Bill Belichick has coached 86 preseason games in his NFL career (49-37) so does he really care about wins at this point? It is an interesting preseason for the Patriots as they move on from Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator and still haven’t named his predecessor, but a 23-21 loss to the Giants in the exhibition opener isn’t a horrible offensive showing.
New England is a -6 point favorite in the preseason Panthers at Patriots matchup, somewhat surprising considering Carolina’s staple of QBs. The Panthers won their preseason debut last week 23-21 at Washington as coach Matt Rhule put his lifetime exhibition record to 2-2. Establishing a winning culture seems very important for Rhule entering his third season.
Who Takes Snaps for Panthers?
Carolina and New England held joint practices leading up to their preseason Panthers at Patriots matchup, and it’s obvious that Rhule took more out of those than he will the actual game on Friday night. Even with Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold locked in what looks like a battle for QB1, neither will play on Friday night. Instead it will be P.J. Walker and Matt Corral alternating quarters in game two.
Sitting Mayfield and Darnold on Friday night is somewhat surprising considering all four QBs took snaps last week in Washington. Mayfield was 4/7 for 45 yards and Darnold was 2/3 with an 8-yard TD pass to Rashard Higgins. Walker was 10/19 last week but Corral, a third round pick who threw for nearly 50 TDs the last two seasons at Ole Miss, was just 1/9 for 11 yards.
Walker should be solid on Friday night with 9 games of action over his first two years in the league, but Corral looked overwhelmed in his NFL debut. Belichick usually loves teeing off on rookie QBs, but who knows what the New England approach will be in the preseason.
Patriots Shouldn’t Be Favored By 6, Should They?
Who knows how Belichick will approach week two of the preseason, especially still without a designated offensive coordinator and against a team he has spent the week practicing against. By the way those joint practices were not mere walkthroughs, highlighted by a skirmish that led to New England WR Kristian Wilkerson being carted off the field.
Belichick may choose to inflict pain on his opponent on Friday night based on how the joint practices played out this week, and he’ll do it with QB Mac Jones some other key starters who are expected to play in this game.
Jones did not play last week in the loss to the Giants, with veteran Brian Hoyer going 5/8 for 59 yards while Bailey Zappe got a bulk of the work going 19/32 for 205 yards with a TD and an INT.
Free Preseason Week 2 Panthers at Patriots Betting Pick
Even with Jones playing a series or two at QB, the Patriots giving -6 points is too much in this game. Corral got the nerves out last week in his NFL debut and will show why he was a Heisman Trophy candidate early last season. Corral and Walker alternating quarters will actually be an advantage in this matchup as it gives each time to sit back and regroup.
Free Pick: Panthers +6