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#ProTops: Week 2 of the NFL Preseason
Seven games featuring former Hilltoppers will be nationally televised, including two intriguing matchups to bookend the weekend.
And then there were…oh, wait, no one was cut. So there are still 11! Sweet.
The first weekend that feels like an NFL Schedule is here and former Hilltoppers litter the weekend. The first and last game of the round, both lone games, both ESPN exclusives, feature at least one former Hilltopper while Friday, Saturday and Sunday have multiple Tops’ in the national spotlight.
Here’s your lineup for this week.
Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Seattle Seahawks (Thurs. vs. Chicago Bears, 7 p.m., ESPN)
Iggy takes on his former club on national TV to open the second week of the preseason as he’ll look to be more of a factor over the top on defense for Seattle.
Bailey Zappe, New England Patriots (Fri. vs. Carolina Panthers, 6 p.m., NFL Network)
For the second-straight week, Zappe will be on national TV as he’ll look to replicate his 200+ yard performance from last week and maybe lead the Pats on a couple of more scoring drives against Carolina.
Forrest Lamp, New Orleans Saints (Fri. at Green Bay, 7 p.m.)
The lone ProTopper not on national television Friday, Lamp saw the fourth-most snaps of any Saints offensive player, playing over 50% of them, and will look to make another impression this week as he fights for a roster spot.
Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (Fri. vs. Houston Texans, 9 p.m., NFL Network)
It’s a ProTops doubleheader on NFLN! Well, it would be if Sean McVay played his starters in the preseason. Which he does not. So Higbee will not be in action.
Devon Key, Kansas City Chiefs (Sat. vs. Washington Commanders, 3 p.m., NFL Network)
Key was one of the guys I was most concerned wouldn’t make it to the second week of the preseason, but he has made the 85-man roster for this week and will get a shot to try to shut down the Commanders’ offense. Also, on NFL Network.
Jerreth Sterns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sat. at Tennessee Titans, 6 p.m. NFL Network)
What do we have here? Another nationally televised ProTopper game?! Sterns only saw 19 plays last week but caught all four of his targets and hauled in a nifty touchdown.
He’ll try to make his case to be part of what will be a depleted Bucs’ receiving corps come the start of the year just over an hour from Smith Stadium.
Jordan Meredith, Las Vegas Raiders (Sat. at Miami Dolphins, 6 p.m.)
For a second-straight game this preseason, Meredith earned the highest PFF grade of the Raiders’ offense (94.2) and did it in just 14 snaps.
I’m not going to lie, Meredith is the guy I have the least prediction of: I could see him making the roster, I could also see him being a last-second cut.
Hopefully he can turn in a third-ranked game-high grade from PFF against the Dolphins this week to make his case.
Deon Yelder, Arizona Cardinals (Sun. vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7 p.m., Fox)
Yelder was another guy I feared we’d see get cut this week, but he should be in line to see the field Sunday (in another national game) against the Ravens.
He started last week’s game against Cincinnati but was nearly invisible until a couple of soft catches in the second half.
George Fant, Mike White New York Jets vs. DeAngelo Malone, Atlanta Falcons (Mon., 7 p.m., ESPN)
Both ProToppers are stories in the Big Apple after injuries in their respective position rooms: Fant is moving back to right tackle following an injury to Mekhi Becton while White is in a position to show why he should be the starter over Joe Flacco if Zach Wilson ends up missing any significant time after suffering an injury (but escaping a torn ACL) in last week’s preseason opener.
On the other side of the ball is DeAngelo Malone, the Falcons’ rookie trying to solidify his spot on the 53-man roster after an even performance in his preseason debut.
It’s Topper on Topper action to close out the week.