Analyzing the Can't-Miss Games of NFL Preseason Week 3
The third week of preseason is usually the week most worth watching during the NFL's month of exhibition games. This should be certainly be the case, with four particularly intriguing games highlighting the week's fixtures.
Here is a breakdown of the four can't-miss games of NFL preseason Week 3:
This could be the game where a surprise third-round pick usurps a high-prized free agent to win the starting quarterback job for the Seattle Seahawks. The main players in the drama are rookie Russell Wilson and ex-Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn.
Wilson was unfairly dismissed by many heading into the draft due to his lack of prototype size. However, the diminutive passer has enjoyed a successful preseason, and Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com now reports Wilson is looking like the leading candidate for the job.
Wilson will get the starting nod against the Kansas City Chiefs, according to Sports Illustrated, giving him a great opportunity to pile the pressure on Flynn. The former understudy to Aaron Rodgers signed a $26 million contract with the Seahawks in the offseason, as the second most sought after quarterback in free agency.
However, the move could turn into a nightmare if Wilson takes his shot against the Chiefs and springs a huge upset on the depth chart.
All eyes will be on Peyton Manning as he lines up, however briefly, against the fearsome San Francisco 49ers defense. Manning has earned mixed reviews since joining the Denver Broncos, as he bids to make a successful comeback after spending an entire season on the sidelines.
The 49ers were one of the teams linked to the Manning sweepstakes during the offseason, according to the New York Times. They also boast a stellar veteran attempting a shock return of his own.
Prolific wideout Randy Moss is hoping to beat competition from top rookie A.J. Jenkins and free-agent acquisition Mario Manningham, to win a starting job at age 35. It will be fascinating to see which of these two seasoned pros looks the sharpest when they collide on Sunday night.
The New Orleans Saints have surrendered seven sacks so far in preseason, and the Houston Texans have collected the second-most quarterback takedowns with nine. So something's bound to give when the two teams meet on Saturday.
While both teams boast a lot of offensive firepower, the attention should be on their respective defenses this week. The Texans' pass rush could give Drew Brees fits in the early going as Wade Phillips will send multiple rushers on nearly every play.
Brees dominated Phillips' unit in Week 3 of the 2011 season, leading the Saints to 40 points. However, since then Houston's defense has gone from strength to strength.
It will also be interesting to see how well the Saints' defense is responding to new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's complex fire-zone schemes. The Saints have already had three preseason games to try things out and struggled during a 27-24 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Spagnuolo's group has already been struck by injuries, according to the Times-Picayune. Scheme and personnel issues this close to the start of the season mean Spagnuolo will have to work some magic to get the Saints' defense on track against a powerful Texans offense.
The face off between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III is undoubtedly the marquee matchup of the preseason's third week. The top two picks in this year's draft will spend their entire careers being compared to one another.
The rookie quarterbacks have been anointed as the saviours of their respective franchises. This game could provide a keen glimpse of which player might enjoy quicker success.
Luck has been spectacular for the Indianapolis Colts so far as the second highest-rated passer in preseason. He has posted an 87.8 rating, throwing 363 yards and a pair of touchdowns in two brief cameos. He has looked worthy of his status as the first overall pick in this year's draft.
The Washington Redskins traded away a lot to get Griffin and he began brightly against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. However, the former Baylor star was undermined by a woeful offensive line and victimised by the Chicago Bears' rugged and experienced defense in Week 2.
The Redskins are betting big on Griffin and the Colts' franchise makeover is being designed around Luck. So the prospect of early duel between the two should generate the most interest and attention of the preseason.
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