NFL Picks: Titans vs. Raiders

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, November 21, 2013 4:10 PM GMT

The Titans tailspin continued last week while the Raiders stole a big road victory in Houston but where is the NFL odds value in this Sunday afternoon showdown?

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Tennessee Titans (4-6 SU, 5-3-2 ATS)

After their 38-13 throttling of the New York Jets the Titans stood at 3-1 and life was good in Nashville. But since that victory the Titans were faced with the daunting challenge of playing the league’s best during a three game stretch and dropped decisions to the Chiefs, Seahawks and 49’ers. The club managed to sandwich a win over the Rams in between a startling loss to the Jaguars and then last week to the Colts

As miserable as the loss to the woeful Jags was it was no more gut wrenching than watching a 14-point lead evaporate last week. Running back Chris Johnson shredded the Colts defense and ran for 70 yards in the first quarter and found the endzone twice in the opening frame. But that was about as good as it was going to get as Andrew Luck rallied his team to 30-27 win in Nashville. 

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was solid in the pocket, connecting on 22 of 28 passes and tossed one TD in the process. But it was not enough to overcome a critical fumble by recently signed kick returner Devon Wylie which the Colts ultimately turned into a touchdown only two plays later when Luck scampered 11 yards into the endzone and effectively dealt the Titans the latest in a series of death blows.

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Oakland Raiders (4-6 SU, 6-3-1, ATS)

Backup quarterback and undrafted rookie Matt McGloin was tapped to replace the ailing Terrelle Pryor in last week’s meeting with the Houston Texans. All the former Penn State product did was throw three touchdown passes and no interceptions to become only the fourth rookie to do so in his first start since the 1970 merger. The Raiders proceeded to pull away to a 28-23 victory and hand the Texans their eighth consecutive loss.

While McGloin was getting all the postgame buzz, Rashad Jennings was also a huge factor in the win when he bulldozed Texans safety D.J. Swearinger en route to an 80-yard sprint to the endzone which effectively sealed the deal for Oakland and contributed mightily to Jennings’ 150 yards on the ground. Darren McFadden did not play for the second straight week, which is why Jennings has been handling the workload, and is questionable for Sunday’s game as he is still nursing a hamstring injury. However, Jennings has sparkled in his absence and it will be interesting to see how coach Dennis Allen handles the return of both Pryor and McFadden when both are deemed healthy.

 Free Pick:

The Titans are a team in disarray and their loss last week to the Colts when they had vaulted out to a 14 point lead will do nothing to sway the NFL odds in their favor. However, they have had the benefit of an extra three days of rest due to their Thursday night game last week while the Raiders will have a Thanksgiving Day game looming against the Cowboys only four days from their date with Tennessee. 

Okay, so chalk that edge up to the Titans but after that I don’t see any reason to back Tennessee and several very good reasons to back Oakland. Matt McGloin should find numerous opportunities to throw short as the Titans linebacking corps is miserable and the secondary is pedestrian at best despite their 7th ranked status against the pass. However, the damage will be done on the ground and Jennings will have a field day against a porous defensive front. 

Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t scare me and the Titans as a whole look defeated. Let’s look for the new guys (McGloin and Jennings) to keep the Silver & Black in the winner’s circle in one of the best bets on the board for our NFL picks for Sunday

Play Oakland +1 in NFL odds at Bet365.com

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