The third weekend of preseason action for the 2014 NFL season saw some big moves as well as a few critical injuries that could impact some teams during the course of the season. These developments will be critical in figuring out who will be a star and whether or not certain players are to be cut.
Big Injuries Of Note
Some noteworthy injuries got in the way of the weekend. The biggest story of the weekend came when St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford suffered another season-ending ACL injury. This is the same injury that he suffered last season. This happened during a 33-14 win over the Cleveland Browns. While the Rams were +2.5 underdogs for the game, the loss of Bradford has sent the Rams reeling as Shaun Hill is expected to be the new quarterback. It was not all doom for the Rams though as Michael Sam sacked the Browns' Johnny Manziel twice.
During a 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered a slight injury to his ribs. This could play a part in the coming season and is concerning to the team in general. To make things worse, Newton was sacked three times during the game. The Patriots were heavily expected to win, what with the team having -5.5 odds. However, the Panthers may be at risk of some real concerns in the near future based on how the team is to perform.
The Houston Texans pulled off an upset as they were +7.5 underdogs against the Denver Broncos. The Texans won 18-17 but the biggest concern came from the Broncos' Wes Welker having yet another concussion. While Peyton Manning did go 21-27 for the Broncos, the injury to Welker and the pending suspension for kicker Matt Prater are not going to help the team that much.
Baltimore Ravens running back Bernard Pierce had a head injury during the team's Beltway match with the Washington Redskins. The Ravens were -2.5 favorites in that game and beat the Skins 23-17. Fortunately for the Ravens, Pierce is expected to be ready for the opening game a few weeks from now.
Niners Win Big, But...
The San Francisco 49ers had strong odds as they were -7 favorites over the San Diego Chiefs. The Niners beat the spread with a 21-7 win but Colin Kaepernick did not do much of anything to contribute to the win. He went 6-12 with just 59 passing yards. Meanwhile, the Niners' secondary could not do much to stop the passing game of Philip Rivers as he went 9-10 with 85 yards and a touchdown.
Two Games With Big Margins
There were two games with -7.5 odds for the favorites outside of the Broncos game. The Seattle Seahawks were -7.5 favorites against the Chicago Bears and won 34-6 as Russell Wilson had three total touchdowns.
The Green Bay Packers were also favorites with the same spread and they too beat it with a win over the Oakland Raiders. It was much closer as the Packers won 31-21. The Packers' quarterbacks only completed about half of their passes. They did sack Matt Schaub twice though.
What About Close Calls?
There were many games during the week where the betting odds were very close. The Indianapolis Colts were -1 favorites against the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals were -1 favorites over the Cincinnati Bengals while the Snoopy Bowl in East Rutherford put the New York Giants and Jets at a pick-em situation.
The Saints won their game 23-17 although the team's quarterbacks missed half their passes. Pierre Thomas did get nearly fifty receiving yards though.
The Bengals also got the upset with a 19-13 win. While Andre Ellington had nearly fifty rushing yards for the Cardinals, the Bengals took control early after cornerback Terence Newman got an interception returned for a touchdown.
As for the Snoopy Bowl, it was rather close but the Giants took a 28-14 advantage in the second half to get a 35-42 win. The Jets' Geno Smith were 9-14 with 137 yards and Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory had good running games but Giants backup quarterback Ryan Nassib had three passing touchdowns. Eli Manning had one too but he was sacked twice.
This big week of action in the NFL preseason had quite a few big games. However, the injury concerns that some teams are bearing with now could end up playing a huge role in how the season will play out.