Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 8/15/13
While it’s never hard to recognize the difference between regular-season competition and preseason football, there’s no denying that, come Week 1, the chance to watch four matchups on a Thursday evening will be long gone. Now, as the dog days of summer approach, it’s time to take advantage of not having to wait until Sunday to bet on multiple NFL matchups. As teams gear up for the second week of preseason, it’s important to take into consideration what preseason is and especially what it isn’t. While a highly anticipated escape from the boredom of offseason, not much substance rides on the wave of exhibition affairs. If it did, primary quarterbacks wouldn’t so willfully opt to sit on the sidelines in the name of caution and team development. Still, while the rosters on the field may lack the high-profile personnel of games that will count next month, there’s no shortage of quality action to be seen. More than an opportunity to bet on the Super Bowl futures, exhibition play serves as a chance for fans to weigh in on organizations from the top down. Think the Chicago Bears coaching staff will have its club more prepared for the upcoming year than the San Diego Chargers? Oddsmakers have given the Bears a six-point edge on the moneyline for the Thursday night game, but anything can happen when star players are given limited playing time. After last season’s uninspiring showing, Philip Rivers and San Diego could certainly stand to benefit from the confidence gained by knocking off a formidable opponent like Chicago — even if only in the preseason — so  they’ll likely be motivated to come out of the gates swinging in 2013. Similarly, the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns, who kick off the evening at 7:30 p.m. ET, each have a chance to improve on last year’s underwhelming lack of success. Can Matthew Stafford re-establish himself as an elite quarterback, with Reggie Bush in the lineup helping to free up the passing game? Will Cleveland second-year running back Trent Richardson (making his preseason debut Thursday) help change the fortunes of the moribund Browns organization? A victory in the second week of preseason won’t guarantee anything, but it certainly sets things off in the right direction. The Browns are just a one-point favorite when the two historically lousy franchises square off. Elsewhere on the Thursday card, the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens visit the regular-season champion Atlanta Falcons as 4.5-point favorites, while the Philadelphia Eagles look to come through on three-point advantage over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Preseason may not have any impact on the 2013 standings, but it definitely plays a big part in how the season shapes up in general. Maybe it’s time to reschedule the Thursday night plans after all. Filed under: Headlines, NFL, Odds, Partner Staff
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Hill arrested for reckless driving, clocked going 107 mph

Diamondbacks GM: Padres wanted Goldschmidt for Kimbrel

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dead at 61


Mets acquire Yoenis Cespedes from Tigers

Sheldon Richardson escapes felony charges for recent arrest

Lawyer who litigated against NFL: Brady plays every game

Cowboys should sign interested RB Steven Jackson

Jameis Winston confirmed as Buccaneers starting QB

Russell Wilson contract increases likelihood of change

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

RB signed by Chiefs day after tweeting them highlight video

Evgeni Malkin had real penguins at his birthday party

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Jonathan Papelbon thinks he became ‘scapegoat’ for Phillies

Padres don’t sell at trade deadline, reportedly because AJ Preller still believes in team

First photos of Jason Pierre-Paul’s injured hand emerge

Stop kvetching about Notre Dame, please

Rebuttal banner supporting Tom Brady flies over Pats practice

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

LeSean McCoy cancels party, but it wasn't some 'weird orgy'

Redskins making huge mistake by signing Galette

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Cole Hamels chose Rangers over Astros

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker