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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:57 PM

Thursday's Preseason Essentials

Editor's Note: NFL Totals (+570) leader Antony Dinero has gone 5-1 in his last six preseason picks. Don't miss out on more winners from him this football season on VegasInsider.com Click to win!

Note: Quarterback rotation subject to change. Lines courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Eagles at Jaguars (-3, 35) - 7:00 PM EST

Phildadelphia
Head Coach: Doug Pederson (7-6 SU, 7-6 ATS in season)
Quarterback Rotation: Cody Kessler, Clayton Thorson (R)
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Jeff McLane

Anyone looking to watch Nick Foles try to match Carson Wentz for even a series is going to be awfully disappointed. After neither played in Week 1, both projected starters are expected to watch from the sidelines in Jacksonville too. Nate Sudfeld got his wrist broken after a late hit against Tennessee last week, so Kessler and Thorson will be at the controls here. Pedersen is 2-1 in Week 2 of the preseason and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will likely want to see more from a unit that got lit up by the Titans.

Jacksonville
Head Coach: Doug Marrone (8-9 SU, 7-8-2 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Gardner Minshew, Tanner Lee, Alex McGough
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: John Reid

Minshew saw the bulk of the work as the Jags were shut out by the Ravens, so the expectation is he'll play at least the first half on Thursday. Marrone has already given Jags' fans the heads up that they won't see any starters in this second contest, but the hope is that the backups will be much better than they were up in Baltimore. First-round pick Josh Allen will look to be a disruptive force up front. Marrone has split his four Week 2 preseason games and has seen 11 of his 18 go 'under.'

Jets (-1 ½, 44 ½) at Falcons - 7:30 PM EST

N.Y. Jets
Head Coach: Adam Gase (5-8 SU, 5-8 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Sam Darnold, Trevor Siemian, Davis Webb, Luke Falk
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Manish Mehta

New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams blitzes in exhibitions and wasn't at all thrilled that he couldn't get home and his defensive backs got carved up by the Giants last week. This will be a huge opportunity for guys looking to impress on that side of the ball. Sam Darnold's entire projected started interior line won't play, so it remains to be seen whether he plays more than a series. New kicker Tyler Bertolet will look to solidify his hold on the gig after Chandler Catanzaro retired. The 'over' is 9-3-1 in Gase's 13 preseason contests as head coach of the Dolphins and Jets. He was 0-3 in Week 2 contests with Miami.




Atlanta
Head Coach: Dan Quinn (5-13 SU, 4-14 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Matt Simms
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Falcons dropped the Hall of Fame Game in addition to last week's high-scoring contest in Miami, so this is Quinn's third look at his team in a game setting. A few offensive linemen are missing too, but Matt Ryan will debut and is likely going to play into the second quarter. Simms, who was signed when Kurt Benkert went on IR, should mop up ahead of WR/QB Daniel Etling, who was just claimed after being waived by New England. Quinn is 0-4 in the third preseason game and carries a 10-game preseason losing streak into this game, last winning on Sept. 1, 2016. The under is 6-11-1 in his preseason games.

Bengals at Redskins (-3, 41) - 7:30 PM EST

Cincinnati
Head Coach: Zac Taylor (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel, Ryan Finley (R), Jake Dolegala (R)
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Tyler Dragon

The Chiefs routed the Bengals last week to spoil Taylor's debut, but the head coach did see a few bright spots, which included Finley showing out and climbing into the primary backup role ahead of Driskel, who has started getting reps at receiver. Dalton led a drive for a TD against the Chiefs and should be in for a longer stint with backs Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard and Trayveon Williams all expected to play through ailments. New defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo saw the first-team defense get overwhelmed by Kansas City, which ended up scoring 38 points in making the entire unit look porous. It will be interesting if communication improves as they look to handle a second straight road game.

Washington
Head Coach: Jay Gruden (12-9 SU, 11-10 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins (Rookie), Jalan McClendon
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Kareem Copeland

The 'Skins still don't have Colt McCoy (leg soreness) available and lost Josh Woodrum to a torn pectoral muscle, so with McClendon signing this week, it's expected that Keenum and Haskins will get all the snaps as they try and impress in order to secure a starting that spot that looks up for grabs. Haskins, the No. 15 pick, sabotaged an effective debut with costly turnovers, so he'll be among Thursday's most scrutinized subjects. New OC Kevin O'Connell is considered a lock to be a future head coach and is calling plays while working with Haskins, so he should take some shots against the Bengals despite holes along the offensive line. Gruden has won four of five Week 2 games and is 7-3 SU at home in the preseason.

Packers at Ravens (-4, 37) - 7:30 PM EST

Green Bay
Head Coach: Matt LeFleur (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Aaron Rodgers, DeShone Kizer, Tim Boyle, Manny Wilkins (R)
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Tom Silverstein


Rodgers is expected to play about a quarter, debuting for the first time with LeFleur calling the plays into the future Hall of Famer. We'll see how their relationship evolves, but Rodgers is likely to have most of the offense around him with RB Aaron Jones expected to play after dealing with a hamstring issue. Kizer and Boyle threw for 142 yards and three TDs, showing off great chemistry with the team's younger receivers. A new-look defense lost projected top linebacker Oren Burks and will be looking to improve after giving up 26 points in holding off Houston.

Baltimore
Head Coach: John Harbaugh (34-12 SU, 31-14-1 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Lamar Jackson, Trace McSorley (R), Joe Callahan
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Jamison Hensley

Jackson played more than he was expected to last week and didn't tuck it and run, so it's clear that the Ravens want him to work on his passing from the pocket. He completed 19-of-25 in Tuesday's practice and will be looking to build on that in probably working another three series before giving way to McSorley and Callahan, a former Packer. Robert Griffin III is out for the entire preseason with a hairline fracture in his thumb. The Ravens have won 14 consectuive preseason games, last losing on Sept. 3, 2015. They blanked the Jags 29-0 last week. Harbaugh has gone 8-3 in Week 2 and has dropped just one preseason home game since mid-August of '13.

Raiders at Cardinals (-3, 40 ½) - 8 PM EST, ESPN

Oakland
Head Coach: Jon Gruden (34-17 SU, 19-12-3 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Derek Carr, Mike Glennon, Nathan Peterman
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Paul Gutierrez

The Raiders dominated a Rams squad that ran a vanilla offense last week and managed just a field goal, so their defense will get their first true test here. Carr will play for the first time despite Antonio Brown remaining on the sidelines, so we'll get to see what chemistry has developed with the team's other receivers. Offseason acquisition Tyrell Williams and a pair of rookies HBO's Hard Knocks' has focused on, Clemson's Hunter Renfrow and UC Davis' Keelan Doss, will get long looks. Rookie RB Josh Jacobs will also get touches to try and balance out a passing attack that looked uneven at best in the opener. Gruden has an incredible record in Week 1 of the preseason but has really struggled in his second games.

Arizona
Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Kyler Murray (R), Brett Hundley, Chad Kanoff, Drew Anderson (R)
Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Bob McManaman

The Cardinals saw Murray put together an impressive debut and ran a mostly vanilla offense despite Kingsbury's stated desire to push tempo and unveil some innovations. The expectation is that Arizona won't show off many bells and whistles this early in the preseason, but they will want to see the training wheels come off some for top QBs Murray and Hundley. There's also a lot of competition at receiver that must shake out, so the battle for No. 3 between Kanoff and Anderson, a rookie from Murray State, should lead to the ball being in the air often.


Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA

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