Week 3 Preseason Friday Night Football Preview
The week three dress rehearsals are starting to lineup. The Eagles and Steelers got us going last night, and we were witness to a lot of extra time on the field from some key players from both teams. We can expect more of the same, as five games fire off on Friday night, with the Jaguars taking on the Lions at 7:30 pm Easter and the Bears going up against the Seahawks in the night’s capper.
Everyone can check the NFL preseason action out locally, but the two televised games will be the Chicago game on NFL Network, as well as the Packers and Raiders on CBS.
With star players staying on the field longer in week three games to practice game planning and introduce certain plays and packages, this is the week to check out preseason football if you haven’t already.
To get you ready for the night’s action, let’s break down some quick things to watch for in each contest:
Jaguars @ Lions
We’re going to see a good amount of rookie quarterback Blake Bortles tonight thanks to stellar play so far. Chad Henne is still the starter, but Bortles has looked way too good for Jax to just sit on him all season if he comes out and crushes it for a third straight game. I’ll also be nice to see more of Toby Gerhart, who looked decent in his preseason debut last week.
Nick Fairley is reportedly out of shape, so he just needs to keep chugging along to make sure he earns back his spot in the starting lineup for week one. Other than that, Detroit’s main goal here is to get into a groove on offense stay healthy.
Panthers @ Patriots
Tom Brady typically plays deep into the third preseason game, so it’s likely we get to see a lot of familiar faces in New England tonight. How they fare against a tough Carolina defense will be interesting to watch. The exact roles in the offensive backfield probably takes center stage for the Pats, as Stevan Ridley has struggled with ball security and rookie back James White could have a shot at a larger role.
The Panthers will have their hands full on defense, but if they can stifle Tom Brady and co. they’ll be well on their way to another strong season. On offense, the continued chemistry between Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin will be key to monitor.
Giants @ Jets
The battle for New York is meaningless – especially when in the preseason – but both teams think they’re the “real” NFL team in New York. They’re both right, but the Jets and Giants clashing is fun for everyone, regardless.
The biggest thing to watch for here is whether or not Eli Manning and Big Blue’s offense is going to continue to look so vanilla and pathetic. Any kind of strides would be nice before the starters mostly rest in week four. For the Jets, any kind of life out of Michael Vick would be good to see, in the event Geno Smith stinks up the joint or gets hurt.
Raiders @ Packers
Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s first team offense will play more than they did a week ago, and they should be able to put up some points against a bad Raiders team. Rookie receivers Jeff Janis and Davante Adams will be fun to watch late in the game, while the maturation of the competition at tight end will also be worth tracking.
The Raiders won’t get to unleash rookie quarterback Derek Carr in this one, so we’ll probably see a ton of Matt Schaub. That will be just awful, but hopefully we’ll at least gain a little clarity on how the Raiders plan on deploying their running backs and wide receivers. On the defensive side, Khalil Mack should play a good amount and should be worth monitoring in this one.
Bears @ Seahawks
The final game of the night features that classic battle between elite offense and elite defense. After getting smoked by Peyton Manning a week ago, the ‘Hawks will probably want to shut down Jay Cutler and the Chicago offense. That will be easier said than done, but should be enjoyable to see from both sides.
The Bears will also continue to try to figure out their backup quarterback situation, as Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen go to work to win that job. For Seattle, rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson should be entertaining, while backup running backs Christine Michael and Robert Turbin should also get some nice run in the second half.
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