NFL Preseason Previews
It could be a tough night for the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, as they return to the field to face the Oakland Raiders just four days after playing in the Hall of Fame Game.
Dallas at Oakland
The Cowboys met Cincinnati in the Hall of Fame Game and picked up a 16-7 win as 3-point favorites. David Buehler delivered three field goals for Dallas, who played their starters for only a few series. Tony Romo saw the field for only part of the first quarter and completed 5-of-10 passes for 59 yards. The Raiders and their fans (if there are any left) get their first look at Jason Campbell tonight in his first start behind center. Anything will be better than JaMarcus Russell of course. Campbell will likely only play the first quarter, although he could see more action because backups Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye are both injured. Despite the short rest Dallas is still a 3.5-point favorite, while the total was set at 34. The rest of Thursday's NFL preseason schedule includes New Orleans at New England and Carolina at Baltimore.
New Orleans at New England
The Saints make their preseason debut just a few days after visiting the White House as Super Bowl champions. Fortunately for the Patriots they won't be fielding the same team that won the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Thursday night. The Saints will be without Robert Meachem (toe), while Marques Colston (knee) and Pierre Thomas (wrist) are both considered questionable due to nagging injuries. The Patriots' biggest injury concern is likely Wes Welker, who so far has made a miraculous recovery after tearing his ACL and MCL late last season. Welker has looked good in practice but that doesn't mean the Pats are ready to throw him into the fire on Thursday night. The Pats also have a big question mark on their offensive line with Logan Mankins holding out and his likely replacement possibly on the shelf long term with a bad back. New England will need to sort out their o-line during the preseason, which could make things dangerous for Tom Brady. New England is a small 1.5-point favorite, and the total sits at 35.
Carolina at Baltimore
The Panthers head to Baltimore for the preseason opener missing two of their biggest offensive weapons. Steve Smith and Jonathan Stewart are both out while on the PUP list, leaving Matt Moore and backups Jimmy Clausen and Hunter Cantwell with less to work with. The Ravens have a new receiver to acclimate in Anquan Boldin, but one of their main concerns during the preseason should be finding a suitable fill-in for Ed Reed, who's not expected to be ready for the start of the season. Baltimore is listed as a 3.5-point favorite, and the total comes in at 34.