Player and quarterback rotations and NFL injuries have been announced for three key games for Thursday night NFL action. It is week 1 of the NFL preseason and top football handicappers news and notes are posted for Colts-Jets, Patriots-Redskins, 49ers-Ravens, Bengals-Chiefs, Seahawks-Broncos, and Cowboys-Chargers. Here are what the pros know, Part 1 of the preseason primer for Thursday.
Cowboys-Chargers (-3) 36.5
The Cowboys will be without starting quarterback Tony Romo. Dallas is very thin on defense, possibly without four cornerbacks. LB Rolando McClain, who was expected to be part of the Cowboys resurgence on defense is questionable. The Pokes 34th picks DeMarcus Lawrence is also out. He is counted on to be their starting DE.
Dallas has had six defensive linemen miss practice. In addition to Lawrence, DE Anthony Spencer is out. The Chargers on the other hand are two-deep at every defensive position.
Colts-Jets (-3.5) 36.5
Reggie Wayne, star wide receiver for the Colts, is out. Offseason acquisition Hakeem Nicks will have a chance to step up in his place. Nicks has looked terrible in training camp thus far. On the other hand, Donte Moncrief, the 90th pick in the most recent draft, has played very well. The Colts are eager to see if he can keep it up in game play.
The Colts offense will play only a series or two. Last year, Andrew Luck took 10 snaps in the preseason opener and more of the same is expected. However, the interior of the Colts offensive line will probably play longer as they need the work. In fact, the Colts are not deep at offensive line and will likely hamper them once they go deeper into the bench.
The Jets have no quarterback competition as Geno Smith has been given the starting job, while Mike Vick is entrenched as the backup. Vick has been the better of the two signal callers so far.
Though Indianapolis could have all 11 starters on defense play, they are thin in depth at ILB. The Jets top pick CB Calvin Pryor is considered questionable to probable. The top NFL sports service also notes Jets prized free agent WR Eric Decker has struggled with injuries and play. Many believe he benefitted from playing in Peyton Manning’s offense last year and will be a bust.
49ers-Ravens (-1) 35
Lardarius Webb who played all 16 games for Baltimore last year is out for the Ravens at CB. San Francisco will likely only carry two QBs with Colin Kaepernick a lock at No. 1 and Blaine Gabbert the probable backup. They will not have ace receivers Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd. Though expected to be deep at WR, such will not be the case this contest. RB Frank Gore is doubtful.
Kaepernick will play a series or two, possibly three if the first two series are three-and-out. Baltimore is expected to improve on offense with new OC Gary Kubiak, free agent veteran WR Steve Smith and the return of TE Dennis Pitta after missing 12 games last season. This should be QB Joe Flacco’s best ever supporting cast.