Status quo holds in final week of preseason

AP

If you like predictability, the final week of the NFL preseason is made for you.

With the regular season beginning the following week, teams usually elect to frequently play backups in the final preseason tune-up. The games regularly pit lineups composed of players trying to make clubs.

There’s something else that can add to the predictability of the final week of the preseason: clubs schedule their own opponents.

This has led to certain teams facing off year after year in the final week of the summer slate. One example: Chicago and Cleveland will meet in the final preseason game for the 10th consecutive year, as the Bears’ Twitter account noted Wednesday.

Chicago and Cleveland aren’t the only teams once again pairing off in the final week. Indeed, the last week of the preseason predominately features the same matchups as a season ago, with 13 of the 16 games pitting the same teams that met in the preseason finale in 2012. Only the Dolphins, Cowboys, Saints, Titans, Vikings and Texans will play different teams in their preseason finales.

Other clubs who have routinely met in the final preseason week are the Patriots and Giants, the Colts and Bengals and the Panthers and Steelers. And yes, all of these matchups occur again in late August. It’s logical to suspect geography could lend itself to these annual meetings; the proximity of Chicago and Cleveland has been a factor in Browns-Bears becoming a late-summer staple, as ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi pointed out last year.