Tennessee Titans (3-10) at New England Patriots (11-2)
The Titans rank just 26th in rate of moving the chains differential, but have been pretty solid offensively, outside of the 2 games that talented rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota missed with injury. In those 2 games, they moved the chains at a 53.57% rate, as opposed to 72.78% in Mariota’s 11 starts. The Titans have more injuries around the quarterback now than they’ve had all season though. Cornerback Jason McCourty obviously remains out for the season and wide receiver Kendall Wright, safety Da’Norris Searcy, and wide receiver Kendall Wright are all out as well, all key contributors.
The Patriots are pretty banged up too though. Getting tight end Rob Gronkowski back from injury last week was huge and linebacker Dont’a Hightower and guard Josh Kline are expected back this week from 2 and 1 game absences respectively, but offensive tackle Nate Solder and running back Dion Lewis are out for the season, with running back LeGarrette Blount and defensive tackle Dominique Easley joining them after going down last week. Also going down last week was safety Devin McCourty, who is expected to miss this game with a high ankle sprain. On top of that, Julian Edelman will miss his 5th straight game with a foot injury. This line is probably too high at 14.
The Lions are helped by the fact that they are in their 2nd of two road games though. Teams are 126-91 ATS as road underdogs off a road loss since 2008, including 103-63 ATS when it’s their 2nd of 2 road games. Historically, teams cover at about a 65% rate in that situation. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 222-222 straight up in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.45 points per game, as opposed to 317-433 straight up in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 2.75 points per game. There’s not quite enough here for me to put money on the Titans, but they should be able to keep this one within 2 touchdowns.
New England Patriots 31 Tennessee Titans 20
Pick against the spread: Tennessee +14