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NFL Preseason Week 2 Predictions and Betting Preview

NFL Preseason Week 2 Predictions and Betting Preview

The nation’s thirst for football action was quenched a bit when the preseason started to roll last week. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come this 2014 NFL season. In Week 2, there’ll be more clues and answers to the questions surrounding each NFL team as the regular season nears.

To get you set for the action, we’ve broken down all the storylines and positional battles that will define Week 2 of the NFL’s preseason, along with the five best games to bet on.

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NFL Preseason Week 2 Preview and Predictions

Key Storylines

Starting Quarterback Auditions

[sc:NFL240banner ]Mike Pettine can only pretend for so long. All throughout the offseason, the new Cleveland Browns coach has been adamant in saying that the Browns’ starting QB job belongs to Brian Hoyer, and not to Johnny Manziel. But after a noteworthy debut by Manziel in the Browns’ first preseason game against the Detroit Lions, it appears that the ex-Texas A&M Aggie has gained ground in the competition. That means Pettine may soon be singing a different tune.

Manziel went 7-for-11 for 63 yards, and was the team’s leading rusher with 27 yards on six carries. Hoyer, meanwhile, was serviceable, completing 6 of 14 passes for 92 yards. However, those numbers are not impressive enough for him to get out of the woods.

In another QB battle, the New York Jets played both Michael Vick and Geno Smith against the Indianapolis Colts. Like Hoyer, Smith has the edge in the competition, but Vick one-upped his rival when he led the first team to a touchdown.

Smith didn’t commit any glaring mistakes, which is fine for his campaign to be the starter, but Vick showed glimpses of his vintage self against the Colts to make his case. The Jets’ game against the Bengals next week should provide more answers regarding the status of this intriguing QB competition.

New Coaches

Houston Texans new coach Bill O’Brien had a nightmarish preseason opener, as his team was clobbered senseless by the Arizona Cardinals, 32-0. His seat isn’t hot yet, but it will get a bit warmer should there be no improvement when his team takes on the Atlanta Falcons on August 16.

Mike Pettine got his feet wet as coach of the Browns as they lost 13-12 to the Lions. This preseason, though, he’ll be judged more on how he handles the quarterback situation in his team than anything else. That said, Pettine has yet to decide which between Hoyer and Manziel will start next week against the Washington Redskins.

Former Cincinnati Bengals coordinators Mike Zimmer of Minnesota and Jay Gruden of Washington both had success in Week 1, each earning a win in their coaching debuts.

Rookie Watch

The Texans got mangled by the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 of the preseason, but at least they have a highlight to show out of it, care of the overall No. 1 draft pick.

Jadeveon Clowney completely blew by the Cardinals’ defense before throwing hapless running back Stepfan Taylor down to the ground. In one play, the entire NFL saw what kind of havoc this animal can inflict on the opposing backfield. Clowney, though, also showed lack of deftness playing as an outside linebacker. Clowney still has a lot of room for improvement, especially when it comes to adapting to his new position.

Meanwhile, another high draft pick in Blake Bortles was also a hit in his debut for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The No. 3 pick threw for 117 yards on 7-for-11 passing after subbing for Chad Henne. In fact, of the “Big Three” QBs in the draft, Bortles had the best preseason opener performance. Next to him was Manziel, who put more pressure on Hoyer after a good outing against Detroit.

Teddy Bridgewater (6-for-13 for 49 yards) was steady but less spectacular than his QB draftmates during the Minnesota Vikings-Oakland Raiders matchup in Week 1 of the preseason.

Best Week 2 Games to Bet On

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots (August 15, 7:30 PM ET)

Line: Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots – see all NFL lines

The battle to be Tom Brady’s heir apparent took an interesting twist in week 1 of the preseason, as Ryan Mallet went an ineffective 5-for-12 for 55 yards before being replaced by rookie Jimmy Garoppolo, who went 9-of-13 for 157 yards and a touchdown. The Pats will continue to limit the aging Brady’s reps in this one as these two back ups battle it out.

New York Giants vs. Indianapolis Colts (August 16, 7:00 PMET)

Line: New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts – see all NFL lines

The Giants continue to tinker this preseason as they try and reinvigorate an offense that struggled in 2013. Part of that story will be the play of RB Rashad Jennings, who tore off a 73-yard run in Week 1, and looks poised to give the G-men a much-needed boost on the ground in 2014.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Dallas Cowboys (August 16, 7:00 PM ET)

Line: Baltimore Ravens at Dallas Cowboys – see all NFL lines

So far so good for Joe Flacco’s new-look offense in Baltimore. He and his revamped receiving corps, including Steve Smith, looked good in their exhibition debuts, driving 80 yards for a touchdown. The first team offense should get more than just one series in Dallas as the 2012-2013 Super Bowl champs look to gain back their championship form after a rough 2013 season. See our full preview of this game here.

Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers (August 17, 4:00 PM ET)

Line: Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers – see all NFL lines

Jim Harbaugh is looking for a stronger effort from his defense in their second preseason outing of the year on Saturday. “We got pushed around a bit,” he said. Denver, meanwhile, is coming off a bizarre Week 1 preseason game that featured all manner of delay and flag. Peyton Manning has looked strong as ever thus far in the postseason, having led his only drive in Week 1 for a 61-yard touchdown.

Cleveland Browns vs. Washington Redskins (August 18, 8:00 PM ET)

Line: Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins- see all NFL lines

Other players will play in this game, but from the fans perspective the evening will come down to two men: Hoyer and Manziel. The Browns are not terrible this season, and their ability to compete in a tough division will rest on the shoulders of whoever wins this tough positional battle.

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Written by Rex

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