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Thursday NFL Preseason Preview

The St. Louis Rams get a look at their future Thursday night when rookie quarterback Sam Bradford makes his first start of the preseason against the New England Patriots.

The Rams hadn't planned on starting Bradford so soon, but an injury to starting QB A.J. Feeley forced their hand. In St. Louis' 19-17 win over Cleveland last week Feeley suffered a sprained thumb on his throwing hand, leaving him unable to play Thursday night. That leaves the starting gig in Bradford's hands, and he's expected to play all of the first half. Bradford's play against the Browns last week wasn't awe-inspiring. He struggled while completing only 6 of 14 passes for 24 yards. Add in his stats from the Rams' preseason opener against Minnesota and so far Bradford has completed 12 of 27 pass attempts for 81 yards with no touchdowns. Obviously the Rams are hoping for some improvement against New England.

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It didn't take long for the news on Feeley and Bradford to hit the line for Thursday's game. New England is a 7.5-point favorite, while the total sits at 37.5 at Bovada. The Patriots have gone undefeated in the preseason so far and they're 7.5-point home favorite Thursday night. Last week New England ripped Atlanta 28-10 as a 3-point underdog. Tom Brady looked to be in mid-season form while torching the Falcons for 85 yards and a touchdown on 10-of-12 passing. Fred Taylor also sparkled while rushing for 54 yards and a TD on 11 carries, while the big story of the night was the return of Wes Welker; only eight months after a devastating knee injury Welker started and caught two passes for 20 yards.

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Also on tap Thursday night is the Indianapolis Colts at Green Bay Packers. The Packers are 3.5-point favorites against the winless Colts at Bovada. The Colts have been stinkers in the preseason for years and this season is no exception. They were pounded by San Francisco in their preseason opener and fell to Buffalo last week 34-21 as a 3.5-point underdog. Peyton Manning has looked good and last week completed 8 of 15 pass attempts for 91 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Once Manning and the starters leave any lead the Colts have had has quickly evaporated. Against the Bills the score was tied 21-21 midway through the second quarter, but the only points from there on out were scored by the Bills. The Packers picked up their first win of the preseason last week by edging Seattle 27-24 as 3-point road dogs. Aaron Rodgers picked apart the Seattle defense and completed 8 of 11 passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Green Bay sat a number of their veterans against the Seahawks, including wide receiver Donald Driver and cornerback Charles Woodson. Both the Colts and Packers could also have some notable names on the sidelines Thursday night. Colts tight end Dallas Clark is expected to sit due to a bum leg, while the Packers could hold out running back Ryan Grant (concussion), LB A.J. Hawk (ankle), and CB Al Harris (knee).