Accept this premise before reading on: NFL exhibition games are essentially meaningless.
That said, it would be impossible for certain fanbases not to be excited after the opening round of pre-season games.
And while supporters of teams like New England and Philadelphia can sit back and wait another few weeks, those who follow teams with big question marks (hello Cleveland) can get a little excited.
Browns Fans: We Might Win A Game
Obviously when your team goes 0-16 the year before, there’s nowhere to go but up. Actually, that’s not true. You can stay the same and go 0-16 again. But with #1 draft pick Baker Mayfield making a pretty good showing in a 20-10 win over the Giants, you can’t blame Browns’ fans for getting a little bit excited.
Mayfield was 11 of 20 for 212 yards and two touchdowns. But more importantly, he looked like he belonged on an NFL field. Current #1 QB Tyrod Taylor did well too, connecting on all five of his passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Baker Mayfield more than lived up to expectations in his preseason debut https://t.co/VfWIf9KWEZ
— C&C Machine (@CCMachine) August 10, 2018
Giants Fans: The Saquon and OBJ Show
Big Blue’s offense has sputtered of late, so nothing like Saquon Barkley’s first carry to get the Giant fan base fired up…
First game, first play…yep, think Saquon Barkley's gonna be ok. pic.twitter.com/ZoX7RbIdKy
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) August 10, 2018
The rookie from Penn State only carried it three more times after that 39-yard scamper, but the thought of Barkley on the field at the same time as Odell Beckham Jr. is certainly intriguing.
Ravens Fans: Action Jackson
Baltimore grabbed Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson with the final pick in Round 1 of the draft, much to the dismay of fans of other teams.
So @drbill1947 is visiting and just brought up “we should’ve taken Lamar Jackson over Sony Michel” for the 1st of 247 times this weekend.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) August 10, 2018
Jackson is battling with Robert Griffin III to be Joe Flacco’s backup and so far, the rookie from Louisville would appear to have the edge. He completed 7 of 18 passes for 119 yards, and seemed much more at ease than he did in the Hall of Fame game.
Colts Fans: Good Luck?
Andrew Luck played his first game since Week 17 of the 2016 season, and while he only played two series, he was 6 of 9 for 64 yards and led Indianapolis on two scoring drives. Most importantly, he didn’t appear to have any trouble with his surgically-repaired shoulder.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) August 10, 2018
*Aussie Cameron Johnston, trying to make the Eagles’ roster, launched an 81-yard punt that was nullified by a penalty.
It comes from the SUPER BOWL champs new 4th down rocket launcher pic.twitter.com/dNfU8OmXWb
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) August 10, 2018
*The 49ers lost five key players to injuries, so fans would have been relieved to see that star QB Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t on the field for too long.
It's OK #49ers fans, Jimmy Garoppolo is still undefeated. In the regular season. He's safely on the sideline, away from this carnage.
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) August 10, 2018
*Kelvin Benjamin’s feud with former team Carolina went to another level as he all but ignored ex-teammate Cam Newton before the Bills met the Panthers.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 9, 2018
All NFL outright markets here – odds subject to change.