It’s Week 4 of the NFL preseason, with all 32 teams playing tonight. But there’s an empty feel to it. Many of the teams will not even suit up their first-stringers, opting instead to give them one last week off before the NFL’s regular season kicks off next week.
The Minnesota Vikings, who have struggled offensively throughout the preseason, are not expected to use starting quarterback Christian Ponder tonight against the Tennessee Titans.
But there are a few NFL games worth keeping an eye on if you’re a hardcore football fan watching NFL Network nonstop this time of year.
Here are a few matchups I’ll be tracking:
- Detroit at Buffalo: The Buffalo Bills have endured a few injuries at the quarterback position. Rookie first-round pick E.J. Manuel is out for tonight and may not be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. Backup QB Kevin Kolb sustained another concussion last week. That leaves undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel and recently signed veteran QB – and acclaimed ballroom dancer – Matt Leinart battling for the starting job for Week 1. Both will play tonight.
- Cleveland at Chicago: The Vikings’ NFC North rival Chicago Bears were apparently so distressed by backup Josh McCown’s play in the preseason that they signed Trent Edwards and Jordan Palmer in back-to-back days two weeks ago. Considering how poor the Bears’ line is, Jay Cutler’s chances of playing all 16 regular-season games are never good. Edwards and Palmer could be battling tonight for first in line to replace him.
- Oakland at Seattle: The Matt Flynn Bowl gets underway in Seattle tonight. Flynn, who was expected to be the starter in Oakland this season, will watch injured from the sidelines as Terrelle Pryor has the chance to lock up the starting QB job for the Raiders. This was very similar to a year ago in Seattle, when Flynn – then with the Seahawks – lost his job to Russell Wilson. Pryor will play tonight, albeit against the backup Seahawks.