Today is THE day! Televised NFL Football begins again for the first time since February. So, in honor of the big day, I’ll be posting my projections for today’s preseason games and my reasoning behind said projections.  Without further ado:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Philadelphia Eagles

-Things to watch: Buccaneers CBs (The Bucs added Brent Grimes via free agency, and drafted Vernon Hargreaves out of the University of Florida. They also still have Alterraun Verner. Only two of these guys can be TRUE starters, and the third will only be necessary in Nickel packages. I imagine Hargreaves will be a starter, but the battle between Grimes and Verner is a toss-up that only preseason action can solve.); Eagles CBs (The Eagles have the opposite problem from the Buccaneers in that they don’t have enough good CBs. Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks are currently listed as the starters. However, Jalen Mills is the one to watch in the preseason. Drafted in the 7th round out of LSU, I definitely think Mills can claim a starting spot in the Eagles weak CB corps. As good as Malcolm Jenkins is at FS, the Eagles need AT LEAST one quality CB to avoid getting torched this season.)

– Winner: Philadelphia Eagles (Tampa Bay has MUCH better starters, but preseason is about the backups, and Philadelphia has more depth because they have multiple average players at most positions. Consider this: the #2 overall pick is on Philadelphia’s bench, they also have OL Stefen Wisniewski coming off the bench, AND Reuben Randle is #3 at WR. Their offense will take off when the bench players come into the game.)

Washington Redskins @ Atlanta Falcons

– Things to watch: Redskins S Su’a Cravens (Reports from practice said that Cravens was playing some LB, in addition to S because of the presence of Ss DeAngelo Hall, Will Blackmon, and David Bruton Jr. He’s listed as a S, but will that change? Preseason might tell.); Falcons WRs (Now that Roddy White is out, the Falcons need a new #2. Mohammed Sanu likely has that position on lock, but #3 is up for grabs. The Falcons have Eric Weems and rookie Devin Fuller, both of whom, I think can make a run at that third WR spot.)

Winner: Washington Redskins (WR depth wins this game for the ‘Skins. Colt McCoy and Matt Schaub are equally capable QBs, but McCoy has more quality targets.)

Carolina Panthers @ Baltimore Ravens

-Things to watch: Panthers CBs (The Panthers still have most of their talent from their Super Bowl run last season. The one piece they’re missing? Josh Norman. Who’s going to step to the plate? Expect all three of the Panthers rookie CBs to make plays for the top spot: James Bradberry, Zach Sanchez, and Daryl Worley. If those three fail to stand out, Bene Benwikere should claim CB1.); Ravens OL (The Ravens OL was TERRIBLE last season. That’s why they lost so many players to injury last season. With first-round OT Ronnie Stanley now in town, expect that to change this season.)

Winner: Carolina Panthers (Panthers win due to their talented depth at every position that isn’t CB.)

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets

-Things to watch: Jaguars Defense (I couldn’t narrow this down to one position. The Jags added two of the top free agents in this year’s class in DE Malik Jackson and CB Prince Amukamara, and two very talented rookies in CB Jalen Ramsey and LB Myles Jack. The defense could lead the Jags to the playoffs this season in combining with the Blake Bortles and Allens offense.); Jets Offense (On the other side, the Jets resigned QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and added RB Matt Forte. Plus, I want to see how much QB Geno Smith improved while anticipating starting during Fitzpatrick’s contract issues.)

Winner: New York Jets (I think backup QB Geno Smith will come to play. He always seems to when the stakes are low.)

New Orleans Saints @ New England Patriots

-Things to watch: Saints TE Coby Fleener (Fleener has always had talent, it just wasn’t used very well in Indianapolis. Lucky for Fleener, QB Drew Brees LOVES his TEs. He revived Ben Watson’s career last season, and now it’s Fleener’s turn.); Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo (Brady won’t play in this preseason game, so Garoppolo gets to show off. I wasn’t impressed by Garoppolo’s preseason performances last season, but now, he has another year under his belt and he’s playing with the first-string offense. Also, the Saints defense is one of the worst in the league. This could be a standout performance from the Pats’ soon-to-be, four-game starter.)

Winner: New England Patriots (Like I said, the Saints STARTING defense isn’t good. Their backups likely aren’t much better.)

Denver Broncos @ Chicago Bears

-Things to watch: Broncos QBs (Mark Sanchez vs Trevor Siemian vs Paxton Lynch. This is the TRUE round 1 of that battle.); Bears WR Kevin White (White was last year’s first-round pick for the Bears and he has yet to play a down in the NFL. Will he live up to the hype? The Bears are certainly hoping so, because they are still locked in a stalemate with current WR1, Alshon Jeffery.)

Winner: Denver Broncos (All three of the Broncos’ QBs might STILL be better than Bears’ starter, Jay Cutler. Can you tell I don’t believe in Cutler? Well, it’s not even really about him in this game, so we’ll see if the Bears backup QB, Brian Hoyer, is even worse than Cutler.)


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