They say that football is a game of inches. The Tennessee Titans were on the right side of an inch last week, as they survived against the Los Angeles Chargers late. Well, I should say that the Titans were on the wrong side of an inch before finding themselves on the fortunate side minutes later. With a chance to close out the game, head coach Mike Vrabel gave the go-ahead on 4th and inches for a Ryan Tannehill sneak. That play failed and the Titans had to play defense to prevent the winning touchdown or tying field goal.
The Chargers got down to the 1-inch line of the Titans goal line and didn’t get any closer than that. Melvin Gordon coughed the ball up on a fumble, which the Titans scooped up. Gordon got stuffed at the line a play earlier and he failed to get into again on the next play, ultimately the kill shot for the Chargers. The Titans were provided a second life thanks to Gordon’s fumble. Instead of going into the abyss with a record of 2-5, the Titans have some life with a record of 3-4 going into Week 8. That provides the Titans with some wiggle room to cook something up and go on a run.
Whether that occurs is likely going to come down to the quarterback play of Tannehill. Tannehill passed his first test in Week 7 as the starter for the Titans. With Marcus Mariota getting benched, a golden opportunity has been handed to Tannehill. Just like the Titans following last week, Tannehill gets a second life with a chance to prove he still has the talent to be a starting QB. This is the first we’ve seen of Tannehill on a team other than the Miami Dolphins, so we’ll find out if it was more of the Dolphins’ dysfunction than Tannehill being a bad player.
Tannehill looked in control of the offense against the Chargers last week. Unlike Mariota, who appeared clueless at times, put together a solid performance in his first chance under center with the Titans. Tannehill passed for 312 yards and 2 touchdowns with an interception. He eclipsed the 300-yard mark for the first time in three years. Mariota has gone over 300 yards only eight times in 61 starts with the Titans, so it would be an unlikely site in Nashville if Tannehill can do it again in Week 8. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to prevent that scenario from happening on Sunday.
The Buccaneers are in Nashville looking to end a two-game skid following losses against the Saints and Panthers. Their defense has been getting picked to shreds, so this might be a good spot for Tannehill to impress again. They are coming off a bye, so had time to rest up for this week. Tampa have just one win in their previous four games. At 2-4, the Bucs are the same spot the Titans were a week ago. A loss here and their year is pretty well in the sewer. Head below for our free Buccaneers vs. Titans pick in Week 8 of the NFL on Sunday afternoon.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Tennessee Titans NFL Week 8 Betting Odds:
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Buccaneers vs. Titans Pick:
The Titans have had their fair share of issues on the offensive side of the ball. Hence, why they benched Marcus Mariota and made the switch to Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill was acquired as a guy to push Mariota and possibly replace him if things go astray. Plan B has been executed with Tannehill getting the nod at quarterback. He and the Titans have a glorious chance to show that they’re a competent offense this Sunday against the Buccaneers. If Tannehill wants to impress, this is the perfect opportunity against a less than adequate defensive unit.
Tampa have had issues defensively this season, which is likely to fall right in the hands of the Titans. They have been searching for a defense to beat up on and the Bucs present a reasonable chance of doing that. The Bucs have allowed 372.5 yards per game and 31 points a game. Their 31 points allowed per game is 30th in the league. The only teams worse than the Bucs at allowing points are the Falcons and Dolphins, both of who haven’t even been trying in 2019. Tampa have given up at least 30 points in each of their previous four games. In those four outings, the Bucs allowed an average of 35 points per game.
Even if the Titans don’t beat up on the Bucs like that, there’s likely going to be some flow and consistency to the game for their offense. With the defense that the Titans have, they probably aren’t going to need 30+ points to win here. The Titans have one of the more underrated defenses in the league. They’ve allowed just 16 points per game, which has them in 4th across the league. Tennessee are also in the top-10 with respects to yards allowed per game, with 328 yards a game.
Jameis Winston is in the same boat as Mariota. Or, considering he’s still the starter, he is in a boat trailing just behind Mariota. Winston has passed for just 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 60% completions. I think the Buccaneers would like to go to another option, but they don’t have the benefit of a capable QB like Tannehill.
After Winston on the depth chart is Ryan Griffin, so they don’t have the insurance policy that the Titans got in the offseason by acquiring Tannehill. I don’t foresee Winston having a big day against this Titans’ defense. Conversely, Tannehill should look good against a Tampa defense who are allowing over 300 yards per game. They’re the only defense to give up more than 300 yards a game across the air. I will take my chances on the Titans in this one under a field goal on the spread.