Tanner’s Tips For Preseason NFL Action On Saturday, August 27

Road teams swept Friday’s NFL betting action, going 2-0 straight-up and 1-1 against the spread with the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers rallying late to hand the Indianapolis Colts their ninth straight preseason loss.  The Packers closed as 9-point favorites and were stunned to be down 14-10 at halftime after Indianapolis QB Curtis Painter threw two touchdown passes in the last six minutes of the second quarter.  Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby ended up being the hero though, nailing a 50-yard field goal as time expired for a 24-21 victory.  The other game saw the Governor’s Cup awarded to the St. Louis Rams following a 14-10 win at Kansas City.  The Chiefs fell to 0-3 and disappointed the home fans, who have seen their team total just two touchdowns in three games this preseason.  So what does Saturday have in store for football bettors?

Here are the three most intriguing games to watch…

Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Game Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET)
NFL Betting Odds: Steelers -3.5, Total 36
Tanner’s Tips: The Falcons believe they are still a legit Super Bowl contender despite getting smoked by the Packers at home in the divisional playoffs last year.  They are the only 0-2 NFC team in the preseason and could use a confidence boost here at Pittsburgh.  The Steelers shut down Philadelphia QB Michael Vick in a 24-14 victory last week, picking him off three times in the first half.  They will try to do the same thing to Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, who does not have solid rotation behind him and may not play too long in order to avoid injury.  Ryan will also be without leading receiver Roddy White due to a thigh injury.

Chargers RB Ryan Mathews will try to shred a porous Arizona defense on Saturday.

New England Patriots at Detroit Lions
Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Game Time: 8 p.m. (ET)
NFL Betting Odds: Patriots -3.5, Total 44.5
Tanner’s Tips: Could this be a preview of Super Bowl XLVI?  Based on preseason performances, the Patriots and Lions have looked like the two best teams so far.  Both teams are 2-0 and have scored 30 or more points in each of their first two games with the OVER  going a combined 4-0.  New England routed Detroit 45-24 at Ford Field last Thanksgiving, outscoring the home team 35-7 in the second half.  The Pats figure to get off to a much better start here with QB Tom Brady likely limited to about two quarters of action while the Lions need to protect Matthew Stafford.  That means former Michigan State signal callers Brian Hoyer (New England) and Drew Stanton (Detroit) could be the deciding factors in this game.

San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Game Time: 10 p.m. (ET)
NFL Betting Odds: Chargers -3, Total 40.5
Tanner’s Tips: The Chargers were a bit of a disappointment last year with wide receiver Vincent Jackson holding out for more than half the season due to a contract dispute.  They still ranked as the top-ranked team in offensive yards per game and least defensive yard allowed, and their window to win a Super Bowl appears to be closing fast.  San Diego hopes second-year RB Ryan Mathews can continue his progression and stay healthy to help balance out a pass-happy offense.  The Cardinals are also concerned about their running game with rookie RB Ryan Williams out for the season with a torn knee suffered in last week’s 28-20 loss at Green Bay.  They will be looking to new QB Kevin Kolb to carry the offensive load and continue to make big plays throwing the ball to All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald, who recently agreed to terms on a new eight-year deal worth up to $120 million.

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