Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, August 14, 2017 at 4:00 PM
The second week of NFL Preseason action is often pretty dull. Everybody’s biding their time until the dress rehearsals in Week Three. (Well, some teams are just biding their time for ALL of August!). Some offenses have to keep sitting their projected starting quarterbacks because of injuries (certainly Baltimore and Indianapolis, possibly Carolina too). Out of the 16 games on the card, there are probably only a handful that are truly worth your attention in terms of preparing for the regular season.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Minnesota at Seattle
Both head coaches here have a history of emphasizing effort in exhibition games. Seattle looked great Sunday night against the LA Chargers…and Pete Carroll isn’t afraid to ride momentum even in August. That said, Minnesota has been a cover gold mine in recent Preseasons. The Vikings got the money las weekend at Buffalo. The first half of this game should feel like a regular season affair. And, the backups might carry out that attitude for all four quarters. In terms of being a “fan,” this is the one game to watch this week. And, what you see might tell you something about the playoff (or championship) hopes for each NFC contender.
STORY OF THE WEEK: Mitchell Trubisky and Chicago at Arizona
Mitchell Trubisky earned rave reviews last week in his debut for the Chicago Bears. Part of that was timing. Chicago hosted Denver early in the week in a national TV game…that gave the media time to possibly “over” react all weekend. If Trubisky had played great in a Saturday night non-TV game, it might have caused less of a buzz.
That said, Bears fans in attendance certainly loved what they saw. Chicago newspapers treated Trubisky like the second coming of Jim McMahon in terms of leadership and the chance to “own” the city through his career.
This week brings a road test against an Arizona team that has a chip on its shoulder off a disappointing 2016 campaign, and has an extra week of preparation thanks to its Hall of Fame game appearance. If Trubisky can play well HERE, that’s a big deal going forward. It will likely win him the starting job over Mike Glennon. If not, then everyone can put the hype on the back burner for awhile.
STORY OF THE WEEK II: Deshaun Watson and Houston vs. New England
The rookie from Clemson had some great plays in a loss to Carolina last week. He had a few more mistakes than Trubisky. But, rookies are going to make mistakes. The pressure will be on Watston in his home opener. If he could shine against the defending Super Bowl champs, the city of Houston is going to ignite. Yes, Tom Savage has more experience running the schematics. Did Savage ever do anything at Rutgers?! The scope of Houston’s regular season outlook could be greatly influenced by what informed observers learn from this game.
POSSIBLE NO-SHOWS: The list goes on and on!
There were several teams last week who barely even went through the motions. Those teams aren’t likely to suddenly explode this week. Here’s a quick list of teams who lost their games straight up while gaining less than 300 yards of offense and less than 5.0 yards-per-play.
Atlanta: 279 yards and 4.4 YPP in a 23-20 loss to Miami
Washington: 138 yards and 2.9 YPP in a 23-3 loss to Baltimore
NY Giants: 242 yards and 3.4 YPP in a 20-12 loss to Pittsburgh
Kansas City: 187 yards and 4.1 YPP in a 27-17 loss to San Francisco
Tennessee: 223 yards and 3.7 YPP in a 7-3 loss to the NY Jets
Dallas: 248 yards and 4.3 YPP in a 13-10 loss to the LA Rams
Indianapolis: 230 yards and 3.4 YPP in a 24-10 loss to Detroit
Pretty ugly numbers for that less than magnificent seven. Though, it’s worth noting that even some game WINNERS failed to reach those thresholds of 300 and 5.0. on that list include: Minnesota, Baltimore, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, the NY Jets, the LA Rams, and Arizona.
Be careful backing those dead offenses (particularly as favorites) unless you read press clippings suggesting the coach is about to turn on his engine this week.
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