Monday Night Football for Week 9 of the NFL season brings up an intriguing showdown between two desperate groups trying to positions themselves for a playoff position as the Dallas Cowboys host the Tennessee Titans.
Both teams enter Monday evening with identical 3-4 records, and though they are currently on the outside looking in, you get the sense from both camps that they feel they have the talent to vault divisional rivals and take hold of things in the second half of the season.
What makes this encounter even more intriguing is the presence of Amari Cooper in the Cowboys’ lineup. Of course, the maligned receiver was dealt from Oakland a couple of weeks ago, and he’ll be making his long-awaited debut on Monday night in front of the Cowboys’ faithful. Can he rediscover his old form and lead Dallas to a title in the wide open NFC East? Keep on reading below the odds to find out, along with our official betting selection to end off this NFL week.
Titans vs. Cowboys Betting Odds:
Tennessee Titans +4 (-110)
@ Dallas Cowboys -4 (-110)
Over 40.5 (-115)
Under 40.5 (-105)
Titans vs. Cowboys Pick:
The benefit of the Cowboys trading for Amari Cooper when they did was the fact that they had an extra bye week to integrate him into their system. The Cowboys already boast a steady running game with Ezekiel Elliott, but their passing attack has been lacklustre. Bringing in Cooper could enhance their gameplan through the air, but he has been so bad for so long right now – it remains to be seen what he can truly offer.
Making matters worse for Cooper is the fact that he has a tough matchup this week vs. the Titans. Tennessee boasts some solid cornerbacks and they should be able to limit whatever Dak Prescott throws at them. I also expect the Titans to really apply some solid pressure to Prescott, potentially forcing him into turnovers and mistakes. Rookie Harold Landry and Jurrell Casey have decisive matchup advantages, and I anticipate them being able to beat their blockers and get after Prescott.
And on the ground, though Elliott remains and elite threat running with the ball, his blocking isn’t what it used to be. The Titans do a great job of clogging up lanes and winning the battles at the lines of scrimmage, so Elliott will likely need to be a better receiver than runner in this contest. Tennessee’s defense has the pieces to stifle the Cowboys’ attack and turn them into a one-dimensional offense.
For the Titans on offense, Marcus Mariota needs to be better, but so too does his porous offensive line. They conceded eleven sacks to the Ravens a few weeks ago, but this week they’ll have Taylor Lewan back to coordinate the offensive line and he should do a stellar job organizing the blocking schemes and keeping the Cowboys’ pass rush out of the backfield.
Mariota will still see pressure vs. this Cowboys’ defensive front, but he can be effective as a runner himself, so look for him to take off downfield as Dallas could be weak in this regard. Mariota also doesn’t really have much receiving options, but Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis should both be able to find holes and catch passes in order to keep the chains moving.
The total is correct to be so low in this contest, as I think both defenses have advantages over the opposing offense. That said, Tennessee has more options offensively right now, and for an evenly matched game, this spread seems a tad high. Tennessee has already moved down from +6 earlier in the week, and that is a move I agree with. The Titans are still undervalued here, and look for their defense to lead them to a big upset victory on the road.
PICK = Titans +4 (-110)