2016 NFL Preseason-Week 1, Day 2 Preview

Miami Dolphins @ New York Giants

-Things to watch: Dolphins RBs (Boise State grad Jay Ajayi is the top running back on the ‘Fins depth chart, though many believe that Arian Foster is the better running back. Both have injury histories, so this game could either show who the better running back is, or name a starter by knocking one of the two RBs out for the season.); Giants Rookies (All of the rookies in the league are worth watching in the preseason, but as a Giants fan, I followed their draft class much more closely than the rest. CB Eli Apple (1st round) is the future at CB, as he will likely take over for the aging Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in a few years. WR Sterling Shepard (2nd round) has drawn rave reviews out of training camp, and with Victor Cruz’s age and injury history, Shepard could easily become the WR2 behind Odell Beckham Jr. S Darian Thompson (3rd round and Boise State grad) has reportedly exhibited leadership qualities in a defense that is in sore need of those. RB Paul Perkins (5th round) could also seize the starting RB job from Rashad Jennings, who has been inconsistent, to say the least.)

Winner: New York Giants (With the talented rookies I listed above still fighting for their starting spots, they will play harder than the Dolphins RBs and rookies in this game and get the victory.)

Detroit Lions @ Pittsburgh Steelers

-Things to watch: Lions Offensive Line (The Lions have struggled to block for many years now. I think that situation might change with the additions of T Taylor Decker (Draft) and G Geoff Schwartz (Free Agency).); Steelers TEs (With Virgil Green out with injury, the young TEs (Michael Cooper (R), Paul Lang (R), Xavier Grimble (1 year), Jesse James (2 years)) have their chance to prove themselves.)

Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers (Despite the improved offensive line, the loss of Megatron will be too much for the Lions offense to overcome. Plus, they lack a running game, too.)

Minnesota Vikings @ Cincinnati Bengals

-Things to watch: Vikings CB Trae Waynes (He got off to a rocky start in his rookie season last year. Luckily for him, CBs are often excused because most have rocky rookie years. This year, however, he needs to perform to keep his chances at a starting job.); Bengals WRs (The Bengals lost both Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones during the offseason. They added Brandon LaFell (Free Agency) and Tyler Boyd (Draft). Both figure to compete with Brandon Tate for the WR2 role this season.)

Winner: Cincinnati Bengals (The depth at WR and the presence of QB AJ McCarron on the Bengals roster means that the offense should continue to click, even when the second-stringers come into the game.)

Cleveland Browns @ Green Bay Packers

-Things to watch: Browns QB Robert Griffin III (This game is the first chance RG3 gets to revive his career. He will have the whole preseason to prove himself again, and likely the majority of the regular season, as well. Nevertheless, I’m excited to see how he does today.); Packers FBs (It probably sounds funny to focus on FB play, but John Kuhn was a great FB for Green Bay. Now that he’s in New Orleans, Aaron Ripkowski or Alstevis Squirewell will be attempting to fill his shoes.)

Winner: Green Bay Packers (The game is in Green Bay and the Browns barely have any talent on their starting team, much less their backup team. This could be a blowout.)

Oakland Raiders @ Arizona Cardinals

-Things to watch: Raiders RB DeAndre Washington (Latavius Murray has not proven to be a true starting RB in the NFL. Washington had a lot of hype going into the draft, and he is the most likely to dethrone Murray.); Cardinals Wait For It… (I want to say their pass rush with additions DT Robert Nkemdiche (Draft) and OLB Chandler Jones (Trade), but both of those guys are dealing with injuries, so we will all have to wait to see that combination.)

Winner: Oakland Raiders (The Raiders have made wonderful offseason additions in the form of CB Sean Smith and G Kelechi Osemele, and their draft picks keep getting better each season. Their superior young talent will win them this game.)


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