Brian Sullivan (@MadManScouting)

Week 3 tends to be the most exciting week of the Preseason. We’re gifted with more action from the starters and a chance to see each team at the peak of their potential. Here’s a look at who to keep an eye on this week.

Thursday, August 23rd

Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) @ Cleveland Browns (1-1)
Time: 8:00 PM – Watch On Fox

Who To Watch

Eagles – DE Derek Barnett

Barnett lived up to his draft position last season, as he played a key role in the Eagles loaded pass rusher rotation. But it’s time for him to take the next leap. He should see some extended playing time in this one. If he can emerge into a star, the Eagles defense will be even more unfair next season.

Browns – RB Nick Chubb

Carlos Hyde made a huge statement for Cleveland last week, and we know how dangerous Duke Johnson can be out of the backfield. But if Nick Chubb can have an immediate impact for the Browns as well, they’ll be one of few teams that can unleash a legitimate 3 headed monster out of the backfield. Chubb was solid last week with 53 yards on 11 carries, plus a touchdown. If he can follow that up with another good performance, Browns fans will have one more reason to be excited this season.

Friday, August 24th

New England Patriots (2-0) @ Carolina Panthers (2-0)
Time: 7:30 PM

Who To Watch

Patriots – WR Braxton Berrios

The Patriots are tough because they rarely rely on rookies. But somebody is going to have to fill in for Julian Edelman during his 4 game suspension, and Berrios could be the guy. If they involve him heavily during this game, it could be a sign of things to come. He has been limited in practice, but I’m hoping he’ll suit up for this one.

Panthers – TE Ian Thomas

Thomas was one of my rookie sleepers when the preseason first started. He had an impressive touchdown last week, and he’ll be looking to build off of an impressive start to the preseason. We could see him and Olsen in a ton of dual TE sets this season as well.

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Denver Broncos (0-2) @ Washington Redskins (1-1)
Time: 7:30 PM

Who To Watch

Broncos – CB Isaac Yiadom

With the loss of Aqib Talib this offseason, the Broncos will be looking for a third option to add onto the field for nickel and dime packages. Yiadom was an impressive talent corner coming out of Boston College, and the Broncos took him in the 3rd round for a reason. This is a big opportunity for him to display his talents and earn more playing time.

Redskins – WR Trey Quinn

Trey Quinn was deemed “Mr. Irrelevant” when the Redskins selected him with the last pick in the NFL Draft. But he’s been making plays early, whether it be on the receiving end or in the return game. If he keeps performing well, he could end up earning the right to play a key role in this offense.

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New York Giants (1-1) @ New York Jets (1-1)
Time: 7:30 PM

Who To Watch

Giants – DT RJ McIntosh

McIntosh was another one of my sleepers for the Preseason. I could not believe that he fell to the 5th round after watching him look surprisingly impressive against a dominant Notre Dame offensive line. But somehow, he did, and now the Giants have another talented player added to their defense.

Jets – WR Tre McBride

The Jets are lacking in the weapons department, especially on the perimeter. Robby Anderson could break out this year, and Jermaine Kearse is a decent #2 or #3 option, but neither have proven to be special. McBride hasn’t had a ton of success as a journeyman, but this is his opportunity to step in and earn a spot. He’s displayed some decent synergy with Darnold, especially on third downs. If he can make a few more plays, he could find himself on this roster.

Seattle Seahawks (0-2) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
Time: 8:00 PM

Who To Watch

Seahawks – RB Chris Carson

With 1st round pick Rashaad Penny going down, the Seahawks will lean even more on their 2nd year back Chris Carson. The 7th rounder from 2017 exploded onto everybody’s radar for a few weeks until he went down with a season ending injury of his own. Plenty of pundits believe that this could be his breakout year. If he can provide a spark, especially against this loaded Vikings front, Seahawks fans could begin feeling giddy.

Vikings – C Pat Elfein

So apparently he might return this week. Elfein was a stud at Ohio State, and if he can return by the season opener, the Vikings will benefit greatly from it. The interior of the offensive line is currently decimated, which will without doubt hurt the Vikings in the long run. Elfein needs to shake off some rust, if he’s out there, he’ll be worth watching.

Detroit Lions (0-2) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
Time: 8:00 PM – Watch On CBS

Who To Watch

Lions – C Frank Ragnow

Frank Ragnow was the #1 center on many experts boards heading into the draft. So far, it appears he was worth the pick. This will be a bigger test for him, as he’ll likely see some more playing time. It’s about time Matthew Stafford have a balanced offensive line, if Ragnow can continue to shine it’ll be huge for the Lions going forward.

Buccaneers – RB Ronald Jones

When you select a running back with the 38th overall pick, it is assumed that they’ll see plenty of snaps right off the bat. I loved what I saw from him at USC, but unfortunately, he hasn’t had the same success so far in the Preseason. It’s still early, but Bucs fans are getting antsy. Let’s see if he can break through this week.

Green Bay Packers (2-0) @ Oakland Raiders (1-1)
Time: 10:30 PM – Watch on NFL Network

Who To Watch

Packers – CB Josh Jackson

Jackson has been a stud for the Packers so far this preseason. One more impressive performance, and the Packers can feel comfortable knowing they have a new reliable cornerback in the secondary. He could see some reps against some very talented receivers, but that didn’t stop him from making plays last week.

Raiders – DE Arden Key

The Raiders were the kings of the “high risk, high reward” picks in this draft class. Key was seen as a first round talent by many, and the Raiders managed to snag him in the 3rd round. Bruce Irvin has been impressed so far, and he could see some significant snaps in this game.

Saturday, August 25th

Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) @ Chicago Bears (1-2)
Time: 1:00 PM – Watch On NFL Network

Who To Watch

Chiefs – CB Kendall Fuller

It is unbelievable that Kendall Fuller is still only 23 years old. Entering his 3rd season, he has already established himself as a very good player. If he can elevate his game in a new system it will prove that trading for him was worth it. He could see a lot of reps here as he adjusts to a new environment.

Bears – LB Roquan Smith

Finally, the holdout has ended, and Smith is expected to make his preseason debut this week. The Bears already had a pretty solid defense last season, but if Smith can perform like the top 10 talent that he appeared to be at Georgia, this Bears defense could take a massive leap forward. Look for him to see a ton of action on Saturday.

Houston Texans (2-0) @ Los Angeles Rams (1-1)
Time: 4:00 PM

Who To Watch

Texans – S Justin Reid

As long as Deshaun Watson stays healthy, the Texans should have a solid offense. But if their young defensive talent can all perform at a high level, they could end up being a true Super Bowl contender. Justin Reid was a hot name coming out of Stanford, and he should see a ton of playing time this season.

Rams – WR Brandin Cooks

It does appear that the Rams will actually play their starters this week, which means I’ll be watching Brandin Cooks during his limited time on the field. Sean McVay has huge plans for him, and he’ll add a whole new level of speed to this defense. Jared Goff could look towards him early in this one to develop some chemistry, and it could be thrilling to watch.

Tennessee Titans (0-2) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)
Time: 4:00 PM – Watch On NFL Network

Who To Watch

Titans – DE Harold Landry

Landry could end up being one of the best defensive rookies of this draft class. He’s performed well in both training camp and his actual preseason games. Against a tough Pittsburgh offensive line, I’ll be curious to see what he can accomplish.

Steelers – WR/RB Jaylen Samuels

Samuels was one of the most interesting prospects I’ve ever scouted in my (albeit short) “career”. He lined up everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE. Running back, wide receiver, full back, tight end. He didn’t excel at anything, but he was good at everything. His role is slowly expanding in Pittsburgh, can he be yet another weapon for the Steelers that exceeds expectations this season?

San Francisco 49ers (1-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

Who To Watch

49ers – LB Fred Warner

I was a huge fan of this 49ers draft class. In fact, this was the 2nd year in a row that I liked their crop of young talent. Fred Warner was a nice prospect coming out of BYU. He had a nice fumble recovery last week to make his presence felt; hopefully he can make some more plays this week.

Colts – OG Braden Smith

We all loved the Quenton Nelson draft pick for the Colts, but their second round guard Braden Smith has been flying under the radar. He was a monster at Auburn, and if he can make an immediate impact the Colts will see their offense improve immensely. Smith must be impressing the coaches, seeing as he’s even seeing some snaps at tackle. The sky is the limit for this man.

Atlanta Falcons (0-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
Time: 7:00 PM

Who To Watch

Falcons – S Damontae Kazee

The 5th rounder from a season ago exceeded expectations during his rookie season as he converted from cornerback to safety. He’ll look to play an even bigger role this season. He made an impressive interception against Patrick Mahomes last week on a play that he read perfectly. Don’t be surprised if he makes another big play or two in this one.

Jaguars – WR DJ Chark

I wasn’t super high on Chark, but the Jaguars spent a 2nd rounder on him, and they intend to use him. The Jaguars don’t have any established stars at wide receiver now that Allen Robinson is gone, so the job is up for the taking for Chark. He’s been impressive in camp, but will it translate to the field?

Baltimore Ravens (3-0) @ Miami Dolphins (0-2)
Time: 7:00 PM

Who To Watch

Ravens – OT Orlando Brown

Everybody was ready to write this guy off because of a bad combine. I even let the outside noise impact that way I felt about him, despite his pretty solid tape. Now, it appears that he’s making strides. If we’re gonna get a season of Playoff Joe, he’ll need a high powered offensive line. Brown could end up being a steal if he keeps up his impressive play.

Dolphins – TE Durham Smythe

I thought Smythe was the best tight end in this draft class. That will probably end up not being the case, especially considering that the Dolphins are more invested in Mike Gesicki. Still, if he can make some plays, he could end up sneaking onto the field more than he was expected to when they first selected him with a 4th round pick.

New Orleans Saints (1-1) @ Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
Time: 8:00 PM – Watch On CBS

Who To Watch

Saints – DE Marcus Davenport

I know I already used him in Week 1, but now that he’s actually expecting to see the field this week, I have to use him again. Cameron Jordan is already a superstar, and Trey Hendrickson appears to be ready to break out this season. If Davenport can prove that he was worth trading up for, this could be a terrifying pass rush in New Orleans.

Chargers – S Derwin James

The Chargers have a melting pot of talent at the safety position, but there’s no real stars. It’s just a bunch of guys who can occasionally make plays. James was expected to be that star, and while he hasn’t struggled, he has not popped this preseason. Chargers fans are hoping that this can be the game where he really shines and proves why they were so enthused when he fell to them at 17.

Sunday, August 26th

Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) @ Buffalo Bills (1-1)
Time: 4:00 PM – Watch On Fox

Who To Watch

Bengals – WR John Ross

After a dissapointing rookie season, Ross will be looking to bounce back in his second season. He had one big catch against Dallas last week for 29 yards, but overall, he hasn’t done too much this preseason. If he gets more playing time this week, he could finally have the big game we’re all waiting for.

Bills – LB Tremaine Edmunds

Every week Tremaine Edmunds should slowly adapt to the speed of the NFL. He was the youngest prospect in the draft, and obviously this will take some time. But the Bengals offense doesn’t boast as much talent as many other offenses, so this could be an opportunity for Edmunds to make some plays.

Arizona Cardinals (2-0) @ Dallas Cowboys (0-2)
Time: 8:00 PM – Watch On NBC

Who To Watch

Cardinals – WR Christian Kirk

Josh Rosen should see plenty of action on Sunday night. He and Christian Kirk appear to be developing some solid synergy on the field. With the allure of Sunday night looming, can they make some plays together?

Cowboys – LB Leighton Vander Esch

Another week, another linebacker to watch. The Cowboys could see vast improvements with this unit if Sean Lee stays healthy and Jaylon Smith reaches his potential. If the rookie LVE can also make an instant impact, then suddenly Dallas could actually have an elite defense.

Image Credit – http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/279478/making-an-indy-360-orlando-brown-transforms-from-combine-bust

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