Week 1 of the NFL preseason concludes with two games to keep pro football bettors busy on Sunday. Here are some notes you need to know before getting in on the action.
Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts (PK, 36)
Matt Stafford played one series before sitting down in last season’s preseason opener and might not even get that this year. Question marks at left tackle after Taylor Decker suffered a shoulder injury during the team’s offseason program in June has left a big hole in Stafford’s protection. With Greg Robinson, Storm Norton and/or Cyrus Kouandjio still learning the system the Lions might be reluctant to let their franchise quarterback onto the field in their first preseason game. Jake Rudock and Brad Kaaya are expected to get most of the reps at quarterback. In the battle to be Stafford’s back-up in Week 1.
Lions rookie receiver Kenny Golladay has been generating a lot of buzz at camp and look for him to get a lot of reps. Lions coaches are trying to figure out if the third-round pick can prove worthy of the hype and matching him against unfamiliar competition is the next step in his evaluation.
The Colts have a unique problem, Scott Tolzien is their starting quarterback until Pro Bowler Andrew Luck returns from offseason shoulder surgery. However, Tolzien has only appeared in nine regular-season games in his seven NFL season and needs to take some snaps in game-conditions. Head coach Chuck Pagano has said they will treat Tolzien as the teams starter, then quickly contradicted saying Tolzien needs to play. He will get the start, but for one series or one quarter is still up in the air.
Expect to see the remaining snaps shared between undrafted free agent from Temple Philip Walker and former Miami Hurricane Stephen Morris.
The Lions opened as 1-point road chalk and the line has yet to move off the opening number. The total opened at 37.5 and has been bet down a full point to 36.5.
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers (-2, 37.5)
Russell Wilson is expected to get the start and play the usual series or two that starters generally get in the preseason opener and rest the remainder of the game. The majority of the remaining snaps belong to second-year TCU grad Trevone Boykin and recent signee Austin Davis. Boykin is the incumbent backup but maturity questions arose after he was arrested in March for marijuana possession and public intoxication. Reports are that neither has distanced themselves at camp in the battle for the backup spot.
The Seahawks rushing attack of Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, and C.J. Prosise are all expected to play Sunday. Other offensive weapons Luke Wilson and Doug Baldwin are expected to sit out because of health reasons.
The first-team offense and defence are going to see some game-action as coordinators Ken Whisenhunt and Gus Bradley want to see how some of the newest Chargers react. Both units have been overhauled from last season, the offensive line is expected to have three new starters come Week 1. The defensive scheme under Bradley is switching over to a 4-3 defense and game time reps will show which players are understanding the philosophy.
When it comes to quarterback play, Philip Rivers has the 4th longest consecutive starts streak all-time with 185 starts and is the franchise guy. After that things get really interesting for the Chargers. Kellen Clemens is the incumbent and until a few weeks ago was expected to retain his job as no. 2. That was until Cardale Jones was acquired from the Buffalo Bills. New Chargers coach has been singing Jones praise during camp.
Captain Obvious here, Antonio Gates is expected to sit out the preseason.
The Chargers opened as 1.5-point home favorites and that line has been bet up to an even 2. The total hit the betting board at 37.5 and has yet to move off that number.