Friday features the bulk of the games in week one of the NFL preseason. The matchups may not mean much, but the undercurrents are inevitable.
Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons
Ryan Tannehill reportedly has a disconnect between himself and receiver Mike Wallace but his first priority is to see if his remade offensive line for the Miami Dolphins can protect him. The Atlanta Falcons hope their new defensive front renders the first test a failure. Also keep an eye on rookie running back Devonta Freeman, a play Matt Ryan certainly hopes can boost the Falcons ground attack.
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers
Sammy Watkins was quiet in his NFL preseason debut at the Hall of Fame game. Getting him involved against the Carolina Panthers will be a mission for the Buffalo Bills. On the other side Cam Newton must see if his offensive line, now without left tackle Jordan Gross, can withstand that solid Bills front four. The same goes for E.J. Manuel on the other side.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Two teams with two new quarterbacks. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are anxious to see how veteran Josh McCown executes their new offense, especially with rookie weapons like Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Meanwhile the Jacksonville Jaguars will get their first live look at 1st round pick Blake Bortles and perhaps the two weapons he’ll use for the next decade in Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson.
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker certainly hasn’t forgotten the last time his Chicago Bears defense saw Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s hard to get allowing 54 points out of the head. Tucker is anxious to showcase a completely remade unit with new names like Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston on board. Among the intriguing reserve notes are the backup quarterback battles with Mark Sanchez facing Matt Barkley and Jordan Palmer eyeing Jimmy Clausen.
Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Schaub vowed his 2013 season was nothing more than fluke and he’s ready to regain his old Pro Bowl form with the Oakland Raiders. He won’t exactly ease into it on the road against a Mike Zimmer defense, which the Minnesota Vikings are building. That’s on top of the growing NFL buzz surrounding rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and his ascent to possibly starting opening day.
New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams
There are loads of subplots to sort through in this game. For the New Orleans Saints they can’t wait to unveil 1st round receiver Brandin Cooks who has looked dynamite in practice. Also the first appearance of Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd is highly anticipate. For the St. Louis Rams they want to see how much progress Sam Bradford has made from his torn ACL and also just how good their pass rush can become with defensive tackle Aaron Donald on board.
Tags: Atlanta Falcons Buffalo Bills Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Jacksonville Jaguars Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints NFL Oakland Raiders Philadelphia Eagles St. Louis Rams Tampa Bay Buccaneers