For a preseason where not many starters have seen action, there has been a lot to talk about regarding the Tennessee Titans. Hosting the Chicago Bears (1-1), the Titans (2-0) enter the preseason finale after an interesting week leading up to the game.
After returning from last week’s game at Tampa Bay, head coach Mike Vrabel tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, seven players were added to the COVID-19/Reserve list, among those including quarterback Ryan Tannehill and outside linebacker Harold Landry III.
Even with all the news off the field this week, this game still serves as another opportunity to make a team, either with the Titans or elsewhere in the NFL. A lot is on the line for many players at Nissan Stadium on Saturday night.
This game between the Bears and the Titans should serve as a fun conclusion to the 2021 NFL Preseason for both teams.
Chicago Bears (1-1) @ Tennessee Titans (2-0)
Game Time: 6:00 pm CST
Location: Nashville, TN (Nissan Stadium)
TV: WKRN-News 2
TV Broadcast Crew: Dan Hellie, Charles Davis, Cory Curtis
Radio: Titans Radio, 104-5 The Zone
Radio Broadcast Crew: Mike Keith, Dave McGinnis, Amie Wells, Rhett Bryan
Referee: Carl Cheffers
Line: Chicago -3
Over/ Under: 36.5
Three Things to Watch:
Justin Fields vs. Titans Defense – Rookie quarterback Justin Fields will start for the Bears and is expected to play most, if not all, of the first half. With Bears head coach Matt Nagy naming Andy Dalton as the Week 1 starter against the Los Angeles Rams, expect Fields to be motivated and wanting to impress in the preseason finale. It will be a good test for the Titans defense, especially with Fields’ ability to run. Through two preseason games, Fields has nine carries for 79 yards and a rushing touchdown. Having to face Kyler Murray with the Arizona Cardinals and Russel Wilson with the Seattle Seahawks in the first two weeks of the season, let’s see how the defense fares against the mobile quarterback.
Battle for Backup Quarterback – Since the signing of Matt Barkley on August 5th, there has been a legitimate competition for the backup quarterback spot between Logan Woodside and Barkley. Entering the final preseason game, Barkley is expected to start, with the two quarterbacks being rotated every two drives. Through two preseason games, Barkley is 17/24 for 169 yards and three touchdowns, while Woodside is 17/23 for 148 yards and two touchdowns. The job to backup Ryan Tannehill is on the line and it seems unlikely for the team to keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Which quarterback leaves the coaching staff more confident if they are needed to fill-in during the regular season? Is it Woodside, who has more experience with the system and served as the backup last year, or does Barkley impress the staff in less than a month to win the job? Anytime a Titans’ quarterback takes the field against the Bears, it will definitely be noteworthy.
Mekhi Sargent’s Big Opportunity – Every training camp, there always seems to be a guy that works his way onto the 53-man roster when it never seemed like he had a shot. Running back Mekhi Sargent could certainly find himself in that situation when final roster cuts take place on Tuesday. Sargent has led the team in rushing in both preseason games, totaling 32 carries for 136 yards and a receiving touchdown. Several doors have opened up for Sargent, the undrafted rookie out of Iowa, throughout training camp. Derrick Henry has not played in a game this preseason, Darrynton Evans was injured in the first preseason game in Atlanta, and this past week, Jeremy McNichols was added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Sargent has a realistic shot to earn consideration for a spot on the initial 53-man roster, depending on the status of his position group. Definitely expect the team to try to keep Sargent around, even if it is on the practice squad.