NFL PRE­VIEW

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports -

Ten­nessee at Cleve­land: No team has drawn more at­ten­tion, pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive, head­ing into the NFL’s 100th season than the Cleve­land Browns. The Ti­tans’ de­fense ought to be stout, and fig­ures to get tested by Baker May­field throw­ing to Odell Beck­ham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, plus Nick Chubb run­ning the ball.

Pitts­burgh at New Eng­land: The Pa­tri­ots have been play­ing down the fact they weren’t cho­sen for the opener of the NFL’s 100th season de­spite their lat­est Lom­bardi Tro­phy. Pitts­burgh lost two of its big­gest stars in re­ceiver An­to­nio Brown and run­ning back Le’Veon Bell. But many in the Steel City are see­ing that as elim­i­nat­ing huge dis­trac­tions. At­lanta at Min­nesota: Two coaches, Dan Quinn with the Fal­cons, Mike Zim­mer with the Vik­ings, who need quick starts and solid sea­sons to en­hance their job se­cu­rity.

Los An­ge­les Rams at Carolina: The Rams are among the most dan­ger­ous of­fenses in foot­ball. The Pan­thers are plagued by un­cer­tainty in many ar­eas, though not a prob­lem is Carolina’s ver­sa­tile RB Chris­tian Mc­Caf­frey, who would truly im­press if he can have a huge game against two-time De­fen­sive Player of the Year Aaron Don­ald and the Rams’ de­fense. Kansas City at Jack­sonville: For 2018 MVP Pa­trick Ma­homes to match last season might be ex­pect­ing a bit much. For the Jaguars, QB Nick Foles has an en­vi­able track record in tough spots.

Bal­ti­more at Mi­ami: Bal­ti­more will be one of the more in­trigu­ing teams as it grows on of­fense with sec­ond-year quar­ter­back Lamar Jack­son and also tries to re­main pow­er­ful on de­fense. Adding safety Earl Thomas could pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant boost. All we can say about the Dol­phins is: When does the draft be­gin next April? Cincin­nati at Seat­tle: Cincin­nati should be able to run the ball de­cently and has a solid de­fen­sive base up front. In Seat­tle, coach Pete Car­roll and GM John Schneider have re­tooled while re­main­ing com­pet­i­tive. In­di­anapo­lis at Los An­ge­les Charg­ers: While Ja­coby Bris­sett isn’t likely to be the kind of lights-out per­former that An­drew Luck of­ten was, he’s hardly a des­per­a­tion op­tion. For the Charg­ers, much will de­pend on the pass rush pro­vided by Melvin In­gram and Joey Bosa. Wash­ing­ton at Philadel­phia: Coach Doug Ped­er­son’s of­fense runs so ef­fi­ciently with QB Car­son Wentz that Philly ranks among the NFL’s elite. But Wash­ing­ton isn’t likely to test that D; not hav­ing star left tackle Trent Wil­liams re­ally hurts.

New York Gi­ants at Dal­las: Zeke is back. If 2018 Of­fen­sive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley has a big game here, re­tire his num­ber.

Buf­falo at New York Jets: Both clubs ex­pect huge im­prove­ment from their sec­ond-year QBs, Sam Darnold in New York, Josh Allen in Buf­falo.

San Fran­cisco at Tampa Bay: Jimmy Garop­polo should get the chance against the Buc­ca­neers’ leaky D, and the same could be true for Jameis Win­ston against the Nin­ers.

DAVID RICHARD AP

We find out Sun­day if Odell Beck­ham Jr. and the new and im­proved Browns are a con­tender.

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