NFL PRESEASON WEEK 2: THURSDAY & FRIDAY PREVIEWS & PICKS

BY ADAM GREENE

With the first week of the preseason behind us, we might actually see some real action in Week 2. I’m still in the scientific exploration phase of figuring out how teams are handling the three-game preseason, but if there is a week where starters will get some significant time, this is the one.

I’m not sure how much it will affect the games on Thursday and Friday, but we have odds and totals so let’s do what we do.

THURSDAY

CHICAGO BEARS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-3, O/U: 39)

The Bears broke the seal on their preseason win column with a victory 19-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs a week ago. Seattle was burned late in their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers by every back up on the team. The news got worse heading into this game. After playing Geno Smith a shockingly long time against the Steelers, he might once again be called to go longer than anyone would expect with news that Drew Lock has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Thursday’s game.

This is going to be a long season for the Seahawks and seeing head coach Pete Carroll roll so long with Smith tells me he might be seeing the writing on the wall. Either way, I’m comfortable with Chicago here. Bears 17, Seahawks 13

FRIDAY

CAROLINA PANTHERS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (+2, O/U: 40.5)

Apparently there have been some real scuffles, slap fights and pugilistic displays as the Panthers and Patriots have enjoyed their joint practices this week. If you think that might lead to an especially entertaining preseason game, think again. Carolina boasts one of the worst rosters in the league and the only entertaining thing about this year’s Pats squad is the schedenfruede we’ll get to enjoy when they finish below .500 and miss the playoffs.

I guess the Panthers do need to figure out who their starting QB is in this one, so let’s go with them. Panthers 20, Patriots 16

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS (-3, O/U: 39.5)

With Jameis Winston officially listed as questionable, there’s no reason for us to expect anything less than another classic Andy Dalton vs Jordan Love quarterback duel that we will regale our grandchildren with for years to come. Right before they realize we’re completely mentally gone and toss us in the home for good.

I do feel like the Packers, with Love here, should be a little more invested. And they need to knock the dust off that receiver corps, but the preseason is a dangerous time. Zach Wilson messing up his knee and all but guaranteeing Robert Saleh’s unemployment last week shows that. Better be careful. Saints 23, Packers 14

HOUSTON TEXANS AT LOS ANGELES RAMS (+3, O/U: 38.5)

Something odd happened last week. For just the second time in Sean McVay’s tenure as the Rams’ head coach, the team won its preseason opener. McVay changed nothing that he regularly does. Not a single starter got anywhere near the field, yet LA put up 29 points. While I’m tempted to think they’ll throttle it down against the Texans who, even back ups vs back ups, have a distinct disadvantage, Los Angeles’ QB bench is really battling this one out and all three of these guys, Luis Perez, Bryce Perkins and John Wolford, have been in the offense before. Could we see a Rams preseason win streak? Such a thing should be unthinkable. And yet, Rams 24, Texans 19

Last week:

Straight up: 9-7

Against the spread: 8-8

Preseason:

Straight up: 10-7

Against the spread: 9-8

Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.

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