7:00 PM EST
Falcons -1 (1u)
One the things I like to do in the preseason is fade new OC’s and DC’s in their first game which would be the case here normally but the Falcons have a few other factors going for them that is enough to override that. First off all they have been hearing all offseason about the 28 point blown lead against the Pats in the Super Bowl so they will be very motivated to get a notch in the win column and get this season started on a positive note. Miami is dealing with the loss of Tannehil and the signing of Cutler who won’t be seeing action tonight and Matt Moore is going to see limited snaps as well. After Moore the Dolphins QB depth is extremely weak (Brandon Doughty & David Fales). The Falcons have a deep team across the board and have the big edge at QB as Matt Ryan is going to play a series which will likely result in points and then Matt Schaub and Matt Simms while far from spectacular have 18 years of experience in the league and have been solid preseason QB’s which is enough to make this a play. Take the Falcons.
7:00 PM EST
Redskins -1.5 (1u)
Both the Ravens and the Skins value winning in the preseason and have both had great preseason records both straight up and ATS over the past few years but the Ravens lost Josh Johnson who was a machine last year in the preseason so I expect them to take a step backwards this year at least in this initial game. With Flacco being injured that changes the game as they have to be a little more cautious with Ryan Mallet (who has been awful so far in camp regardless) and they have very limited talent behind him. The Ravens also have 6 running backs active tonight which tells me a big part of their game plan is going to be to just run this game out. The Redskins are starting Cousins for a series and then have two solid backups in the veteran Colt McCoy and Nate Sudfeld who had a very nice preseason last year (3 TDs, 0 Ints). Like the Skins to get a close win here to open the preseason. Take the Skins.
8:00 PM EST
Broncos 1H PK (1u)
Not a huge fan of taking 1H plays in general but in the preseason when you know the 1st and 2nd units will do well but the 3rd string backups are horrendous it can be a good play. I actually liked the Cardinals in the HOF game as a 1H play for exactly that reason. The same can be said for this game. Siemian and Lynch are going to each play a quarter or so and they are in the middle of a competition so I expect them to bring the best out of each other. The Broncos also have some good depth at running back with Jamaal Charles and CJ Anderson competing for the starting role and are a very deep team on defense among their first two units. In the preseason you can win games just by blitzing the entire game because offensive lines and running backs don’t blitz block they just play their techniques and that is why blitz heavy teams like Denver and Minnesota can be great preseason plays. Denver’s starting defense is going to play minus Von Miller for 2 series then the second string should close out the half. This spells trouble against the Bears trio of QB’s who will be playing their first snaps in a Bear’s uniform tonight (Glennon, Trubisky, and Mark Sanchez). I do like Denver to get this outright win (like backing a coach with good ownership in his first professional game) but I worry about what will happen in the 2H when Siemian and Lynch come out so just making this a 1H play. Take the Broncos.
8:00 PM EST
Eagles PK (2u)
This is my favorite play of the day as the Doug Peterson values winning in the preseason (4-0 SU & ATS last year) while McCarthy could care less and just doesn’t want to suffer any injuries. The Eagles have a very solid trio of QB’s in Wentz, Foles and the gritty McGloin. Wentz is going to start which is huge as he has been having an amazing camp. He won’t play long but the drop off to Foles who is very familiar in Peterson’s system won’t be that much against the Packers secondary who is extremely thin after the first unit. The Eagles have plenty of weapons on offense with a deep receiving core and running backs including second year man Wendell Smallwood who has “been playing out of his mind” at camp. They have a talented defense who is deep throughout and have a defensive coordinator in Jim Schwartz who likes to blitz and blitz often. I like the Eagles to win this game pretty comfortably. Take the Eagles.