We got a taste for the new NFL season last Thursday night when the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets played at the Hall of Fame Game. But none of the real difference makers for each team played in the 21-16 Browns win, and there is very little to glean about the upcoming season from a game taking place just two weeks after the beginning of training camp.
That changes this week, when everyone in the league plays its first of three preseason games. New quarterbacks in new locations, top rookie battles, and the drive to make the final 53-man roster all begins on Thursday.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
On Thursday night in Foxborough, DeMeco Ryans makes his head coaching debut for the Houston Texans. We’ll also get a first look at the revamped Texans and No. 2 overall pick, quarterback C.J. Stroud.
The New England Patriots don’t have a new quarterback this season, but with the return of former offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, quarterback Mac Jones has a new offense. All eyes will be on how these two work together and what it might mean for this season.
BetUS.com has this game as a Pick’em, paying -110 for both teams.
New York Giants at Detroit Lions
The New York Giants will be in Michigan this week for joint practices with the Detroit Lions on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Friday night they will play at Ford Field.
We don’t expect to see much action from the starters, but as two teams that are considered to be contenders in the NFC, how they play in limited snaps will be telling. We expect the Lions to be one of the best offenses in football. Will they live up to the hype? How will new tight end Darren Waller be used by the Giants offense?
Tune in Friday for the answers to these questions, and more.
BetUS.com has the Giants favored (-2.5).
Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals
We know that we won’t see Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow this preseason. But he also missed last preseason after an emergency appendectomy, and he still made it to the AFC Championship Game.
The real story in Cincinnati on Friday will be the Green Bay Packers and new starting quarterback Jordan Love. The Aaron Rodgers-era is over, and this is Love’s team, win or lose.
At least for this week, the Packers are predicted to win, paying -150 on the moneyline.
Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals have a brand new head coach in Jonathan Gannon, previously the defensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles. He has four quarterbacks to play, sans Kyler Murray, who is still rehabbing from knee surgery, and no one really knows which will emerge as the Cardinals starter.
The Denver Broncos have a new/old head coach in Sean Payton, who after 15 years of being the head coach in New Orleans and one year off to do television, is back on the sideline and charged with salvaging the career of quarterback Russell Wilson.
The faith in Payton is high, and the Broncos (-5.5) are the road favorites.
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
When the Indianapolis Colts made Anthony Richardson their quarterback of the future, it was unclear just how soon the 21-year would actually play in games. But Richardson has been taking the majority of the snaps with the first team in practice, and we should see a lot of him on Saturday afternoon in Buffalo.
The Buffalo Bills are expected to sit most of their starters, and as a result the Colts (-2.5) are the favorite.
New York Jets at Carolina Panthers
The No. 2 overall pick, C.J. Stroud, gets the weekend going on Thursday. On Saturday in Carolina, we’ll get to see No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young make his Carolina Panthers debut.
Aaron Rodgers will once again be on the sideline when the New York Jets take the field, but he will be taking part in the joint practices between the two teams on Wednesday and Thursday, prior to the game.
San Francisco 49ers at Las Vegas Raiders
Our final game of the weekend takes place at the site of the final game of the season. Las Vegas hosts the Super Bowl in February, and it will host the San Francisco 49ers this coming Sunday afternoon.
New Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is not expected to play against his old team, even though he has passed his most recent physical. For the 49ers, we’ll get an extended look at former No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance, as the team focuses these next three weeks on deciding on a starting quarterback.
BetUS.com has listed the 49ers (-4.5) as the favorite.