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Saturday NFL News and Notes

Saturday NFL News and Notes

CLEVELAND (0 - 2) at DETROIT (2 - 0) - 8/23/2008, 4:00 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
DETROIT is 1-1 against the spread versus CLEVELAND over the last 3 seasons
DETROIT is 1-1 straight up against CLEVELAND over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


NY GIANTS (1 - 1) at NY JETS (1 - 1) - 8/23/2008, 7:00 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
NY JETS is 1-1 against the spread versus NY GIANTS over the last 3 seasons
NY JETS is 1-1 straight up against NY GIANTS over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


WASHINGTON (3 - 0) at CAROLINA (1 - 1) - 8/23/2008, 7:30 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.


NEW ORLEANS (1 - 1) at CINCINNATI (1 - 1) - 8/23/2008, 7:30 PM
Top Trends for this game.
NEW ORLEANS is 23-10 ATS (+12.0 Units) in road games since 1993.
NEW ORLEANS is 23-10 ATS (+12.0 Units) in road lined games since 1993.
NEW ORLEANS is 15-5 ATS (+9.5 Units) in road games when playing with 6 or less days rest since 1993.

Head-to-Head Series History
NEW ORLEANS is 1-0 against the spread versus CINCINNATI over the last 3 seasons
NEW ORLEANS is 1-0 straight up against CINCINNATI over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


JACKSONVILLE (1 - 1) at TAMPA BAY (2 - 0) - 8/23/2008, 7:30 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
JACKSONVILLE is 2-0 against the spread versus TAMPA BAY over the last 3 seasons
JACKSONVILLE is 2-0 straight up against TAMPA BAY over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


KANSAS CITY (1 - 1) at MIAMI (1 - 1) - 8/23/2008, 7:30 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
MIAMI is 1-0 against the spread versus KANSAS CITY over the last 3 seasons
MIAMI is 1-0 straight up against KANSAS CITY over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


PITTSBURGH (1 - 1) at MINNESOTA (1 - 1) - 8/23/2008, 8:00 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
MINNESOTA is 1-0 against the spread versus PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
MINNESOTA is 1-0 straight up against PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


BALTIMORE (1 - 1) at ST LOUIS (1 - 1) - 8/23/2008, 8:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
ST LOUIS is 3-14 ATS (-12.4 Units) when playing on a Saturday since 1993.
ST LOUIS is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) in non-conference games over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.


ARIZONA (1 - 1) at OAKLAND (1 - 1) - 8/23/2008, 9:00 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
OAKLAND is 1-0 against the spread versus ARIZONA over the last 3 seasons
OAKLAND is 1-0 straight up against ARIZONA over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

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Cleveland at Detroit, 4:00 ET NFL
Cleveland: 5-1 ATS after a loss by 3 or less points
Detroit: 3-10 ATS as a home favorite of 3 points or less

NY Giants at NY Jets, 7:00 ET
NY Giants: 8-21 ATS last two weeks of the preseason
NY Jets: 12-3 ATS vs. Giants

Washington at Carolina, 7:30 ET
Washington: 6-1 Under off SU win as road underdog
Carolina: 12-4 ATS vs. NFC

New Orleans at Cincinnati, 7:30 ET
New Orleans: 23-10 ATS in road games
Cincinnati: 0-6 ATS vs. NFC South

Jacksonville at Tampa Bay, 7:30 ET
Jacksonville: 7-0 Over off BB ATS losses
Tampa Bay: 5-1 ATS when the line is +3 to -3

Kansas City at Miami, 7:30 ET
Kansas City: 1-5 ATS off a SU/ATS loss
Miami: 5-1 Under playing with 6 or less days rest

Pittsburgh at Minnesota, 8:00 ET CBS
Pittsburgh: 9-1 Under vs. NFC
Minnesota: 5-0 ATS playing with 6 or less days rest

Baltimore at St. Louis, 8:00 ET
Baltimore: 13-4 Under off an Over
St. Louis: 4-18 ATS off home game

Arizona at Oakland, 9:00 ET
Arizona: 0-3 ATS off ATS win
Oakland: 5-0 ATS as favorite

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NFL Preseason Preview - Cleveland (0-2) at Detroit (2-0)
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - The battered Cleveland Browns will be out to avoid further injury on Saturday night, when they make a short-handed trip to face the Detroit Lions in the third preseason game for both teams.

The Browns suffered a number of injuries in Monday's 37-34 loss to the New York Giants, and the short week preceding the trip to Detroit will help prevent those players from getting back onto the field.

Quarterback Derek Anderson (concussion), receiver/kick returner Joshua Cribbs (high ankle sprain), running back Jamal Lewis (hamstring), safety Brodney Pool (concussion), and outside linebacker Willie McGinest (groin) are among the Cleveland notables who will likely miss the all-important third preseason tilt, according to head coach Romeo Crennel.

That means second-year-pro Brady Quinn will make his first start of any kind on Saturday. Quinn, the 2007 first-round Draft pick out of Notre Dame, has had a strong training camp to date and could help elicit a quarterback controversy if he plays well in Detroit.

Quinn has completed 20-of-29 passes for 257 yards with a touchdown and an interception in losses to the Jets (24-20) and Giants, compiling a solid passer rating of 93.6 in the process.

Elsewhere on the injury front for Cleveland, wide receiver Braylon Edwards (foot) remains out, and tackle Shaun Rogers (undisclosed) should be back after a one-game absence.

Rogers played seven years with the Lions (2001-2007) before being dealt to Cleveland this past offseason.

While the Browns try to avoid the infirmary, the Lions will be attempting to continue the positive momentum they've accrued in preseason wins over the Giants (13-10) and Bengals (27-10).

Lions starting quarterback Jon Kitna has a perfect passer rating of 158.3 during the preseason to date, having completed nine of his 10 pass attempts for 182 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Wideout Calvin Johnson has also had a strong warm-up period, catching seven balls for 154 yards and a score.

Kitna threw a 27-yard touchdown strike to Johnson to open the scoring against the Bengals last week.

Still at issue for the Lions is the starting running back job, which should come into sharper focus this week. Rookie Kevin Smith (12 carries, 41 yards in the preseason), who has generally outplayed veteran Tatum Bell (12 carries, 17 yards), is expected to get the start in the backfield for Detroit.

Saturday's game will mark the 40th preseason battle between the Lions and Browns, with Detroit holding a 20-18-1 edge. Detroit won a 23-20 road decision prior to last season.

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NFL Preseason Preview - N.Y. Giants (1-1) at N.Y. Jets (1-1)
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - The annual preseason battle for Big Apple bragging rights will take center stage at Giants Stadium on Saturday night, when the New York Giants "visit" the New York Jets in the next-to-last August warm-up for both squads.

Although it remains essentially a meaningless game, this year's tilt has a slightly different energy surrounding it. The Giants are atop the football world thanks to last year's Super Bowl title, while the Jets, just one year removed from a 4-12 season, have become a hot league-wide topic thanks to the acquisition of quarterback Brett Favre.

The G-Men certainly didn't look to be suffering from a Super Bowl hangover this past Monday, when they built a 30-3 lead on the Cleveland Browns before coasting the rest of the way in a 37-34 win.

Domenik Hixon was among the stars for the Giants, as the wideout/return specialist caught a pair of touchdown passes from Eli Manning in the first quarter, then ran back a free kick that followed a safety for an 82-yard TD later in the frame.

Hixon could get fewer opportunities on Saturday, as Amani Toomer (knee), Mario Manningham (groin) and Steve Smith (groin) all have a chance to return to the field after missing the Cleveland game. Plaxico Burress (ankle) is expected to remain out for the Giants.

Kicker Lawrence Tynes (foot) and backup quarterback Anthony Wright (back) are among the G-Men considered questionable for Saturday.

For the Jets, of course, all eyes will be on the man wearing the No. 4 jersey.

Favre played just two series in last Saturday's 13-10 loss to the Redskins, completing 5-of-6 passes for 48 yards and tossing a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dustin Keller.

Favre is expected to see more extensive action this week, though head coach Eric Mangini did not indicate just how much the veteran would play before yielding to backups Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff.

Wide receiver Laveranues Coles (knee) and defensive end Shaun Ellis (broken hand) are among the banged-up Jets heading into Saturday's contest. Both are regarded as questionable to play against the Giants.

The two occupants of the Meadowlands facility traditionally meet each summer, with the Jets leading the all-time preseason series with the Giants by a narrow margin of 20-18-1. The AFC team was a 20-12 victor in last year's exhibition.

The Giants were 35-24 winners when the teams met in regular season play last Oct. 7th, extending their advantage in meaningful games to 7-4.

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NFL Preseason Preview - Jacksonville (1-1) at Tampa Bay (2-0)
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will try to keep their positive preseason momentum rolling on Saturday night, when Jon Gruden's team welcomes the Jacksonville Jaguars to town in the third preseason tilt for both squads.

The Bucs have begun their preseason slate by downing the Dolphins (17-6) and Patriots (27-10), and have done so minus the services of key starters such as quarterback Jeff Garcia (calf) and wide receiver Joey Galloway (groin).

Garcia and Galloway are both considered questionable for this week.

Buccaneers fans should be particularly interested to watch the play of their offensive line on Saturday night, given the tumultuous week the club had in that area during the week leading up to the game.

The club parted ways with tackle Luke Petitgout early in the week, with a steroid-related suspension that was announced shortly thereafter likely impacting the team's decision to cut the ex-Giant. Petitgout played just four games with the Bucs last season due to a knee injury.

Then, on Wednesday, it was revealed that right guard Davin Joseph would be lost for at least a month with a broken foot suffered against the Patriots last Sunday night. Joseph, a former No. 1 draft pick of the Bucs, was a 16- game starter for the team a year ago.

Rookie Jeremy Zuttah, a third-round Draft pick out of Rutgers, is likely to start in Joseph's place on Saturday.

Jacksonville has less drama heading into its third preseason tilt, but would like to look better than it did in last week's 19-14 loss to the Dolphins last Saturday. The Jaguars were shut out for the first three quarters of that contest, with running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor combining for just 19 yards on nine combined carries for the game.

Wide receivers Reggie Williams (knee) and Jerry Porter (hamstring) are among the Jaguars who are not expected to be available against the Buccaneers, though defensive end Reggie Hayward (hamstring) could make his 2008 preseason debut on Saturday.

Jaguars rookie defensive end Derrick Harvey, the last remaining first-round holdout in the NFL, is not expected to be in attendance at Raymond James Stadium.

The Jaguars lead the all-time preseason series with the Buccaneers, 4-2, including a 31-19 home victory prior to last season.

Jacksonville and Tampa Bay also met in the 2007 regular season, with the Jags scoring a 24-23 victory at Raymond James Stadium last Oct. 28.

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NFL Preseason Preview - Kansas City (1-1) at Miami (1-1)
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - Chad Pennington makes his first home start as a Miami Dolphin on Saturday night, when the quarterback and his new team play host to the Kansas City Chiefs in the next-to-last preseason outing for both clubs.

Pennington, who was acquired by the Dolphins on August 8th after he had been released by the Jets, made his debut in a Miami uniform in last Saturday's 19-14 win at the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Pennington started the game and looked sharp, completing 5-of-6 passes for 55 yards before yielding to backup Chad Henne (17-of-26, 133 yards). The two other quarterbacks on the Miami roster, Josh McCown and John Beck, did not play against the Jaguars but could see some time against the Chiefs.

Expected to garner first-team reps alongside Pennington on Saturday night is running back Ricky Williams, who was elevated to the top of the depth chart after the recent thumb injury sustained by Ronnie Brown.

Williams has drawn praise for his strong preseason to date, racking up 74 yards on 15 carries (4.9 yards per carry) and generally outplaying Brown (5 carries, 6 yards).

Brown, the No. 2 pick in the 2005 Draft, is not expected to play on Saturday night.

Elsewhere on the injury front for Miami, linebacker Joey Porter (knee/back) is considered questionable after missing practice time earlier in the week.

Like the Dolphins, the Chiefs will be trying to establish their depth chart at quarterback as they head into Saturday's game.

Brodie Croyle (13-of-23 passing, 120 yards in the preseason) is firmly entrenched as the starter, but has yet to throw a touchdown pass in the warm- up period and could use a strong outing against the Dolphins.

Behind him, second-year-pro Tyler Thigpen and veteran (and ex-Dolphin) Damon Huard are slugging it out for primary backup duties.

Thigpen has played extensively in the preseason, completing 24-of-43 passes for 287 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Huard, meanwhile, has scarcely played, but has connected on six of his eight passes for 77 yards with a touchdown.

Another concern for Herm Edwards' squad is at linebacker, where Donnie Edwards (hamstring), Demorrio Williams (hand), and Napoleon Harris (knee) are also expected to be out. Tackle and first-round Draft pick Branden Albert (foot) will also miss the contest.

Miami leads the all-time preseason series with Kansas City, 2-1-1, breaking a deadlock in the series with a an 11-10 road victory prior to last season.

The Dolphins and Chiefs will also meet in regular season play in 2008, with their tilt scheduled for Dec. 21st at Arrowhead Stadium.

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NFL Preseason Preview - Washington (3-0) at Carolina (1-1)
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - The Washington Redskins will put their perfect preseason record on the line at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday night, when they visit the Carolina Panthers in the next-to-last tune-up for each team.

The beginning of the Jim Zorn era has yielded positive initial returns for the Redskins, who have downed the Colts (30-16), Bills (17-14) and Jets (13-10) during the warm-up period.

Rookie Colt Brennan helped the Skins spoil Brett Favre's Jets debut last week, as his 33-yard touchdown pass to Jason Goode in the fourth quarter lifted Washington to the win.

Brennan, a sixth-round Draft choice out of Hawaii who could see some time on Saturday, has had an eye-opening preseason. The signal-caller has completed 17-of-23 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns without an interception, albeit while playing primarily against deep reserves.

Before Brennan gets his shot, the Redskins starters are expected to play a bulk of the first half in Carolina.

That group includes QB Jason Campbell, who has also had an encouraging preseason with a 95.4 passer rating on 16-of-25 passing for 160 yards and a touchdown.

Campbell could get a chance on Saturday to throw to rookie wideout Malcolm Kelly (Oklahoma), who has been slowed by a knee injury throughout the summer but could be available to play against the Panthers.

Elsewhere on the injury front, safety LaRon Landry (hamstring) has been ruled out of the contest.

For the Panthers, Saturday's tilt will offer a vital dress rehearsal for quarterback Jake Delhomme.

Delhomme, who is attempting to recover from Tommy John elbow surgery, is expected to play at least the first half against the Redskins, which will be his most extensive action until the team's regular season opener against San Diego on Sept. 7th.

Delhomme is 9-of-15 for 54 yards with an interception thus far in the preseason.

Wideout D.J. Hackett (toe) is among the Panthers unlikely to suit up on Saturday. Fellow receivers Muhsin Muhammad (ribs) and Dwayne Jarrett (knee) are questionable, but Steve Smith (concussion) appears set to be on the field after returning to practice earlier in the week.

Carolina leads the all-time preseason series with the Redskins, 3-1, including a 28-10 home victory in the last such meeting, prior to the 2005 season.

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NFL Preseason Preview - New Orleans (1-1) at Cincinnati (1-1)
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Bengals will get a glimpse of what life without wideout Chad Johnson could look like on Saturday night, when they welcome the New Orleans Saints to Paul Brown Stadium in the third preseason matchup for each club.

Johnson sustained a sprained left shoulder in last Sunday's 27-10 loss to the Lions, an injury that could knock the Pro Bowl receiver out for the remainder of the preseason. His injury is one of many for the Cincinnati wideout corps heading into Saturday night, as T.J. Houshmandzadeh (hamstring) and rookie Andre Caldwell (foot) also won't play.

The Bengals re-signed troubled receiver Chris Henry earlier in the week, but Henry is not expected to play against the Saints.

Also not likely to suit up for the Bengals are running back Rudi Johnson (hamstring) and defensive end Antwan Odom (sprained foot).

Starting in the latter Johnson's place will be oft-injured former first rounder Chris Perry, who has won himself a chance at a starting job by producing a fine training camp and preseason.

The ex-Michigan star has carried 18 times for 65 yards and a touchdown in the team's two warm-up games.

The big story for the Saints on Saturday night, meanwhile, will be the possible first appearance of tight end Jeremy Shockey in a New Orleans uniform.

Shockey was dealt from the Giants to the Saints on the eve of training camp in July, but has not played in the preseason while rehabbing a broken leg suffered last season while with New York. Shockey returned to the practice field earlier this week.

The presence of the star tight end should yield more big things for an offense that has looked strong throughout the preseason to date.

All three New Orleans quarterbacks have posted passer ratings of 100 or better through two games, including starter Drew Brees (18-of-24, 187 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT), who has a glistening mark of 136.6.

Brees is expected to play into the third quarter on Saturday, in keeping with third-game-of-preseason tradition.

The Saints have a 5-1 edge in their all-time preseason series with the Bengals, including a 27-19 road victory in the last such meeting, prior to the 2007 campaign.

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NFL Preseason Preview - Pittsburgh (1-1) at Minnesota (1-1)
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Vikings could be minus the services of starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on Saturday, when the team plays host to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third preseason warm-up for each club.

Jackson suffered a sprained right MCL in last week's 23-15 win over the Baltimore Ravens, and the nature of that injury suggests the Vikings would be loath to put him in harm's way for a relatively meaningless preseason game.

That said, Jackson did go through individual drills in practice this week, and neither Minnesota head coach Brad Childress nor offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell would rule the quarterback out for Saturday.

Jackson has had a solid preseason to date, completing 15-of-22 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns without an interception or sack absorbed. His 127.1 passer rating ranks among preseason NFL leaders.

If the third-year-pro can't go against the Steelers, veteran Gus Frerotte would likely get the start with rookie John David Booty and perhaps Brooks Bollinger succeeding him in the lineup.

Elsewhere on the injury front for Minnesota, wide receiver Bernard Berrian (turf toe) is considered questionable against Pittsburgh, while ends Brian Robison (leg) and Ray Edwards (back) and safety Madieu Williams (neck) remain out.

The Steelers, meanwhile, will be looking for more positive signs from a first- team offense that has run with general efficiency so far in the preseason.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 11-of-13 for 180 yards and two touchdowns during the warm-up period to date, though he did throw an early interception in last week's 24-21 loss at Buffalo. The big play of the night for the Pro Bowl quarterback was a 40-yard touchdown pass to wideout Santonio Holmes in the second quarter.

Roethlisberger carries a 126.3 preseason passer rating into Saturday's matchup.

Safety Troy Polamalu (hamstring) and cornerback Deshea Townsend (groin) are both considered questionable for the Minnesota game.

Returning to Minnesota on Saturday night will be running back/return specialist Mewelde Moore, a member of the Vikings from 2004 through 2007. Moore is attempting to make the Steelers roster as a reserve running back and return man.

The Vikings hold a 9-2 advantage in their all-time preseason series with the Steelers, including a 17-10 road victory over Pittsburgh prior to the 2006 campaign.

The Steelers were 16-6 winners in the most memorable all-time matchup between the franchises, namely Super Bowl IX from New Orleans.

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NFL Preseason Preview - Baltimore (1-1) at St. Louis (1-1)
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - Troy Smith has a strong chance to wrap up starting quarterback duties on Saturday night, when he and the Baltimore Ravens visit the Edward Jones Dome for a preseason matchup with the St. Louis Rams.

Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy Winner and a two-game starter for the Ravens at the end of last season, has been locked into a competition with veteran Kyle Boller for No. 1 signal-caller duties throughout the preseason.

While Boller started Baltimore's first preseason game, Smith will open his second consecutive contest on Saturday, and head coach John Harbaugh's decision to go with him against the Rams is seen as an endorsement of the second-year-pro.

Smith has completed just 8-of-17 passes for 99 yards with an interception in the preseason to date, but his 41 rushing yards are second on the team behind only Ray Rice's 89.

Boller, who might not play at all on Saturday, is 19-of-27 for 142 yards in two preseason outings, but has also committed three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble) to hurt his case.

On the injury front for Baltimore, running back Willis McGahee (knee), tight end Todd Heap (calf), safety Ed Reed (shoulder), and tackle Jared Gaither (ankle) are among the notables not expected to be in uniform against St. Louis.

The big story for the Rams this week has been the long-overdue appearance of running back Steven Jackson at training camp, though Jackson is not expected to make his first appearance of the preseason on Saturday. The three-time 1,000-yard rusher, who had been embroiled in a contract dispute with the club, was expected to ink a new deal as early as Thursday.

Without Jackson in the lineup, the Rams offense has struggled, with the first- unit not managing a touchdown in its first two preseason games,

In last week's 7-6 win over the San Diego Chargers, St. Louis starting quarterback Marc Bulger was 7-of-14 passing for 56 yards with two interceptions before departing.

Likely to be on hand to assist Bulger this week will be rookie wideout Donnie Avery, the first receiver taken in the April Draft. Avery had been dealing with a broken pelvic bone.

Among the questionable Rams on Saturday night are tackle Orlando Pace (shoulder), safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (hamstring), cornerback Fakhir Brown (shoulder), safety Jerome Carter (groin), and running back Brian Leonard (shoulder).

The Ravens and Rams most recently squared off last Oct. 14 in Baltimore, with the Ravens scoring a 22-3 victory.

Saturday will mark the first meeting between the franchises in preseason play.

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NFL Preseason Preview - Arizona (1-1) at Oakland (1-1)
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - An important dress rehearsal for the regular season will be the feature attraction at McAfee Coliseum on Saturday night, when the Oakland Raiders host the Arizona Cardinals in the next-to-last preseason warm-up for each team.

Starters are expected to play up to three quarters on Saturday, in keeping with third-game-of-preseason tradition, and with most starters likely to see only limited time in the final tune-up, this week's tilt takes on greater significance.

The Raiders and their long-suffering fans would like to see a strong outing from quarterback and 2007 No. 1 Draft pick JaMarcus Russell, who has posted a decent preseason to date. Russell, who carries a 79.4 August passer rating into the Cardinals game, threw his first touchdown pass of the preseason in last week's 17-16 loss to the Titans. The LSU product, who was 10-of-17 for 75 yards in the defeat, hit tight end Zach Miller on a 10-yard play in the second quarter.

Oakland fans will also be eager to witness the exploits of running back Darren McFadden, who should see extended time versus Arizona. McFadden, the No. 4 selection in the April Draft, has 92 rushing yards on 18 carries (5.1 avg.) during the preseason thus far.

Kicker Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring), punter Shane Lechler (quadriceps), linebacker Grant Irons (back) and cornerback John Bowie (knee) are among the Raiders who won't be available on Saturday, while cornerback DeAngelo Hall (hand) and safety Hiram Eugene (hip) are regarded as questionable.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, will be looking for another strong effort out of quarterback Matt Leinart. Leinart, who missed the final 11 games of 2007 with a broken collarbone, has completed 14-of-19 passes (73.7 percent) for 153 yards and a touchdown without an interception in two warm-ups to date.

Leinart's strong play has come despite the absence of a catch for wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who is unhappy over his contract status and has played sparingly in the preseason. Boldin, who also battled a hamstring injury at the start of training camp, is expected to see significant action on Saturday.

Kurt Warner, who did not play in the Cardinals' preseason opener against New Orleans but started last week's 27-17 win over Kansas City, is expected to come off the bench in Oakland. Warner was 6-of-9 for 54 yards last week.

On the injury front for the Cardinals, safety Antrel Rolle (foot), and tight end Ben Patrick (ankle) are unlikely to be in uniform, while wideout Early Doucet (hamstring) and linebacker Monty Beisel (back) are considered questionable. Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (pectoral), who missed last week's game, is slated to return.

Saturday will mark the 11th all-time preseason meeting between the Raiders and Cardinals, with Oakland entering the game holding a 7-3 edge. The two last met in the preseason prior to the 2007 season, when the Raiders were 27-23 home victors.

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Cleveland (0-2 SU and ATS) at Detroit (2-0 SU and ATS)

The Browns try to put one in the win column when they travel to Ford Field in Detroit for their annual preseason matchup with the Lions.

Cleveland committed a slew of errors in falling behind the Giants 30-3 on Monday night and were unable to dig out of the hole in losing 37-34 on the road in a pick-em contest. Cleveland, which has given up 61 points in two games, is still 9-5 ATS since Crennel took over in 2005, including 5-2 SU and ATS on the road, 7-2 ATS as an underdog and 4-0 ATS (3-1 SU) in Week 3. Also, since 2004, the Browns are 4-1 ATS following a straight-up preseason defeat.

Detroit looked impressive in Sunday’s 27-10 upset win at Cincinnati as a 3½-point road underdog, with the offense rolling up 383 total yards. The Lions are off to a 2-0 start for the second straight summer, but they remain in preseason ATS slumps of 5-12-1 overall and 1-6-1 as a favorite. Also, Detroit has gotten crushed in Week 3 the last four preseasons, losing all four games by the combined score of 112-32.

Browns’ starting QB Derek Anderson suffered a mild concussion in Monday’s 37-34 loss to the Giants and will be sitting this one out. Head coach Romeo Crennel said Anderson will play in Thursday’s matchup with the Bears if he’s cleared by the medical staff. Cleveland backup QB Brady Quinn (7-for-12 for 124 yards and a TD against the Giants) will get the start tonight and play into the third quarter before giving way to Ken Dorsey (9-of-11 for 143 yards and a TD).

Detroit QB Jon Kitna has been sharp in limited action this preseason, completing 90 percent of his throws for 182 yards and two TDs. He’ll play the first half tonight and give way to Dan Orlovsky (218 yards passing this preseason) who will play the entire second half with third-stringer Drew Stanton sidelined with a thumb injury. The Lions signed former N.Y. Yankees’ prospect Drew Henson on Friday to be the third-stringer with Stanton out at least a month, but Henson will not get any action tonight.

These teams have been preseason rivals for years, with Cleveland winning four of the last six clashes (3-3 ATS). However, last year in Ohio, Detroit stole a 23-20 Week 2 victory, cashing as a three-point underdog.

Although Monday’s game at New York flew over the total, the under is still 5-2 in the Browns’ last seven preseason road games. However, the over is 4-2 in Detroit’s last six August contests.


N.Y. Giants (1-1, 1-0-1 ATS) vs. N.Y. Jets (1-1 SU and ATS)

The Super Bowl champs will try to make it two in a row in front of the home fans when they play their annual preseason contest against the in-house rival Jets in the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

These teams meet in the Meadowlands every preseason in Week 3, with the Jets winning six of the last eight meetings (5-3 ATS). Last year, the Jets rolled 20-12 as a three-point favorite, but the Giants got revenge in the regular season, winning 35-24 as a 3½-point chalk.

After mustering up just 10 points in a Week 1 loss in Detroit, the Giants came home Monday and enjoyed a scoring frenzy, opening up a 30-3 lead en route to a 37-34 win. The Giants, who outrushed Cleveland 201-67, are still just 2-3-1 ATS in August since the start of last year after going 7-0 ATS in their previous seven preseason contests.

Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning was efficient with his passing on Monday when he completed 4-of-7 passes for 52 yards and two TDs. He’ll play the entire first half tonight before giving way to David Carr (7-of-14 for 53 yards against Cleveland) who will play the second half. Carr has won the battle to be Manning’s backup, getting all the reps with the second unit this week with Anthony Wright sidelined for this game with a back strain.

The Giants’ stable of receivers returned to practice this week as Amani Tooomer, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham all came back off injury and will likely see limited time in tonight’s game.

Brett Favre led the Jets into the end zone in his first series with the team a week ago, but they managed just a fourth-quarter field goal thereafter in losing 13-10 to the Redskins as a 2½-point home favorite. Despite the setback, Eric Mangini’s squad is still on a 12-6 SU roll in August (10-8 ATS), including 4-2 SU and ATS in the last six. The Jets are also 4-1 ATS in their last five preseason games following an outright defeat.

Favre, who went 5-for-6 for 48 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins, will get some extended time on the field tonight, going with the starters into the third quarter. The battle to be his backup is tightening between Brett Ratliff and Kellen Clemens. Ratliff is 27-for-39 for 400 yards and two TDs this August while Clemens had QB’d seven possessions and has yet to lead the Jets to any points. Expect to see Ratliff for most of the second half tonight with Clemens getting just mop-up time late in the game.

The under is 7-0 in the last seven preseason meetings between these rivals and 3-1 in the Jets’ last four August contests overall.


Washington (3-0 SU and ATS) at Carolina (1-1, 0-2 ATS)

The Redskins have been perfect this preseason and hope that continues tonight when they take on the Panthers inside Bank of America Stadium.

Carolina saw 13-0 fourth-quarter lead disappear in the blink of an eye last week at Philadelphia, giving up 24 points in the final stanza to lose 24-13 as a three-point road underdog. The Panthers have failed to cash in five straight exhibition games (0-3 ATS at home), and they had a four-game Week 3 winning streak (3-1 ATS) snapped in last year’s 24-7 preseason home loss to New England.

The Redskins rallied for a 13-10 victory at the Jets last week to remain perfect in the preseason under first-year coach Jim Zorn. It’s been a surprising turnaround, considering Washington went 2-9 SU and ATS in preseason play from 2005-07 under former coach Joe Gibbs. However, despite winning last week, the Redskins are still only 3-8 in their last 11 true exhibition road games (4-7 ATS).

As with most teams, most of Washington’s starters will get their longest look of the preseason tonight, including QB Jason Campbell, who is expected to go the entire first half. Campbell will hand off to veteran Todd Collins, with rookie Colt Brennan probably mopping up.

Carolina coach John Fox said his healthy first-teamers will see extended action in this contest, but he once again wasn’t specific on his QB plans. Jake Delhomme almost certainly will start under center, with Matt Moore coming off the bench and Brett Basanez and/or Lester Ricard possibly finishing up.

The last time the Redskins and Panthers clashed in the summer was the opening week of 2005, with Carolina rolling 28-10 as a 3½-point home favorite. Since then, however, the Panthers are mired in a 3-9 ATS funk (1-5 ATS at home).

The under is 5-1 in Washington’s last six in August and 4-1 Carolina’s last five preseason home games.


New Orleans (1-1 SU and ATS) at Cincinnati (1-1 SU and ATS)

The Saints offense hopes to keep clicking when it takes the field against the Bengals inside Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

After a solid 24-10 win in Arizona in Week 1, New Orleans returned to the Superdome last week and gave up 405 yards in a 31-27 loss to the Texans as a three-point home favorite. The Saints have won and covered three straight road games in August, but they’re 1-8 ATS in their last nine summer outings as a favorite, including five consecutive non-covers dating to 2005.

The first-team New Orleans’ offense scored on four of five first-half possessions last week with QB Drew Brees completing 12 of 17 passes for 147 yards and two TDs, but the defense gave up 220 total yards in the first two quarters.

Brees will lead the offense for the first half tonight and will get some chances to throw to newly acquired TE Jeremy Shockey. Veteran Mark Brunell will play most of the second half with rookie Tyler Palko getting some fourth-quarter action.

Cincinnati’s much-maligned defense has surrendered exactly 383 total yards in the first two games. Although it didn’t matter in a Week 1 win at Green Bay, the Bengals were unable to overcome the poor defensive play in last Saturday’s 27-10 home loss to Detroit as a 3½-point home chalk. Cincinnati is now break-even through 22 preseason games under coach Marvin Lewis, going 12-10 ATS, including 7-4 at home (6-5 ATS).

Bengals’ QB Carson Palmer (6-for-13 for 50 yards and an INT against the Lions) will play the entire first half tonight as he tries to get in a rhythm after completing just 50 percent of his passes for 83 yards in the first two August contests. Ryan Fitzpatrick (11-for-14 for 111 yards and a TD against Detroit) will play the third quarter and Jeff Rowe (125 yards in two preseason games) will be under center in the fourth quarter.

In Week 3 action, the Bengals are 1-4 SU and ATS the last three years in Week 3 action, while New Orleans is 2-3 SU and ATS, including last year’s 30-7 rout at Kansas City as a two-point road underdog.

In a Week 2 preseason meeting last year in New Orleans, the Saints rolled 27-19 as a 3½-point home favorite.

The under is 6-3 in the Saints’ last nine exhibition battles, but the over is 5-1 in Cincy’s last six.


Jacksonville (1-1 SU and ATS) at Tampa Bay (2-0 SU and ATS)

The Buccaneers, possibly with starting QB Jeff Garcia back in the fold, look to duplicate Sunday’s dominating effort against New England when they entertain the Jaguars.

Tampa Bay embarrassed the Patriots on Sunday night, rolling up a 295-184 edge in total offense (170-56 on the ground) and a 15-minute edge in time of possession en route to a 27-10 victory as a three-point home favorite. The Bucs are now 15-8 SU and 14-7-2 ATS in the last five-plus preseasons, including 5-1 SU and ATS going back to last year. They’ve also been tremendous at home in August since coach Jon Gruden arrived (10-3 SU, 8-4-1 ATS).

Jacksonville managed just 42 rushing yards (while allowing 123) in last week’s 19-14 home loss to the Dolphins as a 3½-point chalk. Since coach Jack Del Rio took over the Jags in 2003, the team has dominated summer games, going 15-7 (13-9 ATS), including 6-4 on the road (7-3 ATS).

The Jags have won and covered back-to-back Week 3 games the past two preseasons, including a 29-18 rout of Tampa Bay as a three-point home choice in 2006. In fact, these instate rivals have squared off against each other each of the past six summers, with Jacksonville going 4-0 SU in the last four and 5-0 ATS in the last five.

Garcia sat out the last two weeks with an injury, and although he took most of the reps in practice this week, Gruden said he’d wait to name a starter – as well as the rest of his QB rotation – until game time. Gruden did acknowledge that he expects the rest of his starting units to play as much as a half tonight. In addition to Garcia, the other quarterbacks on the Bucs’ roster are Luke McCown (who started in Week 1), Brian Griese (last week’s starter), Chris Simms and rookie Josh Johnson.

Del Rio has kept his game plan close to the vest the entire preseason, but expect QB David Garrard and the rest of the first-stringers to play into the third quarter. Cleo Lemon figures to replace Garrard under center, though he was outperformed by No. 3 QB Todd Bouman last week.

The Jags have topped the total in 10 of their last 14 exhibition affairs, including five of the last six on the road. Also, the over is 4-1 in Tampa’s last five in August, and the over is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these teams (3-0 in the preseason).


Kansas City (1-1 SU and ATS) at Miami (1-1 SU and ATS)

With their first win of the Tony Sparano era under their belt, the Dolphins return home to South Beach to host the Chiefs.

Newly acquired Miami quarterback Chad Pennington (5-for-6, 55 yards) had an impressive debut at Jacksonville last week, leading a touchdown drive as the Dolphins prevailed 19-14 as a three-point road underdog. Miami is still just 10-13 SU and 9-12-2 ATS in preseason action since 2003, including 5-6 (4-6-1 ATS) at home.

The Chiefs had advantages of 345-215 in total offense and 22-13 in first downs last week against Arizona, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 27-17 loss as a 1½-point home chalk. Kansas City is now 3-11 SU and ATS in its last 14 exhibition contests, though it did stop an eight-game SU and ATS road losing skid with a victory in Week 1 in Chicago.

Kansas City is 1-4 SU and ATS in the Week 3 dress rehearsal the last five years, including a 30-7 drubbing at the hands of the Saints in 2007. Meanwhile, Miami is 1-3 (0-3-1 ATS) in Week 3 the last four summers.

Sparano said that his “core guys” will be on the field at least until the middle of the third quarter against K.C. and that Pennington is “going to play a good amount,” but added that the veteran QB may hit the bench earlier than the rest of the starters. Rookie Chad Henne will replace Pennington, with John Beck and Josh McCown – both of whom were atop the depth chart when camp began – likely sitting out for the second straight week.

Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said QB Brodie Croyle and the rest of the starting offensive and defensive units will go into the third quarter in this contest. Tyler Thigpen will follow Croyle, with veteran Damon Huard probably remaining on the sidelines for the second week in a row.

Last August, Miami went to Kansas City and scored an 11-10 upset victory as a three-point road underdog. That game stayed under the total, but the over is 5-1 in Miami’s last six preseason home games.


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Baltimore (1-1 SU and ATS) at St. Louis (1-1, 0-2 ATS)

The Ravens go for their second road win of the summer when they visit the Edward Jones Dome to battle the Rams.

A week after a surprising win at the Patriots in coach John Harbaugh’s debut, the Ravens came home and spotted the Vikings a 20-7 halftime lead, falling 23-15 as a 1½-point home favorite. Baltimore has been a picture of mediocrity in the preseason the last five-plus years, going 10-11 SU and ATS overall, 5-5 SU and ATS on the road and 4-4 ATS as an underdog.

With San Diego’s key players sitting out the entire game, St. Louis stumbled to an uninspiring 7-6 victory over the Chargers a week ago, failing to cash as a 3½-point home chalk. The defense, which got torched for 495 yards and 34 points at Tennessee in Week 1, gave up just two field goals and 203 total yards to San Diego, but QB Marc Bulger was picked off twice.

The Rams are just 4-6 SU and 2-8 ATS in August since coach Scott Linehan took over prior to the 2006 season, including 1-4 ATS at home and 1-4 ATS as a favorite. They’ve also lost two straight Week 3 games both SU and ATS.

Harbaugh has named Troy Smith the starter for tonight’s game, though he has yet to decide who the team’s No. 1 quarterback will be once the regular season begins. Harbaugh said Smith will “play as much as we need to have him play.” Meanwhile, veteran Kyle Boller, who is battling Smith for the first-sting job and has committed three turnovers in the preseason, may not see the field in this one, meaning rookie Joe Flacco will likely be the second quarterback on the field.

Linehan was mum on playing time for his starters tonight, but expect Bulger and the first-string offense to play at least the first half. Bulger’s backups are veteran Trent Green, Bruce Gradkowski and Brock Berlin. Star running back Stephen Jackson, who ended a lengthy holdout this week, will not play tonight.

The under is 4-2 in the Rams’ last six preseason games and 9-4 in Baltimore’s last 13


Arizona (1-1 SU and ATS) at Oakland (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS)

With their revamped rushing offense looking in midseason form, the Raiders return to McAfee Coliseum to host the Cardinals, who are on the road for the second consecutive week.

Oakland followed up an impressive 18-6 home win over the 49ers with a 17-16 loss at Tennessee last Friday, but still covered as a 3½-point road underdog. The Raiders, who have churned out 248 and 224 rushing yards in the first two weeks, are 7-4 SU and 8-3 ATS since the start of the 2006 preseason, including 5-0 SU and ATS at home, 4-0 ATS as a favorite and 2-0 SU and ATS in Week 3.

Arizona bounced back from a 24-10 home loss to New Orleans and upended the Chiefs 27-17 as a 1½-point road ‘dog last Saturday, scoring 21 second-half points to snap a five-game preseason losing streak since coach Ken Whisenhunt came on board prior to last season. Although the Cardinals just 3-4 ATS under Whisenhunt, they’re now 10-4 ATS as a preseason pup since 2003, and they’ve cashed in five straight Week 3 preseason contests.

With the exception of first-string running back Justin Fargas (limited action), the Raiders’ starters are expected to play the entire first half and perhaps into the third quarter, coach Lane Kiffin said. Once QB JaMarcus Russell departs, he’ll hand the ball to backup Andrew Walter. Veteran Marques Tuiasosopo and/or rookie Sam Keller may see action late.

Matt Leinart gets the starting nod for Arizona under center, but backup Kurt Warner, who is pushing Leinart for the starting job, is slated to take over in the second quarter and get reps with the first-string offense. Third-stringer Brian St. Pierre and rookie Anthony Morelli would finish up.

Oakland held off the Cardinals 27-23 as a two-point home favorite last August, improving to 5-1 SU (3-3 ATS) in preseason action against Arizona since 1999.

The over is 6-2 in Arizona’s last eight preseason games (3-1 on the road). Conversely, the under is 4-1 in the last five preseason meetings between these teams, 12-3 in the Raiders’ last 15 August affairs overall and 8-1 in the Raiders’ last nine at home.


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Total Bias: The number 37

The first two weeks of the preseason have seen plenty of points and if the opening game of Week 3 is any indication, we could see some more high-scoring contests this weekend.

Over bettors held a 10-7 advantage after the opening week, including the Hall of Fame game. Week 2 saw them extend their lead, as 10 of 16 games eclipsed the total. Interestingly, it was the days with fewer games which were generally the highest scoring. The days with two or less games (Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Monday) saw the 'over' go 5-1. Including last night's 49'ers/Bears shootout, which sailed above the number with 67 combined points, the 'over' is now 21-13 (61.8%) on the season.

Before looking at this weekend's over/under card, let's check some recent Week 3 stats to see how coaches have been treating the preseason's "dress-rehearsal." Looking back to last preseason and we find that Week 3 was relatively high-scoring with the games producing an average of 41.31 points. The 'over' held a 9-6-1 advantage. However, before jumping blindly on the 'over' bandwagon this weekend, note that the Week 3 scores were significantly lower in each of the previous two years, averaging less than 35.5 points per game. Overall, the 3-year scoring average for Week 3 games from 2005-2007 came in at 37.31 points.

You'll see the number 37 quite regularly during the next several months. In fact, if you've been following the games from an over/under perspective, you've already come across it several times. Two of the Week 1 games produced exactly 37 points and three of the Week 2 games fell exactly on that number. Note that three of the Week 3 games in the last two preseasons (2 in 2006, 1 in 2007) also landed directly on 37.

Knowing that 10 of 16 games produced 37 or more combined points in Week 3 of last preseason, this week's complimentary selection is an 'over.' It comes from a game which opened with an over/under line of 37.5 but which has since fallen below the key number of 37. As always, best of luck and if you can't get at least as good a number as one which has been mentioned, I suggest passing.

Arizona at Oakland OVER (play at 37 or better)

This total opened at 37 or 37.5 but most shops now have it at 36.5. I feel that number is too low for a pair of non-conference foes which combined for 43 points last week. Both teams are hoping for strong games from their young quarterbacks. Former number one pick JaMarcus Russell was fairly solid last week, going 10-of-17 for 75 yards and a touchdown. That was on the road against a tough Tennessee defense which allowed 18.6 points per game last season and less than 200 passing yards per game. I managed a winning ticket with that 'under' in that game (17-16 final) but expect Russell to enjoy more success this week. Not only is he now playing at home, but he'll also be facing an Arizona defense which allowed 24.9 points per game last season and which was below average in defending the pass. Note that Cardinals' safety Antrel Rolle is unlikely to play. While he isn't likely to see much action, it's still worth mentioning that backup QB Andrew Walter has been sharp and appears capable of leading the Oakland offense to some fourth quarter points. The Cardinals put up 27 points at KC last week. They've seen Matt Leinart convert more than 73% of his passes through the first two week, going 14-of-19. Meanwhile, Warner got the start last week and completed six of nine passes while leading the team on a touchdown drive. Naturally, a little quarterback competition is generally healthy when trying to cash a preseason over ticket. Even without receiver Anquan Boldin, Leinart and Warner aren't without weapons.

These teams also faced each other here last preseason. That game finished well above the number with a final score of 27-23, in favor of the Raiders. It was the second highest scoring game of what was otherwise a relatively low-scoring opening week. Don't be surprised if this one proves higher scoring than most are expecting once again. Consider the Over.

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What bettors need to know: Steelers at Vikings

Jackson will watch

Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has made progress in his recovery from a sprained right medial collateral ligament, but he will be held out of the preseason game against Pittsburgh.

Jackson was injured in the first quarter of the Vikings’ 23-15 victory on Saturday in Baltimore. He took part in individual drills during practices on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but did no 11-on-11 work.

Veteran Gus Frerotte will get the start. Frerotte has completed eight of 16 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown with a 98.2 quarterback rating in parts of two exhibition games.

Steelers primed to score points

The first half should showcase a Steelers’ offense that looks to be even better than when the team won its fifth Super Bowl in the 2005 season. First-round pick Rashard Mendenhall complements Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker and rangy rookie Limas Sweed gets added to Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes at wide receiver.

Guard Alan Faneca’s replacement is former backup Chris Kemoeatu, who could be one of three new offensive line starters should former Panthers center Justin Hartwig supplant Sean Mahan and former starter Max Starks beats out incumbent Willie Colon at right tackle.

Parker looks like he is returning healthy from the broken right leg that possibly cost him the NFL rushing title last season. If he does, the Steelers plan to ease Mendenhall in to the goal-line and fourth-quarter ball-control role that Jerome Bettis played late in his career.

Sweed trying too hard

Sweed leads the Steelers with five receptions after two preseason games but the No. 2 draft choice from Texas has dropped a couple passes the coaches think he is trying too hard to make an impression.

“He’s trying to do the ’wow’ every play,” offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. “Just give me 6 yards and catch it. Make the plays that are there, not the wow-play every time.”

Sweed caught 20 career touchdowns with the Longhorns, second most in school history behind Roy Williams. That’s one of the reasons the Steelers couldn’t pass him up with the 53rd overall pick in the NFL draft, even though wide receiver wasn’t a position of need.

Sweed will begin the season as the No. 4 receiver, behind Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington.

Vikings hunting for QBs!

The acquisition of reigning sack champ Jared Allen from Kansas City once again gives the team one of the best defensive lines in football, with Pro Bowlers Kevin Williams and Pat Williams (no relation) and third-year pro Ray Edwards rounding out the unit.

“I think the biggest problem we’re going to have is who is going to hit the quarterback first,” Allen said hunting for QBs.

Booty has one way to go

John David Booty was terrible in last Saturday’s 23-15 preseason victory at Baltimore. The rookie completed one of three passes for 9 yards, was sacked twice and threw an interception.

Booty, on his first pass attempt, dropped back and looked for receiver Nate Jones on a short route to the right. Ravens cornerback Derrick Martin jumped in front of Jones, picked off the pass at the Vikings 22 and raced into the end zone.

“I really thought I could get it out there before he made that break on it,” Booty said. The Vikings traded up to take Booty in the fifth round of last April’s draft. He has played eight series in the preseason. He has completed 10 of 21 passes for 91 yards with no touchdowns, two interceptions and a 20.2 rating.

“He’s done a nice job with the limited amount of reps we have been able to get him,” quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers said. “He has a good general overview of the offense and again sometimes you have to take those reps he gets with a grain of salt. Sometimes it’s difficult to function with some of the people you’re in the game with. But that’s all part of the maturation process.”

Starter Jackson battled three injuries last season and suffered a sprained right medial collateral ligament against the Ravens. With Jackson out, that means Gus Frerotte is the starter and Booty is one snap from having to take over.

“He’s coming along,” coach Brad Childress said. “There’s just so much involved at the position. Just in terms of snap count and leading and knowing where your eyes are supposed to be and then knowing what’s happening with the defense.

“Can he tell you, can he draw it on the board? Yeah. But when things start spinning and you have to get from one to two to three to four and ball out, those are the kind of things where you see how far in fact you’ve progressed.”

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