What bettors need to know: NFL Week 3 preseason (Thursday)
There are three preseason games Thursday night in the NFL and we give you a quick breakdown on the essentials for each one. This should be a big week for a lot of teams as they look to trim their rosters to 75 by Monday. Green Bay at Cincinnati (+3, 45)
Green Bay has lost straight up and failed to cover the spread in its first two preseason games. The good news is they enter Week 3 the healthiest they’ve been all preseason and they’d like to come away with a win from Cincinnati. Head coach Mike McCarthy says his first stringers will play the first half and then he’ll give other guys a chance to make their mark in the second half.
The Bengals say they’re not approaching this week as a ‘dress rehearsal’ just like last week when the first team was in for 29 plays. Cincy is saying it will keep the first teamers on the field into the third quarter. The Bengals have won and covered in their first two preseason games.
It’s worth noting the total opened at 42.5 for this game and has since shot to 45 points, the highest total of any NFL preseason game this week. Jacksonville at Baltimore ( -7, 41)
Jacksonville has moved into regular season mode in their practice habits. The Jags have put up two scoreboards at opposite ends of the field with 40 second clocks and they are pumping in crowd noise to their scrimmage sessions. Coach Mike Mularky says Chad Henne will remain the backup QB despite the fact Jordan Palmer has led the team to fourth-quarter, game-winning drives in the last two preseason games. Off the field, the Maurice Jones-Drew holdout issue remains a distraction and his fines totaled $840,000 as of Wednesday.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh says his starters will play into the second half Thursday. The Ravens still have some spots up for grabs though at left guard, cornerback, nose tackle and a couple of other positions. Scoring TDs in the red zone is a major focus for Baltimore in this game, which may mean they'll give up field goals to work on scoring majors. They are 2-for-5 on scoring TDs in the red zone in the preseason so far. Arizona at Tennessee (-3, 42.5)
The Cardinals are the only team with three losses against the spread in the preseason so far. (The Saints are the only other team to have played three games.) The Cards are going to play their starters into the second half on Thursday and we’ll also get another chance to see the least appealing quarterback battle in the NFL unfold again. John Skelton will get the start but head coach Ken Whisenhunt says Kevin Kolb will also see some time with the first string.
The big news this week for Tennessee was the team announced rookie Jake Locker out of Washington would be its starting quarterback. Locker brings a versatile threat in the backfield but he has accuracy issues, converting just 45 percent of his passes so far. He wasn’t much better in college at just over 50 percent so you can bet the Titans will be working on passing. Locker didn’t look too sharp in his first NFL start last week when he went 4-of-11 for 21 yards. Tennessee is facing several injuries on defense for this game so that could effect their game plan on that side of the ball.