Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans: 2020 AFC Wild Card Round Pick

Baltimore Ravens (11-5) at Tennessee Titans (11-5)

Both of these teams finished at 11-5 and qualified for the post-season, but they also both finished with negative schedule adjusted first down rate differentials, with the Titans ranking 21st at -0.91% and the Ravens ranking 25th at -1.64%. First down rate tends to be one of the most predictive metrics because it minimizes the impact of outlier plays and other metrics that aren’t predictive week-to-week, like turnover margins, missed field goals, narrow victories, return touchdowns, etc.

With the Titans, it’s easy to understand how they finished negative in schedule adjusted first down rate differential, despite their record. The Titans played one of the easiest schedules in the league and still needed to go 7-2 in games decided by one score or less in order to get to 11 wins. The Titans also benefited significantly from turnovers, leading the league with a +11 turnover margin, a very impactful, but largely non-predictive metric. Teams with turnover margin of +10 or better manage just a +0.05 turnover margin per game in the playoffs, so the Titans won’t be able to rely on that again this week. 

For the Ravens, the reasons they finished negative despite their record aren’t as immediately apparent as it is with the Titans. The Ravens did benefit from a below average schedule, but they are negative in first down rate differential even before schedule is taken into account (-0.58%) and they led the league with a +165 point differential, despite only having a +4 turnover margin, so they didn’t benefit from winning a high percentage of close games or from consistently winning the turnover battle.

Upon further analysis though, you can see that the Ravens played drastically better on 3rd and 4th down than they did on 1st and 2nd down, allowing them to lead the league in point differential despite a negative overall first down rate differential. The difference in their 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th down performance is enormous and it happens on both sides of the ball. On offense, the Ravens rank just 27th in first down conversion rate on 1st/2nd down, but 3rd on 3rd/4th down, while their defense ranks 28th on 1st/2nd down and 2nd on 3rd/4th down.

3rd and 4th down are more impactful downs, obviously, but how a team performs on 1st and 2nd down is much more predictive week-to-week and, likewise, there is little week-to-week or year-to-year correlation that suggests that teams can consistently exceed their 1st/2nd down performance on 3rd/4th down. In the long run, performance by down tends to even out. The Ravens were also really good on both sides of the ball on 3rd/4th down last season, but the key difference is they were really good on 1st/2nd down as well. 

In 2019, the Ravens’ offense ranked 1st in conversion rate on both 1st/2nd down and 3rd/4th down, while their defense ranked 4th on 1st/2nd down and actually “slipped” to 9th on 3rd/4th down. This year, the Ravens have struggled on early downs on both sides of the ball, but have greatly exceeded expectations on 3rd and 4th downs, which is unlikely to continue, especially against tougher competition. 

My roster rankings suggest the Ravens are better than their first down rate differential suggests, but even in my roster rankings the Ravens rank just 8th among qualifying playoff teams, so this is clearly not the dominant team they were last season. They have been hurt by expected regression from their defense, their offense being less novel, and the absence of arguably their most important three offensive players in 2019 aside from Lamar Jackson, with right guard Marshal Yanda retiring and left tackle Ronnie Stanley and tight end Nick Boyle getting hurt.

The Titans haven’t been a dominant team overall this season either, but the good news for them is their issues have been primarily concentrated on the defensive side of the ball, which is much less predictable and predictive than offense. The Titans have had one of the best offenses in the league overall, ranking 4th in first down rate over expected at +2.16%, but their defense has been one of the league’s worst, allowing a +3.06% first down rate over expected, 2nd worst in the NFL, which is why they’re negative in schedule adjusted first down rate differential. 

If the Titans’ defense be can even a little bit better than they’ve been and their offense can continue playing at the level they’ve played at, the Titans are going to be a tough team for anyone to face and the inherent unpredictability of defensive performance gives the Titans a much higher ceiling than how they’ve played so far this season. The Titans are dealing with injuries upfront with linebackers Jadeveon Clowney and Jayon Brown both out for the season, but their secondary got a boost when they acquired slot cornerback Desmond King from the Chargers at the trade deadline and they got a bigger boost when #1 cornerback Adoree Jackson returned from injury a few weeks ago. My roster rankings suggest they’re better on that side of the ball than they’ve performed thus far and it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see them be at least somewhat more capable on that side of the ball in the post-season.

The Ravens’ talent level and common sense suggest the Ravens aren’t the 25th best team in the league like they’ve ranked in schedule adjusted first down rate differential, but even on a talent basis I have these two teams about even, so we’re getting great line value with the Titans as more than a field goal underdog at home with at least some fans in the stands. In fact, my calculated line has the Titans favored by a field goal. The average bettor likely expects the Ravens’ 3rd and 4th down dominance and the Titans’ defensive woes to both continue, but history suggests that isn’t necessarily going to be the case, so let’s take advantage of that. I love the Titans this week and would make this my Pick of the Week if this was a normal week. 

Tennessee Titans 34 Baltimore Ravens 31 Upset Pick +160

Pick against the spread: Tennessee +3.5

Confidence: High

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans: 2020 Week 17 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (10-5) at Houston Texans (4-11)

I was hoping we would get the Titans at a discount this week after last week’s 40-14 loss in Green Bay. The Titans looked ugly in that game, losing the first down rate battle by 14.91%, but it’s likely they knew they could still win the division with a win over the lowly Texans this week and simply stopped trying once they got down multiple scores against the Packers in the snow. I expect a much better effort this week with the division on the line and their defense should be better than it was earlier in the season now that they have top cornerback Adoree Jackson back from injury. 

Unfortunately, we’re not getting that discount and, in fact, this line has soared from Tennessee -4.5 on the early line last week to Tennessee -7.5 this week. The Texans had an ugly result last week too, losing at home to the Bengals, and it seems that’s what the oddsmakers and public took more notice of. With that in mind, I’m actually going to take the Texans this week, albeit for a no confidence pick. Tennessee -7.5 is right where I have this line, but there’s a chance the Titans could choke with the division on the line, as teams with a winning percentage between 50% and 67% cover at just a 40.8% rate as favorites against teams with a sub-.500 winning percentage in weeks 16 or 17. 

That’s not enough to take the Texans with any confidence, as they’re one of the worst teams in the league, ranking 25th in my roster rankings, with key players missing on both sides of the ball (Will Fuller, Laremy Tunsil, Bradley Roby, Whitney Mercilus, Justin Reid, among others), while the Titans have the kind of dominant offense (6th in first down rate over expected at +2.02%) that correlates well with long-term success, but I would give the Texans the slight edge if you have to pick a side.

Tennessee Titans 31 Houston Texans 24

Pick against the spread: Houston +7.5

Confidence: None

Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers: 2020 Week 16 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (10-4) at Green Bay Packers (11-3)

These two teams are very similar. Both teams are worse than their record suggests in schedule adjusted first down rate differential, with the Titans ranking 15th at +0.57% and the Packers ranking 16th at +0.37%, but both teams have great offenses and primarily have issues on defense, which is the much more inconsistent side of the ball week-to-week. The chances that these two teams continue dominating on offense and improve on defense are much better than the chances of a team with a high ranked defense and a low ranked offense continuing to dominate on defense and improving on offense. On top of that, both teams rank much higher in my roster rankings than they do in schedule adjusted first down rate differential, both among the top teams in the league.

Despite the similarities of these two teams, the Packers are still favored by 3.5 points at home, even without the benefit of any fans in the stadium. The Packers have a slight edge in this game and have nominal homefield advantage, but they shouldn’t be favored by more than 1.5 points, so we’re getting significant line value at +3.5, especially since 1 in 4 games are decided by 3 points or less, including 1 in 6 games decided by exactly 3 points. This is only a small bet for now, but if the Packers end up being without talented center Corey Linsley for the 4th straight week and the line stays put, I will boost this to a high confidence pick.

Green Bay Packers 31 Tennessee Titans 30

Pick against the spread: Tennessee +3.5

Confidence: Medium

Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans: 2020 Week 15 NFL Pick

Detroit Lions (5-8) at Tennessee Titans (9-4)

This line has finally posted, favoring the Titans by 9 points at home over the Lions, with Matt Stafford expected to play through a rib injury. If Stafford was healthy and not at risk of an in-game setback, I would have been all over the Lions this week. For one, they’re in a better spot than the Titans, who have to turn around and play a much tougher game against the Packers next week. Favorites cover at just a 44.0% rate all-time when facing a team with a winning percentage less than 40% before facing a team with a winning percentage at least 30% higher than their current opponent. 

The Lions’ defense has been horrendous this season, ranking dead last in first down rate allowed over expected at +4.43%, but the Titans haven’t been much better, ranking 28th at +2.47%, and defensive performance is much more inconsistent week-to-week than offensive performance. The Titans obviously have the edge on offense, which they do over most teams, as they are one of the top teams in the league, ranking 3rd in first down rate over expected at +3.10%, but the Lions aren’t too far behind, ranking 8th at +1.73%. 

If Stafford was healthy, the Lions absolutely could have kept this shootout close and covered this spread. However, with him being less than 100% and possibly significantly less than 100%, it’s a much riskier play. In fact, if the Titans get cornerback Adoree Jackson back this week and guard Rodger Saffold plays through his questionable tag, I’m going to flip this pick to the Titans. For now, I’m taking the Lions for pick ‘em purposes, but this is one of my lowest confidence picks of the week.

Update: Saffold and Jackson are both playing, so I am switching my pick to Tennessee. I’m actually disappointed that Stafford won’t be missing this game because I would have loved to bet on the Titans if backup Chase Daniel was starting. This is as healthy as the Titans have been in a while, while the Lions are very banged up on both sides of the ball. For reference, my calculated line is currently Tennessee -10, but it would have been Tennessee -16 with Daniel under center.

Tennessee Titans 34 Detroit Lions 24

Pick against the spread: Tennessee -9

Confidence: None

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars: 2020 Week 14 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (8-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-11)

Coming into the season, most expected the Jaguars to be one of the worst teams in the league, if not the worst team. The Jaguars surprisingly made the AFC Championship game in 2017 led by probably the league’s best defense, but teams led by their defense typically don’t have much staying power, as defensive play is inconsistent year-to-year and keeping together talented defenses under the cap is very challenging long-term, so they missed the playoffs in 2018 and 2019 and opted to do a full teardown and rebuild this off-season, entering the season with probably the league’s worst roster on paper.

The Jaguars threw some people off the scent with their shocking week 1 victory over the Colts, but that looks like an obvious fluke in hindsight, with the Colts now sitting at 8-4 and the Jaguars having lost 11 straight games by an average of about 10 points per game. The Jets are winless and haven’t been competitive in most of their games and the Bengals are missing so many key players, so the Jaguars might not be the worst team in the league, but they aren’t much better, ranking 31st in schedule adjusted first down rate differential at -4.94%. 

The Jaguars’ struggles haven’t been concentrated on one side of the ball either, as they rank 27th in first down rate over expected and 29th in first down rate allowed over expected. Making matters worse, the Jaguars are missing key players due to injury on both sides of the ball right now, missing their top-2 offensive linemen Andrew Norwell and Brandon Linder, their top edge defender Josh Allen, and their top-2 cornerbacks CJ Henderson and DJ Hayden.

The Titans have been as bad, if not worse than the Jaguars defensively, ranking 31st in first down rate allowed over expected, but they have an obvious edge on offense, not just over the Jaguars, but over most teams in the league, as they rank 3rd in first down rate over expected. Offense is a much more consistent side of the ball than defense and if the Titans’ defense can be even passable going forward, that will be a big boost for a team that should continue being one of the best in the league on offense, especially with running back Derrick Henry getting into the part of the season where historically he’s been nearly impossible to contain. I have about 11 points of separation overall between these two teams (almost entirely due to the disparity in offensive performance), so we’re getting good value with the Titans as just 7-point favorites in Jacksonville (my calculated line is around Tennessee -9.5 or -10). 

The Titans are also in a much better spot, with only an easy home game against the Lions up next, while the Jaguars are playing back-to-back tough games, going to Baltimore next week. Underdogs of 6 or more are 23-69 ATS since 2010 before being underdogs of 6 or more again when their opponent will next be favorites and all three of those conditions should be true here. Given the schedule spot and the disparity between these two offenses, I have a hard time seeing the Jaguars keep this one close, so the Titans seem like an easy bet at -7.

Tennessee Titans 35 Jacksonville Jaguars 24

Pick against the spread: Tennessee -7

Confidence: High

Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans: 2020 Week 13 NFL Pick

Cleveland Browns (8-3) at Tennessee Titans (8-3)

I have bet heavily on the Titans in back-to-back weeks and they’ve come through both times, pulling straight up upsets in Baltimore and in Indianapolis. The Titans were an underrated team because the public was making too big of a deal of their defensive issues and not paying enough attention to their offensive prowess, probably not recognizing that offensive play is much more consistent and predictable on a week-to-week basis. Unfortunately, those back-to-back wins seem to have lost us all line value with the Titans, as they shot up from being 3-point favorites against the Browns on the early line last week to being 5.5-point favorites this week.

With that in mind, I actually like the Browns a little bit this week, as they are a little underrated for the same reason the Titans were, being a much better offensive team than defensive team. Their point differential (+39 vs. -21) is significantly worse than Tennessee’s, despite these two teams having the same record, and the Browns’ offense, which ranks 16th in first down rate over expected, is significantly behind the Titans 2nd ranked offense, but the Browns are more talented on offense than that would suggest, as they’ve gotten key players like stud running back Nick Chubb (4 games missed), talented right guard Wyatt Teller (3 games missed), and starting tight end Austin Hooper (2 games missed) back from injuries that cost them time earlier this season.

My roster rankings have the Titans about 2 points better than the Browns, suggesting this line should be calculated around Tennessee -3, giving the Titans minimal homefield advantage for having some fans in the stadium. There’s not enough here for the Browns to be worth betting at 5.5, especially since Tennessee is in a better spot, with only an easy trip to Jacksonville on deck, while the Browns will host the Ravens, but this line could move up to 6 and the Titans have a pair of key players in left guard Rodger Saffold and defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons that appear to be legitimately questionable for this game, so I wouldn’t role out betting the Browns under the right circumstances. If an update is necessary, it would likely happen around when the inactives are released unless we get more clarity on Saffold and Simmons on Saturday.

Tennessee Titans 31 Cleveland Browns 27

Pick against the spread: Cleveland +5.5

Confidence: Low

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts: 2020 Week 12 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (7-3) at Indianapolis Colts (7-3)

These two teams met just two and a half weeks ago in week 10 on Thursday Night Football, with the Colts winning 34-17. That final score looks somewhat lopsided, but it was a much closer game that suggests, as the Titans led with a 71.5% chance of winning with 4 minutes left in the third quarter, before a series of special teams snafus. The Titans also won the first down rate battle in the game by 3.99%, which lines up with how these two teams have played on the season, with the Titans faring slightly better, ranking 15th in schedule adjusted first down rate differential, while the Colts rank 16th. 

The Titans are also better suited to continue playing well going forward because they’re an offensive led team (3rd in schedule adjusted first down rate and 29th in schedule adjusted first down rate allowed), while the Colts are a defensive led team (22nd and 11th) and offense tends to be much more consistent and predictive going forward than defense. Both teams can compete with almost anyone if their weaker side of the ball has a middling performance, but the Titans’ offense is better than the Colts’ defense and it’s more likely that the Titans’ weaker side of the ball has a middling performance than the Colts’ because of the inherent randomness of defensive play, so the Titans have the higher upside of these two teams.

Despite that, the Titans are 3.5 point underdogs here in Indianapolis, likely because the general public looks at what happens when these two teams met two weeks ago in Tennessee and assumes the Colts will have no problem winning in Indianapolis. However, the Colts are highly unlikely to dominate special teams like they did in the first matchup and homefield advantage doesn’t matter much this year with limited fan attendance, so I like the Titans chances of keeping this one competitive, if not winning straight up.

The Titans have lost top linebacker Jayon Brown and top edge defender Jadeveon Clowney since the last matchup, but neither one played particularly well in the first matchup and the Colts will also be without stud defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, which is a massive loss, as well as fellow defensive starters linebacker Bobby Okereke and defensive tackle Denico Autry and starting center Ryan Kelly. I have the Titans a half point better in my roster rankings, suggesting the Colts should be favored by no more than a point with limited homefield advantage, but with the Titans’ vastly superior offensive prowess, there is also a good chance they can pull the upset straight up. Either way, I like their chances of covering the 3.5 a lot.

Update: It’s all good on the injury report for the Titans with Saffold and Jones both playing and center Ryan Kelly and running back Jonathan Taylor being ruled out for the Colts. If I didn’t like the Buccaneers so much this week, this would be my Pick of the Week.

Tennessee Titans 26 Indianapolis Colts 24 Upset Pick +150

Pick against the spread: Tennessee +3.5

Confidence: High

Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens: 2020 Week 11 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (6-3) at Baltimore Ravens (6-3)

The Ravens opened as 7-point favorites in New England last week, which immediately stood out to me as too high, but I understood it. The Patriots were just 3-5 and coming off of a near loss to the Jets, while the Ravens were 6-2 and hadn’t been exposed by all of their injury absences. However, after the Ravens lost that game straight up and lost another key player to injury in Nick Boyle, I thought we’d see a significant swing on this line, after it was favoring Baltimore by a touchdown over the Titans a week ago, but the line only shifted down one point to 6. Some of that could be due to the Titans’ losing 34-17 at home to the Colts, but the Colts are a quality team and the Titans led that one in the third quarter before special teams snafus and they finished the game positive in first down rate differential at 3.99%.

The Ravens were #1 offensively pretty much across the board in 2019, but they have fallen all the way to 28th in first down rate over expected this season. My roster rankings suggest they have underachieved compared to their talent level, which means they could easily be better in first down rate going forward, but even my roster rankings have this as a middling offense, as this is simply not the same offense as last year due to personnel losses, so even if they improve, they’ll be a far cry from last season’s team.

Already down stud right guard Marshal Yanda due to retirement, the Ravens lost their other stud offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley back in week 8 and then last week they lost Boyle, who is probably the best run blocking tight end in the league and a huge part of what this run heavy offense does. Boyle is legitimately a sixth offensive lineman as a run blocker, but he’s also reliable enough as a pass catcher to hurt you on play action, which made him such a valuable chess piece for this offense. This offense already hasn’t been catching teams off guard like it did last year and now down probably their best three blockers, it’s going to be so much tougher for this offense to execute the way they want to. I wouldn’t expect them to be more than a middling offense at best going forward.

The Ravens’ defensive play has remained above average, ranking 10th in first down rate allowed over expected, after ranking 7th last season, but this isn’t quite the same unit right now that they’ve had for most of the season. Cornerback Jimmy Smith may return from a 1-game absence this week, but they’ll be without starting defensive lineman Brandon Williams and, more importantly, top defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who was sorely missed against New England and will miss his second straight game this week. Defense is less predictable on a week-to-week basis than offense to begin with, but with the Ravens missing key players, it could be tough for them to avoid a regression on defense. 

The Ravens aren’t a bad team, but they’re not the kind of team that should be laying significant points against a capable opponent like the Patriots and, even more so, like their opponents this week in the Tennessee Titans. If the Ravens being favored by a touchdown against the Patriots was too much, then them being favored by 6 points against the Titans is way too much. This game is in Baltimore rather than New England, but with neither stadium allowing fans that barely matters.

The Titans have just a +14 point differential on the season, are 6-3 on the strength of a 4-1 record in games decided by one score, and rank just 19th in schedule adjusted first down rate differential, but the good news is their offense has played very well, which is the more consistent side of the ball, while their defense has struggled. The Titans rank 5th in first down rate over expected at 2.48%, but just 29th in first down rate allowed over expected at 2.58%. If their defense can be even somewhat improved going forward and their offense continues to play at a high level, this is a team that could be very tough for anyone to play, like they were down the stretch last season.

I liked the Titans more earlier in the week, before their injury reports, as they will be without key players on both sides of the ball. Left tackle Taylor Lewan (5th game missed) is out for the season, but top cornerback Adoree Jackson had a shot to make his season debut this week, while edge defender Jadeveon Clowney (2nd game missed), slot receiver Adam Humphries (4th game missed), left guard Rodger Saffold (1st game missed), and possibly center Ben Jones (would be his first game missed) will be out as well. 

Even with those key players missing though, I still have the Titans slightly ahead in my roster rankings, so getting a full six points with them is a great value, especially with the Ravens being in a tough spot with another tough game against the Steelers on Thursday Night Football on deck. Favorites of a field goal or more cover at just a 43% rate all-time, which will make things even tougher for the Ravens this week. My calculated line is even, so even with the Titans’ injury situation, I like them enough to be my Pick of the Week.

Update: It doesn’t change anything since the Titans are already my Pick of the Week, but it’s good to know that Tennessee will have Ben Jones available for this one.

Tennessee Titans 24 Baltimore Ravens 23 Upset Pick +235

Pick against the spread: Tennessee +6

Confidence: Pick of the Week

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans: 2020 Week 10 NFL Pick

Indianapolis Colts (5-3) at Tennessee Titans (6-2)

This one is a tough call. The Colts have been better overall this season, ranking 8th in schedule adjusted first down rate differential at +1.75%, while the Titans rank 21st at -0.54%, but the Titans have been a much better offensive team than the Colts, which is important because offense is a much more predictable side of the ball. The Colts have a big edge on defense, ranking 8th in first down rate allowed over expected at -3.06%, as compared to 21st at +1.61% for the Titans, but, if the Colts regress defensively, it would really expose their offense, which ranks 24th in first down rate over expected at -1.31%. The Titans, meanwhile, rank 11th in first down rate over expected at +1.07% and could easily be better defensively going forward, especially after acquiring slot cornerback Desmond King from the Chargers, one of the best players at his position in the league. They will also get edge defender Jadeveon Clowney back from a one-game absence this week.

Ordinarily, I would take a team like the Titans’ at home as small favorites against a team like the Colts that has struggled offensively, but my roster rankings have the Colts’ offense much higher than their performance so far, in large part due to their dominant offensive line. That suggests the Colts have underachieved offensively and could be improved going forward. In fact, in my roster rankings, these two teams are about even overall, suggesting this line is right about where it should be. I’m taking the Titans, but mostly only because the home team winning by a field goal is the most likely outcome in a tight matchup like this. This is one of my lowest confidence picks of the week.

Tennessee Titans 27 Indianapolis Colts 24

Pick against the spread: Tennessee -1.5

Confidence: None

Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans: 2020 Week 9 NFL Pick

Chicago Bears (5-3) at Tennessee Titans (5-2)

Both of these teams have impressive records that get less impressive when you look at the box scores. The Bears’ five wins have all come by one score, including four games that all came down to the final score and a pair of nearly impossible comebacks. The Titans, meanwhile, have not faced a tough schedule, but have still had to walk the tightrope this season, winning their first 3 games by a combined 6 points and winning a fourth game in overtime.

However, there is plenty of reason to expect the Titans to be the significantly better team going forward. One is simply that, even though the Titans have been unimpressive in the box scores, they’ve still significantly outplayed the Bears overall this season. They won the first down rate battle by 6.99% in their week 5 blowout victory over the Bills, by far more impressive than any of the Bears’ games this season, and last week they won the first down rate battle by 5.87% even in a loss to the Bengals, losing that game primarily because they lost the turnover battle and allowed a ridiculous 11 of 16 on 3rd and 4th down, two things that are very inconsistent week-to-week. The Bears, meanwhile, were down 21 and 16 in the 4th quarter of two of their losses and rank just 26th in schedule adjusted first down rate differential at -1.95%, while the Titans rank 15th at +0.53%. 

On top of that, the Titans are in much better shape going forward because they’re an offensive led team, while the Bears are a defensive led team. Offense is by far the more predictable side of the ball and the Titans rank 6th in first down rate over expected at +2.43%, while the Bears rank 30th at -3.67% and are arguably even worse than that suggests, missing a trio of starting offensive linemen in James Daniels (4th game missed), Cody Whitehair (2nd game missed), and Bobby Massie (1st game missed). 

The Titans have to play another game in 4 days after this one, facing the Colts on Thursday Night Football, and favorites cover at just a 43.8% rate all-time before Thursday Night Football, which limits the amount I like Tennessee as 6.5 point favorites, but the Bears will need to continue being significantly better on defense for this game to be close and that’s far from a given. 

That becomes more likely if the Titans are missing key personnel on defense in this game and edge defense Jadeveon Clowney is a gametime decision after not practicing all week, but even if he doesn’t play, the Titans could offset his absence by getting top cornerback Adoree Jackson back for the first time all season. If one of those two play and this line doesn’t increase, I will bet the Titans and if both play, this could be a big Tennessee bet. For now this is a low confidence pick, but I will likely have an update this weekend, probably after Saturday afternoon, when Jackson’s status will need to be decided.

Tennessee Titans 26 Chicago Bears 17

Pick against the spread: Tennessee -6.5

Confidence: Low