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Even preseason has mismatches

The Associated Press


Even in the preseason, this one looks like a mismatch.

The Packers, considered by many the most elite of teams heading toward the regular season, host the Browns on Thursday night. While Green Bay does have some defensive issues from last year to solve and is thin at running back right now, Cleveland is seeking answers everywhere.

That search continues as the second week of the exhibition schedule kicks off at Lambeau Field and in Atlanta, where the Bengals visit the Falcons.

The Browns (No. 30 in the AP Pro32) come off a 19-17 loss to Detroit in which first-round pick Brandon Weeden struggled. He fumbled, threw an interception and was 3 for 9 for 62 yards in his debut. But he says it didn’t affect his confidence.

“The mistakes I made were so small that they’re easy fixes. I work on them every day after practice now,” Weeden said.

Green Bay (No. 1), coming off a 15-1 season, addressed a perceived need this week by signing veteran running back Cedric Benson. The Packers, 21-13 losers to San Diego last weekend, already were without James Starks because of a turf toe injury, and second-year back Alex Green is returning from major knee injury. On Monday, they lost John Kuhn to an ankle sprain.

Benson rushed for more than 1,000 yards in three of the last four seasons in Cincinnati, which did not re-sign him.

“Year to year in this business, guys always have something to prove, you know?” Benson said. “There’s a tendency of, ‘What have you shown me lately? What have you done for me lately?’ You’re always out to leave your stamp on the game every season.”

On Friday, it’s Oakland at Arizona, Jacksonville at New Orleans, Detroit at Baltimore, Miami at Carolina, Buffalo at Minnesota, and Tennessee at Tampa Bay.

Saturday’s games feature San Francisco at Houston, Dallas at San Diego, Kansas City at St. Louis, the New York Giants at the Jets, Seattle at Denver and Washington at Chicago.

Indianapolis is at Pittsburgh on Sunday, followed by Philadelphia at New England on Monday night.


Cincinnati (No. 14) at Atlanta (No. 13)

Falcons QB Matt Ryan, who figures to play about a quarter, doesn’t see these exhibition games as a waste of time.

“One thing I like about preseason games is it gives you an opportunity to see how things shake out, because you’re not really game-planning for somebody else,” Ryan said. “You’re kind of just adjusting to things on the fly. It’s a good indicator of what guys really know. It’s encouraging to see some of the positive things and some of the negative things.”

One of the positives for the Bengals last week in a win over the Jets was their pass rush: five sacks.

Oakland (No. 23 tie) at Arizona (No. 23 tie)

Even with mostly backups playing, the Raiders can’t like what they saw in being blanked by Dallas.

Jacksonville (No. 31) at New Orleans (No. 9)

After 7-6 loss to Patriots, Saints could get semi-serious for this one.

Detroit (No. 11 tie) at Baltimore (No. 5)

Two of league’s nastiest defenses on display — for at least 15 minutes.

Miami (No. 27) at Carolina (No. 20)

Dolphins impressed with their no-huddle offense last week.

Buffalo (No. 19) at Minnesota (No. 29)

Will somebody score more than six points? Bills lost 7-6 to Redskins, Vikings fell 17-6 to Niners.

Tennessee (No. 21) at Tampa Bay (No. 26)

Intriguing QB battle developing in Nashville between Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker.

San Francisco (No. 4) at Houston (No. 6)

Two teams with Super Bowl designs; too bad this game is in August.

Dallas (No. 15) at San Diego (No. 16)

Cowboys finish off California sojourn hoping to find some offense.

Kansas City (No. 18) at St. Louis (No. 28)

For the Governor’s Cup if you care.

New York Giants (No. 3) at New York Jets (No. 17)

For the Tebow Trophy — just kidding.

Seattle (No. 22) at Denver (No. 10)

Peyton Manning should get more action than last week — and just as much attention — in his comeback.

Washington (No. 25) at Chicago (No. 11 tie)

Washington’s iffy O-line is banged up already, not good news for RG3.

Indianapolis (No. 32) at Pittsburgh (No. 7)

If Andrew Luck and Colts’ starters move through Steelers’ first-string defense the way they manhandled Rams …

Philadelphia (No. 8) at New England (No. 2)

Eagles got good news that starting cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha doesn’t have concussion. He will sit out with whiplash and cut lip.


Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP—NFL