The first full week of the 2022 NFL preseason commenced on Thursday night, with the New England Patriots hosting the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens welcoming the Tennessee Titans to get the slate started.
Friday brought us a full five-game slate of games, beginning with a tilt between the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions. The Falcons picked up a 27-23 win, as we got our first look at Falcons rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder, who played three quarters. We also saw fantasy football darling D’Andre Swift score a touchdown for the Lions.
Here are the biggest takeaways from Thursday’s and Friday’s games, along with the rest of the Week 1 preseason schedule.
NFL preseason games on Thursday, Aug. 11
Giants: This was exactly what the Giants’ offense needed after an up-and-down start to training camp. Quarterback Daniel Jones and the starting offense moved the ball well and probably should have reached the end zone, if not for a bad third-down drop by wide receiver Kenny Golladay near the goal line. Jones still finished 6-of-10 passing for 69 yards and ran for another first down. It should take any outside pressure off him even though backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor followed by going 13-of-21 passing for 129 yards with a touchdown toss to Richie James. Overall, the Giants’ offense and their quarterbacks showed signs that they’re headed in the right direction, and there is no need to make any rash moves or panic with another month to go before the regular-season opener in Tennessee. — Jordan Raanan
Next game: vs. Bengals (7 p.m. ET, Sunday, Aug. 21)
Patriots: On a night when Mac Jones and most of the Patriots’ starters didn’t play, it was a chance to focus on the sideline and get a feel for the team’s unconventional coaching setup offensively. Senior football adviser/OL coach Matt Patricia called the plays for the first three series when Brian Hoyer was at quarterback, and then it appeared that offensive assistant/QBs coach Joe Judge was calling the plays when rookie Bailey Zappe entered at quarterback. Signs point to Patricia as the primary playcaller, but it was notable to see Judge also perform some of those duties in the preseason opener.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to do that,” Belichick said. “We’re going through a process.”
When asked who will call plays during the regular season, Belichick said: “Don’t worry about that. We’ll work it out.” — Mike Reiss
Next game: vs. Panthers (7 p.m. ET, Friday, Aug. 19)
Ravens: Tyler Huntley once again showed why he’s among the NFL’s top backup quarterbacks. Huntley was more accurate in the preseason opener than he has been all of training camp, completing 88.9% of his passes (16-of-18) and putting great touch on his 14-yard touchdown pass. He also converted a fourth down with a physical 14-yard run. The Ravens will always be at their best with Lamar Jackson (who didn’t play Thursday night), but they know they can remain competitive with Huntley. The Ravens extended their preseason winning streak to 21 games. “It means a lot to the culture, just to show that we’re a winning team,” Huntley said. “And we don’t care what kind of game it is, the Ravens are going to fight to get a win.” — Jamison Hensley
Next game: at Cardinals (8 p.m. ET, Sunday, Aug. 21)
Titans: The Titans got a live look at Malik Willis with this surprise start against the Ravens. Willis played into the third quarter and completed 6 of his 11 pass attempts for 107 yards. His best throw was a 48-yard play-action pass to Racey McMath. The rookie’s 7-yard scramble for a touchdown showed that he can make big plays running with the ball as well. There were times when it was evident that Willis needed to speed up his process instead of holding on to the football too long. Even though he got the start, Willis is listed as the No. 3 quarterback behind Ryan Tannehill and Logan Woodside. He will get to build on his performance in joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the second preseason game next week. — Turron Davenport
Next game: vs. Buccaneers (7 p.m. ET, Saturday, Aug. 20)
NFL preseason games on Friday, Aug. 12
Falcons: The Atlanta Falcons wanted to get rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder significant snaps to start the evaluation process of their third-round pick. And while Ridder is not close to unseating Marcus Mariota as the starter, the Falcons got what they wanted. Ridder played three quarters, completing 10 of 22 passes for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns while also rushing six times for 59 yards. While the numbers won’t show it, Ridder looked more on-point early than most preseason practices — and his numbers were deflated a little bit by drops from receivers. There were a couple of bad passes — an overturned interception due to a penalty and another nearly picked off — but it’s a good first step for Ridder, who still has a ways to go offensively. — Michael Rothstein
Next game: at Jets (8 p.m. ET, Monday, Aug. 22)
Lions: Quarterback Jared Goff and the new-look offense played only the opening series but showed their potential with a touchdown on the opening drive capped by a nine-yard run up the middle by running back D’Andre Swift. Goff went 3-of-4 with 47 passing yards and appeared much more comfortable with his options, notably wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown — who made two catches for 29 yards on a pair of targets. Goff knows he has to prove himself this season to secure a long-term future in Detroit and got off to a strong individual start, even if it’s just the preseason behind an offensive line with high expectations this year. However, the Lions haven’t won a preseason game since Aug. 24, 2018 against the Tampa Bay Bucs in Week 3. — Eric Woodyard
Next game: at Colts (1 p.m. ET, Saturday, Aug. 20)
Cleveland Browns vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: 7 p.m. ET
Arizona Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 7:30 p.m. ET
New York Jets vs. Philadelphia Eagles: 7:30 p.m. ET
Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers: 8:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network
NFL preseason games on Saturday, Aug. 13
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Chicago Bears: 1 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Commanders: 1 p.m. ET
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills: 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Seattle Seahawks vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Miami Dolphins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7:30 p.m. ET
New Orleans Saints vs. Houston Texans: 8 p.m. ET
Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos: 9 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Los Angeles Rams vs. Los Angeles Chargers: 10 p.m. ET
NFL preseason games on Sunday, Aug. 14