NFL News & Analysis

2022 NFL Preseason Week 3: Schedule, game storylines, players to watch and more

Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Jerome Ford (34) runs the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The final week of the 2022 preseason is upon us, and with it comes plenty of pressure for players to make their best case for a starting spot, a roster spot or even a spot elsewhere in the league.

Here are our game previews and players to watch for each matchup in Week 3 of the preseason.

Note: Betting spreads via BetMGM.com as of Aug. 24

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GREEN BAY PACKERS (-1) AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Thursday, August 25 | 8:00 PM EST | NFL Network

PACKERS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB KIONDRE THOMAS

Thomas has bounced around the league a bit since going undrafted in the 2021 NFL Draft, but his summer with the Packers seems to be a productive one. He’s earned a 78.1 coverage grade so far this preseason and has played hard on special teams, as well. Perhaps he could work his way onto the 53-man roster as one of the team's final cornerbacks. 

CHIEFS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB RONALD JONES

The Chiefs signed Jones this offseason after he spent the past four seasons with the Buccaneers, and though his time in Tampa didn’t end the way anyone hoped when the Bucs selected him in the second round in 2018, there were still flashes to bet on. However, a Chiefs running back room that was once ripe for the taking now appears crowded, especially for Jones. He has just one yard on four carries so far this preseason and needs a strong Week 3 to make the squad.


SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-3.5) AT HOUSTON TEXANS

Thursday, August 25 | 8:15 PM EST | Prime Video

NINERS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB TREY SERMON

Could Sermon seriously be on the chopping block after being selected in the third round in 2021? The Niners have Elijah Mitchell and Jeff Wilson as backs they know they can count on. JaMycal Hasty can be a solid third-down and special teams option. And on top of that, the 49ers just drafted Ty Davis-Price in the third round. All of a sudden, Sermon might need to prove his worth.

TEXANS PLAYER TO WATCH: DI ROSS BLACKLOCK

The Texans’ second-round pick from the 2020 NFL Draft is suddenly on the roster bubble entering his third season in the league. His PFF grades have been low (high of 50.3 last season), and this preseason they are at their lowest (29.3 overall grade through two games). He needs a good performance in the Texans' finale.


BUFFALO BILLS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS (-6)

Friday, August 26 | 7:00 PM EST 

BILLS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB RAHEEM BLACKSHEAR

The Bills' roster is a tough one to crack, as it is one of the most talented groups in the league from top to bottom. They have a lot of running backs, in particular, to choose from, but Blackshear — a rookie from Virginia Tech — is making his case. He rushed for 58 yards on five carries in Week 2 against Denver and earned an elite 90.7 grade in doing so. It’s doubtful he makes the final 53-man roster, but the practice squad is a lock, and perhaps a look on another team.

PANTHERS PLAYER TO WATCH: TE STEPHEN SULLIVAN

According to Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, Sullivan has looked good in practice. Unfortunately, a fumbling turnover in their latest game puts him behind the eight-ball to make the roster. It sounds like Carolina wants him on the team, but he'll need a strong Week 3 performance to make that happen.


SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-4.5) AT DALLAS COWBOYS

Friday, August 26 | 8:00 PM EST | NFL Network

SEAHAWKS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB TARIQ WOOLEN

The Seahawks’ fifth-round pick from this year's draft endured a trial by fire in his first game, playing 44 snaps and earning just a 43.7 coverage grade. But in his second preseason game, he bounced back with a 71.1 coverage grade. Woolen is a rare athlete at his size, and if the Seahawks can get him to a playable level, he’ll be a unique defense piece for them.

COWBOYS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB MALIK DAVIS

Davis was an underutilized back at Florida for a handful of reasons, the two main ones being injury and a crowded running back room. But after signing with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent last April, he’s done everything he can to prove his worth in the NFL. Through two weeks, Davis has tallied 16 carries, 88 rushing yards and a touchdown while adding four receptions on five targets for 24 receiving yards. Another big game could put the rookie running back into the conversation to make the 53-man roster.


LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-3)

Friday, August 26 | 8:00 PM EST 

CHARGERS PLAYER TO WATCH: LB DAMON LLOYD

While Kenneth Murray and Drue Tranquill have been nursing injuries, Lloyd has picked up the slack. He’s had an impressive training camp and preseason. He even earned an 81.9 overall grade in the Chargers' first preseason game. It’s still an uphill climb for him to make the roster, but he’s the player on the bubble to watch. 

SAINTS PLAYER TO WATCH: LB ZACH BAUN

There were high hopes for Baun in the league after he finished his final season at Wisconsin with 19.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. But he’s been more of an off-ball linebacker than an edge rusher in the Saints’ defensive system. This has led to some middling play. The results could have Baun on the outside looking in by final cuts.


NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (-1.5)

Friday, August 26 | 8:15 PM EST 

PATRIOTS PLAYER TO WATCH: LB CAMERON McGRONE

The Patriots grabbing McGrone in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft seemed like a steal. But after not playing at all last year and looking a step slow this preseason, he’s in danger of not making the final 53-man roster. He’s still very young at just 22 years old and is a good athlete as an inside linebacker. But you’ve got to be on the field and you’ve got to produce — two things McGrone hasn’t done enough of yet.

RAIDERS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB BRITTAIN BROWN

Brown didn’t get to be a feature back in college, as he was splitting time with Zach Charbonnet while at UCLA. This caused him to fall to the seventh round. But he’s a good player, and he showed that time and time again in college. Now he’s showing it in the preseason. He recorded a 76.8 rushing grade after gaining 70 yards on just nine carries last week. With Kenyan Drake on the way out, look for Brown to continue to make his case for carries. 


JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS AT ATLANTA FALCONS (-4)

Saturday, August 27 | 3:00 PM EST | NFL Network

JAGUARS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB RYQUELL ARMSTEAD

Armstead is on his second stint with the Jaguars and finished last season strong with 52 yards on nine carries in the team's Week 17 game. Amid the report that James Robinson is almost ready for action, it might be tough for a fourth running back to make the final 53-man roster. But perhaps Armstead has a shot to boost his stock in their final game. 

FALCONS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB DAMIEN WILLIAMS

Williams was once a playoff hero for the Kansas City Chiefs, but those days seem long ago. He was thought to be a welcome addition to a young Falcons roster, but all of a sudden he might be on the chopping block. Cordarrelle Patterson is the top guy in that backfield. Rookie Tyler Allgeier is going to make the team, as well. Then there’s Avery Williams, who brings special teams experience. Now, it’s a battle between Qadree Ollison and Williams for that final spot.


LOS ANGELES RAMS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS (-2.5)

Saturday, August 27 | 6:00 PM EST | NFL Network

RAMS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR LANCE McCUTCHEON

Through two preseason games, McCutcheon has recorded 10 catches for 183 yards and two touchdowns. He earned an 88.0 overall grade in Week 1 and has an 81.7 overall grade this preseason. Once an easy afterthought, McCutcheon is making his case to be one of the final 53 names on the Rams’ roster. 

BENGALS PLAYER TO WATCH: OL CORDELL VOLSON

Rookie offensive guard Cordell Volson is competing for a starting spot on the Bengals' interior. He was up to the task in his first preseason game, earning a 74.8 overall grade. His second game wasn’t as strong, but he’s still holding his own. Another strong game could give him the nod as a starter for the regular season.


CHICAGO BEARS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS (-3.5)

Saturday, August 27 | 7:00 PM EST

BEARS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB JAYLON JONES

Jones, one of the Bears' undrafted free agents from this year, has been making a case for one of the final 53 spots on the regular season roster due to his play at cornerback and his work on special teams. It might be a tough cornerback room to crack, but he's a player who has seen plenty of opportunities in camp, and he should see even more in the Bears' final preseason game.

BROWNS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB JEROME FORD

Ford is making the Browns roster. Paying attention to him isn’t about that. What we’re noting here is that his performance could mean something more. Kareem Hunt has expressed trade desires if he doesn’t get a new contract soon with the Browns. Cleveland obviously already has — and paid — Nick Chubb. Ford has played well this preseason, and perhaps another strong performance could cause Cleveland to be more open to moving Hunt. 


ARIZONA CARDINALS AT TENNESSEE TITANS (-3)

Saturday, August 27 | 7:00 PM EST 

CARDINALS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR MARCELL ATEMAN

The Cardinals signed Ateman three weeks ago, but his time in Arizona may be short-lived. There are already a handful of receivers in Arizona, especially when the group is fully healthy. He would need a big performance in the preseason finale to stick around.

TITANS PLAYER TO WATCH: S ADRIAN COLBERT

The Titans signed the veteran safety Colbert two weeks ago, and he has a shot to make the final 53-man roster. If Joshua Kalu can’t play in the final preseason game, that might be the crack in the door Colbert needs to make his mark.


PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AT MIAMI DOLPHINS (-3.5)

Saturday, August 27 | 7:00 PM EST 

EAGLES PLAYER TO WATCH: IOL CAM JURGENS

Jurgens has been very impressive this preseason. Through two games, he’s earned an 86.9 overall grade with an elite 90.7 run-blocking grade. Jason Kelce is still the team’s starting center, but Jurgens is making a big statement in his first preseason as a key piece of Philadelphia’s interior offensive line moving forward.

DOLPHINS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR PRESTON WILLIAMS

There was a report that Williams was frustrated with his lack of opportunities in the early part of the preseason. Stuck behind Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Cedrick Wilson, Williams feels like he’s on the outside looking in with the Dolphins. He has just 22 yards on three catches this preseason.


WASHINGTON COMMANDERS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS (-6)

Saturday, August 27 | 7:00 PM EST

COMMANDERS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB ANTONIO GIBSON

Gibson’s usage feels like a weekly must-watch. He won't get cut, but he’s played on everything from the first-team offense to the third team this preseason, and he's also played on special teams. The Commanders want to put Gibson in the best spot to maximize his talent as a runner and receiver. But each week feels like a new look.

RAVENS PLAYER TO WATCH: IOL BEN CLEVELAND

Cleveland was a player who many hoped could step up and take the reins of a starting spot on the interior offensive line. He has played well, earning a 78.2 overall grade through 97 snaps this preseason, but a starting spot hasn’t been secured quite yet. With another strong performance, he’s likely got the job.


TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-5.5)

Saturday, August 27 | 7:30 PM EST

BUCCANEERS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR SCOTTY MILLER

Miller has had many highlights for the Buccaneers over the years. Unfortunately, after missing nine games last season due to injury, and with the Bucs adding Russell Gage and Julio Jones this offseason, there just might not be enough room to keep him. 

COLTS PAYER TO WATCH: LB JOJO DOMANN

Domann was a fan favorite in the 2022 draft class, and there’s still a chance the undrafted free agent could make the Colts' final 53-man roster. That spot will likely come down to special teams play, but how he performs with some extra snaps on defense will certainly factor in. 


MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT DENVER BRONCOS

Saturday, August 27 | 9:00 PM EST | NFL Network

VIKINGS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR BISI JOHNSON

Johnson is a veteran receiver who has been with the Vikings since 2019 where he was selected in the seventh round. But he might be on the outside looking in for some younger options in the receiving room. 

BRONCOS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR JALEN VIRGIL

Virgil has played well this training camp, perhaps well enough to make the final 53-man roster. He’s caught five of his seven targets for 122 receiving yards through two games. The undrafted free agent is making about as strong of a case as one can in his spot.


NEW YORK GIANTS AT NEW YORK JETS

Sunday, August 28 | 1:00 PM EST | NFL Network

GIANTS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR DAVID SILLS

On paper, the Giants have a solidified group of receivers to make the final regular season roster. But injuries during the preseason have opened the door for guys like Sills to stand out in a good way. Sills has earned a 79.5 overall grade through two preseason games and has generated a 94.5 passer rating when targeted. If there's an unexpected player who could make this receiver room, it's Sills.

JETS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR DENZEL MIMS

The Mims experience in New York seems to be over. The former second-round pick has given the jets some flashes over the past two seasons but hasn’t grown to be more than that. With trusted veterans plus first-round rookie Garrett Wilson on the depth chart in front of him, Mims might be playing his last game as a Jet in Week 3 of the preseason.


DETROIT LIONS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-4.5)

Sunday, August 28 | 4:30 PM EST | CBS

LIONS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB JERMAR JEFFERSON

Jefferson isn’t disappointing this preseason; he’s just in a crowded running back room. D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams are the top two, with Craig Reynolds likely the Lions' RB3. Jefferson is in that mix to make the roster as the last running back, but he gained just 25 yards on seven carries in preseason Week 2 while Reynonls and Justin Jackson gained 37 and 54, respectively, on the same number of carries. Jefferson will need a strong performance to make a case for the final 53.

STEELERS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB JUSTIN LAYNE

There was a lot of promise surrounding Layne, the wide receiver turned cornerback at Michigan State, when the Steelers selected him in the third round in 2019. But he just has not lived up to that top-100 selection. He got an opportunistic interception last week to help his cause of making the team, but he needs his best game yet in Week 3 to make that a reality.

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