There’s no question that Week 3 of the NFL preseason every year is the one that most closely resembles the regular season. Most starters should play at least the first half on every team – some veteran quarterbacks like Drew Brees or Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger can be exempt – and perhaps even early into the second half. You rarely see preseason spreads higher than 5 points, but will in Week 3.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
This is also the final week of the preseason where the games are spread out over multiple nights as every club plays on Thursday in Week 4. One marquee game this week is the annual battle for bragging rights in the Big Apple as the Giants “visit” the Jets – of course, they both actually play in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. It’s the 50th preseason meeting between them, easily the longest-running exhibition rivalry in the NFL. The Jets are 2.5-point “home” favorites.
These teams will always be tied by the 2018 draft. The Giants could have taken a franchise quarterback like Sam Darnold at No. 2 overall but instead took Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. The Jets and their fans were giddy that Darnold slipped to No. 3. While Darnold is a lock, barring injury, to play plenty on Friday (likely start), it’s not expected that Barkley will play for a second straight week. He’s dealing with a hamstring injury.
Friday might be the last time that Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans see starting quarterback Jameis Winston until September 30 in Chicago. That’s because Winston is suspended the first three games of the regular season and starters rarely play at all in the preseason finale. Tampa is a 3-point favorite over the visiting Detroit Lions.
On Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Chicago Bears, who are -2. Chicago’s new head coach is Matt Nagy, who spent last season as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator under Andy Reid. Nagy is installing essentially the same offense with the Bears.
Expect a warm welcome from the Buffalo faithful on Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals visit the Bills, who are 1.5-point favorites. Why? Cincinnati pulled a stunning last-minute upset in Baltimore in the 2017 regular-season finale. That allowed Buffalo to claim the AFC’s last wild-card spot and end the NFL’s longest playoff drought. That unwanted “crown” now belongs to the Cleveland Browns.