Weather can occasionally play a major factor in a National Football League game. Today, it is the only factor that matters in New Orleans as the Saints final preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals has been scratched because Hurricane Ida is bearing down on the Louisiana coast.
Factors other than offensive and defensive game plans are also taking hold in Tennessee, where the Titans have had Covid exposures that will both sideline some players and head coach Mike Vrable. Scheduled to host the Chicago Bears today, the Titans head coach will watch the game from a secluded location as he completes his quarantine after testing positive earlier this week.
No team appears more ready to get on with the regular season than the Titans. They have dominated their first two preseason opponents, the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, by scores of 23-3 and 34-3 respectively. With things running so well for Tennessee, even before the Covid outbreak, it was a good bet the Titans would have been more focussed on avoiding injuries than running up the score on another preseason opponent.
The virus confirms that Ryan Tannehill, the Titans quarterback and legitimate MVP candidate this season, will see no action. So too will star runningback Derrick Henry sit this one out while his backup, Darrynton Evans, is still nursing an injury that will keep him on the sidelines. Throw into the Titans backfield mix that third stringer Jeremy McNichols is out due to the Covid quarantine and you wonder who will be fit to play in the Titans backfield today?
It could be a lonely backfield for the two backup quarterbacks that will split playing duty today in Tennessee, Matt Barkley and Logan Woodside. The Titans need to cut 27 players in the coming week to reach their final 53 player roster, and that calls for the action today to be used much more to evaluate marginal players for those cuts than concern for the final score of this August scrimmage.
The Titans have already shown they are a Super Bowl contender, now they need to complete their roster, recover from the covid outbreak and not have any first string players injured. No where on that list of objectives is a need to win this game on the scoreboard.
Enter the Chicago Bears, today’s visitors in the Music City, and their objectives entering the final week of preseason action. Head coach Matt Nagy has contended from the start that his opening day quarterback will be veteran Andy Dalton, but the longtime Cincinnati Bengal and one time Dallas Cowboys signal caller has not done anything in this preseason to warrant him winning the starting job.
That leaves the door open for rookie Justin Fields, who will both start and see extended play today as he looks to win the starting role.
The myriad of factors pointing to a less than stellar effort on the Titans part and the Bears quarterback competition appears to heavily favor the visitors in this one. The books know it, that is why the opening point spread, which had the Titans favored by 4 points, has shifted to Chicago favored by three points.
A seven point swing is a big number to wager into, but it beats holding a ticket for a team less interested in winning than those that back them with a bet.
Qoxhi has two preseason games selected today, and those sides are now posted on this site.