A very interesting preseason matchup from Denver on Saturday night as the Rams visit the Broncos. In fact, it might be the most intriguing game of the entire preseason because both Los Angeles and Denver have quarterback battles ongoing. It’s likely that a starter for the season will be named after the Week 3 matchup, which is when starters play the most in the preseason. The Broncos are likely to open as around 3-point favorites in the NFL odds.
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It appears that the Rams’ job is about to be claimed but that Denver’s remains wide open between veteran Mark Sanchez, second-year Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch. The latter wasn’t given much of a shot to win the job, but Coach Gary Kubiak said he still could on Monday.
“He’s always been in the mix,” Kubiak said. “I just told you guys that he’s behind the other two from a knowledge standpoint, but we’ve been out there competing every day. Everybody is in competition to play.”
Sanchez was the heavy favorite before the preseason, but two weeks in Siemian has probably pulled ahead, especially after some costly mistakes from Sanchez on Saturday night. He lost two fumbles in the game against San Francisco. Siemian was impressive on his first drive, but then threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by San Francisco’s Eric Reid. Siemian finished 10 of 14 for only 75 yards and the interception. Sanchez at halftime was also 10 of 14 but for 120 yards and the two fumbles. He then went three incompletions and out on the Broncos’ first possession of the second half. Lynch, meanwhile, then took over for Sanchez and would throw two TD passes.
“I squandered a great opportunity to separate myself, and put the team in a bad situation,” Sanchez said. “No excuse for that; poor, poor quarterback play.”
We could see the debut of Denver’s Henry Melton in this game. The Broncos, with Vance Walker on injured reserve following a torn right ACL on Aug. 15, moved Sunday to add depth to their defensive line when they agreed to terms with Melton, who is set to enter his seventh NFL season. Melton, who had two sacks last season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was an unsigned free agent.
The Rams have won two close home preseason games, beating Dallas 28-24 in Week 1 and then Kansas City 21-20 on Saturday. Against the Chiefs, No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff fumbled and took two sacks in his first three possessions with the Rams’ first team, but finished 8-for- 12 passing with a TD. Todd Gurley rushed for a score in his preseason debut. Case Keenum started at quarterback and led the Rams to two touchdowns, going 4 of 5 for 53 yards with an 11-yard scoring pass to Pharoh Cooper before giving way to Goff.
Keenum looks like he has all but won the job. Keenum has looked poised and in command while Goff is playing like a quarterback still very much a work in progress. The last five quarterbacks taken first overall started for their teams from Day 1: Matthew Stafford; Sam Bradford; Andrew Luck; Cam Newton and Jameis Winston. But that streak appears likely to end. Through two August appearances, Goff has completed 12-of- 21 passes for 120 yards (5.71 YPA), one touchdown and one interception. Sacks and fumbles have been an issue.
One area the Rams look weak in thus far is the secondary. Free-agent departures by cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Rodney McLeod left voids that were exposed again in the Rams’ victory over the Chiefs. Franchise cornerback Trumaine Johnson gave up a big play, the secondary looked confused on a second-quarter touchdown pass to receiver Jeremy Maclin, and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner was ejected.
Take Denver and the points here on NFL lines.