8:20 PM EST
Titans ML over Jags (2u)
Out of all of the games this week, this is the game where my power ratings have the biggest discrepancy against the Vegas line. I have the Titans lined at -5 and that may be overly generous — Gardner Minshew is getting way too much respect in this one priced at anything under a field goal. Yes, Minshew has looked good in his first two games given the circumstances but both must be taken with a grain of salt. In Week 1 after replacing Foles his numbers look impressive (22/25, 275 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) but that was against the Chiefs (a bottom 3 defense) playing prevent for the majority of his snaps. Last week against the Texans (another bottom 5 defense) he was only able to lead the offense to one field goal through 50 minutes of play. This week he will be up to his toughest challenge yet, facing the Titans #3 ranked defense, on a short week of preparation, a tough ask for any QB let alone a sixth round rookie.
The Titans are a team who are very predictable once you learn their tendencies. Under Vrabel they have been very good at getting up for big games and beating the top teams in the league only to suffer a big let down the following week. This happened in all three instances last year when they beat playoff teams (Pats, Eagles, Cowboys) only to lose to a lesser opponent the following week. The Titans put a ton of emphasis on beating the Browns who were so overhyped in the offseason and beat them in humiliating fashion, then followed their tendency of letting down the following week, losing at home to the Colts. I was not surprised at all to see them lose last week, but all that did was get us a very cheap price to lay this week.
These two teams are not close, the Jags are a five win team from last year off to another disappointing 0-2 start. Their big free agent quarterback is out for the year and now are stuck with another mediocre starting quarterback. We saw this defense quit last year in a similar situation and despite their reputation they built two seasons ago, this is far, far from an elite defense. They were absolutely torched by the Chiefs in Week 1, blowing assignment after assignment, which is either a sign that the unit is poorly coached or they don’t like each other and have some major chemistry issues, neither of which are good and both of which are probably true. Now throw in the fact that Jalen Ramsey is trying to force a trade out of town, this is not a defense who I expect to show up tonight and play well against a Titans offense who has ran all over them in the previous 4 meetings.
Last week against an underrated Indy squad, Marcus Mariota struggled and the Titans went a dreadful 1 for 11 on third and fourth down tries, sealing their fate. The key is to get Derrick Henry rolling and although I doubt he has gashes them quite to the extent he did last year, he should have another big performance which will help open things up for Mariota downfield. The Titans will be fully focused coming in off their loss, falling to 1-2 would be very damaging to their playoff aspirations, and they have totally owned the Jags going 6-1 straight up against them in their last 7. Last year neither games were close, the Titans won the two meetings by a combined 39-15 score and in the offseason the Titans improved while the Jags got worse. The Jags offense had no success against this Titans defense and I don’t expect them to this year either. This Tennessee defense is one of the most underrated units in the entire league, I look for them to shut this Jags offense down, create some turnovers, and for the Titans to win this game. Typically I don’t like playing the road team on TNF which is the only reason this isn’t a bigger play, but being at home for the short week only truly becomes an advantage later in the season, TNF home teams in Weeks 2-5 are only 7-10 ATS the past 4 years, hardly an advantageous spot. Love getting the very cheap price on the Titan’s in this one in a game that is very winnable, in this pointspread range with very reasonable vig I prefer the moneyline wager just in case something crazy happens, take the Titans on the moneyline.
Bonus Play: I have been playing the first touchdown scorer for .2u for fun in the primetime games and have hit the last 2 (Ridley, Chubb). Tonight I am playing Delanie Walker, +1000.