NFL Picks: Preseason Predictions, Previews for Panthers vs Giants, Bengals vs Falcons

NFL Picks: Preseason Predictions, Previews for Panthers vs Giants, Bengals vs Falcons article feature image

Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Desmond Ridder.

It’s the preseason, which means nothing is a given and all we can do is speculate roughly when QBs will be in the game.

I try to estimate when certain QBs/units will be in the game to plan my pre/in-game betting strategy. Everything is subject to change and I update these charts as we get more information.

Panthers vs. Giants

Friday, Aug. 18
7 p.m. ET
NFL Network

The Panthers are expected to start Bryce Young and get the Panthers' starting unit for a few drives tonight. I’m guessing the starters will play for most of the first quarter before Matt Corral checks in to close out the half. We could see Corral play most of the third quarter and possibly into the fourth. There's still some uncertainty as to whether Jake Luton will get any playing time, but my guess is it’ll be exclusive to the fourth quarter.

The Giants are still a bit of a mystery about how they will handle their QB rotation tonight. I’m guessing Daniel Jones and the starters will play most of the first quarter (that’s how they handled Week 2 last year). We could then see Tyrod Taylor play most of the second quarter and possibly into the third before seeing Tommy DeVito for the rest of the game.

The lack of uncertainty for both teams makes it tough to lock in any pregame bets with any confidence. However, if both teams end up playing their starting offense for the first quarter, the 1Q over 7.5 (+120) would be intriguing. Whenever you see first-string units play for about a quarter, the play-calling is a bit more aggressive than your typical first quarter since they are trying to get the passing game in sync and be less risk-averse.

Tommy DeVito was a bit more competent under center last week than expected, but a second half of him vs. Corral/Luton should warrant a second-half total around 16.5.

Bengals vs. Falcons

Thursday, Aug. 18
7:30 p.m. ET
CBS Local 12 (CIN) | FOX 5 (ATL)

Trevor Siemian is expected to play the first half with Jake Browning getting most of the second half for the Bengals at quarterback. We didn’t see Reid Sinnett at all last week, but given how brutal Siemian and Browning looked last week, I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets some reps in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons are expected to play Desmond Ridder and the starters tonight. I could see them going for a couple of drives, which should be most of the first quarter. While it's unknown how long Ridder and the rest of the starters will play, I'm guessing Atlanta will want to see its starting offense put points on the board before it gets pulled.

We will then see Taylor Heinicke make his Falcons debut, and he should play for most of the second quarter and possibly into the third. Logan Woodside, who played the entire game last week, should close out the game and play most of the second half.

The Falcons will have a huge edge in this game, but it will be specific to the first half and more specifically the first quarter. We will likely see the entire Falcons' first team against the Bengals’ backups. Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Kyle Pitts are all expected to see action in the first quarter. Their edge will continue into the second quarter with Taylor Heinicke, but he’s unlikely going to have Robinson, London and Pitts at his disposal.

Just taking a look at the three spreads being offered, here are my high-level thoughts:

  • Full game: Falcons -6.5. This is probably too high. The Falcons will have an edge early, but the second half should be fairly even.
  • First half: Falcons -3.5. This sounds about right because it’s when the Falcons will have a huge edge.
  • First quarter: Falcons -0.5. Taking -0.5 in the first quarter is always risky because it’s the lowest-scoring quarter usually and has the highest chance of being tied. However, in this situation, it’s when the Falcons will be playing most of their starters and I can see them wanting to be aggressive when they have Ridder, Robinson, London and Pitts all in the game.

I’m expecting the Falcons to get off to a hot start and for Trevor Siemian and the Bengals backups to continue to struggle. Going to lock in the Falcons -0.5 for the first quarter.

Pick: Falcons 1Q -0.5 (-105, DraftKings)

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.