We’re into the third week of preseason action, which is usually the most entertaining. Teams use this game as a dress rehearsal, which means starters typically play longer in this game than any other. Let’s take a closer look at some of this week’s trends and action:
Week 3 Preseason Trends
There are some clear-cut coaching trends that are worth keeping in mind if you’re betting this week’s games. Mike Zimmer’s teams are a perfect 4-0 in Week 3 and 15-4 overall. His Vikings are coming off a loss, though. Pete Carroll’s teams are 6-2 in the third week but his Seahawks have yet to win a preseason game this year. Also, John Harbaugh is 7-3 in Week 3 while Sean Payton is 9-3.
On the flip side, Marvin Lewis’ teams are 4-11 in Week 3 and Dan Quinn’s are 0-3.
New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers (-1.5)
Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Patriots and Panthers have looked like two of the best teams in the preseason so far, which genuinely makes this game hard to handicap. The Patriots have won both games, averaging 31.5 points per game. Meanwhile, the Panthers have looked as strong as anyone in preseason action – especially on offense. They’ve won both games while scoring at least 27 points each time.
Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
Friday, 8 p.m. ET
Detroit’s offensive line also has some major issues to address before the regular season gets underway. Matthew Stafford was hit seven times in the first quarter of last week’s loss to the Oakland Raiders. The Lions will need to do a better job protecting their franchise quarterback moving forward. They’ll aim to do better against the Bucs, who have looked very crisp in the preseason. They’ve won their two games while scoring at least 26 points each time.
Atlanta Falcons @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-3)
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
Two offenses that have labored in the preseason meet up in this contest. The Falcons have been hoping for better results in their second year under Steve Sarkisian but we haven’t seen it yet. They’ve managed only 14 points in two exhibition games. As for the Jaguars, they’ve mustered just 34 in two games.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills (-1.5)
Sunday, 4 p.m. ET
An A.J. McCarron injury has opened the door wide open for rookie first-round pick Josh Allen to make his case to be the starting quarterback in Buffalo. He’ll get the start in this one. Nathan Peterman has looked good throughout the preseason, but at this point it would be hard to imagine the Bills not wanting to give Allen every possible opportunity to win the job. Allen and Peterman will showcase their skills on Sunday against a Bengals defense that struggled against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys offense last week.
Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys (-3)
Sunday, 8 p.m. ET
Speaking of rookies, 10th overall pick Josh Rosen looked great with the first-team offense in last week’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Rosen went 10-for-16 for 107 yards and a touchdown after taking over for Sam Bradford, who had gone 6-for-6 in the exhibition contest. Bradford remains the obvious favorite to start in Arizona this season but Rosen could continue to force the Cardinals staff to at least keep his play in mind with another strong performance this week.