After a pretty successful Week 3 going 3-1, I’ll be looking for similar success to close out what always seems like far too long of a pre-season schedule. Unlike Week 3 which can be considered a dress rehearsal for Week 1 of the regular season, Week 4 is essentially the polar opposite. Back-ups rule the day in Week 4 with the majority of first-teamers resting up, healing wounds, and preparing for the games that matter. However there is obviously still money to be made and that’s what’ll be focused on here as the Vikings travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans. The key in Week 4 is isolating organizational depth and particularly looking at the strength of those second and third-string quarterbacks. There could be a disparity here so read on below for a game breakdown and another official pre-season selection for this contest.
Vikings vs. Titans Betting Odds:
Minnesota Vikings +2 (-110)
@ Tennessee Titans -2 (-110)
Over 38.5 (-110)
Under 38.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Vikings vs. Titans Pick:
Truthfully it seems as if the Vikings and the majority of their first-team players have nothing left to prove this pre-season. They have firmly established this August that they are a legitimate team on the rise and are definite darkhorses in the NFC North division. They enter Thursday’s contest as a 4-0 pre-season team and as a result head coach Mike Zimmer is slated to give the majority of his top stars the night off. At most, you’ll see the likes of Bridgewater and Mike Wallace for a series or two.
The biggest focus for the Vikings is the developing story of whether or not undrafted rookie Taylor Heinicke can crack the team as the 3rd-string QB. He’s fared quite well so far in the pre-season and a solid finish to the exhibition season could land him a roster spot. That said, despite the fact Heinicke has done alright thus far, the fact that he’s the central focus around Minnesota’s gameplan against the Titans should not bode well for them.
Meanwhile for Tennessee, they’ve got a few more desirable depth players in their arsenal that should tilt the balance of this match-up in their favour. The focus has to be on the 2nd overall draft pick from this spring, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. He has been a mixed bag so far this pre-season but is firmly established as the starter regardless of his performance. Even though he’s scheduled in for Week 1, it’s believed the highly talented rookie will still get some solid game action Thursday evening to further build his confidence and comfort before his regular season debut.
One area where the Vikes have seemed a tad vulnerable so far this pre-season has been in their secondary. They’ve struggled a bit and there’s no denying the fact that the Titans have a ton of young talent at skills positions within their offense. Look no further than Dorial Green-Beckham as someone looking to have a breakout performance in his final pre-season tune-up. DGB is still quite raw, but should be able to feast on a depleted Minnesota secondary as the youngster looks to make his way up the depth chart.
Ultimately, I feel that the Titans will put a much higher emphasis on success in this contest opposed to the Vikings. Minnesota is keen to rely solely on the efforts of their third-stringer, while the Titans will go with Mariota and the tested Zach Mettenberger as a back-up. Tennessee also has a plethora of young talent still eager to make impressions at the professional level. Together this should add up to an impressive home outing from the Titans, en route to an easy win at a minimal spread.
PICK = Titans -2 (-110)