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Mike Nowak/Los Angeles Chargers

Week 2 NFL Preseason 2023: What To Watch In Each Game

The second week of preseason action includes a ton of Saturday games, and this article details something to watch in each matchup.


CLE @ PHI | THU 7:30 PM ET | NFL Network

Joint practices between the Browns and Eagles will likely mean starters sit for both sides, but Cleveland in particular has been a very exciting team this preseason with rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson shining in two appearances. Rookie offensive tackle Dawand Jones has also been excellent to begin his NFL career, and a lot of teams are probably kicking themselves already for letting him fall to the fourth round.


CAR @ NYG | FRI 7:00 PM ET | NFL Network

Bryce Young barely had time to think before pass rushers got to him last Saturday versus the Jets, so the Carolina offensive line needs to step up tomorrow night to allow the No. 1 overall pick to make some things happen. I’d like to see Young connect with fellow rookie Jonathan Mingo once or twice this week.


CIN @ ATL | FRI 7:30 PM ET 

Atlanta’s starters will play against Cincinnati after sitting out in the preseason opener, and it will not only be our first look at potential superstar running back Bijan Robinson, but also Desmond Ridder’s first outing as the full-time starter after a trial run to end 2022. How the Atlanta offense comes together with Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts as former top-ten picks will depend heavily on Ridder’s play under center.


JAX @ DET | SAT 1:00 PM ET | NFL Network

Jacksonville might play their guys despite joint practices with the Lions this week, but Detroit is expected to again rest Jared Goff and other veteran starters. Still, the excitement provided by the rookie class with Jahmyr Gibbs, Jack Campbell, and Brian Branch all flashing last week makes the Lions a fun squad to track into the regular season.


MIA @ HOU | SAT 4:00 PM ET | NFL Network

C.J. Stroud is hoping to bounce back from a disappointing debut last Thursday night, and he’s not alone with a bunch of young passers making questionable decisions as preseason action got underway. I’m interested in how the Houston attack looks when Dameon Pierce and the starting offensive line is all in place alongside the No. 2 overall pick.


BUF @ PIT | SAT 6:30 PM ET 

George Pickens having a highlight touchdown catch is exactly what many—for fantasy football purposes—didn’t want to have happen in the preseason, but the second-year wideout is primed for a breakout campaign in Pittsburgh. Another promising showing for Kenny Pickett against a Buffalo defense that will play their starters would be extremely encouraging for an overlooked Steelers team.


CHI @ IND | SAT 7:00 PM ET | NFL Network

The Indianapolis offense needs as much help as it can get to make things easy on Anthony Richardson, so Jonathan Taylor’s status is the wild card for 2023. Zack Moss (arm) being out of action for a couple of more weeks puts the pressure on Deon Jackson, Kenyan Drake, and rookie Evan Hull (who drew the start last week) to show well against Chicago’s revamped front.


TB @ NYJ | SAT 7:30 PM ET

The most recent episode of Hard Knocks gave us a look at serious frustration showed by Aaron Rodgers regarding the play of the offensive line—which has struggled for much of camp. Robert Saleh says he wants to see former first-round pick Mekhi Becton show he can play a full game before considering him as a starter, so we’ll see how Becton is used and plays on Saturday night.


NE @ GB | SAT 8:00 PM ET 

I mentioned Malik Cunningham last week, and the football instincts and athleticism were on full display for the undrafted rookie—who had been cross-training at wide receiver. For the starters (if they play), I’d like to see Mac Jones make quick decisions in Bill O’Brien’s offense, and first-round cornerback Christian Gonzalez will be tested by Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs on the outside.


TEN @ MIN | SAT 8:00 PM ET

Again, people shouldn’t overreact to a young quarterback throwing an interception, and in my opinion, the bigger concern for Will Levis was him absorbing multiple sacks. Two of the takedowns came from the left side without Levis sensing the pressure, so Tennessee will be looking for improvement after it was something he had trouble dealing with at Kentucky.


KC @ ARI | SAT 8:00 PM ET 

Arizona probably won’t be a contender in 2023, but Saturday night will be a nice measuring stick for Jonathan Gannon’s squad with Kansas City expected to play Patrick Mahomes and the starters. I’ll be watching the secondary closely, as high-level play from Budda Baker and Isaiah Simmons on the backend can alleviate concerns about an unproven cornerback group.


DEN @ SF | SAT 8:30 PM ET 

Trey Lance was an exciting prospect coming out of North Dakota State in 2021, but he didn’t look very fast when on the move last Sunday, and the lack of game reps over the past handful of years is a major concern regarding his chances of turning things around. San Francisco might want to go with Sam Darnold versus the Denver starters while letting Lance soak up reps in the second half this weekend.


LV @ LAR | SAT 9:00 PM ET

The Rams resting their starters has become the norm under Sean McVay, so I’m very interested in whether Kyren Williams suits up this week; if not, he might be viewed as an important part of the backfield alongside Cam Akers. On the Las Vegas offense, another week of domination in the trenches would be a good sign for their chances of competing in the AFC West—as rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell was almost untouched in a terrific debut.


DAL @ SEA | SAT 10:00 PM ET | NFL Network

It sounds like No. 5 overall pick Devon Witherspoon might not be ready to go until the regular season, but his absence has allowed Michael Jackson and Tre Brown to continue competing on the outside to start opposite Riq Woolen. Jackson has especially been a gem of a find by Seattle as a former fifth-round pick by the Cowboys, and he’ll be tested by an awesome Dallas trio if they suit up this weekend.


NO @ LAC | SUN 7:05 PM ET | NFL Network

The burst and decisiveness showed by running back Isaiah Spiller in the preseason opener has him looking like the guy we saw at Texas A&M a couple of years ago, and he’ll hope to build on that showing to earn work with the starters when real games begin. But undrafted rookie Elijah Dotson is making a case for the team keeping four backs after he rushed for 92 yards and two scores on just six carries last week, so it’s a good problem to have for LA if Dotson keeps it up.



It’s obviously an exhibition, but I’m expecting a crazy crowd in Washington for their first home game since Dan Snyder sold the team—and the opportunity to end the Ravens’ 24-game preseason winning streak adds another layer of intrigue to the matchup. Starting fast would be encouraging for Sam Howell and the starting offense after they struggled to move the ball until the Cleveland starters left the game last week.