The Titans are one of the NFL's worst teams, but they've played well on the road this season entering Thursday's game at Jacksonville. I examine some Titans NFL odds for player props from sportsbooks.
Could the Titans win the AFC South despite a 2-7 record? That seems laughable on the surface, but you have to consider what a joke that division is. The Colts and Texans both lead the South at 4-5 and both could easily lose this week (Colts vs. Falcons, Texans vs. Jets) while playing backup quarterbacks. Also consider this: no one gave the Carolina Panthers much of a shot with a 3-8-1 record last year in the NFC South. But the Cats won their final four to take the South title -- and then beat the Arizona Cardinals in a playoff game. I'm not saying that will happen with Tennessee, just throwing it out there. The Titans' remaining schedule after this is: vs. Raiders, vs. Jaguars, at Jets, at Patriots, vs. Texans, at Colts. Tennessee is a long shot on NFL odds to win the division at +1500 at Bovada.
This game is likely to have a bit of extra meaning for Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey, who replaced the fired Ken Whisenhunt. In January 2013, the Jaguars fired Mularkey after one season as their head coach. Jacksonville was 2-14 that year. It's not clear if the Titans will consider Mularkey for the full-time job after this season. Likely depends on how they finish and the progression by rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. The team also could be sold, which probably means a total overhaul.
Marcus Mariota 'Over/Under' 21 Completions, 243.5 Passing Yards, 1.5 TDs
Mariota -180 To Throw Interception, +150 Not To
Mariota was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite for the first few weeks of the season, but then he got hurt and missed two games. Meanwhile, Rams running back Todd Gurley exploded onto the scene after missing the first few weeks. So now it's Gurley's to lose. But I'm pretty sure the Titans are more than happy with their choice. Mariota has completed nearly 66 percent of his passes and has thrown for 13 touchdowns against six interceptions. And that's with likely the worst group of skill position talent in the NFL around him. Mariota has thrown 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions in his three starts away from Nissan Stadium, including four-touchdown games at both Tampa Bay and New Orleans in wins. He’s just the second rookie quarterback to be named a conference's player of the week twice since the awards were instituted in 1984. Mariota will be missing two receivers in this game. Leading receiver (not including tight ends) Kendall Wright is out with a foot injury and No. 2 Justin Hunter is out for the season with a fractured ankle. So you are likely looking at Harry Douglas and underachieving rookie Dorial Green-Beckham as the starters. Yikes. The Jags rank 24th in passing yards allowed and have given up 17 TD passes and picked off only five. Take that into account for your NFL picks.
Free NFL Picks: 'Over' all and yes on the interception. Titans can't run the ball at all so Mariota will be busy.
Dexter McCluster O/U 43.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards
It seems like McCluster has been in the NFL forever. Tennessee is 25th in the NFL in rushing and McCluster is second on the team with 235 yards, coming on just 49 carries. He's more of a third-down back and has 25 catches for 204 yards and a touchdown. He has topped that 43.5 combined yardage total in four games, including the past two.
Free NFL Pick: 'Over.'
Delanie Walker O/U 4.5 Receptions, 55.5 Receiving Yards
Walker is a tight end and far and away the leading receiver on the team, with 56 targets, 45 catches, 508 yards and three touchdowns. Walker has posted at least four catches and more than 50 receiving yards in six of the eight games he’s played in this season. With Wright and Hunter out, his opportunities should only grow. Walker likely will be checked mostly by Jags safety Josh Evans, who has been just so-so in coverage. Last year, Walker had a three-catch, 57-yard game at home vs. the Jags and four-catch, 54-yard performance in Jacksonville. But Walker has a much better QB now.
Free NFL Pick: 'Over' both.