The final game in the NFL preseason is always a matchup of second-string and third-string players. In this matchup, one of these teams is more shorthanded, so that should be the difference on the NFL odds.
The starters, who got an additional amount of playing time in the third preseason game, are done with their dress rehearsal for the punishing season to come. They’re all resting in the fourth preseason game and gearing up for the real thing in early September. The fourth and final preseason game is important for a few basic reasons. First, it gives the second and third quarterbacks a chance to get a lot of snaps before the season starts. Second, it is designed to help coaches make the final series of roster cuts before arriving at the 53-man team that will take the field in week one of the regular season. We’ll see what the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles do in this game.
Is There A Coaching Edge?
Both coaches have proven themselves in the past. Rex Ryan of the Jets has made two straight AFC Championship Game appearances, and has shown just how creative he can be as a defensive coach who comes up with ways to attack quarterbacks in a league that’s dominated by the passing game. Ryan is so good at doing something most NFL teams can’t find a way to do on a consistent basis. If more teams could attack quarterbacks the way the Jets do, you wouldn’t see the offensive explosion that has taken over the league. Ryan is rare in his ability to thwart a strong passing game, provided that he has the personnel (uninjured and spread throughout an 11-man roster) for the task.
Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly hasn’t made the conference championship game even once, but his main achievement is not a small one. In only one season, Kelly has managed to change the Philadelphia Eagles from losers to not only winners, but division champions. The Eagles’ identity underwent a 180-degree shift, with a tired, uncertain team becoming a forceful, aggressive, conceptually advanced offensive juggernaut that turned a lot of heads throughout the NFL. A lot of people thought that the Eagles were going to suffer as a result of Kelly’s college concepts not cutting it in the professional game. Other college coaches have failed in the NFL for the same reason. Kelly, though, made all the right moves, changing the Eagles’ attitude and results. Ryan has the better resume, but Kelly is the better coach right now.
Who Has The Edge In Quarterback Depth?
This is an important question for a fourth preseason game. The starters, Geno Smith and Nick Foles, will sit out. The Jets have said that second-string quarterback Michael Vick will start, but not play long. The Eagles won’t play second-string quarterback Mark Sanchez and will entrust the whole game to third-stringer Matt Barkley, who got a little bit of experience in the regular season last year. The Jets, once Vick leaves the game in the first half, will probably give most of the snaps on Thursday to third-string quarterback Matt Simms. If you are to compare Simms to Barkley, it’s a close call, but Barkley, having played in the regular season and knowing what to expect from Kelly, should be slightly better than his Jets counterpart.
This is a close call, but at least three Jets cornerbacks – Antonio Allen, Dee Milliner, and Dimitri Patterson – have been injured and cannot be counted on to play in this game. New York is so short on bodies in its secondary that the Eagles should be able to win in a battle of third-string quarterbacks for our NFL picks.
NFL Pick: Eagles at 5Dimes