PHI @ JAX | THU 7:00 PM ET
Nick Foles won’t be suiting up for Jacksonville tonight to take on his former team, and Carson Wentz probably won’t play either, which takes the luster away from the start of this matchup. Philly’s new No. 2 quarterback Cody Kessler could use more reps anyway, though, and overall, I think the Eagles are in very good hands if the former USC star is needed in the regular season. Despite not having much around him in Cleveland or Jacksonville to start his career, Kessler provided steady quarterback play and could thrive in Doug Pederson’s offense with all the weapons that would surround him.
NYJ @ ATL | THU 7:30 PM ET
The cornerback group was a big-time concern for the Jets even before Trumaine Johnson (hamstring) went down, so they are lucky this game doesn’t count against the high-powered Atlanta offense—especially at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Offensively, Sam Darnold was great in his lone drive last week, going four-of-five for 68 yards and a touchdown pass (to Jamison Crowder, who seems to have bulked up some, which is notable for fantasy owners). Le’Veon Bell’s role may not be revealed until the regular season, but we’ll see if the rest of the starters can stay hot.
GB @ BAL | THU 7:30 PM ET
Did you see the season projections that Baltimore’s preseason broadcast had for Lamar Jackson this season? I think it’s a stretch to think he will go over 300 carries, but the Ravens offense will certainly be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Last week, there were some triple-option looks, and the depth chart at running back—Mark Ingram (balanced), Gus Edwards (power), and Justice Hill (speed)—will allow offensive coordinator Greg Roman to get really creative.
CIN @ WAS | THU 7:30 PM ET
Colt McCoy still not being cleared for game action likely means Case Keenum is the heavy favorite to start for the Redskins in Week 1, but perhaps Dwayne Haskins can rebound and put on a show tonight after struggling in his pro debut. The strong-armed quarterback out of Ohio State only started one year as he sat behind J.T. Barrett in college, so sitting on the bench for a team that doesn’t have their franchise left tackle might not be the worst thing for Haskins’ development.
OAK @ ARI | THU 8:00 PM ET | ESPN
He’s been avoiding the Hard Knocks cameras, but No. 24 overall pick Josh Jacobs won’t be able to avoid the spotlight for long if he makes the most of his first touches tonight in front of a national audience on ESPN. That said, most eyes will be on Kyler Murray (and that probably includes Jon Gruden), so it will be fun to see Clelin Ferrell and others try to get after the elusive rookie. Ideally, we will see all the Day 1 rookies play for more than a quarter, but at least both teams have younger players drafted in the middle or late rounds worth watching, too.
BUF @ CAR | FRI 7:00 PM ET
Tomorrow night could be huge for LeSean McCoy’s future with the Bills, as if he looks sluggish or struggles against a stout Carolina defense, he could end up being released by the end of the month. Overall, Buffalo’s offense will look a lot different this year thanks to the additions at receiver, so the franchise cannot afford to be held back if Frank Gore and third-rounder Devin Singletary would be their best one-two punch. For the Panthers, running back depth is also key behind Christian McCaffrey.
CHI @ NYG | FRI 7:30 PM ET | NFL Network
I said last week to not pay attention to what “experts” said after Daniel Jones’ debut, but it was hilarious to see the narrative shift from the Giants being idiots for drafting him to the Giants being idiots for not starting him. We should see Jones for multiple series after a weather delay ended his debut last week, and even if it’s against backups, facing the Bears will be a good challenge. On the other side of the field, the hype train for Chicago’s new running back David Montgomery could grow if he flashes again.
MIA @ TB | FRI 7:30 PM ET
With Kenyan Drake (foot) questionable for the opener, second-year runner Kalen Ballage has a prime opportunity to take the starting job in Miami and not look back, but the quarterback competition between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen is obviously the most important position battle of the summer. While the veteran still has the edge after Rosen tossed an interception and absorbed two sacks last week, things can quickly shift depending on how things play out on Friday night.
CLE @ IND | SAT 4:00 PM ET | NFL Network
The biggest storyline in the entire league is easily Andrew Luck’s health as he deals with a mysterious lower leg injury, which makes Jacoby Brissett’s play all the more important over the next couple of games. It would be a shame if Luck wasn’t able to take advantage of the best supporting cast of his career, but football is a merciless game, and the Colts kept Brissett around for this very reason. For the rest of the month, head coach Frank Reich will have to balance getting Brissett work with the starters and not risking injury to the guy that may be under center in Week 1.
NE @ TEN | SAT 7:00 PM ET
Joint practices have seemed to take the place of extended game action, and that could—unfortunately for those planning to watch this game—be the case for Patriots-Titans this weekend. I think Tennessee will want Marcus Mariota to get game reps, though, so we’ll see if the healthy offensive starters can have more success than they did last week in Philadelphia. Either way, I’m not buying a quarterback controversy brewing after Ryan Tannehill tossed two touchdowns last week.
KC @ PIT | SAT 7:30 PM ET | NFL Network
This would have been an awesome regular season game worthy of a primetime slot, but unless Pittsburgh and Kansas City meet in the playoffs, we’ll have to settle for a Saturday night in August. Patrick Mahomes and the starters should play again after getting work last week, and ideally for the Chiefs, the Steelers will play all their starters, too, as Steve Spagnuolo’s defense needs all the work it can get.
DET @ HOU | SAT 8:00 PM ET
Houston’s offensive line looks like the Achilles heel for their chances of competing for a Super Bowl, and they need the rookies—first-round pick Tytus Howard and second-round pick Max Scharping—to step up if the group is going to improve in 2019 (both guys are currently listed as fourth-stringers on the Texans’ unofficial depth chart). The Lions have some depth on the defensive line, so Howard and Scharping should be met with a good challenge when they see the field.
DAL @ LAR | SAT 10:00 PM ET | NFL Network
No. 3 quarterback Mike White (4.4 yards per attempt, three sacks, one lost fumble) struggled last week in the Cowboys’ loss to the 49ers, but he made a couple of nice throws on the final drive with a chance to tie send it to overtime, and in general, offense was difficult to come by in a 17-9 game. I like White’s potential and would like to see how he performs with (and against) better talent by getting some playing time in the first half.
NO @ LAC | SUN 4:00 PM ET | CBS
The first Sunday game of the year should be a good one to watch because both the Saints and Chargers played a lot of their starters last week, so there’s no reason to expect any different for the second exhibition. In particular, the Los Angeles defense against the New Orleans offense (which should have Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas in the lineup) will be a fun matchup, and some might even call this game a Super Bowl preview.
SEA @ MIN | SUN 8:00 PM ET | FOX
Preseason is about evaluating players and not win-loss records or the final score, but might people in Minnesota panic a bit if the primetime woes continue against the Seahawks on Sunday night? Seattle has been nearly unbeatable under the lights since Russell Wilson entered the league, while Kirk Cousins is a worrisome 5-13 so far in his career. Coming out strong might actually be really important to give the Vikings some momentum for the regular season.
SF @ DEN | MON 8:00 PM ET | ESPN
Jimmy Garoppolo will make his return from a torn ACL suffered last September by suiting up for a preseason edition of Monday Night Football, and it comes at the perfect time as he looks to get over five consecutive interceptions thrown in practice yesterday. Significantly more concerning than the turnovers is that San Francisco hasn’t had a receiver step up as the No. 1 guy, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see second-round pick Deebo Samuel make a case over Dante Pettis.