Don’t tell the Cleveland Browns pre-season doesn’t matter, especially to undrafted rookie Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi. Fighting for a place on the 53-man roster, the punt returner went for 86 yards in the fourth quarter to seal last Friday’s 30-10 victory over the Washington Redskins.
His fairytale story will have the Browns heading into Lucas Oil Stadium with their heads held high, as the hype over the former 0-16 failures continues to ramp up ahead of the new season.
Summer arrival, Odell Beckham Jr, hasn’t practiced this week due to a hip injury, but we could see fellow wide receiver Jarvis Landy as the former Dolphin managed a handful of snaps during training.
This means second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield will again look towards receivers Rashard Higgins and undrafted free agent D.J Montgomery as his targets. He knows the former well from last year’s training camp and combined for a touchdown in week one.
The fifth round pick went for 96 yards, catching five of his six targets. Expect similar from the duo against the Colts as Mayfield is due to play the first quarter.
Andrew Luck is unlikely to feature in preseason due to an ankle injury, which will see Jacoby Brissett feature during the opening quarter on Saturday 9pm BST. Head coach Frank Reich wants to pick his week one starter by the end of the third pre-season game. Which puts pressure on both QBs to be ready sooner rather than later.
Brissett only completed two of his five passes last week in the 24-16 defeat to the Bills. He’ll need to improve against the Browns before handing off to Chad Kelly and Phillip Walker.
Left Guard, Quenton Nelson continues to miss training, which should be more than enough for the Browns to hold off the Colts offence and feed off Mayfield for the win.
Verdict: Cleveland Browns to win @ 5/4
The second string of the Super Bowl champions had too much for the Detroit Lions last week, dispatching Matt Patricia’s team 31-3 at Ford Field.
Tom Brady didn’t feature in the first pre-season fixture, but after taking part in the joint training session with the Titans, expect the 42-year-old to feature early on Sunday.
Undrafted free agent Jakobi Meyers was the Pats star from the opening game, grabbing two touchdowns and 69 yards from six completions, earning himself a chance to impress again at Nissan Stadium.
For the home side, this is when we begin to see more of Marcus Mariota leading the Titans offence. In the 27-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, he only completed four out of eight passes for just 24 yards.
This is his contract year, and with Ryan Tannehill playing back-up, the pressure is starting to build on the Hawaii native.
Expect a high-charged showing from Mike Vrabel’s team and their improved receiving core. Taywan Taylor has impressed during joint practices and combined with Adam Humphries and second-round pick, A.J Brown, they will be gunning for points.
The Pats first string should have more than enough to score early and the back-ups showed they can run up the score last week. Both teams could easily reach the 20-point mark in an exciting pre-season shoot-out, which is why I fancy more than 41 points here.
Verdict: + 41 points @ 20/23
Being held in Honolulu, Hawaii, reports suggest the Super Bowl runners-up will still be in holiday mode when they take on the Cowboys on Sunday.
All notable starters will likely miss out for the Rams as Sean McVay takes it easy during preseason and lets his back-ups take centre stage in the island sun.
During their opening contests, both teams combined for just 12 points and although Dak Prescott will look to throw more than four times, with Ezekiel Elliott still not with the team, their firepower is limited.
McVay will continue to play without Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley. Rookie running back Darrell Henderson Jr’s 13 yards in six attempts against the Oakland Raiders doesn’t fill you with hope that either offence is going to go off on Sunday.
Sticking with the under looks like the smart bet here.
Verdict: -40 points @ 20/23
Bet summary: A treble on these three bets paysapprox 7/1 if all three win at these odds, which are correct at time of posting.