Falcons (at Bears) Sunday, noon
Chicago’s front-seven flashed dominance in the preseason, surrendering just 3.3 yards per carry. The secondary? It has four new starters, including injured top CB Prince Amukamara and fourth-round centerfielder Eddie Jackson. Fire up receiving No. 2 RB Tevin Coleman, as the Bears likely keep Danny Trevathan on a pitch count, if he goes at all. And since we promised not to write often in chalk, how about breaking out breakout candidate Austin Hooper and breakaway specialist Taylor Gabriel immediately because Matt Ryan will use them to test Chicago’s new safeties.
Must start: Ryan, Devonta Freeman, Coleman, WR Julio Jones
Solid play: Hooper, Gabriel
Worth a look: Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta D/ST
Cardinals (at Lions) Sunday, noon
Must start: David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald
Solid play: Palmer, John Brown
Carson Palmer may get the unofficial best-shape-of-his-life award this offseason, when his decreased throwing regimen in practice paid big dividends for his arm’s liveliness, according to Bruce Arians, whose altered routine for Palmer began in the second half of 2016 and yielded desired results. Palmer was excellent this preseason, and against the Lions two years ago, when Detroit’s ‘D’ still rushed the passer formidably and hadn’t just allowed a NFL-high 106.5 passer rating, plus the highest completion percentage (72.7) in league history. The key to the 2017 Cardinals offense may be John “Smokey” Brown, who finished an injury-marred preseason with two long touchdown catches. Where there’s preseason smoke, there’s Week 1 fire?