Playing time in preseason would’ve helped quality of play in Week 1 of NFL regular season

Steve Brownlee

So did you enjoy Week 3 of the preseason last weekend? Oh, it wasn’t? It sure looked like it.

A lot of talk in August’s preseason was that teams weren’t going to take a chance and play important players and risk injury.

OK, fine and dandy, but the reason Week 3 has always been important for NFL teams was so starters could use it as a dress rehearsal for the regular season.

Instead, Week 1 of the regular season became the dress rehearsal. If anyone remembers how actors flub all kinds of things in dress rehearsal, that’s what last weekend looked like.

Silly interceptions, balls dropped for fumbles, just plain rookie-looking mistakes all over the league.

That means we should take what happened last weekend with a grain of salt — up to a point. Hopefully, units like the Detroit Lions’, New Orleans Saints’ and Chicago Bears’ second-half defenses won’t flop again as badly as they did last week.

Or maybe they will.

Now onto Week 2:

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Today, 8:20 p.m.

Baltimore at Cincinnati — Week 1 confirmed that Baltimore seems a better team than the Bengals. Ravens, 27-20.

Sunday, 1 p.m.

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Carolina at Atlanta — Here’s thinking Atlanta is a bit annoyed since they had a chance to beat the Super Bowl champs in last Thursday’s opener, but shot themselves in the foot too many times. Falcons, 31-23.

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Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo — As scary as it for a West Coast traveling east — that makes this a 10 a.m. game for L.A., Buffalo’s lack of quality play is even scarier. Chargers, 23-19.

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Minnesota at Green Bay — Whether or not Aaron Rodgers plays, it certainly seems his mobility has been compromised, at least for this week. Not what you want against the No. 1 defense from last year. Vikings, 26-22.

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Cleveland at New Orleans — Maybe the Browns haven’t peaked with last week’s tie, but they’re certainly fatter and happier than New Orleans was after the way Tampa Bay lit up the latter’s defense for 48 points last week. Saints, 33-20.

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Miami at New York Jets — So will the Dolphins have to fly to Dallas, then to Chicago, to get to New York with Hurricane Florence in the way? I don’t think New York will score 48 points every week, but the Sam Darnold experiment seems good so far. Jets, 24-19.

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Kansas City at Pittsburgh — I forgot about all the good receivers KC has. I do remember the precipitous fall the Steelers’ defense has taken. Chiefs, 33-27.

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Philadelphia at Tampa Bay — Like the Browns, the Buccaneers should be fat and happy after beating the Saints. And Philly’s defense is a bit better than New Orleans. Eagles, 20-16.

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Houston at Tennessee — No Marcus Mariota for the Titans, and Houston got a good lesson in football from Bill Belichick & Co. last week up in New England. Texans, 30-20.

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Indianapolis at Washington — I’m not convinced the Colts are that much better with Andrew Luck back, at least not yet, and I was convinced Washington can at least get off to a fast start before they flop around midseason. Redskins, 33-24.

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Sunday, 4 p.m.

Arizona at Los Angeles Rams — So far, so good with the Rams’ stellar — maybe interstellar — cast. Rams, 23-15.

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Detroit at San Francisco — I get to say this as a Lions fan: “Same ol’ Lions!” San Fran’s Jimmy Garoppolo ought to pick them apart at least as well as a Week 1 rookie quarterback from New York. 49ers, 37-29.

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Oakland at Denver — More growing pains for the Jon Gruden in Oakland. It would help them if this was actually in Oakland, instead of the thin air of Denver. Broncos, 24-17.

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New England at Jacksonville — Belichick will make Blake Bortles look just as hapless this week as Houston’s Deshaun Watson look against them last week. Patriots, 23-13.

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Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

New York Giants at Dallas — Maybe the Giants will improve this year, but I don’t think they’re quite ready for prime time yet. Then again, the Cowboys aren’t either. I’ll have to take the shiny new running back in New York’s Saquon Barkley over Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott, who was apparently left in the garage last weekend. Giants, 23-20.

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Monday, 8:15 p.m.

Seattle at Chicago — While you Packers fans laugh about last week’s second-half comeback, the Bears and their fans better be seething. Enough to make “reverse momentum” apply. Bears, 29-23.

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Last week — 10-5-1, 66 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.