The Closest NFL Preseason Week 2 Matchups
At times it can get a little challenging to get up for NFL preseason football. Starters play sparingly, and the quality of play takes a dip as the game gets deeper into the second half.
This is where there is a big advantage to having a little skin in the game, and for games that are likely to come down to the wire.
For the most closely matched games this weekend, let’s consult the numbers.
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers (-3)
The stats that are tabulated by Cold, Hard Football Facts are for team performances, and not individuals. So one of the most predictive stats they have, Real Quarterback Rating, remains relevant after the Cowboys and Chargers sit Dak Prescott and Justin Herbert.
Last season the Chargers ranked third in Real Quarterback Rating, with the Cowboys ranking sixth at the end of the year. The Cowboys led the NFL in Total Team Yards, while the Chargers ranked fourth. And when it comes to Quality Standings – a measurement of how well a team plays against teams with winning records – the Cowboys ranked eighth, and the Chargers ranked ninth.
This should be one of the more enjoyable games of the NFL preseason’s Week 2.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans (-2.5)
Using the stats provided by Cold, Hard Football Facts, once again we can see from last season’s Quality Standings that the Buccaneers and Titans game will be one of the best matchups of the weekend.
The Titans ranked first last season, finishing 8-3 against teams with a winning record, and winning by an average of 24-21. The Bucs ranked third in the NFL last year in the Quality Standings with a 6-3 record against winning teams, and an average score of 27-24.
Tom Brady is obviously the better quarterback, and the overall passing game of the Buccaneers is better. But when it comes to defending the pass this is a very even game. In Defensive Real Quarterback Rating the Buccaneers defense finished with a rating of 76.3, and just behind them was the Titans defense at 78.6.
Philadelphia Eagles (-2) at Cleveland Browns
The third of our top games this weekend is the Eagles at Browns.
While it’s tough to compare these passing games, especially with the Browns quarterback situation in such flux, these are two of the best running games in the NFL preseason. On Cold, Hard Football Facts rankings of Offensive Rusher Rating, the Eagles were first in the NFL in 2021, and the Browns were seventh. And that was with missing Kareem Hunt for half of the season.
Adding to the battle on the ground is the superior play in the trenches. CHFF’s Offensive Hog Index combines rush yards per attempt, negative pass plays, and third down success, and the Eagles ranked third in the NFL last season, while the Browns ranked seventh overall.
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