Six games Friday will kick off the NFL’s first big prep weekend of 2023

Six games Friday will kick off the NFL's first big prep weekend of 2023
Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) throws a pass during a joint practice with the Cincinnati Bengals at the NFL football team's training facility in Cincinnati, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Here’s the first unofficial weekend of the 2023 NFL season.

After two pre-season games on Thursday night, there are 14 games over the next three days. This includes the 6 p.m. Friday where the Browns play their second preseason game and 11 other teams are starting their seasons.

Green Bay heads to Cincinnati, the New York Giants visit the Detroit Lions, the Atlanta Falcons play the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay, Washington at Cleveland, and Denver visit Arizona.

Total is the way to go if you want to bet on any of these games and get some practice in before the first week of September rolls around. There is no significant difference between the six totals on Friday.

The lowest total was in Cincinnati at 35.5. This makes sense with Joe Burrow sidelined with a calf injury and the Packers starting an era loving Jordan at quarterback even if the backup players and players who wouldn’t make the final roster would get most of the playing time.

Tampa Bay’s highest total at 39, as Baker Mayfield is slated to start from Kyle Trask. The Bucs have made it clear that they haven’t decided between Mayfield and Trask and that this game is worth watching just to see if any of the quarterbacks can jump ahead in the QB contest.

Miami’s total is 36.5 as former Jets QB Mike White is likely to get plenty of playing time with Skyler Thompson. White signed with the Dolphins in the offseason to compete with Thompson as Tua Tagovailoa’s backup.

It’s 38.5 in Cleveland as the Browns and Jets hit the Hall of Fame thanks to a Cleveland comeback in the second half. and 37th overall in Arizona as the Cardinals begin preseason without Kyler Murray. Broncos coach Sean Payton said the rookies will play for at least part of the game, so it’s our first chance to see Russell Wilson on Payton’s offense in a “real” game.

The Broncos are the big favorites of the night at -5.5. The Packers are the 4.5-point favorites while the Browns and Giants are both the 3-point favorites. The Falcons and Steelers are both 2.5-point favorites.

The Rangers visit the Giants

MLB’s biggest weekend series features the AL West’s leading guards against the San Francisco Giants. John Gray takes the mound for the Rangers while Scott Alexander is the Giants’ opening tackle. Texas is -115 to win while the Giants are -105. If you want to take Rangers -1.5 times, they’re at +145.

The Houston Angels are trying to make one last run to the playoffs. Houston has an eight-game lead over Los Angeles in the AL West, with the Angels 10.5 games behind the Rangers and now 6.5 games from their third and final wild card spot. Reid Detmers starts for the Angels while Justin Verlander makes his second start for the Astros since he was acquired from the New York Mets at the trade deadline.

Who is distributing tickets Thursday?

We had a boost in Seattle on the aggregate as the Seahawks beat the Vikings 24-13 Thursday night. The Seahawks scored 17 points in the second half, after trailing 10-7 at halftime. CJ Stroud did not have a preseason debut to remember for the Texans as he was under the blow in Houston’s 20-9 victory over the New England Patriots.

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