Friday NFL Preseason Preview
Two of the top teams in the NFL square off in a possible Super Bowl preview on Friday night when San Diego visits New Orleans.
The Chargers' last game was a total borefest against the Cowboys which they lost 16-14 on a late safety. Philip Rivers had an interesting night, completing 11 of 15 passes for 125 yards with a one-yard TD sneak and an interception. Rivers also racked up a TD-saving tackle on a San Diego turnover before exiting the game. Despite the loss and lackluster offensive performance against Dallas one thing the Chargers have to be happy with was the play of rookie running back Ryan Mathews - he had 12 carries and rushed for an impressive 53 yards.
The Saints picked up their first win of the preseason last week after defeating Houston 38-20 as 1.5-point chalk. Drew Brees saw action for the first quarter and led a pair of touchdown drives. One ended with a one-yard TD plunge by Brees while the other was run in by Reggie Bush from nine yards out. The Saints' running game tore apart the Texans' defense in the win, with 198 rushing yards on 46 carries. The Chargers continue to make the most noise off the field, as Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill's holdouts are ongoing with no end in sight. McNeill's loss was compounded last week after his likely replacement, veteran Tra Thomas, retired. Now the job of protecting Rivers' blindside falls to Brandyn Dombrowski. Keep an eye on that situation when the Chargers face the Saints as a 3-point underdog.
There are three other games on the preseason schedule Friday night, with Washington at the Jets, Atlanta at Miami, and Philadelphia at Kansas City. Washington at NY Jets (-4.5) After last week's 23-3 loss to Baltimore the Redskins are beat up. Donovan McNabb won't play Friday night due to a injured ankle so Rex Grossman starts at QB. Also out are Mike Sellers, Malcolm Kelly, and Kareem Moore. The Jets are waiting for the offense to come together after last week's 9-3 win over Carolina. Mark Sanchez passed for only 12 yards in the win, and was lucky to avoid what should have been two easy picks for the Panthers. Atlanta at Miami (PK) The Falcons are also looking to find their way on offense after their first team failed to score a touchdown in their first two games. Atlanta's starting defense should at least get a boost Friday night with offseason acquisition Dunta Robinson expected to make his preseason debut after missing the Falcons' first two games with a bad hamstring. The Dolphins were the latest to feast on the Jaguars last week in a 27-26 win. Chad Henne torched Jacksonville for 151 yards and two touchdowns in a dominating first-half performance. Philadelphia at Kansas City (PK) The Eagles expect Mike Bell to make his Philly debut Friday night. If he sticks he should complement LeSean McCoy well in the Eagles' backfield. The Chiefs dropped their first two preseason games, but at least Matt Cassel looked good last week against the Bucs while completing 14 of 19 passes for 125 yards and a TD.