Arizona Cardinals @ Kansas City Chiefs
The latest news out of Arizona following their 27-17 defeat in their second preseason game is that John Skelton is now the favored quarterback. This should be considered an upset since the Cardinals gave up top cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 pick to get Kevin Kolb before the 2011 season where he was largely considered the starting QB of the future for the organization. It also doesn’t speak that much for Skelton’s abilities, since it is largely due to Kolb’s complete ineffectualness.
There were a lot of missed opportunities and connections on offense for Arizona which might spell trouble. They have stud-receiver Larry Fitzgerald but without a quarterback to throw to him, it could mitigate his threat to opposing secondaries. The Cards also made a move at right tackle by moving D’Anthony Batiste to the starting lineup.
Arizona’s next game is Friday, August 17th at 7:00pm versus Oakland. I’ll have better insights on Arizona after this week’s game.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Tennessee Titans
I’m not going to spend a lot of time here since there are plenty of articles on this site already covering the game from various perspectives. Some macro-level analysis is that the defense is ferocious. (I realize I’ve been using odd adjectives lately in describing Seattle’s defense, but I promise it’s not hyperbole.) Seattle has the type of defense that will keep the Hawks in the game no matter what the score is. They are ball-hawking much more and just looking to lay hits on receivers. It will be a lot of fun to watch. Seattle beat the Titans 27-17.
Both Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn played well. Both had one pick. At this point, my guess is that Flynn will start, but if Wilson can continue to improve, he could be Seattle’s future starter and make Flynn’s resigning anything but certain. Rookie running back Robert Turbin showed potential but still had trouble finding some gaps. The offensive line also needs to cohere much more. It looked like five really good players playing separately instead of one awesome unit which will hopefully happen after a few more games.
The Seahawks also had no penalties on either side of the ball in the first half. Alex Barron broke the streak in the third quarter with a false start penalty. This is not acceptable at home and considering he has a history of drawing penalties it probably hurt his standing in making the team.
Seattle’s next game is Saturday, August 18th at 6:00pm at Denver.
St. Louis Rams @ Indianapolis Colts
Admittedly, all I saw of this game were the highlights which basically meant a lot of Andrew Luck. The Rams got shellacked by a score of 38-3. That being said, the Rams are a very young team and have a lot of experience to gain. They have a new coaching staff and will most likely be a lot better during the season, especially later, than they are right now. There isn’t a lot of insight to be garnered from the game, good or bad. Sam Bradford is the starting quarterback and the Rams’ receivers will at least start the season healthy. There was also little to gain by give Steven Jackson a lot of touches since he has nothing to gain and a lot to lose.
The Rams play next on Saturday, August 18th at 5:00 pm vs. Kansas City.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Niners beat the Vikings 17-6 but are providing good evidence to anybody that believes in a bell curve or mean-regression theory. The Niners have just signed two more tight ends following Delanie Walker hurting his knee. The news on Aldon Smith is all but positive and it could be a while before we the Niners see him on the field which is hurting them at linebacker. Quarterback Scott Tolzien has made himself part of the conversation for backup and is competing with Colin Kaepernick. Brandon Jacobs went 4-for-4 on carries and first downs and looks to be a solid companion to Frank Gore during the season.
The 49ers hope to build on last season but will face a much tougher schedule and division. They have brought in players that bolster their smash-mouth style but will almost certainly be affected by injuries more than they were last season. The linebackers are already facing several, and this will make imposing death-by-fieldgoal on opponents that much harder. I’m not convinced Moss will be a factor since Alex Smith does not have a very strong deep throw. The will need to figure out a way to score more touchdowns in 2012 if they hope to win the division.
The Niners play next at Houston on Saturday, August 18th at 5:00pm.