Coming off their bye, the Titans will entertain Tyrod Taylor and the Bills in Week 5. How should we best approach a total play with our NFL picks this Sunday?
Right now the Bills are favored by either 2 or 2.5 points; it all depends on which sportsbook you check out, but Buffalo is the favorite in the NFL odds across the board.
It's the total that we're most worried about, and that number's at 42, one of the lowest we can find across the Week 5 slate.
The Titans are 1-2 through three games, with a win over Tampa Bay and losses to Cleveland on the road and then Indianapolis at home in Week 3.
Coming in, Tennessee has averaged a solid 29.7 points per game, which ranks them fifth in the NFL in that regard. Defensively, the Titans are giving up 25.7 points a contest, putting them 22nd in the league, with most of those troubles coming over their last two games in setbacks versus the Browns and Colts.
Second overall pick Marcus Mariota has thus far lived up the hype, and he's actually outperformed first pick Jameis Winston. Mariota has thrown eight touchdowns against only two interceptions, while posting a 110.3 QB rating through three games. He hasn't made as many plays with his legs as we expected, but that should come sooner rather than later. Mariota's excellent performances have been very much needed given the struggles of the running game; Bishop Sankey hasn't made the most of his opportunities, putting even more impetus on the rookie to make plays.
Consistency hasn't been there for the Bills, who have alternated wins and losses over their first four games. They've beaten Indianapolis and Miami while losing to New England and the New York Giants.
Ahead of Week 5, the Bills are putting up 27.5 points per game (7th in the NFL) while giving up 23.0 per game (15th) on the other end of the field. They were widely expected to be one of the most dominant defenses in the league before the season started, armed with an incredibly talented front seven and the arrival of a defense-first coach in Rex Ryan, but the results haven't lived up the billing, at least just yet.
Ryan has to be thrilled with the offensive production, however. Credit Tyrod Taylor for winning the starting quarterback job during training camp and then making the most of it. He's performed at a high level for Buffalo so far, completing 71.7 percent of his passes (with a 8:4 TD:INT ratio) while also running for 111 yards and a score. Injuries are piling up, however, with starting running back LeSean McCoy nursing a bum hamstring and now Karlos Williams dealing with the fallout from a concussion. Sammy Watkins' status is also in doubt.
NFL O/U Pick
While these two offenses have been more effective than many expected, we don't foresee them being so productive here in Week 5.
You've got to love what these young quarterbacks, Taylor and Mariota, have been doing at the helm of their respective offenses, but Buffalo's dealing with a lot of injuries, particularly in the backfield. McCoy remains out and there's a chance Williams will have to miss the game too, meaning even more pressure will be put on the Bills passing game. The Titans, interestingly enough, have fared well in stopping the pass thus far.
On the other side, Buffalo has underperformed defensively but still have one of the most talented units out there, particularly in that front seven. We think the Bills will be able to stop Tennessee from finding consistent success when they have the football.
Many are going to jump on the OVER in this spot, considering the success the offenses have found, but we're not sold. So, with our NFL picks, we're on board with the UNDER and will bank on the two defenses to stand up tall.
NFL Pick: UNDER 42 (-110) at 5Dimes