When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, August 27, 2017
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Betting Line: Tennessee -3 Total: 43
TV Coverage: Fox
For the Chicago Bears, this pre-season means one thing primarily, and that is the indoctrination of Mitchell Trubisky into the NFL. And it could help John Fox save his job. The veteran head coach, who has led the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos into the Super Bowl, has not had any success in the Windy City, but if he can show some progress with fresh blood behind center, he may buy himself some time. Will Mike Glennon have anything to say about this?
The Tennessee Titans are well-taken care of at the quarterback spot; what coach Mike Mularkey needs is some tweaking here and there to make them a playoff team, and with Andrew Luck possibly out of action for the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans in a QB transition, the division title could be theirs for the taking. They have the running game to get it done, although defensively they have to take a big step.
ABOUT THE BEARS: Trubisky has been taking snaps with the first team this week, as the performance of Glennon has not necessarily done anything to hold him off. Last week against Arizona, he completed 13 of 18, but with only 89 yards that is less than seven yards per completion. And he suffered an interception. He got big money to come over from Tampa Bay and be the stopgap, but even that could be threatened here. Glennon, who also lost his job to a rookie (Jameis Winston) when he was with the Bucs, will get the start and play the first half, with Trubisky taking it from there.
It is important to keep in mind that Fox is not going to put Trubisky out there with the second team, so the Bears could be playing with starters well into this game. In his two games, Trubisky has gone 24 of 33 for 226 yards and two touchdowns, and it appears there is still an opportunity for him to overtake Glennon and be named the opening-game starter.
ABOUT THE TITANS: Tennessee got off to a 17-0 lead over Carolina last week but lost it, as the Panthers fought back and tied the game in the fourth quarter. Then David Fluellen, the second-year back out of Toledo, scored the winning touchdown, capping off a successful evening in which he ran for 76 yards and caught two passes. He is in a duel with rookie Khalfani Muhammad for a roster spot as a reserve halfback. Obviously Marcus Mariota was sharp, going six for eight and leading a couple of TD drives.
Matt Cassel and Alex Tenney combined to complete 15 of 25 passes for 173 yards. DeMarco Murray was held out of last week's game with a hamstring injury, but that isn't expected to be the case here. The Titans were thinking they might see Cam Newton for the Panthers, but Ron Rivera ruled him out. Derrick Henry, the Heisman winner from Alabama, had a 17-yard TD run, but on his other 15 carries, he gained 19 yards.
1. Tarik Cohen, known as "The Human Joystick," is proving his worth as a rookie. Cohen had 77 yards in eleven carries against the Cardinals last week and can be a great complement to Jordan Howard in the Bears' backfield.
2. Victor Cruz, the former New York Giant who has been practicing with Trubisky as a third-team receiver, has high praise for the rookie. He says, “You can tell he’s getting more and more comfortable with the playbook, and that allows him to play freely.”
3. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Morrissey did his homework and found that since the NFL Scouting Combine, 543 stories in major U.S. newspapers have used Mitchell as Trubisky's first name, and 679 have used Mitch.
4. In last week's game, Chicago's Deonte Thompson hauled in a missed 63-yard field goal by Arizona's Phil Dawson and took it back 109 yards for a touchdown. The reserve wide receiver, a five-year veteran, has an NCAA championship (with Florida) and a Super Bowl title (with the Ravens) under his belt.
5. This is kind of unique - the Titans auctioned off their first two play calls last week, with the proceeds going to charity.
PREDICTION: Chicago 24, Tennessee 20
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