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NFL Preseason – The Winners and Losers

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Aug/24/2021

The NFL's second preseason – dubbed "hump week" given that the league has trimmed its exhibition schedule to three games – is nearly over, with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints preparing to square off in the Caesars Superdome for the 2021 premiere of "Monday Night Football." 

However, with the regular season starting in less than three weeks, the 15 games played over the last four days continued to reveal new insight on both individuals and teams. There are deductions to make before betting on NFL, based on the games played over that period. 

Your winners and losers... from the most recent round of games that don't count in the standings but matter a lot to a lot of people:

WINNERS 

Ben Roethlisberger: In his first game played under new offensive coordinator Matt Canada, he completed two touchdown passes and had a perfect 158.3 QB rating (8-for-10, 137 yards). Following last year's late-season difficulties and wild-card elimination, expectations for Big Ben, 39, who is approaching the last year of his contract, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been relatively low. But, despite the fact that it came against the Detroit Lions on Saturday, the defending AFC North winners' attitude should be reconsidered. 

Indianapolis Colts: They won their first two preseason games, putting the spotlight on backup quarterbacks Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger. All of that is well and dandy, but it pales in comparison to the news that O-line mainstays Quenton Nelson (foot surgery) and Ryan Kelly (elbow surgery) are scheduled to practice this week... along with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who appears to be on the mend following his own foot surgery. There appears to be a lot of good fortune in the Horseshoe right now. 

Mitchell Trubisky: Has the Chicago Bears' choice to let the No. 2 selection in the 2017 draft leave in free agency been vindicated by the Buffalo Bills' backup quarterback?  On Saturday, he put in one of his most memorable games at Soldier Field, which explains why he no longer considers it home, leading his new club to a 34-6 halftime lead over his previous one while throwing for 221 yards and a touchdown.  

LOSERS  

Angelenos: Despite the fact that Inglewood, California, is awash with NFL action, these unfortunate souls are forced to watch the Rams and Chargers... who refuse to play their starters until September. 

The supporting cast of Zach Wilson: Otherwise, the Jets have had a difficult week after promising pass rusher Carl Lawson suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during a joint practice with the Packers last week. Another of New York's free agent signings, LB Jarrad Davis, was carried off with an ankle injury on Saturday, as was backup OL Conor McDermott (knee). 

Ja'Marr Chase: In two preseason games, the Bengals rookie looked to come up short as Washington S Landon Collins sized him up. Chase, who won the 2019 Biletnikoff Award while playing alongside Joe Burrow at LSU, opted out of the 2020 season and might be rusty, not to mention the fact that he's considerably more used to Burrow's ball than Cincinnati backup Brandon Allen's. Even still, the Bengals and their supporters aren't without patience, especially given the guys that were passed over in favour of Chase.

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