Preseason Picks of the Day, August 12th

Jay Pryce

Saturday, August 12, 2017 2:18 PM UTC

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 2:18 PM UTC

The Cardinals look to avenge a 2016 preseason loss to the Raiders Saturday night, as they host Oakland at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Jets, meanwhile, roll out a new-look squad versus the Titans in the preseason debut for each. Picks and previews for both here.

Raiders vs. Cardinals

The Raiders blasted the Cardinals 31-10 at University of Phoenix Stadium in last year’s preseason opener. Arizona moved the ball better, collecting 22 first downs to Oakland’s 10, but failed to light up the scoreboard. The Raiders possessed the ball for just 24:38 minutes, yet managed to find the end zone four times, including two 30-plus yard touchdown runs in the second half. New offensive coordinator Todd Downing, who will be calling the plays for Oakland, hopes for as much efficiency in his NFL debut. Connor Cook, EJ Manuel, and Trent Edwards will take the majority of snaps under center with Pro Bowler Derek Carr likely to play just a series or two.

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians did not play his starters in the team’s 20-18 loss to the Cowboys in the Hall of Fame game last week for fear of injuries. Even backup quarterback Drew Stanton did not take the field. Arians plans to use the first-team for roughly 15 snaps, or the entire first quarter, against the Raiders.

At quarterback, Blaine Gabbart took the most reps in the Cowboys defeat, showing poise and pinpoint accuracy despite just two weeks of practice heading in. Look for Gabbart and Stanton to be the primary passers tonight with Carson Palmer slated for a short outing.

Since 2001, losers in the Hall of Fame Week generally see their defenses improve next time out, allowing 17.2 points per game. Young players are able to learn from their mistakes, while formations, positioning, and the like are more familiar. For what it’s worth, teams starting on the wrong foot in Canton are 11-9 SU in Week 1.

Look for Oakland’s defense to stand up as well. Including his most recent tenure as defensive coordinator at Denver, a Jack Del Rio-led unit is allowing 7.6 points per game in the exhibition opener. Pick ‘under’ 40 on the total for your best bet.

Free NFL Pick: Under 40Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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 Titans vs. Jets

Jets head coach Todd Bowles may go to the air more than usual with the depth chart at wide receiver wide open. The front office cut Brandon Marshall and Erick Decker in the offseason, while Quincy Enunwa is done for the year with a neck injury. Robby Anderson, who reeled in 2 TDs and 587 yards on 42 receptions in 2016, is the teams No. 1.wideout. Chad Hansen, ArDarius Stewart, and a host of others are vying for spots underneath.

New York’s quarterback situation is not nailed down either. Josh McCown is the frontrunner to start the regular season, but second-year pro Christian Hackenberg is challenging and expected to take some snaps with the first team tonight. Observers note he is improving, albeit slightly, completing roughly 50 percent of his throws with 5 TDs and 4 INTs in 11 camp practices. New York will likely experience significant growing pains on offense with chemistry in the passing game developing.

Including his tenure with the Bills and Jaguars, Titans head coach Mike Mularkey is a perfect 4-0 SU in Week 1 of the preseason. Establishing a winning culture is one thing, but the long-time offensive coach is known for critically evaluating first and second-team players early on. Focus is paid particularly to non-skill players, assessing how they gel with other personnel. It’s not uncommon to see Mularkey play some starters the entire first half in early exhibition games. Expect added veteran presence for the Titans in their debut with the second unit seeing a lot of time in the game, mainly up front.

At quarterback, Marcus Mariota, who is reportedly playing at a high-level in camp, will start a couple of series. Alex Tanney should see the majority of time under center with backup Matt Cassel still nursing offseason thumb surgery. The Titans will rush the ball plenty with the No. 3 running back position up for grabs.

The Jets will struggle to score points, but should see as decent defensive effort with Bowles giving his young secondary some experience. The Titans offense will play it conservatively. Pick ‘under’ 37 points.

Free NFL Pick: Under 37Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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