One week of preseason action in the NFL is in the books, and now it’s time to get week 2 underway. There was only so much we could take away from last week’s games, but the starters should start to play a little more this week, and tell us a little more about each team. Here are the games to keep an eye on in week 2 of the preseason:
Carolina at Philadelphia, Thursday – The Eagles’ quarterback competition should start to heat up this week. Chip Kelly gave snaps to five different quarterbacks last week, but he should start to look exclusively at the three players that have a chance to win the starting job. Based on last week’s performance, there shouldn’t be much separation between Michael Vick and Nick Foles, while Matt Barkley showed enough to keep him in the mix for another week. For the Panthers, we should see more than just six pass attempts out of Cam Newton, as he moves into an important season in his career. Also, rookie running back Kenjon Barner had an impressive preseason debut, despite being involved in two turnovers, and it’ll be interesting to see if he clean some things up and make a push for significant carries during the regular season.
San Diego at Chicago, Thursday – It may be just week 2 of the preseason, but these are two teams that need to get it going offensively, and do so quickly. Jay Cutler is still trying to adjust to new head coach Marc Trestman, and needs to start showing better command of the offense. Meanwhile, Chicago’s offensive line allowed seven sacks last week, which is something they can’t repeat, even in the preseason. For the Chargers, they didn’t have much of a running game last week, and they’re also trying to figure out who their wide receivers are going to be this year following the season-ending injury to Danario Alexander and the likely loss of Malcolm Floyd for the remainder of the preseason.
Tampa Bay at New England, Friday – The Bucs got routed by the Ravens at home last week and will be looking for a more respectable outcome this week. Some thought that rookie quarterback Mike Glennon could push Josh Freeman for the starting job, but he didn’t look like much of a challenger last week, and this could be his last chance to turn this into a competition. For the Patriots, with the injuries to both Tom Brady and backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, there could a whole lot more of Tebow time this week, which as usual, will be must-see television. The Patriots are also trying to figure out who their wide receivers and offensive playmakers are going to be, which won’t be as interesting to watch as Tebow, but it will be far more important for New England’s season.
Jacksonville at New York Jets, Saturday – Here’s another quarterback competition that should start to heat up. Mark Sanchez will look to shake off his interception from last week and play more like he did on his 12 other pass attempts, 10 of which were completed. If Geno Smith is recovered enough from the ankle injury he suffered last week, he should be back on the field and pushing Sanchez, who appears to be the leader for the starting job. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are in the midst of their own quarterback competition, as Blaine Gabbert really struggled last week. Chad Henne is real tight with Gabbert for the starting job, while both Matt Scott and Mike Kafka got snaps in last week’s game, so it’ll be interesting how the playing time gets divided up in week 2, and whether or not someone is able to separate from the pack.
Denver at Seattle, Saturday – For the second straight week, the Broncos will play a Super Bow contender from the NFC, setting up a possible Super Bowl preview. This week they play the Seahawks, a former AFC West rival. Denver’s defense was awfully impressive last week, although the same can’t be said for its offense. Meanwhile, the Seahawks had no trouble scoring last week, especially with back up Tarvaris Jackson in the game. The starters for each team should play more than they did last week, so we should get a better impression of what these two Super Bowl favorites are all about.