Sunday NFL preview: Have Eagles found franchise QB?

NFL Nation reporters look ahead to what Sunday has in store for each team.


Buffalo Bills: The Bills have finally reached the end of their extended quarterback competition. Rex Ryan will make a decision Sunday on a starter -- although, for competitive reasons, he will not make the decision public. EJ Manuel played his way back into the race by posting a perfect passer rating (158.3) in Saturday's win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, although it will be hard for Ryan to turn away from Tyrod Taylor following a 12-for-13 outing Saturday and sharp performances in the first two preseason games. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill continued his stellar preseason, going 15-for-19 for 145 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta. In three games, Tannehill has completed 80 percent of his passes without an interception. The health of the offensive line, however, remains a concern. The Dolphins played with their third-string left tackle, Dallas Thomas, on Saturday and center Mike Pouncey tweaked his knee in the first quarter. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: The Patriots are off Sunday and one of the areas they'll be looking at is how to proceed at fullback without injured James Develin (broken right tibia). Bill Belichick said the team will look at its options, which could include everything from putting Develin on injured reserve and signing another player, to keeping Develin on the roster and looking in-house for a replacement. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: The Jets will get a confirmation on the severity of Leonard Williams' knee injury on Sunday, when the first-round pick will have an MRI. The early indications are a bone bruise, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Jets have decent depth on the defensive line, but losing Williams would be tough, especially with Sheldon Richardson facing a four-game suspension. The good news is that Muhammad Wilkerson didn't suffer any setbacks with his balky hamstring on Saturday night against the Giants. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens: Steve Smith put on quite a show in Saturday's preseason game, showing once again that he's an emotional leader on the team. He caught four passes for 95 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Smith later got into an altercation that led to his ejection, and the Ravens struggled after he left the game. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: Although Marvin Lewis said Andy Dalton was "fine" after being taken out of Saturday night's game against the Bears for precautionary reasons, the Bengals quarterback still will be using Sunday's off day to get rid of any lingering soreness he has. Dalton hurt his neck at some point on the Bengals' opening offensive series. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: The team has a day off following the game against Tampa Bay, and players can enjoy it. The first-team defense harassed Jameis Winston, the punt return unit got a touchdown from Travis Benjamin and the offense had a 16-play drive for a touchdown. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: The defense against Buffalo in a word ... unsettling. Call it a preseason warm-up if you must, but the Steelers need to think long and hard on the off day about how they plan to stop people. On offense, though, DeAngelo Williams is looking poised for a good early-season performance. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans: Sunday's game will mark Brian Hoyer's first as the Houston Texans' starting quarterback. In that sense it will be different for the Texans, but they aren't treating the game any differently than they treated the first two preseason games. It's a time for evaluation -- especially of their inside linebackers, safeties and running backs. The Texans will not treat it as a dress rehearsal for the regular season as many teams do. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts couldn't avoid injuries in their third preseason game. Starting defensive tackle Art Jones left Saturday's game against St. Louis with an ankle injury. That's a tough blow for the Colts because they're at their best stopping the run when Jones is on the field, which unfortunately wasn't too often last season. Jones missed seven games last season with an ankle injury. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars begin preparations for dealing without DE Andre Branch (sprained MCL) on Monday. Chris Smith gets the first crack at being the first- and second-down end. Chris Clemons will get some snaps there as well but his main role is turning out to be as a third-down rusher. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: In a road game with no game plan, the Titans had a chance to win some straightforward one-on-ones. There weren't a lot of instances of the Titans winning those and making plays in Kansas City, which is cause for at least some concern heading into Week 4. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos: Pressure up the middle was a consistent problem for the Broncos' offensive line for most of 2014. It reared its ugly head in Saturday night's preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers. Peyton Manning was sacked three times by the time the second quarter was a few minutes old, with the 49ers successfully adding the extra rusher into the middle of the formation. Newly signed Evan Mathis will be worked into the offense in the coming week. And while Mathis won't play in the preseason finale Thursday night, the Broncos hope he can help settle things down in the middle of the formation by the regular-season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: Quarterback Alex Smith and the rest of the starting offense won't play much if at all in Thursday night's final preseason game at St. Louis. So the offensive goal as the Chiefs return to practice on Sunday is to maintain the rhythm they found in their 34-10 win over the Tennessee Titans. Smith was 16-of-18 for 171 yards and two touchdowns against Tennessee. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: Starting tailback Latavius Murray should play about a half, perhaps more, along with the first-unit offense Sunday evening against visiting Arizona. Oakland offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has raved about Murray's vision and use of his hands. The Raiders are expecting a lot from Murray, who had just 82 carries last season. -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers: Players will take Sunday off, returning to the field at Chargers Park on Monday. Roster cuts from 90 players down to 75 are due Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. However, general manager Tom Telesco and coach Mike McCoy could make the cuts sooner, turning their attention to the team's final preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. -- Eric D. Williams


Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys were able to see some regulars play vs. the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday but Dez Bryant wasn't one of them. He won't play in the last preseason game either, but Tony Romo believes he and Bryant will be able to make up for lost time on the practice field well enough for the Sept. 13 opener against the New York Giants. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: Expect the Giants to bolster their secondary Sunday with the addition of an old friend. Safety Stevie Brown, released by the Houston Texans on Friday, is scheduled to visit the team's facility and take a physical. While other teams have called to express interest in Brown, his preference is to rejoin the Giants -- and they are interested in signing him. At this point, it seems all but certain Brown will join the competition to start at safety when the Giants resume practice this week. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles: QB Sam Bradford was nearly perfect on Saturday night vs. the Packers, going 10-of-10 for 121 yards and three touchdowns in one quarter, exiting with a 25-0 lead. Have Chip Kelly and the Eagles finally found their franchise signal-caller in the injury-prone Bradford, who is coming off his second torn ACL? Philadelphia finishes its preseason Thursday night against the New York Jets. Don't expect the starters to play much. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: Another positive for the Redskins' offense in the preseason win over Baltimore was seeing tight end Jordan Reed on the field. Reed caught two passes for 21 yards, including one diving grab. They weren't huge numbers, but it did show Reed's ability and how he can help the offense -- provided he stays healthy. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears: Head coach John Fox scheduled an off day for the players after Saturday's preseason game in Cincinnati, but the rest of the organization will be plenty busy on Sunday. With the first wave of cuts due soon, Fox and general manager Ryan Pace need to pare down the roster to 75 prior to 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Most of those cuts are usually completed ahead of Tuesday's official deadline. In injury news, wide receivers Marquess Wilson (hamstring) and Eddie Royal (hip) worked out at Paul Brown Stadium before Saturday's game. Royal tested out his banged-up hip by running routes and coming out of breaks for about 15 minutes. The Bears hope all of their injured receivers (except for Kevin White) can return in time for Week 1 vs. the Green Bay Packers. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: The Detroit Lions have an off day Sunday as they rest up for the preseason finale against Buffalo on Thursday. Looking ahead to Monday, it will be interesting to see if the Lions pull Joique Bell off PUP or Haloti Ngata off the NFI list Monday so they can start practicing to get ready for the season opener on Sept. 13 in San Diego. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: The Packers will spend Sunday assessing their injuries from Saturday's preseason game against the Eagles. The biggest concern will be receiver Randall Cobb, who left with a right shoulder injury in the first quarter. Starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle) and nickel cornerback Micah Hyde (neck) also left the game in the first half. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: While players get a day off on Sunday, the Vikings' coaching staff will deliberate about which players to let go in Tuesday's initial round of roster cuts. Coach Mike Zimmer had said coaches wouldn't make decisions on the first round of cuts until after Saturday's preseason game in Dallas, and the Vikings will have 14 players to let go by Tuesday, when their roster has to be at 75. -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons agreed with wide receiver Julio Jones on a five-year extension Saturday reportedly worth $71.25 million ($47.5 million guaranteed), then Jones proceeded to sit out the third preseason game against the Dolphins. That was a smart move for the Falcons to protect their investment going into the regular season. Jones and the starters are highly unlikely to play in the final preseason game Thursday. And Jones probably should get a few snaps off during practice next week, too. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: Based on last season, the Panthers likely will have made their first round of roster cuts by the start of Sunday's afternoon practice. Based on the lack of snaps in Friday night's 17-16 loss to New England, undrafted rookie wide receiver Damiere Byrd could be an early casualty despite impressing early in training camp. Injurywise, this will be a big week with defensive end Charles Johnson (calf), defensive tackle Kawann Short (back) and rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess (hamstring) expected to be full go in preparing for Thursday's preseason finale at Pittsburgh. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: A lot of defensive backs can still make or break their chances at earning a roster spot in Sunday's third preseason game. And they should get ample opportunity to do so with starting safety Jairus Byrd and cornerback Brandon Browner still sidelined by injury. Safeties Pierre Warren and Kenny Phillips and cornerbacks Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Kyle Wilson are among those who need to prove they belong on both defense and special teams. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs still have some work to do in getting rookie quarterback Jameis Winston ready for the start of the regular season. Winston seemed to take several steps back in Saturday night's loss to the Cleveland Browns. He got his most extensive playing time of the preseason but was largely ineffective, completing 6 of 15 passes for 90 yards with an interception. He also was sacked four times behind an offensive line that started rookies Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet. -- Pat Yasinskas


Arizona Cardinals: Arizona had a day of rest while it traveled to Oakland for the third preseason game. The starters are expected to play the first half, at most, although coach Bruce Arians said quarterback Carson Palmer may not make it through the first half. -- Josh Weinfuss

St. Louis Rams: Rams quarterback Nick Foles offered his best preseason performance Saturday night, completing 10 of 11 passes for 128 yards and the starting unit's first touchdown of the exhibition season. But the questions about the offensive line aren't going away anytime soon. The Rams' first unit averaged 2.3 yards per carry and allowed the Colts to sack Foles twice and pressure him a handful of other plays. Guard Jamon Brown left with a sprained ankle and did not return to the game, though the team said he could have. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: After an unwatchable first-half performance against the Denver Broncos, the Niners' first-team offense has a lot of work to do when it comes to protecting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was under constant pressure. Kaepernick was 2-for-5 passing for 13 yards and was sacked for a safety. Forced to run for his life, Kaepernick's three rushes for 53 yards were a highlight. The right side of the line, where Erik Pears started at tackle and rookie Ian Silberman was at guard, needs special attention -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: Following last night's game against the Chargers, the players will get a day off. The coaches and front office, however, will try to come up with answers to some of the team's more pressing issues. Most notably, is it time to settle on five starters on the offensive line? Or is more mixing and matching necessary? And of course, will there be any progress toward a solution with Kam Chancellor? -- Sheil Kapadia