NFL Preseason Betting – Titans QBs Hope to Impress vs Chiefs
Zack GarrisonNo comments
No team has been more fun to watch during the preseason than the Tennessee Titans. The QB battle between rookie Marcus Mariota and second-year man Zach Mettenberger looks all but decided, with the rookie doing enough through the first two weeks to solidify himself as the starter. But Mettenberger will be waiting in the wings all year and is chomping at the bit to get another crack as the Titans’ main man, so both pivots will want to impress in Week 3 of the preseason when Tennessee travels to Missouri to face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium tomorrow (8:00 PM Eastern).
The Titans brass likely realize that a playoff berth is not in the cards in 2015, and that this year will serve as another step in the team’s rebuild. As a result, Mariota – the no. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft and the ostensible “quarterback of the future” – should have a relatively long leash as he adjusts to life in the NFL. (Much like Blake Bortles in Jacksonville over the past couple seasons.)
The Oregon product is expected to play the first half against the Chiefs then give way to Mettenberger in the third quarter. (Third-string QB Charlie Whitehurst should see some action in garbage time.)
Mariota improved from Week 1 to Week 2. After committing three turnovers in his first outing (against a bad Atlanta defense), he went 5 of 8 for 59 yards in Week 2 (against a supposedly tough St. Louis D). He should have had a TD on his stat line, but WR Dexter McCluster dropped a gimme in the end zone.
Watching Mariota continue to progress won’t be the only exciting aspect of tomorrow’s game for Tennessee fans. The team recently announced that rookie WR Dorial Green-Beckham is expected to play despite an ankle injury.
Green-Beckham missed out on his senior season at Missouri due to suspension, but the Titans still saw fit to take a chance on the hyper-talented wide out in the second round of the 2015 draft. After watching what the likes of Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham Jr. did in their rookie campaigns last year, Green-Beckham is expected to contribute immediately.
But head coach Ken Whisenhunt realizes that it may take a little time for the youngster to learn the ropes of the pro game.
“I don’t know when the comfort level with Dorial Green-Beckham is going to come, we’re still working through a couple of things with him,” Whisenhunt told the team’s website. “It’s obvious he’s a very talented young man and he did some good things for us [vs. the Rams].”
Kansas City doesn’t have a QB battle going like Tennessee, but starter Alex Smith has been outplayed by backup Chase Daniel all preseason. Daniel completed 8 of 12 passes against the Seattle Seahawks last week for 82 yards and a touchdown. Smith, meanwhile, was 11 of 18 for 81 yards, one TD, and one pick (which was returned for a touchdown).
Even if Smith continues to struggle in the preseason, though, don’t expect anything to come of it. Only if his woes carry into the regular season will the KC brass start to seriously consider replacing the 11-year vet.
In terms of betting this game, the Titans are getting a handful of points as the road team. If this were a regular season game, that would make sense. But Mettenberger and Mariota will both be motivated to play well and impress the coaching staff, while Smith and Daniel already know their respective roles for the year. Take the more motivated Titans at the points.
Pick: Titans +5.