This is why we make preseason NFL picks. It's yet another chance to fade Ken Whisenhunt and the Tennessee Titans this Sunday night when they host the St. Louis Rams.
I'm not sure what it is exactly about the Tennessee Titans that keeps me coming back. Every time I think they're on the verge of a breakthrough, the Titans burst into flames like a 1971 Ford Pinto. Then again, what was I doing putting my faith in Jake Locker and Michael Oher? Oh well. They had upside.
This year's Titans squad should be in much better shape at quarterback with Marcus Mariota, but the fact still remains: Tennessee head coach Ken Whisenhunt is 9-20-1 ATS in preseason action. The good times continued in Friday's 31-24 defeat at the claws of the Atlanta Falcons (–2.5 at home), and we're inclined to keep hitting that shiny red button this Sunday (8:00 p.m. ET, FOX) when the Titans come home to play the St. Louis Rams. The jolly, candy-like button.
Eight Arms to Hold You
Mariota coughed up the ball on each of his first two series in a Tennessee uniform, allowing the Falcons to take a 17-0 lead into the second quarter. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play? Mariota recovered well, connecting on his other seven pass attempts for 94 yards and leading a successful touchdown drive before hitting the showers.
The Titans managed to tie the game at 24-24 before giving up the winning TD in the fourth quarter, so we'd better not write these guys off just because of Whisenhunt's record. Back-up QBs Zach Mettenberger, Charlie Whitehurst and Alex Tanney all performed admirably at the Georgia Dome. A cleaner game from Mariota this Sunday, and who knows, maybe Whisenhunt will have all the horses he needs to beat the NFL odds as a 1.5-point home fave.
Friday's other successful NFL pick against the spread saw the Rams lose 18-3 to the Oakland Raiders (–1 at home). Not a difficult choice there with Jack Del Rio making his Oakland debut; Del Rio improved his preseason record to 21-14-2 ATS, which puts him in stark contrast to Whisenhunt when it comes to giving a rat's patootie about winning these games.
There's nothing in particular about St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher's 37-37 ATS preseason record, so we turn our attention once again to the Rams QB depth chart, which is... interesting. Nick Foles may or may not regain his otherworldly touch from 2013, but Case Keenum and Austin Davis have started 18 regular-season games between them. All three should see action on Sunday.
Unfortunately for the Rams, they have a long list of injuries that only got longer when LG Rodger Saffold hurt his right shoulder early in Week 1 and didn't return. Saffold might be okay for Week 2, we're still waiting word on the extent of his injury as we go to press, but it's a shaky offensive line as it is. We're still going to fade the Titans in this matchup, but keep an eye on Mariota – if he gets things right this week, we're back on the bandwagon. Maybe.
Free NFL Pick: Take the Rams +1.5 (–106) at Pinnacle