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NFL preseason Week 3: What to watch for

While two games have already been played, 14 more remain on the docket for the Week 3 preseason slate. The New England Patriots visit the Detroit Lions on Friday night, while in the Pacific Northwest, the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks will do battle.

So what should we be watching for this weekend? Well, considering the third week is always the most telling (if the preseason really tells us anything), we should be looking out for plenty.

For starters, how do the rookie quarterbacks continue to progress? We’ll see Patrick Mahomes before anybody else when he comes in for the Chiefs. Look for Mahomes to check in around the middle of the third quarter and get some time with Kansas City’s second string. Over the weekend, we see how DeShone Kizer looks against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If he plays reasonably well or better, Kizer will have earned the starting job for the Cleveland Browns.

Over in Chicago, Mitchell Trubisky will be making his final case for the starting job, although Mike Glennon is the considerable frontrunner. Trubisky has shown a nice arm thus far and the ability to throw on the run, something of a mild surprise coming out of North Carolina.

Beyond the quarterbacks, check out the Oakland Raiders. Oakland has a terrific offense with a great front line, Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Marshawn Lynch. However, the defense ranked dead last in yards allowed per play last year and didn’t get much in the way of upgrades this offseason. So far, the Raiders’ defense has been brutal, letting Jared Goff go up and down the field on it. Can they somehow show some like against Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night?

Also on Saturday, we have the battle of Los Angeles. The Chargers have real hope that they can rebound from a tough, injury-riddled 2016 campaign to make the playoffs in the tough AFC West, but can the offensive line block? On the other side of the field, can Goff back up his intriguing performance against the Raiders? The Rams have a couple of good-looking young players in receiver Cooper Kupp and tight end Gerald Everett. How do they fare against the Chargers?

Finally, the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills has a bit of morbid intrigue. Can either one of those teams figure out a way to produce any offense? Baltimore is hopeless without Joe Flacco it seems, who still has not practiced all summer because of a bad back. Meanwhile, the Bills traded away Sammy Watkins and saw Anquan Boldin retire, all while new-addition Jordan Matthews cracked his sternum. It appears a long year might be ahead for both franchises.

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