The NFL preseason officially kicked off last week when the Cowboys and Cardinals traveled to Canton, Ohio, for the Hall of Fame Game. Now, the rest of the league will get their opportunity to earn extra reps and pray for the mercy of the injury gods when the first week of the preseason ramps up Thursday night.
Some franchises aren’t even tempting fate. Former MVP Cam Newton didn’t play Wednesday night against the Texans, and Aaron Rodgers — and his top wideout, Jordy Nelson — aren’t expected to play Thursday night against the Eagles.
That could be a boon for Green Bay. Brett Hundley, Rodgers’ backup, has developed into one of the league’s most intriguing second-stringers. Some extra reps this preseason would not only give him extra prep in case of a Rodgers injury, but also boost his trade value. In a league where Mike Glennon can sign a $45 million contract after throwing 11 passes in two years, a talented young quarterback like Hundley could bring a big return as the season approaches.
While Tyrod Taylor will be without his new top wideout, Carson Wentz will continue to adjust to his new corps. Philadelphia added Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith this offseason, and their presence, combined with a resurgent preseason from former first-round pick Nelson Agholor, gave the Cheap NFL Jerseys USA Eagles the depth to ship Matthews north without a second thought.
The final game of the night, and the only one to earn a national broadcast slot, will pit Jameis Winston against Blake Bortles in a battle of two highly touted draft picks heading in two very different directions. Winston spent 2016 leading Tampa Bay to the brink of the postseason. Bortles threw pick-sixes for a three-win team. While Winston’s spot in his lineup is secure, 2017 Cheap Denver Broncos Jerseys may be Bortles’ last opportunity to prove he can be a successful NFL starter.