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Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions Preseason Point Spread & Pick: August 28th 2014

BILLS VS. LIONS PRESEASON SPREAD PICKThe Buffalo Bills (2013: 6-10 SU, 8-8 ATS, 2014: 1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) lost their fourth preseason game to Tampa Bay at home, 27-14 as they struggled on both sides of the ball. Detroit (2013: 7-9 SU, 6-10 ATS; 2014: 2-1 SU, 1-1-1 ATS) hasn’t looked much better as they put up just 13 points in a one-point win over Jacksonville last week. The Lions travel to Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo to take on the Bills on Thursday night at 7pmET.

Preseason Point Spread: Buffalo opened as a -3-point betting odds favorite and moved to 4.5 in most books. The total opened at 42 and moved to 41.

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Detroit Quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 21 of 30 for 204 yards with two touchdowns and one interception this preseason. He threw that one interception in last week’s game against Jacksonville at home, but did not throw a touchdown pass.

New head coach Jim Caldwell could play him briefly in their final against Buffalo though he was with Baltimore last year when Stafford played two series in last year’s finale against Buffalo. Jim Schwartz was the coach at the time and Stafford ended up throwing an interception.

The Lions certainly need to curb their mistakes. They had 15 penalties for 131 yards last Friday.

The offensive highlight came when Reggie Bush rmoped for an 86-yard touchdown run, as the Lions ended up with 178 yards on 27 carries.

The defense allowed 245 passing yards but held the Jaguars without a touchown in the first half.

Defensively, Detroit allowed 23.5 points per game (15th) and just 99.8 yards per game (6th) against the run. However, they struggled against the pass, allowing 246.9 (32rd) yards per game in the air.

The Bills scored no points in the first half against Tampa Bay last week and ended up losing, 27-14.

Starting quarterback E.J. Manuel has completed just 47 of 75 for 461 yards with one touchdown, two picks and a 73.3 passer rating. He did throw his only touchdown pass in the preseason against the Bucs in the third quarter (14-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams). The Bills had gone 18 preseason possessions without getting into the red zone before that touchdown pass against the Tampa Bay reserves.

The first-team offense gained 82 yards, made six first downs and committed three turnovers in first half, with Manuel getting sacked twice.

The Bills have had some terrible performances from their backup quarterbacks. Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel were a combined 46 of 78 for 404 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions with a 59.9 passer rating. So Buffalo went out and signed Jordan Palmer to back up Manuel and released Lewis.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Atlanta Falcons Preseason Point Spread & Pick: August 28th 2014

JAGUARS VS. FALCONS PRESEASON PICK POINT SPREADAtlanta (2013: 4-12 SU, 7-9 ATS, 2014: 1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) goes into their final preseason game on a good note, even though they lost to Tennessee at home, 24-17. Jacksonville (2013: 4-12 SU, 5-10-1 ATS; 2014: 1-2 SU, 3-0 ATS) has played pretty well this preseason but would like to score more points. Atlanta takes on Jacksonville from EverBank Field on Thursday at 6pmET.

Preseason Point Spread: Jacksonville opened as a 2.5-point betting odds favorite and moved to 4 most books. The total opened at 41 and moved to 39.5 in most books.

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Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan needed a good performance last week and delivered. It’s not that the Falcons though Ryan is on the decline. They just needed a positive performance going into the regular season as Ryan is not expected to play in Week 4 of the preseason.

Ryan hit a healthy Julio Jones for a 52-yard touchdown pass and found Devin Hester for a 31-yard score. Hester has two receiving touchdowns in the preseason and has been one of the team’s biggest surprises. Here’s a player known for his great speed and return ability that was pondering retirement not too long ago. Maybe he just needed a new quarterback and situation.

After Ryan, the Falcons lack a competent backup. Sean Renfree is battling T.J. Yates for that second-string quarterback and both should see a lot of time in Game 4. Renfree has shown more than Yates as he completed 5 of 7 for 9 yards in the last game and 7-of-10 for 49 yards in Game 2. Yates has struggled with turnovers and accuracy all preseason.

Defensively, Atlanta has to get better as they allowed 136 rushing yards per game (31st) last season. They gave up 138 yards on 33 attempts against Houston, which about their average, while allowing 185 yards in the air.

The defense lost star linebacker Sean Weatherspoon to a ruptured Achilles tendon in the offseason. Joplo Bartu and veteran Tim Dobbins are in the mix to replace him but they are significant downgrades.

Jacksonville is going with Chad Henne as the starting quarterback even though rookie Blake Bortles has outperformed him. However, Bortles has played mainly against second and third-stringers.

Bortles has completed 28-of-45 passes for 435 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in preseason.

Henne has completed 25-of-38 for 230 yards with one touchdown and no picks. He has completed just two passes of at least 20 yards.

Henne completed 9 of 14 for just 70 yards last week against Detroit as the first-team offense scored just six points in the first half. They wound up losing the game, 13-12 and scored just one touchdown overall.

Expected Bortles to play a ton, and Henne to play one or two series at the most. Essentially, this is a redshirt season for Bortles, but how long will head coach Gus Bradley stick with Henne.

The Jaguars’ defense held Detroit to 190 passing yards, but allowed them to rush for 178 yards on 27 carries. The previous week, they held Tampa Bay to 249 yards of total offense and forced two turnovers, including a 68-yard pick six from Winston Guy in the first quarter. The defense allowed 28.1 points (28th) and 131.8 yards per game on the ground (29th) last year.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Arizona Cardinals Preseason Point Spread & Pick: August 24th 2014

BENGALS VS. CARDINALS PRESEASON PICKThe Cincinnati Bengals (2013: 11-6 SU, 10-6-1 ATS, 2014: 0-2 SU, 0-1-1 ATS) is looking for their first preseason win, but they have looked pretty good in the first quarter of games. Arizona (2013: 10-6 SU, 10-5-1 ATS; 2014: 1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS) has put up some points as well though they did lose to Minnesota on the road last week, 30-28. The Bengals visit University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona to meet the Cardinals on Sunday at 8pmET.

Preseason Point Spread: Arizona opened as a 3-point betting odds favorite and moved to 2.5 in most books. The total opened at 44 and moved to 43 in most books.

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Carson Palmer was selected as the first overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft for Cincinnati. Andy Dalton now leads the Bengals, while Palmer is playing for Arizona.

The Bengals have a chance to do something special this year, though it starts with winning a playoff game, which Dalton has never done. He was exceptional last week for the Bengals against the Jets, completed 8-for-8 for 144 yards and a touchdown. In the drives, he guided his team to two touchdowns and a field goal.

Cincinnati played without backup quarterback Jason Campbell, who had an elbow bruise but is expected to play this week. Matt Scott (8-for-22, 54 yards, 1 INT) and Tyler Wilson (7-of-13 for 39 yards) both struggled in extensive action.

The Bengals would like to take a longer look at LSU running back Jeremy Hill while speedy Giovani Bernard could see a little less time. Hill has nine carries for 52 yards (5.8 yards per carry) in the first two preseason games.

On defense, the Bengals allowed just 305.5 yards per game last season to rank fifth in the league. Cornerback Leon Hall is coming off torn Achilles and Terence Newman is 35. They addressed that need by drafting Darqueze Dennard in the first round from Michigan State.

The Arizona Cardinals went from dominating Houston to a 32-0 romp in the first game to losing to Minnesota, 30-28. The Cardinals had a 28-24 lead with 1:07 left when Minnesota rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater moved the ball from their own 17-yard line to a touchdown with six seconds left.

Drew Stanton came in and completed 6-of-8 for 81 yards and a touchdown, while Ryan Lindley added 8-for-16 for 64 yards. Lindley and rookie Logan Thomas have been battling it out for the third quarterback spot in this game. However, with Carson Palmer expected to got at least a half and with Stanton taking over, they probably won’t get in or at least will have a very quick night.

Thomas has been battling with Ryan Lindley for the third quarterback spot. Lindley is expected to play most of the second half.

On offense, the Cardinals need to protect quarterback Palmer, who was sacked 41 times last year. The offense averaged 346.4 yards per game (12th), but just 96.3 yards per game on the ground (23rd). Second-year running back Andre Ellington takes over the starting role with Rashard Mendenhall retiring.

The good news is that wide receiver Michael Floyd (groin) is expected to return. Floyd has moved into the role as the top target, even over Larry Fitzgerald, who might be playing his last year with the Cardinals.

Floyd caught eight passes as a rookie but last year, recorded 1,041 receiving yards.

Defensively, the loss of Daryl Washington (suspension) and DT Darnell Dockett (ACL) hurt along with the move of Karlos Dansby to free agency. as the Cardinals allowed just 84.4 yards rushing per game (1st) to lead the NFL and allowed just 317.4 yards per game (6th) overall. They not only have to replace Washington but also Karlos Dansby, who left in free agency. The run defense may falter some but their pass defense should improve with the addition of CB Antonio Cromartie, the veteran who adds size next to Patrick Peterson.

San Francisco 49ers vs. San Diego Chargers Preseason Point Spread & Pick: August 24th 2014

49ERS VS. CHARGERS POINT SPREAD PICK PRESEASONThe San Francisco 49ers (2013: 14-5 SU, 12-6-1 ATS; 2014: 0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) have been outscored 57-3 in their first two preseason games.San Diego (2013: 10-8 SU, 11-6-1 ATS; 2014: 1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) stepped into a rough situation on the road, when the met a hungry team in Seattle last week and were destroyed, 41-14. San Diego travels north to Levi’s Stadium to take on the 49ers on Sunday at 4pmET from San Francisco.

Preseason Point Spread: San Francisco opened up as a 5.5-point betting odds favorite and moved to 6 in most books. The total opened at 41 and moved to 42.

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San Diego beat up on Dallas in the first week and then were destroyed in Seattle last week, 41-14. But let’s keep a few things in mind: it’s preseason and Phillip Rivers played just one series.

Rivers completed 2-of-4 passes for 20 yards, while backup quarterback Kellen Clemens finished 14-of-21 for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Second-year receiver Keenan Allen caught a 13-yard touchdown pass in defeat.

Last week, the Chargers put up 395 total yards against a terrible Dallas defense, but they’ll have a much tougher test against Richard Sherman and the Seahawks.

At backup quarterback, Kellen Clemens played well last week, going 5-for-5 for 134 yards and one touchdown.

The offensive starters will be challenged by a quality defense that has struggled some in preseason. They are expected to play into the third quarter.

On defense, they get first-round corner Jason Verrett back as he’ll play his first game coming off of shoulder surgery in March.

Defensively, the Chargers struggled with tackling last week against Seattle. They allowed Seattle to run for 243 yard son 37 carries last week.

San Francisco hasn’t really shown up in preseason so far. Last week, they laid an egg at home, falling to Denver, 34-0 in the first game played at new Levi’s Stadium.

The Niners played Frank Gore for the first time this preseason and he responded with just 12 yards on two carries. The leading passer was third-string quarterback Mcleod Bethel-Thompson, who threw for 79 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Greene.

Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert has struggled, completing just 11-for-25 passing for 60 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns in two games in preseason. Gabbert had previously started 27 of the 28 NFL games in which he’s played.

But he’s not the only quarterback struggling as Josh Johnson has two lost fumbles and Bethel-Thompson has been picked off twice.

Colin Kaepernick completed 5 of 9 for 39 yards, while Bruce Ellington grabbed four receptions for 24 yards.

San Francisco’s defense finished fifth last season, allowing 316.9 yards per game and were 4th against the run (95.9 yards per game). The rush defense should be hurt by the injury (biceps) to Glenn Dorsey and the pass defense loses safety Donte Whitner and CB Carlos Rogers.

Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos Preseason Point Spread & Pick: August 23rd 2014

TEXANS VS. BRONCOS PRESEASON PICK POINT SPREADThe Houston Texans (2013: 2-14 SU, 4-12 ATS; 2014: 1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) came back from a 32-0 loss to beat Atlanta, 32-7 last week. Denver (2013: 15-4 SU, 11-7-1 ATS; 2014: 2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) has looked like a Super Bowl contender again after they dismantled San Francisco last week, 34-0. On Saturday, Houston travels to Sports Authority Field in Denver to take on the Broncos at 9pmET.

Preseason Point Spread: Denver opened up as a 6.5-point betting odds favorite and moved to 7 in most books. The total opened at 44 and moved to 46.

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Houston gave up 32 points last week, then scored 32 to rout Atlanta by 25. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played well, tossing for 97 yards (9-of-12) with one touchdown and more importantly, did not throw an interception.

Running back Jonathan Grimes led Houston’s rushes with 42 yards on nine carries.

Fitzpatrick has been with five teams in nine years and has committed 81 turnovers over the last four seasons.

The Texans scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams for the first time ever in a preseason game.

Rookie Tom Savage completed 4 of 5 for only eight yards, while Case Keenum completed 6 of 12 for 81 yards with an interception.

The running game averaged just 108.9 yards per game with Arian Foster on the decline. They did sign Andre Brown to take Ben Tate’s place, but he’s had durability issues. Foster hasn’t played in the first two preseason games.

The defense has one of the best players in the game in DE J.J. Watt and OLB Jadeveon Clowney, who underwent hernia surgery in June, is going to be a pass rushing monster. Clowney played the run well in the first game and had his first sack last week.

They allowed just 248 total yards to the Falcons last week. Obviously Denver will provide a huge test.

Denver played close to flawless football last week in San Francisco. They spoiled the opening of Levi’s Stadium with a 34-0 rout.

Peyton Manning completed 12-of-14 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. He’s now 22-of-27 for 180 yards in two preseason games.

Backup Brock Osweiler completed 10-of-13 for 105 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown pass to Cody Latimer, their second-round pick.

Even third-stringer Zac Dysert played well, completed 8 of 11 for 63 yards and a touchdown pass.

Manning and the offense led the NFL in points per game at 37.9, total offense (304.2) and passing yards per game (340.2 yards per game) last season. The running back situation is a little cloudy as Montee Ball will start this season but is coming off an appendectomy and hasn’t played in preseason. The Broncos will have a battle for second-string running back with Knowshon Moreno gone to Miami in free agency.

The defense has to improve as they allowed 356 yard (19th) per game and the pass defense (254.4 yards) was the biggest problem. They improved that part of the game with the additions of DE DeMarcus Ware, S T.J. Ward and CB Aqib Talib.

St. Louis Rams vs. Cleveland Browns Preseason Point Spread & Pick: August 23rd 2014

RAMS VS. BROWNS PRESEASON PICK POINT SPREADThe St. Louis Rams (2013: 7-9 SU, 7-9 ATS, 2014: 0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) are looking for their first win in preseason and will need to get one on the road. The Cleveland Browns (2013: 4-12 SU, 6-10 ATS, 2014: 0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) have lost two games by one point apiece. On Saturday, the Rams travels to Cleveland Browns Stadium to take on the Browns at 8pmET.

Preseason Point Spread: Cleveland opened as a 2.5-point betting odds favorite and remained therein most books. The total opened at 41 and moved to 43.

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Starting quarterback Sam Bradford played well last week against Green Bay in his first start since tearing his ACL last October. Bradford completed 9-of-12 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, including a 41-yard strike to Brian Quick.

The Rams couldn’t run the ball as they rushed for 78 yards on 27 carries. Rookie Tre Mason had 30 yards on 12 carries for the Rams. They lost running back Isaiah Pead to a season-ending knee injury. That opens the door for Mason and Zac Stacy.

Backup Shaun Hill threw just four passes and completed one for 14 yards. They got a longer look at Austin Davis and rookie Garrett Gilbert, who threw for just 72 yards combined.

The good news is that left tackle Jake Long (knee), defensive tackle Michael Brockers (ankle) and guard Rodger Saffold (stinger) are all expected to play.

Offensively, the Rams averaged 21.8 points per game and put up just 304.8 yards per game (30th). The passing offense was also brutal (195.3 yards per game) with Bradford missing more than half of the season. The addition of WR Kenny Britt should help as they also need young Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey to improve. However, Bailey will miss the first four games due to a suspension.

On defense, the Rams have a chance to be special this season. Last season, they allowed just 345 yards per game (15th) and 102.9 yards per game on the ground (9th). They should be even better this year thanks to one of the best defensive lines in the game. They drafted Aaron Donald from Pittsburgh, an undersized defensive lineman who can get to the passer from the interior. With Chris Long and Robert Quinn on the edges, the Rams will have one of the best pass-rushing defensive lines in the game.

Cleveland lost to Washington, 24-23 last week, in a game that featured 22 penalties and four Washington turnovers. The best quarterback for Cleveland was fourth-string rookie Connor Shaw, who threw a 45-yard last-second, desperation pass that Emmanuel Ogbuehi caught in the end zone.

Cleveland went for the two-point conversion and failed, to give Washington the win.

The Browns’ quarterbacks struggled as Johnny Manziel completed just 7 of 16 for 65 yards but did throw an eight-yard touchdown pass to running back Dion Lewis. Starting running back Ben Tate did run for 51 yards on 10 carries.

Brian Hoyer completed 6-of-14 passes for 92 yards in the opener, but was just 2-of-6 for 16 yards against Washington. Hoyer was named starting quarterback by head coach Mike Pettine earlier this week.

Hoyer had his moments before a knee injury last season. The offense averaged 339.4 yards per game and 252.9 yards per game passing as wide receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron turned out be big-time playmakers. Cameron will be a big factor this season, while Gordon is expected to be suspended for a lengthy period of time this season. He missed practice earlier in the week but came back on Saturday.

Cleveland will have to rely on their defense this year and it’s a strong one. The Browns allowed 332.4 yards per game (9th) and just 221.1 yards per game in the air. The Browns even added to their pass defense by drafting cornerback Justin Gilbert from Oklahoma State to play next to Pro Bowler Joe Haden. They did allow 312 yards passing last week but that was mainly from the backup defense.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Kansas City Chiefs Preseason Point Spread & Pick: August 23rd 2014

VIKINGS VS. CHIEFS PRESEASON POINT SPREAD PICKMinnesota (2013: 5-10-1 SU, 9-7 ATS; 2014: 2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) is hoping to find a consistent quarterback and that could happen against a pretty good defense. Kansas City (2013: 11-6 SU, 9-8 ATS; 2014 :1-1 SU, 0-1-1 ATS) struggled against Carolina last week and hopes to impose their will at home. On Saturday night, Kansas City hosts Minnesota from Arrowhead Stadium at 8pmET.

Preseason Point Spread: Kansas City opened up as a 4-point betting odds favorite and moved to 3.5 in most books. The total opened at 44 and moved to 45.5.

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Matt Cassel will probably open the season as the starting quarterback for Minnesota over rookie Teddy Bridgewater. Cassel completed 16-of-20 for 177 yards and one TD in their 30-28 win over Arizona at home last week. Bridgewater played his best game thus far, completing 12-of-16 for 153 yards and one touchdown.

Cassel connected with tight end Kyle Rudolph, who should have a big year in Norv Turner’s offense. This is a team that has a lot of talent and just an average quarterback can direct them to some success. Adrian Peterson, Greg Jennings and Cordarelle Patterson are talented playmakers.

Minnesota averaged 344.3 yards per game and rushed for 130.1 yards per game last year, so running wasn’t a major problem.

The passing game and defense need to improve. That defense allowed 397.6 yards per game (31st) and 287.2 yards per game in the air (31st). The Vikings did add nose tackle Linval Joseph, DL Cory Wooton and two corners in Derek Cox and Captain Munnerlyn. Rookie OLB Anthony Barr was considered a reach at nine but he’s has great size and raw talent at 6-5, 255.

Kansas City lost at Carolina last week, 28-16. The Chiefs defense opened the game with three straight three-and-outs and sacked Cam Newton twice.

But they were playing without running back Jamaal Charles, who suffered a bruised foot from moving out of his dorm at training camp. The Chiefs still managed to run for 105 yards on 25 carreies.

Defensively, they struggled on run defense as they allowed 129 yards on 32 attempts as Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart ran for two touchdowns.

The Panthers were up 14-6 at the half and then the Chiefs scored 10 straight points. Rookie quarterback Aaron Murray hit speedy tight end Travis Kelce for a 43-yard touchdown pass. That was it for the Chiefs as the Panthers scored the next 14 to win the game.

Alex Smith completed 14 of 22 for 127 yards to lead the Chiefs. while Murray completed 5 of 9 for 81 yards with one TD and one pick in his first appearance. The Chiefs had the ball for 32:12 compared to 27:48 for the Panthers. The Chiefs also didn’t help themselves with 13 penalties for 131 yards.

On defense, the Chiefs are concerned about the secondary where Sean Smith is back as the starting cornerback, replacing Ron Parker. The Chiefs are missing safety Eric Berry, who has been out due to a sore heel. Undrafted rookie Daniel Sorensen has been taking his place in the starting lineup.

Last season, Kansas City took advantage of a 2-14 schedule to win 11 games. They also had a +18 turnover differential and led the league with 11 return touchdowns.

New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts Preseason Point Spread & Pick: August 23rd 2014

SAINTS VS. COLTS PRESEASON PICK POINT SPREADThe Indianapolis Colts (2013: 12-6 SU, 11-7 ATS; 2014: 0-2 SU, 0-1-1 ATS) had a 26-0 lead against the New York Giants and gave up 27 points in the fourth quarter to lose the game. The good news is that most of the players who played in the fourth quarter won’t be in a Colts’ uniform during the regular season. The New Orleans Saints (2013: 12-6 SU, 10-8 ATS; 2014: 2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) won two games without Drew Brees, who gets his first action against the Colts. On Saturday, August 23, the Saints face the Colts from Lucas Ohio Field on Saturday at 8pmET from Indianapolis.

Preseason Point Spread: The Indianapolis Colts opened as a 1-point betting odds favorite and moved to 2.5 in most books. The total opened at 46.5 and moved to 47 in most books.

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Drew Brees missed the first two games due to a strained oblique. Brees led an offense that put up 25.9 points per game last year ranked second in the NFL in passing yards at 307.4 per game last season.

Brees has been back at practice this week and is expected to play about a half against the Colts. Last week, the Saints managed to put up 31 points without him. Tight end Jimmy Graham caught two touchdown passes from Luke McCown, but there was more talk about him getting penalized for dunking over the crossbar twice.

McCown finished with 117 yards on 12-of-20 passing, while backup Ryan Griffin was 13-of-19 for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

Griffin is a local product from Tulane in his second season and could be a future starter-somewhere.

The defense allowed just 19 points per game last season and 305.7 yards (4th). They gave up 324 yards in the air against the Titans, mostly from their second-stringers. They now have difference-makers in the secondary led by safeties Kenny Vaccaro and newly-acquired Jairus Byrd.

Last week, the Colts opened up a 26-0 lead over the New York Giants and then their backups gave up the lead in the fourth quarter and lost the lead, 27-26.

The good news is that the starters played well. Hakeem Nicks caught five passes for 52 yards against his former team. He also had a taunting penalty after the conclusion of a 36-yard pass play.

Andrew Luck was sharp, tossing for 89 yards and on e touchdown, completing 12-of-18 passes. He led three scoring drives and threw one touchdown pass.

Defensively, safety LeRon Landry and cornerback Vontae Davis saw their first work in preseason as they were both nursing various injuries. Indianapolis sat both starting wide receivers (Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton), RB Ahmad Bradshaw, LB Robert Mathis and OT Xavier Nixon as most were nursing minor injuries.

At left guard, rookie Jack Mewhort is supposed to battle Lance Louis for the job that Donald Thomas (leg) was supposed to have. With Thomas out for the season, and Mewhort not playing due to a knee issue, the Colts have to be very wary of that positoin.

The running game needs a boost as Trent Richardson continue to struggled. He has just 34 yards on 14 carries in his first two games.

Defensively, the Colts played well until the final quarter. They added DE Arthur Jones, a 315-pounder who fits well in Chuck Pagano’s 3-4 scheme. Steady linebacker D’Qwell Jackson should also help up the middle. But they have issues at outside linebacker with Robert Mathis (19.5 sacks) out the first four games due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Tennessee Titans Preseason Point Spread & Pick: August 23rd 2014

FALCONS VS. TITANS PRESEASON PICK POINT SPREADAtlanta (2013: 4-12 SU, 7-9 ATS, 2014: 1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) is coming off a 32-7 loss at Houston but the biggest loss was the season-ending knee injury to left tackle Sam Baker. Tennessee Titans (2013: 7-9 SU, 6-7-3 ATS, 2014: 1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) is coming off a 31-24 loss at New Orleans, but they also lost backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst right pinkie injury. On Saturday, August 23, the Titans travel to the Georgia Dome to take on the Atlanta Falcons at 7pmET.

Preseason Point Spread: Atlanta opened up as a 3-point betting odds favorite and moved to -3.5 in most books. The total opened at 42.5 and moved to 44.

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Jake Locker is the present, but Zach Mettenberger might be the future starter for the Tennessee Titans. Mettenberger will get a long look on Saturday because Charlie Whitehurst (finger) is out due to injury.

Mettenberger came in last week in the second quarter when Whitehurst got injured and threw for 269 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 121.5. He also lost a fumble and threw an interception.

Locker threw just two passes so expect him to play a lot more in the second game. Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger completed three passes for 71 yards on the go-ahead drive but also threw an interceptions.

Backup Charlie Whitehurst got most of the work, completing 10-of-15 for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Locker completed 8-of-11 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown and Justin Hunter caught four passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns in their lass.

Running back Shonn Greene gained 46 yards on nine attempts, while rookie Bishop Sankey added 31 yards on six carries.

On defense, the Titans surrendered 338 yards per game (14th) and 112.2 yards per game on the ground (20th) last year. They held New Orleans to just 78 yards on 27 carries last week, but gave up 321 passing yards to quarterbacks not named Drew Brees (he didn’t play).

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan played sparingly for the Falcons, throwing for 37 yards (3 of 7) in Houston’s 32-7 win over Atlanta. Former Texans quarterback T.J. Yates completed just 4 of 11 for 63 yards and threw two picks against his old team.

Atlanta plans more no-huddle offense this week, but that will be tough without Baker providing protection for Ryan on the blind side. Now the pressure is on No. 6 overall pick Jake Matthews, who was supposed to be the right tackle. Matthews will now move to the left side with Lamar Holmes sliding into the right tackle spot.

Sean Renfree took over for Ryan and went 7-for-10 for 49 yards, but did connect on a 12-yard touchdown pass to Devin Hester.

Defensively, Atlanta has to get better as they allowed 136 rushing yards per game (31st) last season. They gave up 138 yards on 33 attempts against Houston, which about their average, while allowing 185 yards in the air.

The defense lost star linebacker Sean Weatherspoon to a ruptured Achilles tendon in the offseason. Joplo Bartu and veteran Tim Dobbins are in the mix to replace him but they are significant downgrades.

Miami Dolphins vs. Dallas Cowboys Preseason Point Spread & Pick: August 23rd 2014

DOLPHINS VS. COWBOYS PRESEASON POINT SPREAD PICKThe Dallas Cowboys (2013: 8-8 SU, 9-7 ATS; 2014: 0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) continue to struggle on both sides of the ball. The Miami Dolphins (2013: 8-8 SU, 9-7 ATS; 2014: 1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) won their first game last week at Tampa Bay, 20-14. The Cowboys travel to Sun Life Stadium in Miami to take on the Dolphins on Saturday at 7pmET.

Preseason Point Spread: Miami opened as a -3.5-point betting odds favorite and remained there in most books. The total opened at 42 and moved to 46.0.

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What’s more important in the preseason, developing players or winning football games? How about making sure your starting quarterback is healthy.

Tony Romo is 34 and coming off back surgery to repair a herniated disc. He played two series against Baltimore on Saturday (37-30 loss) and completed 4 of 5 for 80 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. Romo is expected to play just two series against Miami, probably depending on the effectiveness of the offense. That means a lot of Brandon Weeden, who completed 10 of 19 for 129 yards and an interception against the Ravens.

The Cowboys have enough weapons on offense to be a quality team this year led by Bryant and running back DeMarco Murray. They averaged 27.4 points per game and passed for 247.1 yards per game last season.

The defense is a bigger issue and they suffered a huge setback in the offseason when middle linebacker went down with a torn ACL during OTAs. With DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher (11 sacks) gone, the Cowboys need to find a pass rush. The secondary struggled last season with Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr regressing.

They allowed 37 points last week to Baltimore, including 151 on the ground, though the Ravens scored one touchdown on a fumble recovery and another on a kick-off return.

Miami lost to Atlanta on two second-half field goals as their offense was shut out in the second half. They beat Tampa Bay last week after scoring just 10 points in the first half, but only allowed two touchdowns, including one with 14 seconds left.

Ryan Tannehill (9 of 14 for 110 yards) had a solid game and his backup Matt Moore (13-of-19 for one touchdown) played well. Moore threw a touchdown pass to Rishard Matthews for nine yards to give them a 10-7 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

The defense has played well so far against Atlanta and Tampa Bay, but they’ll be tested more against Romo and the offensive firepower of the Cowboys. Even if Romo just goes a quarter, they’ll likely leave Bryant and TE Jason Witten in through the first half.

Tannehill has completed 75 percent of his passes in the first two games and should play at least a half against Dallas. The Miami offense ranked just 27th in the NFL in 2013 so progress is expected in 2014.

Defensively, the Dolphins allowed 359.4 yards per game (21st) and 234.5 yards per game in the air (16th) last year. The addition of cornerback Cortland Finnegan should help to team with Brent Grimes at the other corner spot. In the opener, they gave up just 84 yards rushing on 22 carries to Atlanta, but allowed 288 yards in the air.