Even with preseason NFL games, nothing can be easy. This past weekend proved no exception. I e-mailed a friend of mine who covers an NFL team and wanted to get a gauge on the state of the team going into the Giants-Ravens game. “Why would you bet on these preseason games?” was his response. Quite frankly, I replied, that if you pick your spots, you can find some good spots. Unfortunately, he was no help with his game. I was on my own to pick out some good plays. As usual, the NFL serves up more ups and downs than your county fair roller coaster.
Eagles-Chiefs: All counts reported how the Eagles had a good week of practice and needed a good performance. Yeah, right. It took a last-minute touchdown drive to snatch the 3-point victory and cover their two-point spread.
Chargers-Saints: San Diego was making a late-minute charge for the dreaded back-door cover (I guess dreaded only is appropriate depending on what side you have. You can guess where my allegiances were this night). Leigh Torrence’s 87-yard interception return for a touchdown ensured the victory and another “solid” winner. Then there’s the third stringers. God bless these guys. Some of these guys will be looking for work in the next couple of weeks, but for now, they are tipping the scales of winners and losers.
Browns-Lions: Here are two teams already looking forward to the 2011 draft. But in the fourth quarter, when the benches were emptied, the Lions posted two touchdowns and the 35-27 win and cover.
Titans-Panthers: Both defenses dominated the game, but when garbage time came, the Panthers excelled, scoring the last nine points in 15-7 victory.
Seahawks-Vikings: Seattle looked like it had Minnesota’s number early on, but when the fourth-quarter hit, the defense decided that was enough for today. The Vikings scored 14 points in the fourth quarter for a 24-13 victory. Sage Rosenfels, who will not see much of the field after Labor Day, engineered a touchdown drive.
49ers-Raiders: The Raiders had the victory and the cover, until David Carr put together an eight-minute, 80-yard drive that ended with Anthony Dixon scoring from one yard out. The two-point conversion gave the Niners a 28-24 win and cover. Carr took a big hit trying to extend the drive. “I’m trying to inspire my team,” Carr said in a published report. “That’s all I’m trying to do. They did a great job the first 12 plays of that drive. I’m just trying to finish it off. It was a spur of the moment play.” That’s the effort we like to see in a meaningless game.
Steelers-Broncos: Then the finale of the backup brawls was the Sunday game between the Steelers and Broncos. The over looked good in that game. But, Steelers looked bad and the game got bogged down in the third quarter. The over looked bleak.
Some poor tackling and interception returns for touchdowns. Suddenly, 28 points was scored in the fourth quarter and the over looked like it was a easy pick from the very beginning.
It’s never that easy. I go back to my friend’s thoughts of preseason games. All I can say is thank God the real games are about to begin.
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