Vikings vs. Titans NFL Preseason Week 4 Matchup

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 1:52 PM UTC

Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 1:52 PM UTC

It is the preseason and none of these games will have any direct correlation to how these teams will play in the regular season, but who isn’t a bit stunned these squads are beating the betting odds?

A review of the preseason magazines has Minnesota a lock to finish last in the NFC North, while only Athlon’s magazine has Tennessee as high as second place in the AFC South, otherwise, being chosen to be third or last in the division.

Each club will try and sustain the momentum they have put together and continue to defy the NFL odds.


Can Minnesota Continue to Play as Efficiently?
Any football handicapper or individual making sports picks could make a case for the Minnesota Vikings winning their first two contests of the preseason, playing both at home, one against Oakland and the other versus Arizona, right after they humiliated Houston.

But to go on the road and crush Kansas City 30-12 as two-point underdogs! Yes, I understand the Chiefs are like Wile E. Coyote to the Roadrunner, a sure bet to lose in the preseason for years, but credit new head coach Mike Zimmer for at least initially altering the culture.

Zimmer and his staff made a sage move in naming Matt Cassel the starting quarterback, which serves as a bridge to when rookie Teddy Bridgewater is ready. The Minnesota attack will be built around the running game and play-action passing and taking deep shots down the field.

Defensively, the front seven is the strength of the defense and while the secondary appears stronger, they still ranked 31st in yards allowed through the air last season and are vulnerable.

Zimmer understands his team has to play to its strengths and if the opposition forces them to play otherwise, that is when problems pop up.


Tennessee Improved but How Much?
The Tennessee Titans are 2-1 in the preseason, with a matching record for sports picks, with the only defeat to New Orleans by seven in which they had a negative 5-0 turnover margin.

Is new head coach Ken Whisenhunt turning the program around or is reality waiting just around the corner? Tennessee’s season win total is Ov7 at most sportsbooks and Whisenhunt has been drilling into his squad about – Winning Now.

In order for that to occur, the offensive line will have to do a better job in pass protection, as the O-Line has been spotty and with Jake Locker prone to missing time, the Titans need him on the field.

Offense will be Tennessee's strong suit since they have just three first round draft choices on defense and not many difference-makers. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton has and will continue to focus on creating turnovers to overcome other weaknesses.


Look at the Total instead of the Side
Tennessee is a two-point home favorite with a total of 41.5. Look for extensive action from the two rookie quarterbacks, Bridgewater and the Titans Zack Mettenberger.

Because neither defense has played that well and mostly backups will be on the field, points could be flowing and I’ll take the OVER.

In support of my opinion, home teams like Tennessee when the total is between 35.5 and 42 points, after a game where they committed one or less turnovers, against opponent with a turnover margin of +2 or better in last outing are 30-11 OVER the past decade in the preseason.
Free NFL Pick: Play Over 45 at 5Dimes.

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