NFL Preseason Picks: Saturday Odds and Predictions
by CarbonSports - 8/15/2014
Pick #1: NYJ/Cincinnati Under 41 (-110)
The Bengals defense was absolutely torched last week, giving up 41 points in a two-point loss to the Chiefs. To be fair it wasn't all the defense's fault as Cincinnati gave up two INT's for touchdowns and the special teams allowed an 80-yard punt return to cash 7 points as well. However, all the talk in camp this week has been about playing much better defensively and keeping opponents off the scoresheet. They'll get their chance to do that tonight against a Jets team that is looking to be a much improved squad this season.
Both of those pick-6's by the Bengals were thrown by backup QB Jason Campbell and it's unlikely that we see him play tonight after suffering a deep bruise on his throwing elbow. Cincinnati went out and signed QB Tyler Wilson to replace Campbell, and with A.J. McCarron still recovering from a shoulder injury, Wilson should see a bit of action in this one. That's good news for the 'under' play here as there is little chance Wilson has grasped much of the playbook in only a week and his calls will be very vanilla from OC Hue Jackson.
Obviously, it will be starter Andy Dalton who sees at least a quarter of action tonight in his second preseason game and while the "Red Rifle" is going to be pushing things this year to prove he deserved that big contract extension, that won't happen until the season starts for real. He'll be focused on executing plays and staying upright and that means we see more vanilla playcalling for him as well.
The Jets scored 13 points in their win over the Colts last week as QB's Geno Smith and Michael Vick only saw limited action. Both will see the field a bit more tonight, but New York is a rushing team first and with 37 rush attempts last week I believe we see more of the same from them in this game. New York also has a bit of revenge on their minds after getting smoked 49-9 last year by Cincinnati and I know Rex Ryan has told his guys to keep this team out of the endzone tonight, even if it is only a preseason game.
Finally, this play is all about fading the majority here (75% on over) as many think we will see another point explosion from the Bengals. That won't be the case as both teams will look to control the ball with their rushing attacks and bleeding the clock away.
Pick #2: Minnesota -3 (-110)
The three-man QB battle in Minnesota is becoming a bit clearer after Matt Cassel looked sharp last week and rookie Teddy Bridgewater struggled in his NFL debut. However, it's still only one game and every guy (Ponder included) believes they have a legitimate claim to that #1 spot. The three Vikings QB's combined for only 58.5% passing in that game vs. Oakland and those numbers were helped out by Cassel's 5-for-6. The former New England QB will get the nod again in this one and will be looking to solidify his place atop the depth chart.
After not getting into the endzone through the air last week, all three of these Minnesota QB's will push the plays when they get the chance and that bodes well for their likelihood of winning. Minnesota is in tough against a Cardinals D that didn't allow a single point in Week 1, but Arizona has never been a franchise that travels well and this game will be no different.
Arizona looked great all the way around in their 32-0 win over Houston, but as a public underdog in this one (70% backing the Cards) they are lined up to fail against Minnesota. Perception is that Arizona is the much better team and they very well could be once the season starts, but the reality is that when you become a public darling after one preseason game and are getting points in the next one, history suggests you're doomed to fail. This is another play that I have no problem with being in the minority and now that the Vikings are a little more comfortable in their new stadium (playing at the University of Minnesota this season) and have three QB's looking to impress the coaching staff, Minnesota wins this game by a TD.
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