NFL Picks: Don't Trust the Rookie, Pick Falcons to Cover -2.5 Over Titans

David Lawrence

Friday, August 14, 2015 12:34 PM GMT

The Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons both endured very difficult seasons in 2014, let's take a look at how each team will fare tonight as they clash in this NFl preseason game. 

What We Know About The Coaches
Ken Whisenhunt of the Titans has a 10-19 all-time record in the preseason. He served as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, got fired, spent time with the San Diego Chargers as their offensive coordinator, and was then hired by the Titans. He went 2-2 in his first preseason with Tennessee last year.

Dan Quinn is a first-year head coach with the Atlanta Falcons, so we don’t have a big history with him. His former boss, Pete Carroll, is a guy who really put effort into the preseason games but it’s hard to gauge what will happen here.

Edge: Even

 

Quarterback Rotation
The Titans will trot out their first-round NFL draft pick, the number two overall selection in the 2015 draft, Marcus Mariota. The Heisman Trophy winner from Oregon will get his first live taste of NFL game action. It’s going to be one of the bigger stories of the whole preseason. Mariota has been impressing in camp, but the reality of playing in an NFL stadium against NFL talent is very different from the insulated world of camp. Mariota might make a few plays here and there, but he’s almost certainly going to struggle for the most part in this game. Zach Mettenberger is the backup for him, and he should play at least one and a half quarters if not more.

The Falcons won’t play Matt Ryan very much. Second-stringer T.J. Yates and third man Sean Renfree should get a lot of action. Yates is a legitimately decent backup who has won a playoff game before in Houston with the Texans. He should do really well in this game.

Edge: Falcons

Looking for more NFL picks on this game? Check this one out!

Team Depth & Rotations
The Titans need to establish Bishop Sankey as their top running back, but with Dexter McCluster – used as a kick-return man in Kansas City – in the backup position, it’s hard to tell how the Titans will juggle the two players in this game. Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright should get ample time at wide receiver, with veteran Hakeem Nicks being second on the depth chart – it’s less certain how much he’ll play. The Titans are really in between in terms of a lot of player situations.

The Falcons don’t want to overplay Julio Jones at wide receiver, but Devin Hester as a backup is not much of an option. Atlanta’s running backs – with Devonta Freeman first on the depth chart and Tevin Coleman second – are question marks as both are dealing with hamstring injuries. Both teams have reason to be concerned here.

Edge: Even

 

Outlook & Pick
Mariota, playing his first NFL game, is almost certain to struggle. That means the Falcons have the better rotation at quarterback. It’s also the team’s first game under Quinn, so don’t be surprised if they play a little harder to get him the win.

NFL Pick: Falcons -2.5 at The Greek

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