab a 24-17 triumph as three-point home favorites. Los Angeles outgained Arizona, 387-174, while limiting the Cardinals to 11 first downs. Bradford led Arizona to a touchdown in his only drive, although he threw one pass and the Cardinals ran the ball seven times. In Rosen’s four drives, the Cardinals punted each time even though two possessions ended in Chargers’ territory.
Arizona’s offense got on track at New Orleans last week by posting two touchdowns and a field goal in the second quarter to grab a 17-3 halftime lead. The Saints made a modest rally, but the Cardinals went into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and left with a 20-15 triumph as 4 ½-point underdogs. Arizona’s defense created four New Orleans turnovers, while Bradford was a perfect 6-for-6 for 61 yards and Rosen added 107 yards passing along with a touchdown.
The Cowboys seek their first preseason victory after falling short against the 49ers and Bengals through two games. Dallas has led at halftime in each contest, but second half meltdowns have sent the Cowboys to an 0-2 start in the preseason for the first time since 2015.
Jason Garrett’s team stormed out to a 14-0 advantage at San Francisco in the opener, highlighted by a Dak Prescott touchdown pass and a touchdown run by former Alabama tailback Bo Scarbrough. However, the Niners rallied from a 21-10 fourth quarter deficit to score two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 18 seconds remaining. Dallas fell to 0-6 in Week 1 preseason games (not including the Hall of Fame game) since 2012 in a 24-21 setback to San Francisco, but the Cowboys cashed as 3 ½-point underdogs.
The Cowboys started strong again last week against the Bengals by taking a 10-0 halftime lead. However, Cincinnati outscored Dallas in the second half, 21-3 to top the Cowboys, 21-13 as three-point underdogs, while staying UNDER the total of 41 ½. Prescott led Dallas’ lone touchdown drive by hitting Terrance Williams from six yards out early in the second quarter. However, running back Ezekiel Elliott did not play, while Scarborough was limited to -2 yards on four carries.
Prescott will likely sit on Sunday night for Dallas, while Rosen is a game-time decision due to a right thumb injury. The Cowboys have dropped three of their past four “dress rehearsal” contests, with the last loss at home in this situation coming to Minnesota in 2015. Arizona has won two of its past three Week 3 exhibition games, while hitting the OVER twice. Dallas and Arizona hooked up in the Hall of Fame game last season as the Cowboys left Canton with a 20-18 win as 1 ½-point favorites.
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