Although it’s just one week, some teams should be worried about what they saw in the first wave of preseason football games. The Houston Texans paid a boatload of money to quarterback Brock Osweiler to help open up their passing game and he looked terrible in their opener. And Los Angeles Rams future franchise quarterback Jared Goff looked mediocre in his first outing, throwing an interception.
However, there were plenty of bright spots too – including the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers’ impressive ground games.
We’ve already seen some lines adjust as the Titans are a one-point favorite hosting the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers lost in Baltimore, scoring 10 points in the first quarter and then just nine points the rest of the way. Meanwhile, the Titans looked very focused, piling up 288 rushing yards while mauling the San Diego Chargers 27-10.
The Texans did struggle to move the ball with their first stringers but still managed to score 24 points on the 49ers. That’s why few people are deterred this week. The Texans are a three-point home favorite over the New Orleans Saints. The Saints, who were historically bad from a defensive perspective last year, showed that they haven’t changed much. They gave up 34 points – the most of any team in Week 1 – to the New England Patriots.
This week the Patriots will move on to host the Chicago Bears, who will be looking for their first points of the preseason after getting shut out at home by the Denver Broncos. That’s landed the Bears among the biggest dogs of the week at +4. The Patriots seem to try harder in the first couple of weeks and then take their foot off the gas in the final two contests. Under Bill Belichick, they’re a combined 21-13 in Weeks 1 and 2 of the preseason compared to just 15-17 in the final two contests.
It’s worth it to note that a couple of coaches haven’t fared so well in the second week of the preseason – possibly by coincidence and possibly because of strategy. Gus Bradley is 0-3 in Week 2 of the preseason as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett is 0-5. The Cowboys blew a 24-7 lead in Los Angeles on Saturday as the Rams came all the way back to win 28-24. This week, the Cowboys are a 3.5-point favorite at home to the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins blasted the New York Giants 27-10 in Week 1.
As for the Jaguars, they’re a three-point home favorite to their Florida neighbors, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jags fell short at New York against the Jets last Thursday. Starting quarterback Blake Bortles led the offense to two scoring drives in his first two series (10 points) but they scored just three points the rest of the way. The Bucs looked even worse as they managed just three field goals in their Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Week 2 of the NFL preseason starts on Thursday night with six games. We’ll see three contests on Friday and seven on Saturday.