NFL Preseason Week 3 Preview
NFL Preseason Week 3 preview, predictions, picks and other information provided by Splash Sports Blog.
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
To Play Or To Sit?
We’ve trodged our way to the third and final week of preseason NFL football, and with a shortened exhibition season this last tune-up week takes on different meanings for different teams. Traditionally, the final preseason game was reserved EXCLUSIVELY for backups and third or fourth stringers to make their final plea for a roster spot. Now, with just three preseason games and a two week gap before the first regular season matchups, many teams will actually get their starters one last test of the game action before it counts for real.
Based on last week’s outcomes and game flow, there’s little to no rhythm between starters sitting vs playing week to week. What can be learned in the final preseason dress rehearsal? Which big name QB’s are surprisingly giving it a go in what used to be the most meaningless of all preseason contests? Let’s digest the last schedule of NFL games that don’t count.
Slate SparkNotes: Preseason Week 3
Steelers @ Falcons - 7:30 pm ET - It feels like both of these teams have seen what they wanted out of young starters Kenny Pickett and Desmond Ridder, so I’d be surprised to see either in any sort of action. This smells of a third stringers game since both teams don’t want to wreck what they have.
Colts @ Eagles - 8 pm ET - Anthony Richardson has been named the starter and is done for the preseason, and Jalen Hurts hasn’t seen any action yet and continues his streak of not playing in the exhibition August games. Overall Iw ould lean towards the backup QBs in Philly that have gotten efficient reps over Sam Ehlinger for three quarters.
Lions @ Panthers - 8pm ET - There’s a slight chance we see the no. 1 overall draft pick in this week’s action. Bryce Young has had quick August cameos so far and the Panthers may go with a “building reps’ approach. I still wouldn't expect more than a quarter but we can all hope, right? The Lions are for sure NOT playing Jared Goff.
Patriots @ Titans - 8:15 pm ET - Based on recent history, I expect to see a few series of Mac Jones Friday night as he played the 2022 preseason finale for almost a half. After that, it could be all Bailey Zappe and the return of the legend that is Malik Cunningham. For the Titans, draft pick Will Levis got injured so expect another full game of Malik Willis at QB. I expect the Pats to get after Willis as the game progresses.
Chargers @ 49ers - 9pm ET - The Niners saw what they needed to out of Brock Purdy, so now it's a battle for the #2 spot between Trey Lance and Sam Darnold. Expect all backups Friday night at home, and the Chargers should follow suit. This has potential to be an August snoozer if there ever was one.
Bills @ Bears - 1pm ET - One of the more improbable storylines in Tyler Bagent will be on display for the Bears. The D-II star could play his way into the backup spot this week, and should be motivated to find the endzone a couple of times.
Seahawks @ Packers - 1pm ET - Could Geno Smith get reps Saturday? Yes. It is likely No. Out of precaution it should be more of Drew Lock, who's had a nice preseason overall. For Green Bay they saw good things from Jordan Love and I;d be surprised if he plays at all in the exhibition finale.
Browns @ Chiefs - 1pm ET - DTR (Dorian Thompson-Robsinson) has been a treat to watch, and Cleveland has had a goofy, involved preseason that included a TIE last week against the Eagles. On the defending champs’ side, Mahomes got his preseason taste and should get anywhere from 0-2 series this weekend. Expect lots of Chiefs' backups on defense per past year’s protocols as well.
Cardinals @ Vikings - 1pm ET - Terrible vibes in AZ, as Kyler Murray seems to be discussed in trade talks and backup Clayton Tune is a new fan favorite. He’ll see more snaps against a Vikings defense that’s been susceptible to big plays in August, so Tune could be the new Jam for Cards fans.
Jets @ Giants - 6pm ET - In a surprising twist, we WILL see 39 year old Aaron Rodgers suit up in the preseason for the first time in years. He’s playing a limited role in what's basically a home game where they happen to be the road team in NYC. Regardless of snap count all eyes will be on his debut in the Big Apple.
Bengals @ Commanders - 6:05 pm ET - Commanders QB1 Sam Howell had a mini Monday night duel with Lamar and surprisingly held serve nicely, and now he has another sturdy defense to play as a regular season buildup. Joe Burrow will be nowhere near the field since his preseason injury scare, but word is that he’ll be 100% heading into the season opener.
Ravens @ Buccaneers - 7pm ET - While the Ravens’ QB position is certain, there’s still doubts on the Bucs’ week one starter. Kyle Trask vs Baker Mayfield is the thrillingly boring QB competition that nobody asked for this offseason, but here we are. It’s the final exam for both students, and though Trask looked good I’m still feeling like Baker wins the week one job with his play Saturday night.
Dolphins @ Jaguars - 7pm ET - This reeks of a getaway game for the Dolphins, who are preserving Tua is just a puddle jumper flight from starting their real season. CJ Beathard and Nathan Rourke have been formidable moving the offense and I’m expecting more of the summer this weekend.
Raiders @ Cowboys - 8pm ET - If you want to believe in preseason hype, then you’re very high on the Raiders and very low on the Cowboys who face off Saturday. It’s likely to be a Dak Prescott-free finale, while the Raiders should play their full rotation one more. All aboard the Josh McDainels hype train?
Rams @ Broncos - 9pm ET - It’ll be the Stetson Bennett happy hour Saturday night, as this is the last time we’ll see the Georgia standout for a bit barring an injury in-season. As for Russell Wilson, don;t be surprised if he continues playing weekly in the preseason, and with both teams going 0-2 there could be a smidge more competitiveness to this game.
Texans @ Saints - 8pm ET - The FOX crew slaps one more exhibition game on us before we get our Labor Day weekend inhale. I have a funny feeling that a Jameis Winston meme of some sorts will emerge from this game.
Alex’s Plays To Watch
Eagles +5 - Expect lots of Sam Ehlinger for the Colts so they get too much of a lead.
Patriots -2.5 - More so a side that is against Malik Willis playing an entire night.
Bears -1.5 - The Tyler Bagent hype will rise to a fever pitch.
Jaguars -7.5 - A big spread but it gives off big time “getaway game” vibes for the Fins.
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