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Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5, 34)

Starter Report

Panthers: As expected, QB Cam Newton and the rest of Carolina's starters will play three quarters Thursday night against Cincinnati. The Panthers are game-planning for the Bengals as if this is a regular season game.

WR Steve Smith said he plans to play against Cincinnati. Smith hasn't played in the first two exhibition games due to a finger injury.

Meanwhile, QB Cam Newton continues to bone up on the playbook.

"Coming out here each and every day and going home each and every day and going over what we had in with the installations each day, it's been a slow process," said Newton. "I'm just trying to keep progressing up that hill."

Bengals: Coach Marvin Lewis said he expects the same number of reps for the first-team offense versus Carolina, as has been the case during the first two games when they played the entire first half.

New Bengals' quarterback Andy Dalton, a 2nd round pick in this year's NFL draft, has been ineffective this exhibition season. In eleven preseason drives led by Dalton, the Bengals first-team offense went without a first down six times. Five times they punted and three times Dalton tossed an interception.

Dalton refuses to use the weather as an excuse for his mediocre play or the team's two losses. "We cannot make the weather an excuse," he said. "Both teams had to play in (the rain). We just were not quick to start off."

Thing to remember: The 61-10 margin of defeat (34-3 at Detroit, 27-7 at the Jets) through two preseason games is the worst in Cincinnati's team history. The previous record was 31 points (20-0 at Kansas City, 28-17 at the Jets) in 1986.

Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles (-7, 40)

Starter Report

Browns: Head coach Pat Shurmur said the starters will play at least the first half against the Eagles. Look for them to play well into the third quarter.

Pro Bowl WR/KR Josh Cribs (hamstring) returned to the practice field this week. He is questionable for tonight's contest.

LG Eric Steinbach (back) and RB Brandon Jackson (toe) are still out.

Left tackle Joe Thomas inked a huge seven-year, $84 million contract extension that will keep him in Cleveland for another decade. Thomas is excited about the extension and the Browns' direction under Shurmur.

"We're already seeing great strides. We're going to throw the ball and attack defenses. I like having an offensive head coach (in Shurmur). He's another reason I wanted to stay."

Eagles: Coach Andy Reid said QB Michael Vick and the rest of the starters will play the entire first half and at least the first series of the third quarter versus the Browns.

RB Ronnie Brown has just 47 yards on 15 carries in two preseason games, but the former Dolphins first-round pick said it's just a matter of getting adjusted to a new team and a different system. The Eagles are toying with the possibility of having Brown return kickoffs.

Things to remember: The Eagles are 2-9 SU and 1-10 ATS in final preseason home games since 2000. Reid has been a preseason favorite of more than five points three times in his NFL career. Philadelphia is 0-3 ATS in those games.

August 28, 2011  10:37 PM ET

Great blog, gotta love bettin on pre-season games can't wait for the actual season to start up!!

August 29, 2011  11:35 PM ET

Great blog, gotta love bettin on pre-season games can't wait for the actual season to start up!!

Thanks, yup I'm ready for the real season and some College football !!


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