Atlanta Falcons (5-1) at Tennessee Titans (1-4)
On paper, this line is too high at 6.5. The Falcons are good, a 5-1 team that ranks 8th in rate of moving the chains differential. They’re coming off of a loss in New Orleans last week, but now they’re in their 2nd straight road game, which helps, and Matt Ryan is 25-12 ATS off of a loss in his career. The Titans, however, despite their record, actually rank 11th in that stat. They got blown out by the Dolphins at home last week, but they also blew out the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay week 1, lost by a combined 3 points to Buffalo and Indianapolis, and were a few plays away from a much different game in Cleveland.
However, they also hadn’t had many injuries until now. Not only is Perrish Cox, a talented starting cornerback, out for this one, quarterback Marcus Mariota is also out, obviously a huge loss. Zach Mettenberger is starting in his absence. Mettenberg flashed as a 6th round rookie last year, but ultimately showed why he fell so far in the draft, which is the reason Mariota was drafted 2nd overall. He’s got some nice tools, but he’s a backup caliber quarterback and a significant downgrade from Mariota.
The Falcons, meanwhile, have no notable injuries. They also don’t have an upcoming distraction, hosting the Buccaneers next week, in game in which they are expected to be 8 point favorites. Big favorites tend to cover before being big favorites again, as 6+ point favorites are 109-67 ATS since 2010 before being 6+ point favorites again. This makes sense, as good teams tend to take care of their business pretty easily when they don’t have any upcoming distractions. I’m hesitant to put money on the Falcons as favorites of quite this many, especially with the public all over them, but they should be the right side.
Atlanta Falcons 27 Tennessee Titans 17
Pick against the spread: Tennessee -6.5