NFL preseason games might not mean much in terms of wins and losses, but overall performance is something that fans have a right to worry about.
We've been able to tell a lot from the preseason contests to date. For one, many rookies look like they might play big roles for their respective teams this season. Blake Bortles, Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin, Jadeveon Clowney and many others are having great Augusts.
Some teams are working on big adjustments, like the New York Giants and their new offense. Eli Manning and his starting group have struggled to find consistency, but that's what the preseason is for. Fans have a right to be wary of the production so far, but with two more contests to go before the regular season, there's still time to work out the kinks.
Week 2 of the preseason has three more games remaining on the schedule. Below you'll find all the TV info and preview information you need to watch and analyze what the teams need to do to get ready for the regular season.
|Sunday, Aug. 27||4 p.m.||Denver at San Francisco||NFL|
|Sunday, Aug. 27||8 p.m.||Kansas City at Carolina||Fox|
|Monday, Aug. 28||8 p.m.||Cleveland at Washington||ESPN|
Denver at San Francisco
Two NFL powerhouses will go at it on Sunday as the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers will square off in a matchup we could see in this year's Super Bowl.
Peyton Manning and Colin Kaepernick have strong teams thanks to great offseasons by both franchises. After getting shellacked in the Super Bowl, the Broncos added much-needed depth on the defensive side of the ball. Losing Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno hurt them offensively, but Emmanuel Sanders and Montee Ball should be able to replace their production.
While the starters likely won't stay on the field very long, look for Sanders and Ball to be involved early. Manning needs to establish in-game chemistry with them.
In the first NFL game at Levi Stadium, the Niners are looking to start off strong. Kaepernick has a vulnerable defense to expose because of the injury to linebacker Danny Trevathan, but linebacker Brandon Marshall will look to make a name for himself in his stead.
While Kaepernick and Manning won't be on the field for very long, the defenses will be the focus of this game. Look for a low-scoring affair thanks to some stingy "D."
Kansas City at Carolina
Both the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers figure to regress this season for a multitude of reasons, so this game is a big stepping stone for both squads.
The Chiefs need to drastically improve their secondary, with Eric Berry being the lone quality player in that unit. The Panthers have a group of wideouts that might make this secondary look passable, but don't be confused.
Just because Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and Kelvin Benjamin are the top wideouts in Carolina doesn't mean the Chiefs secondary is solid. They'll probably wrap up Cotchery and Avant just fine, but Benjamin should continue his strong summer. He has one catch this preseason (a 29-yard touchdown), and Cam Newton should look to get the ball to him more in this one.
The two have already established a good rapport, as first reported by the Associated Press:
Newton has forged a close relationship on and off the field with wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers' first-round draft pick from Florida State.
Together the duo has been lighting it up in practice, connecting regularly on crossing routes and deep balls. When they're not playing pitch and catch, they've been practically inseparable, even spending time together recently boating on Lake Lanier outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
Newton said from the moment he first talked to Benjamin "there was a connection."
This bond will only continue to grow with time in games, so it's only a matter of time before Benjamin breaks out. Look for the Chiefs to focus on him early.
Cleveland at Washington
All eyes will be on Johnny Manziel in this one.
The quarterback competition is still going strong in Cleveland, and Week 1 didn't really do much to separate one candidate from the other. ESPN Stats & Info tweeted both Manziel's and Brian Hoyer's stats from the game:
The Browns still aren't set on whom to go with in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many fans are clamoring for Manziel to get the nod, but Hoyer actually did pretty well in starting duty last season before suffering an injury.
Of course, the Browns probably haven't named a starter yet because they want to keep expectations in check. Manziel spoke about those expectations Saturday:
Johnny Manziel: "I don't think there's any pressure on me. I'm still learning, I'm still growing. The expectations aren't thru the roof."— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) August 16, 2014
Manziel should probably receive about five possessions against the Washington Redskins. Facing Washington so early in the preseason should be good for him, as watching Robert Griffin III work should allow him to study his game. Their skill sets are similar, meaning RG3 is a great model for Manziel at this point in his young career.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR