NFL Preseason Week 1: Who will play?
Week 1 NFL Preseason Gameplans
In the preseason, it’s crucial to know or at least have an idea which team is playing their starters and which ones are benching them. The backup quarterbacks are also important in preseason as most starters are going to skip the three preseason games or play very little (1-2 series). Let’s take a look at Week 1 and what we’ve found through various media reports including ESPN.com. Stay tuned to this article on Friday as we will attempt to update it as more news comes in about gameplans.
Friday, August 12
Atlanta at Detroit
Falcons: Marcus Mariota takes over at quarterback and will play about a quarter, though this game is more about rookie Desmond Ridder, who should see the majority of the snaps. Third-string QB Feleipe Franks has seen little action at QB in camp, because he's also playing tight end.
Lions: Jared Goff is back at quarterback and he should see about one quarter along with the rest of the starters. Goff will play a quarter and expect to see a lot of Tim Boyle and David Blough.
Cleveland at Jacksonville
Browns: The big question is whether Deshaun Watson is going to play, because if his suspension is just six games, he will start. If it’s the season, he’s out. If it’s in-between? Who knows. Expect some of Jacoby Brissett and a lot of confusion.
Jags: The starters are expected to play in this one, but probably just a series or two. That means Trevor Lawrence will get some reps and probably C.J. Beathard, who didn’t play in the opener.
New York Jets at Philadelphia:
Jets: Right tackle Mekhi Becton is out for the season and they signed veteran Duane Brown. But he won’t play on Friday. Young QB Zach Wilson will play 1-2 series or by amount of snaps. He’s been up-and-down in camp. Joe Flacco and Mike White will see the most time as they battle it out for the backup QB job.
Eagles: Nick Siriani hasn’t finalized the gameplan, but mentioned on Wednesday that he will play the starters one or two series. It will be interesting to see if A.J. Brown plays a series with QB Jalen Hurts. WR Devonta Smith won’t play due to a groin injury. Expect Gardner Minshew and rookie Carson Strong to get them most reps at quarterback.
Arizona at Cincinnati:
Cardinals are: Rookie TE Trey McBride will not make his debut in this one. QB Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy will not play, which means Trace McSorley will get the snap and Jarrett Guarantano will get some reps.
Bengals: Most of the starters will not play on Friday. First-round pick Dax Hill should start at free safety and left guard Jackson Carman should play. QB Brandon Allen is expected to play in the first half, while Jake Browning will play in the second half.
Green Bay at San Francisco:
Packers: Aaron Rodgers will not play in Game 1 or 2. That means a lot of Jordan Love in this game at quarterback, but the starting O-line is expected to play with him. Danny Etling will get the rest of the reps. He was as 2018 seventh-round pick in 2018.
Niners: Kyle Shanahan said the first-team offense will play on Friday. Didn’t say how long and QB Trey Lance will play in Game 1 and 3 according to 49ers beat writer David Lombardi on Twitter. With no Jimmy Garoppolo around, expect to see a lot of Nate Sudfeld in exhibition season.
Saturday, August 13
Kansas City at Chicago
Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes will play one quarter in this game along with the starters. After Mahomes, the Chiefs will throw out veteran Chad Henne. Shane Buechele will play the third quarter with the third team and Dustin Crum will play in the fourth quarter.
Bears: With a new coach in Matt Eberflus and a young QB in Justin Field, the Bears will go with their starters for 15-20 plays. RB David Montgomery and TE Cole Kmet are out with injuries. Trevor Siemian should see second-quarter time with Nathan Peterman playing most of the second half.
Carolina at Washington:
Carolina: One of the few quarterback competitions out there. Baker Mayfield has the edge over Sam Darnold in camps. Now they get to show it on the field. Rookie Matt Corral should also see time in the second half.
Washington: The starters are expected to play about 15-20 snaps for Ron Rivera against his old team. That means about a quarter for Carson Wentz and company. Taylor Heinicke and Sam Howell should play the rest of the way.
Indianapolis at Buffalo:
Colts: Old quarterback, but the new system for Matt Ryan. He’ll play the first quarter on Saturday. They’ll have a dress rehearsal in Game 3 with starters playing up to a half. Nick Foles follows Rya and then Sam Ehlinger will clean up.
Bills: Josh Allen will sit this one out. That means a lot of Case Keenum and Matt Barkley at quarter. Some starters may play though head coach Sean McDermott hasn’t mentioned who and how long.
Seattle at Pittsburgh:
Seahawks: Geno Smith will start the preseason opener as we have the second QB battle. Drew Lock is a bit behind Smith as he attempts to become more consistent. Jacob Eason is the third-string QB if Pete Carroll decides to use him.
Steelers: The third QB competition and final one is led by Mitch Trubisky, the former Bears’ signal-caller. Mason Rudolph is the backup with rookie Kenny Pickett most likely playing late in the second half. The first group is expected to play the first quarter and the second group in the second quarter.
Miami at Tampa Bay:
Dolphins: New coach Mike McDaniel hasn’t officially given a statement on the starter. Tua Tagovailoa probably won’t play because he already faced the Bucs’ first-team defense in two practice sessions. Some starters might play, but might play but it looks like a game for Teddy Bridgewater and rookie QB Skylar Thompson.
Bucs: No Tom Brady in this one. He won’t play in Game 2 either as he has left the team for personal reasons. But will return after Aug. 20. Blaine Gabbert will start, while Kyle Trask and Ryan Griffin will also see some time.
New Orleans at Houston:
Saints: Jameis Winston is out with a foot injury. The Saints need to look at first-round WR Chris Olave. That means about a half for Andy Dalton and then second-year QB Ian Books wraps it up.
Texans: Rookie DB Derek Stingley Jr could have matched up with Stingley but he’s returning from an injury. Second-year QB Davis Mills could play some with Kyle Allen backing him up. Houston needs to find a third receiver among other things.
Dallas at Denver:
Dallas: No Zeke Elliot or Dak Prescott in this one. Prescott might play in Game 3. This is more about the young guys. Copper Rush and Will Grier will see a ton of time at quarterback.
Denver: New coach Nathaniel Hackett still has not come out with a QB rotation as of Friday afternoon. Not sure what he’s waiting for. There’s no reason to play Russell Wilson other than the fact that they are at home and he has a new system and team to learn. There are not a lot of options after Wilson. Josh Johnson has been around a long time, playing for many teams and knows how to prepare a team and Brett Rypien is the definition of mediocre.
LA Rams at LA Chargers:
Rams: With Matthew Stafford having elbow issues, there’s no chance he plays in this one. QB Bryce Perkins was impressive last year in preseason. John Woolford has been taking the first-team snaps, which means he probably won’t play because Sean McVay doesn’t play starters in preseason. That means a lot of Perkins and Louis Perez to fight for the third spot.
Chargers: Justin Herbert never plays in preseason so he’s not going to play this preseason. There’s also no reason to play oft-injured Pro Bowl S Derwin James. That means a lot of Chase Daniel along with Easton Stick and Brandon Peters.
Sunday, Aug. 14
Minnesota at Las Vegas Raiders
Vikes: No Kirk Cousins (COVID) is in this one. So expect a half of Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond. Not that it matters, but neither has been announced as a starter.
Raiders: The Raiders could do the same thing in Week 1 that they did in the HOF Game. Jarrett Stidham played decently as he tries to win the job over Nick Mullens, who went 8 for 11 for 72 yards. Assume that Josh Jacobs won’t be playing this game as it appeared that they were showcasing him for a potential trade.