NFL Betting: What we learned after Preseason Week 4

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, September 1, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Sunday, Sep. 1, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

The preseason is now over and while those games were meaningless they did offer some lessons. Here are some notes after Preseason Week 4 that may teach us something about the regular year.

The 2013 NFL Preseason is now behind us with the fourth and final week having come and gone with all 32 NFL teams in action Thursday night, and while the preseason contests obviously did not count, that does not mean that we cannot take away valuable lessons from each game that will help us with our NFL picks this year.

Thus, we tried to take away as much as possible from the preseason and present our thoughts here weekly right up until the official NFL opener, which is now upon us when the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens visit Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos this Thursday night.

Now, as is customary, most teams did not play their starters in the preseason finales on Thursday, but that does not mean that there were no positional battles settled, nor does it mean that there were no significant occurrences, such as the broken leg suffered by Andre Brown of the Giants.

Here are some thoughts on many of the teams that were in action Thursday. Note that since the entire league played, we are not including thoughts on every single team. However, we have enough of them where we had to keep our thoughts more concise than usual.

Buffalo Bills: It is looking more and more like undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel will be the starting quarterback for the Bills in Week 1, meaning we could probably expect to see heavy doses of C.J. Spiller and the running game in Buffalo’s new sped up offense. Tuel did not play in the Bills’ 35-13 home loss to the Detroit Lions in the preseason finale because Buffalo could ill afford to lose another quarterback to injury right now. Keep in mind that Tuel is only keeping the seat warm until fellow rookie E.J. Manuel is able to return from his knee injury, as the starting job is now Manuel’s to lose. Manuel has resumed throwing and in fact threw a bunch of passes before the game on Thursday, but he apparently is not where he needs to be just yet. Manuel was supposed to compete with Kevin Kolb for the starting job but the latter is now out for the season and his career could very well be over after being placed on injured reserve with a severe concussion.

Carolina Panthers: The good news is that the Carolina offense had its best performance of the entire preseason in an easy 25-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday. The bad news is that they accomplished that in a game loaded with backups on both sides, so most of the top performers will not see the field much this year. And the news was even worse off the field where it appears that the ankle injuries to Jonathan Stewart are worse than first believed, and while he is definitely out the for six weeks while on the PUP list, there is now speculation that he could ultimately end up on injured reserve and miss the entire season, leaving DeAngelo Williams to shoulder the running back load for now. Williams has been just decent in the preseason and he has an injury history himself, so Carolina may be scouring the waiver wire the next few days.

Chicago Bears: The Bears ended the preseason with an 18-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns, but their biggest problems this week came off the field with one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in Brandon Marshall mouthing off to the media that Chicago management is not taking his hip injury as seriously as it should. You would not know that Marshall was injured by how good he has looked in his limited game action this preseason and he has been dealing with hip issues for virtually his whole career while almost always being ready for game day. Perhaps all parties involved can reach a happy compromise such as giving Marshall some time off during the practice week.

Cincinnati Bengals: The final preseason game was not meaningless to everyone, as the Bengals had two running backs competing for the final running back spot in rookie Rex Burkhead from Nebraska and Dan Herron. Neither made the choice easy in a 27-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts either as Herron rushed for 51 yards on 12 carries while the more physical Burkhead kept smashing into defenders while rushing for 39 yards on 11 touches. In the end, the rookie Burkhead made the team while Herron was cut but then resigned to the practice squad.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos seem loaded everywhere, but one position still not finalized before the 32-24 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals Thursday was the final defensive back spot, where the battle was between two players that had recently flip-flopped cornerback and safety positions in Omar Bolden and Quentin Jammer. Well, guess what? The battle is still not over because Denver is carrying 11 defensive backs for now due to Champ Bailey’s iffy status for the opener on Thursday, so they are keeping both players temporarily.

New England Patriots: The writing was on the wall for veteran kick returner Leon Washington before the Patriots lost 28-20 to the New York Giants, as he has only been on the field for three kick returns this preseason with LeGarrette Blount apparently taking over that duty, and the third down back he was supposed to be competing for is now locked up by Shane Vereen. The final blow however may have been when he lost a fumble vs. the Giants on one of his handful of plays from scrimmage. Some other team might take a chance on him after New England made things official by cutting him, but the now 31-year-old has clearly lost a step.

New York Giants: Probably the biggest news in the entire NFL in Week 4 was Andre Brown of the Giants breaking his leg in a 28-20 win over the New England Patriots. David Wilson is now entrenched as the every-down running back where the plan was for Brown to get in the game on many third down and goal line situations. Unbelievably, the latest word as that Brown may only be out six weeks, meaning he was miss just five games with the Giants having a bye week in that time! We will see if that is very wishful thinking. In other Giant news, David Carr will once again be the backup quarterback after beating out Curtis Painter for the position with rookie Ryan Nassib out of Syracuse locked in as the third quarterback.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Although Peyton Hillis led the Buccaneers in rushing in a 30-12 home loss to Washington Redskins Thursday, it was with only 33 yards and Hillis could be the odd man out in a three-way battle for probably two backup running back spots behind Doug Martin between he, Brian Leonard (who played for Tampa Bay Coach Greg Schiano at Rutgers) and rookie Mike James.

Washington Redskins: The Redskins defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-12 to complete another perfect 4-0 preseason both straight up and ATS for the best preseason coach in the NFL in Mike Shanahan. The Redskins won handily despite third string quarterback Pat While playing the entire game and passing for only 188 yards after backup Kirk Cousins was injured last week, but the best news of all for Washington came off the field with starter Robert Griffin III being given medical clearance to play in the regular season opener next Monday night.

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