The 2016 NFL Preseason wraps up with a battle of Texas as the Houston Texans travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. Now a regular season showdown would look so much better as we would get a chance to see superstars like Dez Bryant and J.J. Watt.
That being said this preseason game should be very fun to watch I will have my eyes on the television to watch quarterback Dak Prescott in his final tuneup before the regular season. Now this time last week this might be just another final preseason game as the team was expected to have quarterback Tony Romo under center.
That call changed last week when the veteran quarterback suffered a back injury that could force him to miss at least if not most of the 2016 NFL season. This leads the team to turn to the rookie quarterback who has been very impressive this preseason.
For the Dallas Cowboys their concerns at quarterback gives the Texans a three point advantage on the road while the Over/Under line is currently sitting at just 37 points for this Thursday Night showdown. If the Cowboys want to win this game it will simply come down to how well Prescott plays early in this game.
Here are some of the other keys to the Cowboys/Texans Preseason Game on Thursday Night.
Texans Defense Continues To Show Up: The Texans defense has looked well this preseason holding their first two opponents to just 22 points before giving up 24 points last wee to the Arizona Cardinals. One of those players who has shown up is the second year star Jadeveon Clowney helping to fill the hole left as Watt prepares for the regular season. In the end their defense this preseason has helped them start 3-0.
Cowboys Rushing Game Must Attack: In the teams one win this preseason the team was led by their talented group of running backs. This week the team will rely on this once again especially when the team both teams turns to their backs to finish up the contest. In that win against the Miami Dolphins the Cowboys tallied up 170 yards on the ground to go with three rushing touchdowns.
Backup Quarterback Play: The final key to either of these teams is how well their backup quarterback will play as both starters will see only a few series at most. For the Texans that means Tom Savage will have to play better than completing just four of his 11 passes (finished with 75 yards and one touchdown). On the other side the Cowboys backups will now be in the role as a true backup once the 2016 NFL season starts. That means Jameill Showers will need to continue to improve on his 113 yard passing game last week.
Who will win the battle of Texas on Thursday Night when it comes to NFL football picks?
The Final Week of the 2016 NFL Preseason is here as teams being to prepare for opening kickoff next weekend. Two of those teams will square off on Thursday Night as the Jacksonville Jaguars travel north to Atlanta to take on the Falcons at 7pm ET .
When I start to look at this contest the outcome could go either way despite the Falcons currently sitting as a 3.5 point favor. Meanwhile the Over/Under line at 39 points is something to consider especially if both of these teams only allow their starters to play a one series tune-up.
For me the big key in all of the preseason action in week 4 is how many of the regular starters will suit up as well as who each one of those players is. For example in this game if Blake Bortles and Matt Ryan each start it could be a wash at the quarterback. But lets say the Jaguars go with Chad Henne while Ryan still starts the advantage would go to the Falcons.
Now along with how many starters are playing the other key for me is how these starters produce in their first series on the field. If one of these teams capitalizes early on both sides of the ball it could be a very long night for the other team before their backups get in.
While the starters will play a key role in the outcome of Thursday Nights Falcons/Jaguars contest here are a few of the other keys to the game when it comes to making your NFL picks.
Backup Quarterback Play: In the end this game will simply come down to how well each of their backup quarterbacks play when they enter the game. For the Jaguars that means Chad Henne must play better than he did last week where he finished connecting on just seven of his 18 passing attempts but still managed to throw for 75 yards and one just one touchdown. Over on the other side the Falcons will need Matt Schaub to continue on last weeks success of connecting on 10 of 11 passes but find the end zone.
Jaguars Must Protect The Football: Last week running back T.J. Yeldon lost a fumble that helped set up a Bengals 22 yard scoring drive that finished off with a touchdown. In the end the play didn’t cost the team a win but typically the team with the most turnovers usually comes out on the losing end.
Falcons Defense Must Put Pressure On The Quarterback: If the Falcons fail to get to the quarterback against this week another loss will be in the work. Last week against the Miami Dolphins the Falcons failed to record a sack. While it is just preseason I still like to see opposing defenses put pressure on the opposing team much as if their where playing a regular season game.
In the end this game could easily go to the home team but don’t be surprised if the Jaguars walk away with a win in what should be a high scoring contest.
The third week of the NFL preseason wraps up with a solid slate of action over the weekend. This includes a six game slate on Saturday before wrapping up on Sunday with a three game slate.
This gives me a great opportunity to take advantage of some of these games and cash in. The first of the games we like will take place on Saturday Night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey where the New York Giants will face off against the New York Jets.
Currently this game is slated with an over/line of 43 points while the Giants are as slight 2.5 point favor with no home field advantage being taking into this number when it comes to NFL football picks. Now looking at their performance this spring I don’t like that number as the Giants offense failed to score last week against the Buffalo Bills while only racking up ten points in their first game.
That being said here are a few keys to the Jets/Giants game on August 27th, 2016.
Success From Giants 1st Team Offense: This should be the first real action we have seen from Eli Manning who did not play week 1 while only appearing for a short time last week. This week Manning should see nearly the entire first half if not more with how the offense has struggled. If the Giants want a win this weekend Manning needs to find the end zone early.
Jets Defense Needs To Shut Down Giants Running Attack: Over the first two preseason games the Jets defense has been solid in slowing down opposing running games. This includes holding the Jaguars to under 100 yards as team while the Redskins managed to hit just 101 yards. If this success continues this puts pressure on Manning to make big plays with his arm.
The second game I like this weekend takes place at 8pm ET on Sunday Night where the Cincinnati Bengals will travel down South to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. This game currently favors the Jaguars by one while the over/under line currently sits at 43. I love this game from the over side as I expect to see some points this week while the Jaguars will need a big time performance from their offense.
Here are a few keys to the Bengals/Jaguars game on August 28th, 2016.
Bengals Secondary Will Need To Shut Down Jaguars Stud Receivers: Mark me as a big time fan of the young receiving corps of the Jaguars led by Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson. That being said the Bengals will not be fans on Sunday as these two receivers can put up 100 yards in a hurry while making it a big time test to slow them down in the red zone.
Jaguars Rookie Defensive Players Need To Show Up: I believe this could be the biggest key to the game for the Jaguars. If Myles Jack can put some pressure on Andy Dalton or whichever quarterback is in the game. The other young star we are looking to have a big game is Jalen Ramsey who made his debut last weekend. Ramsey who might have been the best player in this draft will look to slow down a very good receiving corps including A.J. Green.
MLB Monday Preview & Free Pick
Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers
Monday, Aug. 29, 8 p.m. (ET) ESPN
Money Line: Seattle +158 Texas -168
Total Line: 8.5
Seattle at Texas Game Overview
The Mariners have just one win in their last six games and they are coming off a three games to one series loss on the road this past weekend to the Chicago White Sox in which they were outscored 21-13. They are now 8.5 games in back of Texas in the AL West Division race at 68-62 and three games out of the final wild card spot in the AL playoffs. The total stayed UNDER nine-run line in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Chicago as +110 road underdogs and it has stayed UNDER in four of their last six games in MLB picks.
Seattle will turn to starter Hisashi Iwakuma to get this series off to a winning start on Monday night. The right-hander is 14-9 this season with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. He has now lost his last two starts after getting tagged for five earned runs on 12 hits over his last 13 innings pitched.
Texas remains in the driver seat in the AL West at 77-54 and it is coming off a 3-1 series win against Cleveland this past weekend at home. The Rangers squeezed out a 2-1 victory on Sunday as slight -101 home underdogs on GTBets closing moneyline and the total stayed UNDER the 9.5-run total line. It has stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in four of their last six games. Texas is now AL-best 42-21 at home this season.
Look for Yu Darvish to get the start for Texas in this nationally broadcast contest. He will be making his 12th start of the season and his current ERA stands at 2.91 with a 1.11 WHIP. The right-hander lasted six innings his last time out against Cincinnati and he came away with a no-decision after allowing three earned runs on four hits. He last faced Seattle on June 3 and he came away with a win after giving up three earned runs on six hits over 5.2 innings of work.
Seattle at Texas Game Free Pick
I like the matchup on the mound in this one with both starters showing the ability to shut the other team’s lineup down.
NFL Preseason Week 3 Preview & Free Pick
Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Friday, Aug. 26, 8 p.m. (ET) CBS
NFL Pointspread: Tampa Bay -3.5
Total Line: 42
Cleveland at Tampa Bay Game Overview
Cleveland has been projected to be worst team in the NFL this season according to the betting odds at BetAnySports for least amount of wins and a 0-2 start both straight-up and against the NFL spread in its first two preseason games does not help the cause. The Browns have already lost to Green Bay on the road in Week 1 and Atlanta at home last week after actually closing as slight favorites in both games. The total stayed UNDER in each contest.
The one bright spot in Cleveland’s training camp this summer has been the revitalized play of quarterback Robert Griffin III. After he was cast aside by Washington, he may have found a home as the Browns’ starter following a pair of encouraging performances in his first two preseason games. The former Heisman Trophy winner has completed 10-of-16 attempts for 163 yards and two touchdown throws while adding another 36 yards on the ground.
The outlook in Tampa Bay for the 2016 regular season is not as nearly as bleak, but it is still a +800 third-favorite to win the NFC South with a projected win total of seven games. The Buccaneers are off to a 1-1 start (SU and ATS) in the preseason following a 17-9 loss to Philadelphia in Week 1 as 3.5-point road underdogs and last week’s 27-21 victory against Jacksonville as three-point underdogs on the road with RealBet. The total was split 1-1 in those two games.
There is no doubt about the starting quarterback position in Tampa Bay with Jameis Winston entering his second season in the league after being named the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. This former Heisman winner has put the ball up 19 times for 10 completions and 125 yards in limited preseason action, but he should get a chance to run the Buc’s first-team offense into the second half against Cleveland.
Cleveland at Tampa Bay Game Prediction
While this may not look like a marquee matchup on paper, it should actually be a fairly entertaining game with two strong-armed quarterbacks trying to move the ball down the field through the air.
MLB Wednesday Preview & Free Pick
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
Wednesday, Aug, 24, 10 p.m. (ET) ESPN
Money Line: San Francisco +127 Los Angeles -137
Total Line: 7.5
San Francisco at Los Angeles Game Overview
The Giants dropped the series opener against their bitter NL West rivals 9-5 on Tuesday night as -125 road favorites on RealBet closing MLB moneyline. The total went OVER 6.5 runs in that game and it has gone OVER in eight of their last 10 games. San Francisco (68-57) is now two games in back of the Dodgers in the division title race after losing seven of its last nine games.
The good news in Tuesday’s loss was the five runs scored and despite the current slide this lineup is still averaging 5.3 runs over the last nine games. The Giants could use a big effort by starter Johnny Cueto on Wednesday night to get a much needed win. The right-hander looked sharp his last time out by holding the New York Mets to one earned run on a home run in seven innings of work to pick up the win. On the year, he is 14-3 with a 2.90 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.
Los Angeles has now won three straight after taking the last two games of an extended four-game road series against Cincinnati this past weekend. It is 6-4 over its last 10 games and the total has gone OVER RealBet sportsbook closing line in four of its last five games. With Tuesday’s win, the Dodgers improved to 39-24 at home this season.
This is another lineup that has been earning its keep lately with a total of 53 runs in its last five wins. The downside was the combined seven runs it scored in three losses. This hit or miss approach lately has the Dodgers ranked fifth in the NL in scoring with an average of 4.6 runs a game. Los Angeles will turn to Rich Hill as its starter for Wednesday night. He is 9-3 on the year with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. The left-hander has missed his last few starts while spending some time on the DL, but he does bring a six-game winning streak into this matchup.
San Francisco at Los Angeles Game Prediction
This game has the potential to be a pitcher’s duel if Hill is up to the task, but with some serious question marks concerning the left-hander’s form coming back from injury.