“And they’re on a short work week,” Paul said on Saturday while as a staff we all focused on the advantages available on Sunday when the Houston Texans visit the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans are on a short work week, and their game on Tuesday night served two big factors that don’t bode well for Mike Vrabel’s team this week. First, Tennessee’s blowout triumph over the previously unbeaten Buffalo Bills was their first point spread win of the year, and second, they are a lot more confident this week than they were entering that contest.
That’s right, even though the Titans expanded their winning streak to four games to open the 2020 season, they had lost their first three point spread decisions with narrow victories over the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars. For those of you keeping score at home, you might note that those three teams the Titans beat but lost the spread against have a combined three wins and 11 losses this year.
Not exactly victories over any of the NFL’s best, and all point spread losses.
Then came their game last Tuesday night when they hosted the previously undefeated Buffalo Bills. Knowing now how lame the Titans undefeated record was coming into their contest against Buffalo, you can understand why they were underdogs on their home field.
But, that does not yet explain how they could have gone from narrow wins against suspect opponents and then blast the best team they had faced. They hammered the Bills, 42-16.
How that happened was based on a perfect intersection where the Titans were challenged to play their best given the motivational factors coming into Tuesday night’s game, and the Bills were headed into near certain doom after winning their first four.
You, me and a couple of guys we picked up at the park could have pinned the Bills with a loss last Tuesday. They were in the worst of motivational situations, coming off of four wins, only once seriously challenged in a game when they allowed a 25 point second half lead slip to a deficit before scoring late to beat the Los Angeles Rams in a Week Three matchup.
Before their game against the Titans, the Bills had played out West and beat the Raiders in a game that statistically should have been tougher for them than it actually was. In other words, the Bills were over-prepared for their game in Las Vegas, downed the Raiders by a touchdown, and now headed to Tennessee as a bet-on favorite with as much chance of winning as the New York Jets do nearly every week.
The fact that the Bills lost in Tennessee, soundly, could also partially be attributed to them looking ahead to their game this Monday night, when they host the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. Both the Chiefs and Bills came into fifth week action with unbeaten records, and both teams meet in Buffalo coming off losses. The Chiefs initial 2020 setback, by the way, came against the team that we thought should have downed Buffalo the week before but didn’t, the Raiders.
So, do you see how this weaves into action this Sunday?
Both the Bills and Chiefs off losses creates an intriguing Monday Night Football matchup. But the Titans, who got their first point spread win of the season in convincing fashion, now come back as a favorite against a hungry Houston Texans squad that needs a win here to have any serious chance of defending their AFC South Division title.
The home-standing Titans come into this contest confident off their win, and the Texans come to town needing a win for their very survival.
It doesn’t get much better than this.
Qoxhi Picks: Houston Texans (+3½) over Tennessee Titans