Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars: 2014 Week 16 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (2-11) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11)

This is the worst game of the year. Both of these two teams rank in the bottom-3 in rate of moving the chains differential and have for most of the season. This is the only game this year between two teams that bad. And thanks to the NFL’s rule that everyone get a primetime game, we have to watch this game instead of one of the 14 games that features at least one team still mathematically alive in the playoff race.

Believe it or not, one of these teams is actually better than the other one. Jacksonville is noticeably, but though not really significantly better than the Titans. The Jaguars rank 30th, moving the chains at a 64.76% rate, as opposed to 72.69% for their opponents, a differential of -7.92%, while the Titans rank 31st, moving the chains at a 66.15% rate, as opposed to 75.47% for their opponents, a differential of -9.32% that is over a percentage point worse than Jacksonville’s. Despite that, this line says these two teams are even, so we’re getting a little bit of line value with the Jaguars.

However, I’m not taking the Jaguars, because they’re in a horrible spot. They have to go to Houston next week where they will be road underdogs. Divisional home favorites are 20-53 ATS since 2002 before being divisional road underdogs, which is one of the most powerful trends there is. Meanwhile, Tennessee is on an 8 game losing streak (last winning week 6 against these Jaguars). Teams tend to cover on long losing streaks, going 64-40 ATS since 1989 off of 8+ straight losses.

It might seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense when you think about it as teams are often overlooked, undervalued, and embarrassed in that spot. They’re not undervalued, but they could be overlooked and embarrassed. I’m not confident in the Titans though because they’re in a bad spot with a home game with the Colts on deck. Teams are 64-98 ATS since 2012 before being 3+ home underdogs, including 34-69 ATS before being 4+ home underdogs, and 12-25 ATS before being 7+ home underdogs. The Titans seem like the right side though.

Jacksonville Jaguars 17 Tennessee Titans 16

Pick against the spread: Tennessee +3

Confidence: Low

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