Preseason Week 3 is the closest thing we will get to an NFL game until September, so a lot of eyes will be on this weekend’s set of games. Every team will divvy up time a bit differently, but this is the week that we expect starters to play more than they will have before and after. Week 4 is usually a roster competition where the top end guys rarely touch the field.
Washington Redskins (-2.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
QB play is something that I have been targeting all preseason, and I will not be stopping this week. Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins are still battling for a starting role, and I would be pretty surprised to see them not take every single series besides maybe the last one of the game.
The Falcons will likely play Matt Ryan a half, but they are not being super aggressive when it comes to playing a lot of their best skill players due to injury risk. The Redskins need to give both Keenum and Haskins time with good, quality players to allow them to get a fair assessment and I expect them to have a better roster in the game for a longer time.
New York Giants (+2) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Giants are another team with a veteran in the first half and a rookie looking to make a splash in the second half. The Bengals have Ryan Finley, who has been solid in the preseason, but he is not on the same level as Jones as a prospect.
Overall, neither of these teams are super talented besides the Bengals first-team offense, which should not see the field for very long, especially with their long list of injuries in the careers. I expect this to be a close game, and I will side with the points and the better QB in the second half.
Seattle Seahawks (-3) vs. Los Angeles Chargers
The Seahawks and Pete Carroll are notorious for playing Russell Wilson and starters a pretty hefty amount in the preseason, and I see no reason for that to change much this season. Wilson played a significant portion of the first half in week 2, and I would expect him to play all of the second half in week 3.
The Chargers have been pretty clear that they do not want to use a lot of their starters in the preseason and I don’t expect any starter to play more than a quarter if they even play that much. In the last game, some starters did not dress, and others played a series or two at most. I’ll take Seattle’s 1s vs. LA’s 2’s any day of the week for just 3 points.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans
The Steelers did not use Big Ben in week 2, but they did use just about everyone else in at least some capacity, and I think we could see anywhere from a quarter to a half from 1st and borderline second-stringers here.
On the other side of the ball, the Titans used Marcus Mariota in the first quarter, and I would expect that to expand to at least a quarter and a half, if not a full half on Sunday night. Not that it really matters, but this is a nationally televised game, which could mean that we see starters for a good chunk of time in this one.
I think that the Steelers are the better team here if we see similar starter usage as I would expect. I like the Steelers and the points on the road here.