Two top defenses face off Monday night as the Titans take on the Cowboys. The Cowboys lead the all time series 8-6, and the 2 have split their last 2 matchups.
The Titans are coming off a bye, but have lost 3 straight. In week 5, they lost 13-12 to the Bills, lost 21-0 in week 6 to the Ravens, and lost 19-20 to the Chargers in week 7.
The Cowboys are coming off a bye as well. In week 5, they lost 19-16 to the Texans, beat the Jaguars 40-7 in week 6, and lost 20-17 to the Redskins in week 7.
BetOnline has the Cowboys as 6 point favourites and the O/U is set at 41.
The Titans offensive struggles are well documented at this point, scoring over 20 points just once this season. Marcus Mariota deserves a large part of the blame, as he is averaging just under 7 yards per attempt on 150 attempts and owns a 3-5 TD to INT ratio. Of players with 150 or more dropbacks, Mariota is second to last in yards with 1030, and TDs with 3, ahead of only Josh Allen in both categories.
Corey Davis leads the team in receiving with 30 catches for 395 yards and a TD, while Tajae Sharpe has 16 catches for 222 yards and a TD, and Taywan Taylor has 19 catches for 190 yards and a TD. While many hyped up the running back duo of Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry coming into the year, neither has lived up to the hype. Both are averaging less than 4 yards per carry, and have combined for just 550 yards and 2 TDs on the ground.
Jurell Casey is quietly putting together an excellent season. He has 4 sacks and 21 total pressures, but has been an absolute dog in the run game, forcing 2 fumbles and stopping opposing runners at the line 22 times. Malcolm Butler has been a liability in coverage, allowing 5 TDs and is allowing a reception once every 7.5 snaps, 4th worst in the league among players with 180+ coverage snaps.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
WR Corey Davis (knee) – questionable
G Josh Kline (undisclosed) – questionable
EDGE Derrick Morgan (shoulder) – questionable
While Tennessee’s offense is nothing to write home about, the Cowboys are nothing special themselves. Dak Prescott is limited throwing down the field, and is quick to drop his eyes to focus on the pass rush. Prescott is averaging 6.9 yards per attempt while completing just over 60 percent of his passes for 1417 yards and a 8-4 TD to INT ratio. Cole Beasley leads the team in receptions (33), targets (42), yards (350), and TDs (2). While not gamebreaking, the other receivers have not been liabilities as Allen Hurns (13/158/1), Geoff Swaim (22/205/1), and Michael Gallup (10/190/1) have all started to play better as of late. Amari Cooper will also suit up this week, and should instantly slot in as Dak’s #1 option. Zeke Elliot continues to be the driving force of the offense, rushing 132 times for 619 yards and 3 TDs, and catching 25 balls for 175 yards and a TD.
Demarcus Lawrence leads the team with 29 pressures and 6 sacks. Byron Jones has become a lockdown corner, and has allowed just 13 catches for 140 yards and no touchdowns this season. Leighton Vander Esch has been solid as a rookie, recording 22 tackles for a stop, and allowing just 7.4 yards per reception.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
G Zack Martin (knee) – questionable
DT David Irving (ankle) – questionable
TE Geoff Swaim (knee) – questionable
You’re looking at 2 of the best defenses, yet worst offenses in the league in this game. What that means in todays NFL is hard to quantify as the game continues to evolve into a high volume passing explosion. The Titans are going to find it hard to move the ball
against a staunch Dallas defense that has high level talent at all 3 levels. Marcus Mariota has struggled under pressure this season, and could be under a fair amount this game.
The Dallas offense has been underwhelming to say the least, and they have really struggled to throw the ball with consistency. I think the addition of Amari Cooper will provide some big plays, but is too high variance to swing a game either direction. While Tennessee is average by the numbers against the run, they have the playmakers and size up front to make life hard for Zeke Elliott. I’m expecting a dog fight of a football game with the Cowboys coming away with the W, but 6 points is a bit rich for me for a team that can’t put up points like the rest of the league. We will take the Titans to cover on the road in a low scoring affair.
Final Pick: Titans (+6)