NFL Picks: Gus Bradley Led Defense to Stifle Titans Thursday Night

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 3:22 PM GMT

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 3:22 PM GMT

Jacksonville kept their chances alive in the AFC South and should be motivated to host the Titans Thursday Night. Our capper analyzes where the betting value lies and makes his Week 11 NFL Pick.

After breaking their 13 game losing skid on the road in Baltimore, the Jacksonville Jaguars come home to host the Tennessee Titans. The Titans were a trendy pick ATS versus the Carolina Panthers at home, but got summarily stomped on by the Panther defense. The Jaguars were gifted a game by a stupid facemask penalty by Baltimore that gave them an untimed field goal chance, which they made. But at least they were competitive for the entire game, something that couldn’t be said for the Titans.

The opening odds in this game have Jacksonville listed as the default 3-point home favorite. The O/U total can be found at 42.5 at Pinnacle, and at 43 at most other places on our Live NFL oddsboard. If you don’t like this matchup in Jacksonville, you’ll only have to wait two weeks for these same two teams to play each other in Week 13 in Tennessee.

After the Tennessee offense played well in Week 9 and featured their tight ends more often than not, that scheme under interim coach, Mike Mularkey, was halted after the first half of the game against Carolina. They were dominated in the second half and lost the time-of-possession battle, 35:55 to 24:05. Tennessee was only able to gain 64 yards on the ground in 21 attempts, averaging less that 3 yards per rush. Add in only 178 yards passing and that is just not going to get it done against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

Jacksonville had only 258 yards in their winning effort against Baltimore and were especially inept on third down, going 4-16 in the game. Although Blake Bortles had two passing touchdowns to extend his streak of two touchdowns or more passing to five games, he was largely inefficient. He passed for only 188 yards on 22 of 45 attempts to post a 48.9% completion percentage and 65.8 QBR.  It was the worst performance by Bortles since Week 1 when the Jaguars lost to the Carolina Panthers, 20-9.

This series has seen its share of ugly games lately, with the teams splitting last year’s games and those games going way under the listed total. Of course, Tennessee is one year behind the Jags in finding their new franchise QB. Blake Bortles is in his second year and making strides, while Marcus Mariota has shown two games with flashes of brilliance in the middle of an ocean of suck. His injuries have slowed him down a bit, as well as a receiving corps without many bona fide weapons, although Delanie Walker has come on of late.

Dating back to 2008, the Jaguars and Titans have a terrible Thursday Night Football record. Each team is 1-4 in five appearances on Thursday night.

After the 2012 season, Mike Clay of PFF did a statistical analysis of Thursday night games versus the rest of games played that year. What he found is that teams score .68 touchdowns less, combined, in Thursday night games. That is equal to roughly 4 points less per game. Additionally, quarterbacks’ TD/INT ratios drop from 1.7 to 1.0 on Thursday Night Football. That's bad.

In conclusion, I’m expecting Marcus Mariota to struggle on this short week passing the ball. Running the ball won’t be an attractive option for the Titans either as the Jaguars are 6th in the league in yards rushing per game allowed at 93.7.

I really like the Under in this spot, and in most Thursday Night Football games actually. The O/U is 3-7 between these two teams in their last ten, and other than the Jaguars blowing the Titans out, I don’t see a lot of points being put up in this one. Gus Bradley will have his defense on point, with a home game being played that actually matters for their playoff chances. I’m taking Under 43 in this game at Heritage as one of my Week 11 NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Titans & Jaguars UNDER 43.5 at Bookmaker

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