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Top storyline for each Week 1 NFL preseason game

August 8th, 2017 at 6:36 PM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

Jul 27, 2017; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) runs during drills at the Jacksonville Jaguars training camp at EverBank Field.  Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 of the NFL preseason starts this week and spans five days. It’s a time for rookies to make their NFL debut and veterans to hold off youngsters from taking their jobs.

From a rookie first-round pick in Houston attempting to win the starting job to the Los Angeles Chargers playing their first game in a new city, here is the top storyline for each Week 1 NFL preseason game.

Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers: Deshaun Watson’s pro debut

It’s one thing to be impressive during training camp practices. It’s a completely different thing to show that in real-game action. Watson, a rookie first-round pick from Clemson, will have that opportunity for Houston Wednesday evening. The reigning national champion has impressed head coach Bill O’Brien and the Texans big time (more on that here).

But it’s now for real (almost). In the midst of a training camp battle with veteran Tom Savage, Watson only has a limited time to prove he can start for a Super Bowl contender as a rookie. That starts in Week 1 of the preseason against the Panthers.

Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins: Getting a look at Miami’s backup quarterbacks

Regardless of the extent of Ryan Tannehill’s injury, he will not play Thursday against Atlanta. In fact, the injury itself seems to be of the long-term variety. If that’s the case, we really shouldn’t expect Matt Moore to see much action (if any).

This is where the likes of 2016 seventh-round pick Brandon Doughty and Chicago Bears castoff David Fales come into play. Each will be given ample opportunity throughout the preseason. How they perform could potentially impact Miami’s future at this position. Oh, and don’t expect to see the newly signed Jay Cutler this week.

Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills: Dalvin Cook’s job to lose

With fellow running back Latavius Murray just now returning from injury, look for the Vikings to give this rookie a solid look in Week 1 of the preseason. Even if Murray is able to go, what Cook has shown since being selected in the second round of April’s draft lends credence to the idea that he’ll be an immediate star.

“That’s kinda how he (Cook) is. They see him out there on the field with the other guys, and it’s like, ‘There’s something different about this guy, the way he runs, accelerates, the creases he can get to.’ He’s got a tough mentality. Players can see exceptional athletes,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said earlier in August, via MMQB. “When they go out there and they’re going against guys, they can see: This guy is pretty good.”

Minnesota needs Cook to jump out of the gate strong in order to overcome last season’s No. 32-ranked rushing attack. He will get his first opportunity this week against Buffalo.

Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens: Avoiding injuries

This is all about the Ravens, who have lost multiple key players to injury over the summer. Joe Flacco remains sidelined with a back ailment. Potential starting running back Kenneth Dixon is lost for the season. Former first-round pick Breshad Perriman was seen leaving practice last week. On top of this,…

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Tags: ameer-abdullah, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jay Cutler, Kyle Shanahan, Leonard Fournette, Miami Dolphins, NFL

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