Bears drive daggers into NFL Preseason bettors hearts with meaningless TD is an independent sports news and information service. has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

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With the clock about to slip inside 10 seconds, Connor Shaw dove head-first to get a first down on 4th-and-10, extending a drive that had no business being extended by sacrificing his body to gain 11 yards at New England in the closing seconds of a game most would describe as “meaningless.”

The Bears had already picked up one fourth-down conversion on the drive, the final one in a 22-13 game that the Patriots backups gained control of after Chicago won the first quarter 11-0. In that sense, they were already feeling good about themselves, which made what happened at the end greedy.

Chicago called timeout following the Shaw scramble, set up a short out route to get closer for the final play with four seconds left and scored when Shaw hit converted quarterback B.J. Daniels on a 22-yard heave that was placed perfectly enough that it made two defenders look bad.

The play didn’t make the initial AP recap, which covered Tom Brady’s absence, Jimmy Garoppolo’s work and Jay Cutler’s improvement from the preseason opener. For bettors, the swing meant just as much as Malcolm Butler’s pick of Russell Wilson in Super Bowl XLIX. New England laying three, or Chicago plus-3 if you’re feeling blessed, was decided by Shaw finding rookie Darrin Peterson for a 2-point conversion with no time on the clock.

UNDER bettors were also toast, as the OVER came in on the final touchdown. One day, that type of bad beat will be the lead of every game recap distributed around the world, but we’re still at the point where people will admonish you and say “you shouldn’t bet on the preseason.”

And miss this?

Over the next two decades, I expect we’ll see references to the line and total continue to gain acceptance as a significant part of the action. It’s inevitable. Ironically, the fact the NFL continues to turn its nose up at the impact wagering has on its product while embracing fantasy is moronic since it makes the preseason far more watchable.

Here’s a look at Thursday and Friday’s games in Week 3 of the NFL exhibition schedule, the one that matters most since it’s utilized as a dress rehearsal and typically features starters working into the second half:

Falcons at Dolphins: Pressure for Ryan Tannehill to finally get it this year leaves first-year coach Adam Gase with no real grace period. Thus far, Miami has looked rough in the red zone and it comes off a blowout loss at Dallas that had few bright spots. We could see boos early at the newly-renamed Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida. The Falcons are 2-0 thus far and will unleash Matt Ryan for at least a half.

Cowboys at Seahawks: Rookie Dak Prescott has been the preseason’s breakout star, so it will be fun to see how he fares up in Seattle, where the 12th Man will be in midseason form with Dallas in town. Russell Wilson has gotten in a nice amount of work over the first two games, but it’s an important test for TCU’s Trevone Boykin. The rookie faces his hometown team hoping to keep Seattle for looking elsewhere for a veteran backup quarterback.

Patriots at Panthers: Brady was excused from Monday’s practice due to a personal issue, so don’t hold your breath on seeing him here either. Rob Gronkowski’s last preseason game came in 2012, so this one will be heavy on Carolina starters against New England backups. Garoppolo may get a full three quarters, although Bill Belichick is liable to give rookie Jacoby Brissett an extended look since he tends to march to his own drum this time of year.

Bills at Redskins: After taking last week’s game off Kirk Cousins is expected to play into the third quarter here. Buffalo has been besieged by injuries this offseason, but comes off a 21-0 win over the Giants and typically pulls no punches defensively in any preseason game, much less the third one.

Browns at Bucs: Robert Griffin III has done some really nice things this preseason, hitting big plays and showing it is possible for him to slide early enough to avoid unnecessary contact. The Bucs are debuting at home this preseason and are 7-23 at Raymond James Stadium over the past three years including exhibitions.

Steelers at Saints: Ben Roethlisberger has yet to play this preseason but will get his first taste of action in New Orleans. The Saints have lost a pair of road games thus far, so they’ll be looking for improvement against a Pittsburgh squad that went 0-2 at home over the first two weeks, getting shut out by Philadelphia last Friday.

Packers at 49ers: Aaron Rodgers opened the week taking all the snaps with the rest of the starters, which means it’s likely he’ll line up under center for the first time since last year’s playoff loss at Arizona. Blaine Gabbert has built a nice lead on Colin Kaepernick in the race to start at QB for San Francisco, but Chip Kelly is expected to get his first look at Kap in game action here. He’s been resting a “dead arm” thus far.


About the Author
Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia has been a national writer for nearly two decades and has covered NBA and college basketball as a columnist, analyst, handicapper, and bracketologist for CBS Sports, Pro Basketball News, and numerous other sites.

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