2023 NFL Preseason Week 1 Spreads, Moneylines and Totals
On the whole, handicapping NFL Preseason football is a challenge unlike any other. The games do not count in the standings, and each team has a different priority. Veteran-contending teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs have one simple goal in the preseason: to avoid injuries at all costs. On the other side of the spectrum are rebuilding teams such as the Carolina Panthers, who will play their regular players more in preparation for the regular season. Experienced contending teams already know their assignments. Young clubs that are building have to give their players more reps.
The most important part of preseason is the establishment of new head coaching eras. For the 2023 campaign, there are five new head coaches. Jonathan Gannon takes over the Arizona Cardinals, Sheane Steichen takes over the Indianapolis Colts, Sean Payton is the new man for the Denver Broncos, DeMeco Ryans is the HC of the Houston Texans, and Frank Reich arrives as the head man of the Carolina Panthers.
NFL Betting Odds
NFL Preseason Week 1 Betting Lines
At first glance, the Frank Reich hire is solid. It’s unremarkable, even skewing more towards boring — but this team needed a steady hand after years of wasted stupidity under Matt Rhule, one of the worst head coaching hires in NFL history.
Rhule had complete control over the Panthers, a responsibility he neither earned nor executed. At the very least, Reich knows how to win in the NFL and better understands how to work in lockstep with a general manager instead of dictating how the show should go.
Still, this was a low-effort move by the Panthers. It’s the definition of settling, made worse by the decision not to give interim coach Steve Wilks a chance, who brought the Panthers back from the brink of disaster and almost pushed them into the playoffs.
Functionally neither Reich nor Wilks is an exciting move. Still, they both offer the same low-end stability — the only difference is Wilks had untapped potential we’ll never really know now.
The Panthers get drastically better with this hiring. Yes, it’s a high-floor/low-ceiling situation, but that might be enough. Carolina has a talented roster that needs a quarterback to put it all together, and Reich is a solid hire to achieve that one specific goal — even if he might not be the kind of coach to get to the Super Bowl.
The record indicates that the Reich hire is fine for Carolina’s situation. If you’re looking for stability and a .500 record, a guy like Frank Reich is the man for the job. Any expectation that he can take a team to the next level or push them deep into contention for any championship is a likely fool’s errand.
There’s some merit to the idea that stability in Carolina was needed after the horrific Matt Rhule experiment. Still, the hiring process that led to Reich becoming head coach reeked of confirmation bias. The Panthers interviewed nine potential head coaches, seven of whom came from offensive backgrounds compared to just two with defensive experience.
Owner David Tepper preferred an offensive-minded head coach and whittled down his choices from there — rather than taking a holistic approach to the search. Ultimately, the decision came down to Reich and Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
Reich’s preseason project is to get QB Bryce Young, the number one overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, up to speed.
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