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Friday, November 1, 2013

NFL Predictions 2013 Week 9: Titans vs Rams

Tennessee Titans vs St Louis Rams: TEN -2.5 (-120) (5Dimes)

Market Watch

This line is a head-scratcher to me. A week ago it was -3 in the look-ahead line at LVH.  After the Rams finished up Week 8, the books still had the line at -3 on Tuesday morning. Some sportsbooks even had it at -2.5.

As of Friday, the line sits at -2.75. If you like the Rams you can grab them at +3 at square shops or with some extra juice at the sharp books. Likewise, you can take the Titans at -2.5 for extra juice.

The confusing aspect here is just how much the Rams are being respected in this spot. They played well above their heads on national TV against what most consider the best team in the NFC. The defense was outstanding and Kellen Clemens overcame his interceptions.  I see decent value in the current line, as I have this one at -4 at minimum.

69% of bets are on the Titans.

What to look for

I'll start this by saying I've never been a fan of Jake Locker. Even before his injury and he was showing signs of improvement, I still held serious reservations about him. With that in mind, I always get a bit nervous backing the Titans when he is under center.

Thankfully, he won't have to be the deciding factor for the Titans to win and cover this game. The Titans defense should be able to do that for them.

But let's stick with Tennessee's offense for a moment. The run game just hasn't been there all year. Perhaps they get a bit more production with Greene expected to get more reps, but the Rams have a respectable unit against the run.

In the air, the Rams are vulnerable. They are far too aggressive on the back end and rank near the bottom of the league in pass defense. Their only hope (like we saw on MNF), is that their pass rush dominates the line of scrimmage and forces teams to get the ball out before they want to.

That is a possibility in this game because the Titans attempts to revamp the OL is a mixed bag. The interior is much better, but the outside tackles haven't been as consistent as last year.

That said, I do expect Locker to be better now that he has a week under his belt after the injury, and the entire offense should get a bump as a result.

What I'm not optimistic about is the Rams offense. Kellen Clemens is a third string QB and one could argue he doesn't even belong on a roster anymore. Now that he's had his moment in the spotlight, it's time for him to come crashing back down to earth. The Titans pass defense is a top 10 group this year and the defense as a whole has been fantastic on third down.

There's not a lot of names that jump off the page for the Titans D, but Alterraun Verner is the MVP and the guy to watch.

If the Rams do anything on offense, it will go through Zac Stacy. I realize Cook and Fisher are facing their former teams, but Cook has been a big letdown as a receiver this year and he's also been a liability in run blocking.

Bottom Line

I don't understand this line at all. The Titans are clearly the better team and I think they would win this game even if Bradford was in the lineup. I'll roll with them in this game and fade Kellen Clemens and company.

NFL Pick: TEN -2.5.
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