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A look at NFL handicapping with the PFW editor lobbying to become Las Vegas bureau chief.

Week Four preseason line discussion

About the Author

Recent posts by Mike Wilkening

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By Mike Wilkening

On only two days this season will every NFL team be in action. Sixteen games will be played on Sunday, Jan. 2, when playoff seeding (and draft seeding, too) will likely be at stake.

By then, we will have all forgotten the results on games played on Thursday, Sept. 2, when the final 16 preseason games of the season kick off. Few starters figure to play, and with rosters still to be pared to the 53-player limit, more than a few backups who may decide the outcomes of these games may no longer be with their clubs by Week One.

When people talk about the preseason dragging on too long, they are talking about this final week. Even gamblers hardly get excited about these games. I've been to Las Vegas a couple times in the week before Labor Day, and there was never any buzz about these contests. College football kicking off over the weekend? A different story.

And certainly, the beginning of the NFL regular season will not go wanting for attention from handicappers and casual fans alike. But the final week of the preseason? The results are a matter of record, and that's it.

Nevertheless, there are pointspreads for all 16 games crammed into the preseason's last, quiet hours. Let's explore them, shall we? Home teams are in CAPS.

DETROIT -4.5 vs. Buffalo (38.5)

Get the sense the Lions' bandwagon is starting to fill.

N.Y. GIANTS -3 vs. New England (37.5)

Will the Patriots play their starters a little bit after unexpectedly struggling with St. Louis?

Cincinnati -6.5 vs. INDIANAPOLIS (36.5)

Once again, the Colts have struggled in the preseason. Ho-hum.

PHILADELPHIA -1.5 vs. N.Y. Jets (34)

Lots of questions about how Jets QB Mark Sanchez and Eagles QB Kevin Kolb will fare once the regular season begins.

JACKSONVILLE -3 vs. Atlanta (37.5)

Jaguars get three of their first four regular-season games at home.

PITTSBURGH -5.5 vs. Carolina (36.5)

The Steelers' QB play is a concern entering the season opener vs. Atlanta.

TENNESSEE -7 vs. New Orleans (41)

Titans have to decide whether to keep rookie Rusty Smith or veteran Kerry Collins as their third quarterback.

HOUSTON -3 vs. Tampa Bay (36)

It looks like Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman will be ready for the regular-season opener vs. Cleveland.

KANSAS CITY -5 vs. Green Bay (40)

The Packers have been the darlings of the preseason.

Chicago -2.5 vs. CLEVELAND (37.5)

Browns rookie RB Montario Hardesty is expected to play after missing the first three preseason games.

DALLAS -3.5 vs. Miami (37.5)

Dolphins finish preseason on road and begin regular season with back-to-back road games.

ST. LOUIS -3 vs. Baltimore (37.5)

The Ravens have a depth edge and a solid No. 3 QB in Troy Smith.

MINNESOTA -4.5 vs. Denver (35)

Expect to see a lot of QBs Sage Rosenfels and Joe Webb for the Vikings.

SAN FRANCISCO -3.5 vs. San Diego (35.5)

Two teams favored to win their respective divisions.

ARIZONA -4.5 vs. Washington (36.5)

No team has more interesting depth-chart and roster decisions to make at quarterback than Arizona.

OAKLAND -3.5 vs. Seattle (37.5)

QB Jason Campbell was able to practice with wrist and neck injuries on Monday.

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