Packers +2 vs. Titans as Solid Preseason Picks

Jason Lake

Friday, August 8, 2014 4:06 PM GMT

Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 4:06 PM GMT

Ken Whisenhunt has developed a reputation as a quality coach and an offensive guru. Good thing his job doesn’t depend on how well his Tennessee Titans perform Saturday night against the Green Bay Packers and the football odds.

Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: a chance to fade Ken Whisenhunt in the preseason. Whisenhunt is just 8-17 SU and 8-16-1 ATS in exhibition games since making his NFL head coaching debut in 2007 with the Arizona Cardinals. He’s with the Tennessee Titans now, but I’ll still be recommending his opponents on Saturday night (8:00 p.m. ET), the Green Bay Packers. Our NFL odds board at press time has Green Bay getting two points on the road with a total of 38.

 

Whizzy Wig
Reports out of Tennessee’s training camp have been very positive when it comes to the way Whisenhunt’s running things. His offensive plays are sinking in, and the conversion of the defense from 4-3 to 3-4 is being orchestrated by defensive coordinator Ray Horton, whom Whisenhunt wisely kept on board after replacing Mike Munchak as head coach. But there’s still a lot of work to do turning this program around.

There are also going to be a lot of young players on the field Saturday. About half the men on the roster have played less than three years in the NFL, and they’re the ones who will be getting the most action against Green Bay. Even the veterans are a bit suspect; QB Jake Locker (81.1 career passer rating) is coming off a season-ending Lisfranc injury, while the No. 1 RB as we go to press is Shonn Greene (4.1 yards per carry lifetime).

It all adds up to what should be a very ugly display of pseudo-football by the Titans. Whisenhunt’s preseason ATS record suggests that he’s not terribly concerned with winning these games, but let’s temper our enthusiasm for a moment. His Cardinals went 0-5 ATS during the 2012 preseason, which featured a quarterback battle between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, and a large helping of Ryan Lindley on the side. You can only do so much with what you’re given.

 

It’s that Old Baker Spirit
No such quarterback problems in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is back. So is Matt Flynn, who started four games for the Packers last year while Rodgers was injured, winning twice and allowing Green Bay to sneak into the playoffs. However, Mike McCarthy is only 15-17 SU and ATS in preseason action going back to his 2006 debut with the Packers. Their No. 3 quarterbacks haven’t always been up to snuff; Graham Harrell was cut after a poor 2013 preseason (54.6 passer rating), so it’ll be up to Scott Tolzein to pick up the slack after getting in a couple of emergency starts last year.

McCarthy’s ATS record doesn’t give us much to work with, but he has driven the over to a 21-11 record in the preseason. You don’t hear too much about McCarthy’s college career – he was a tight end in the NAIA for the Baker Wildcats before joining the Pittsburgh Panthers in 1989, where he worked under Paul Hackett as a quarterbacks coach and a wide receivers coach. McCarthy got his first NFL gig in 1993 as a QB coach with the Kansas City Chiefs, which is also when Joe Montana came to town. Then it was Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, and Rich Gannon. Good work if you can get it.

Offensive-minded coaches don’t always produce big scores in the preseason, but you’d naturally expect them to have their offenses in better shape for Week 1 than any other facet of the game. That should be good news for Packers supporters this weekend, while Whisenhunt and the Titans futz about trying to get things figured out in time for the regular season.

Free NFL Pick: Take the Packers +2 at William Hill

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