September 29, 2023

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Takeaways and schedule ahead of the 2023 NFL season

Takeaways and schedule ahead of the 2023 NFL season

NFL NationESPNAugust 18, 2023, 10:39 p.m. ET6 minutes to read

Bryce Young connects with Adam Thielen for the first time

Bryce Young’s 7-yard pass finds Adam Thielen securing the catch and going down first.

Week 2 of preseason games for the 2023 NFL season kicked off Thursday night with a matchup between the defending NFC champions. Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns.

On Friday, the New York Giants hosted the Carolina Panthers and the Cincinnati Bengals were on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.

There are 11 games on Saturday and one every Sunday and Monday. The Saturday roster has several interesting games, including Jacksonville in Detroit, Buffalo in Pittsburgh, and New England in Green Bay. Action ends Monday night on ESPN with Baltimore in Washington.

Here are the top points earned from the first three games, along with the rest of the Week 2 preseason schedule.

Quick links:
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Friday matches

Bengals: It’s not just the two preseason games that have left Joe Borough’s lesser offense lacking sharpness. After Borough went down in the second training camp practice with a strained right calf, the offense petered out.

On Friday, backup quarterback Jake Browning (16 of 22 for 140 yards) outperformed Trevor Siemian (7 of 14 for 62 yards) who started in turn. But the Bengals didn’t score an offensive touchdown in their first two preseason games until the last 50 seconds on Friday, and the passing game can’t just be blamed. The running game was ineffective and the drives were ruined by penalties.

Unless the Bengals get some improvement or perhaps find another option in a backup quarterback, Cincinnati can’t afford to have Burrow injured during the regular season.

The Bengals briefly held first-team defense against the Falcons. We’ll see if the Bengals follow suit in their final preseason game against Washington. – Ben Baby

Next match: In Commanders (6:05 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 26)

Falcons: Atlanta got a little bit of everything in their solo offensive campaign early in the game. Quarterback Desmond Reeder looked sharp, completing 7 of 9 passes, and although the drive ended with an interception, it was a slashed tackle by Joseph Osai.

Rookie running back Bijan Robinson was declared a running back, made mistakes for defenders, showed top-level speed and looked exactly the same as he had throughout training camp. He has the attributes of a special player with four carries for 20 yards. The biggest concern was four penalties from the first offensive unit, including two calls on guard Chris Lindstrom, who had one combined penalty in his first four NFL seasons.

Atlanta played the vast majority of their starters in one series on each side of the ball against the Bengals. While Atlanta will likely play some games Thursday against Pittsburgh in the final preseason game, it would be surprising to see the majority of them in play again before Week 1 against Carolina on September 10. – Michael Rothstein

Next match: vs. Steelers (7:30 p.m. ET Thursday, Aug. 24)

leopards: Rookie quarterback Bryce Young needs some help.

He needs it from his offensive line, which for the second straight week has allowed the first overall pick of the draft to take a few vicious blows (ex. Ikem Ekwonu gets hit twice) and continues to dish out exorbitant penalties (ex. catching right tackle for starters, Chandler Zavala sacking 15-yard catch, third down).

He needs it from his wide receivers, who are still sloppy with road runs. Last week Lavesca Chennault Jr. ran very deep in a match from third place. Rookie Jonathan Mingo blocked his way Friday night on a third down throw that was supposed to be completed.

The good news is that Young didn’t lose his temper or make costly mistakes. He completed 3 of 6 passes for 35 yards in 2 series (17 plays) and drove a 15-play, 62-yard drive for a field goal. Progress, but those around Young don’t play winning football. – David Newton

Next match: vs. the Lions (8 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 25)

Giants: This was considered a preseason dream for a Giants rookie, who coach Brian Daboll said he wanted to see at some point in the preseason. Quarterback Daniel Jones, making his first appearance since signing a four-year contract in March, looks like a $160 million player. He was near perfect on his one and only drive, completing 8 of 9 passes (including three to new tight end Darren Waller) for 69 yards and a touchdown.

Plus, wide receiver Paris Campbell had two receptions on the drive, which made everyone feel good. Second-year outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeau had a sack and pressure on a second-quarter play, and rookie wide receiver Jalen Hiatt, a third-rounder from Tennessee, used his blistering speed to connect on a deep ball for a 33-yard touchdown from quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

Overall, the Giants got nearly everything they could have hoped for from their starting lineup in limited action against the Panthers. It’s unlikely we’ll see most of them play again before Sunday night’s season opener on September 10 against the Dallas Cowboys.Jordan Raanan

Next match: Versus the Jets (6 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 26)

Thursday match

the Eagles: Linebacker Nakobe Dean offered some hope that the central defense is in good hands. One of the only freshmen to see action for Philadelphia, Dean made a turnover near the Eagles’ goal line when he shot downfield and hit linebacker John Kelly Jr., knocking the ball loose. Safety K’Von Wallace retrieved it for a Philly takeaway. The Eagles are facing linebacker uncertainty following the departures of starters TJ Edwards and Keizer White in free agency. Dean, a second-year player from Georgia, is expected to secure linebacker MIKE’s spot, where he will be tasked with relaying calls and getting the defensive lineup. He’s been dealing with an ankle injury and has had a very quiet summer up to this point, but he showed some playmaking ability on Thursday that made him a star for the National Champion Bulldogs. – Tim McManus

Next match: vs. the Colts (8 p.m. ET, Thursday, Aug. 24)

Brown: Rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson Robinson continued his preseason form with another impressive performance against Philadelphia. Playing the first half in his first professional start, Robinson-Thompson completed 13 of 25 passes for 164 yards. He also rushed for 18 yards on four carries. The Browns drove on three carries inside the Philly 25-yard line. The former UCLA star has positioned himself to become Cleveland’s long-term backup QB to the future behind superstar Deshaun Watson. DTR will probably be the No. 3 QB this season behind Watson and Joshua Dobbs. But he is on track to become the No. 2 QB by 2024. – Jake Trotter

Next match: At Chiefs (1 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 26)

NFL preseason games on Saturday

Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions: 1 p.m. EST, NFL Network

Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans: 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers: 6:30 p.m. ET

Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts: 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Jets: 7:30 p.m. ET

New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers: 8 p.m. ET

Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings: 8 p.m. ET

Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals: 8 p.m. ET

Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers: 8:30 p.m. ET

Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Rams: 9 p.m. ET

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks: 10 p.m. ET, NFL Network

NFL preseason game on Sunday

New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers: 7:05 p.m. ET, NFL Network

NFL preseason game on Monday

Baltimore Ravens at Washington Leaders: 8 p.m. EST, ESPN

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