New York Giants (0-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-0)
The Titans finished last season at 12-5, with the AFC’s best record and #1 seed by virtue of tiebreakers, but they ranked just 19th in team efficiency, benefiting from a 6-2 record in one-score games and a +4 return touchdown margin, two things that would be tough to maintain long-term. They especially struggled without AJ Brown last season, which is a problem because they traded him this off-season and, while they have Robert Woods and Treylon Burks to replace him, they still figure to miss Brown significantly.
On top of that, they lost a pair of starting offensive linemen and, while Derrick Henry will probably be healthier this season, he figures to not be nearly as productive as he’s been in the past, given his age, workload, and the declining talent and blocking around him on this offense. They’ll also be without top edge defender Harold Landry, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. If the Titans had just brought back last year’s exact team, they would be unlikely to match last year’s 12 wins, given that they benefited from things statistically they won’t be able to rely on going forward, but the Titans are also noticeably less talented on paper than a year ago, so they could easily be worse in efficiency this season than the 19th ranked finished they had last season, which would make them significantly below average.
The Titans are favored here by 5.5 points, which might seem like a lot of points for a team that I just described as below average, but the Giants might be one of the few teams that deserves to be underdogs of this many points in Tennessee, especially with the Giants missing their top two edge defenders Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux with injury. We’re still getting a tiny bit of line value with the Giants according to my calculated line, but not nearly enough to take them with any confidence. This is one of my lowest confidence picks of the week.
Tennessee Titans 22 New York Giants 17
Pick against the spread: NY Giants +5.5