The 2022 NFL Preseason schedule kicks off Thursday night with the Jacksonville Jaguars battling the Las Vegas Raiders in the preseason opener.
The two AFC foes haven’t played each other since 2019 but will see each other twice this year, once in the preseason and again during the regular season.
Thursday’s kickoff is at 8 p.m. EST at Tom Benson Hall of Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The Raiders are the betting favorite at -2.5, and the over-under total is 30.5 points.
What to Know – Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars wrapped up last season with a 3-14 record and turmoil on the coaching staff that led to the early firing of first-year head coach Urban Meyer. Doug Pederson takes over the head coaching duties after serving as Philadelphia’s head man from 2016 to 2020. Pederson won a Super Bowl with the Eagles and ended his tenure with a 42-37-1 record.
Jacksonville boosted their offense in the offseason with the addition of wide receiver Christian Kirk and tight end Evan Engram to help second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
We won’t see those three Thursday, along with listed starting running back Travis Etienne and backup James Robinson. Look for a lot of reps for backup quarterback C.J. Beathard and rookie rusher Snoop Conner.
The defense for Jacksonville hopes to improve on its 26.9 points allowed last year. Defense was a priority in the draft for the Jaguars, selecting defensive end Tavon Walker first overall and linebacker Devin Lloyd later in the first round. Both could see significant playing time in the preseason opener.
What to Know – Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas also went through a coaching change during last season with Jon Gruden’s resignation. The Raiders targeted New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and officially hired the 46-year-old in January. McDaniels had one prior head coaching stint, finishing 11-17 in two seasons with the Denver Broncos.
The Raiders are serious playoff contenders this year now that David Carr is teamed up with his college pass catcher Davante Adams. Tight end Darren Waller returns along with starting running back Josh Jacobs. Thursday night we will see backup quarterback Nick Mullens along with many of the second and third-string playmakers.
Las Vegas surrendered 25.8 points per game and went out and signed four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Chandler Jones to help build up that side of the ball. Jones joins linebacker Denzel Perryman and Johnathan Abram in the secondary as key pieces to the Raiders’ defense.
The Pick is In
Two new head coaches face off against each other in a contest that will feature mostly backups.
Both teams released their depth charts for Thursday’s showdown, but many of the starters listed won’t suit up. This will come down to the Raiders just being the better overall team.
McDaniels comes from the Belichick coaching tree, so this won’t be a throw-away game for the new Raiders head man.
The Pick: Las Vegas Raiders -2.5