Five football games are on tap for Thursday, as NFL preseason Week 2 begins. Philadelphia faces Jacksonville, New York Jets are at Atlanta, Cincinnati is at Washington, Green Bay is facing Baltimore, and Oakland travels to Arizona.
There are several storylines in these five games, such as how Oakland’s backup quarterbacks will do. Nathan Peterman won the first round against the Rams, while Mike Glennon played well, but had two interceptions.
That is just one of the subplots to Thursday’s actions. We take a look at some other storylines that should play out.
How Much Does Kyler Murray Play?
Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury was rather non-committal on how many series his rookie would play, but Kyler Murray looked so good last week, he might have earned some time off against Oakland.
The Raiders are 3-point underdogs, but if Murray only plays one set of downs, they may be worth betting. Kingsbury said it will be more than that.
Regardless of how long Murray is out there, the under seems like a tantalizing wager. The over/under is 40, and last week the two teams scored a combined 31 points.
Does John Harbaugh Keep Streak Alive?
There is nobody better in the preseason than Baltimore coach John Harbaugh. He is now 14-0 in the preseason, and looking for another victory.
Harbaugh doesn’t care what others think about his commitment to winning in games that don’t matter. It’s a philosophy he is going to stick with no matter what.
“We like to win,” Harbaugh said. “The haters out there are going to have their own little snide comments. I think winning is better than losing.”
The Ravens are favored by four points against the Packers. Harbaugh’s team clobbered Jacksonville 29-0 last Thursday. Green Bay won its game against Houston 28-26.
The over of 37.5 looks ripe here. Both teams scored in bunches last week, and with starters playing more, might be able to easily go over.
Does Cincinnati Bounce Back?
After Cincinnati was trounced 38-17 by the AFC favorites, Kansas City, it should get a bit easier this week when they face Washington. The Bengals are three-point underdogs against the Redskins.
Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor gets some offensive weapons back this week, with both Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard available. That should help, but wide receiver John Ross is still out, as is running back Rodney Anderson.
We’ve been missing weapons, but that’s good for me because you get these weapons that come back all of the sudden,” Taylor said. “The offense is humming along and we’re gaining confidence with the guys that are out there. Those guys are improving.”
Does Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman Play?
Last season the running back missed 14 games due to a groin injury. He spent the offseason rehabbing, and came to training camp ready to go. Atlanta coach Dan Quinn held him out of the first two games, but said he will on the field Thursday when the Falcons play the Jets.
”He’s had an outstanding offseason,” Quinn said. ”The energy he brought back starting from OTAs, he’s a stronger man than he was prior to his injury. You’ve heard people say ‘Can you come back stronger from an injury?’ I think this is one of those cases the answer is yes. He’s more violent in his cuts because of that strength. His mindset, his determination is completely on point. He adds a lot to our team.”
Freeman is a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, and at 9/1, is close behind 3/1 favorite 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo.