It’s the final Thursday night match-up of the 2014 NFL regular season and truth be told, it is poised to be an absolute dud. Without doing much research, this has to be one of the worst-ever nationally televised games as the awful Tennessee Titans travel to Jacksonville, to take on the lowly Jaguars. Both teams enter with identical 2-12 records and while someone is likely going to win this football game, you can bet both management groups won’t want to hurt their draft positioning too much. This game also lends credence to the fact that even though this is a brutal football game, people are still going to talk about it and watch it because of gambling and fantasy sports, and the fact that the NFL tries to distance itself so much from the former and not the latter is becoming more and more ridiculous with each passing season. That said, there’s a game tonight, and despite the fact that very little is on the line, we’ll break it down as best as we can. Read on below for game analysis and our featured selection for the Titans and Jaguars.
Titans vs. Jaguars Betting Odds:
Tennessee Titans +4 (-110)
@ Jacksonville Jaguars -4 (-110)
Over 39 (-105)
Under 39 (-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
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Titans vs. Jaguars Pick:
When two teams meet this late in the season, when they’re this bad, it is admittedly difficult to find pertinent betting angles. These teams can’t be trusted, and to be honest I have little interest in backing either one of these teams on the spread, but rather I’d prefer to bet against their brutal offenses. Both the Jags and Titans struggle mightily to move the chains, and in a game like this, I’m looking for that to continue. These squads do very little right, and lately their offenses have been disastrous. Tonight, let’s bet against points and focus on the Under despite a fairly low total.
The Titans offense is especially bad, but a lot of that can likely be attributed to constant changes at the quarterback position. Zach Mettenberger, Jake Locker, and Charlie Whitehurst have all received significant time at the position this season, and the ongoing carousel hasn’t led to any consistency in their offensive approach from game to game. The only thing consistent for the Titans is them not putting up points. Tonight, it’ll be Whitehurst under centre, likely the worst of the three. He’ll be going up against a Jags defense that has been surprisingly effective of late, and has shown great improvements over the course of the season. Jacksonville’s defense is tied for 5th in sacks and can put a lot of pressure on opposing QB’s. Whitehurst isn’t the most mobile of guys and will be forced to make a lot of quick decisions tonight. Turnovers are nothing new for the Titans, so they’ll be used to committing a couple more this evening. Even on the ground the Titans will be hard-pressed to do much. Bishop Sankey and Shonn Greene haven’t shown much of anything this season, and the Jags run defense has limited opponents to just 3.9 yards per carry over the past four weeks. Jacksonville will shut the door and the Titans don’t have nearly enough versatility or creativity to break through to put many points up tonight.
On the other side of the football, the Jaguars have also had a bit of a quarterback carousel going. Chad Henne started the year for Jacksonville, but since then it’s been the rookie Blake Bortles calling the shots. Bortles however has had a vastly underwhelming rookie campaign. And despite the fact that he does play for the Jags, a lot more was expected from him this season. Much of his struggles can be attributed to the fact that his offensive line gives him little to no protection on a play-by-play basis. Bortles is constantly evading opposing rushers, and much like the Jags will pressure Whitehurst, the Titans’ front-seven will be all over Bortles tonight. Tennessee is just a middle-of-the-road team in terms of rushing the passer, but the Jags’ O-Line is so incompetent that they should face minimal resistance in pressuring Bortles. Where Jacksonville will likely be forced to turn is their run game. Even though Denard Robinson is out, Toby Gerhart is back and running well. Tennessee is one of the league’s worst teams when it comes to stopping the run and they routinely let opposing running backs get into the triple digits. Gerhart and the Jags should be able to have some success with the run game, in turn keeping the clock ticking away and away.
I don’t foresee this being an exciting game and I don’t think many points or first downs will come as a result. Both defenses are much better than the offenses, and both quarterbacks aren’t good enough to consistently move the ball through the air. Expect boring football and a lot of running plays for the duration of tonight’s contest. It’s a shame this is a nationally televised game, but we gotta do something to make watching this match-up worthwhile, and that will be cheering for no points. The Under 39 is the way to go, and despite the low total, neither team possesses the talent to put up impressive figures tonight.
PICK = Under 39 (-115)