As they fight to stay in the playoff race, the Tennessee Titans will pay a visit to the New York Giants in Week 15. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 EST on Sunday, December 16, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Fans in local markets can watch the game on CBS.
The Giants opened the week as 3-point favorites at home. However, early betting for the Titans has dropped the line slightly, so the Giants are now favored by 2.5 points. The over/under is set at 43.5 points. Click here for a full list of the Week 15 NFL betting odds.
The Titans have endured a rollercoaster of a season, but back-to-back wins over the Jets and Jaguars have them in the thick of the playoff hunt. At 7-6, Tennessee is part of a four-way tie with the Ravens, Colts, and Dolphins for the final wild-card spot in the AFC. With head-to-head losses against all three of those teams, the Titans almost certainly have to win out and get some help in order to claim a playoff spot for the second straight season.
Fortunately for the Titans, they have a rather favorable schedule down the stretch. This week’s road game against the Giants is surely winnable, despite Tennessee being underdogs. They will then close out the season with a pair of home games against the Redskins and Colts. It’s not unreasonable to think Tennessee can win all three games. However, based on how their season has unfolded, the Titans need to take things one step at a time.
Meanwhile, the Giants are coming on strong late in the year. After demolishing Washington 40-16 last week, the G-Men have now won four of their last five games, putting them at 5-8 on the season. With the other wild-card contenders in the NFC all collapsing late in the season, New York’s recent surge has them still in the mix for a playoff spot. It’s unlikely but not impossible for the Giants to make a playoff push for the next three years.
Of course, winning all three of their remaining games is a prerequisite for the team’s slim playoff hopes. Being favored for a home game against the Titans is a good sign for the G-Men. However, they also have a road game against the Colts and a home date with the Cowboys. To be fair, the Giants beat the Bears a couple of weeks ago. But they still face a tough schedule late in the year, so winning out won’t be easy by any stretch.
While I respect any NFL team that can win four of five games, I’m still not buying the Giants as a favorite. This is still a team that’s just 2-4 at home this season, so being at home doesn’t move the needle much for them. To be fair, it’s impossible to predict what version of the bi-polar Titans will show up in any given week. But Tennessee needs this game and they’ve got some positive momentum, so I’ll take the Titans as underdogs.
Again, I don’t want to disrespect what the Giants have accomplished recently. But their recent wins include Nick Mullens and the 49ers, the Bucs when they made a quarterback change mid-game, the Bears when they started Chase Daniel, and the Redskins when they started Mark Sanchez. It’s not unreasonable to put an asterisk next to each of those wins, so I still have some pause when picking the Giants to cover any kind of spread.
New York’s success over the past month has been almost exclusively on the back of Saquon Barkley. To be fair, Barkley has been unbelievable, rushing for over 100 yards in four straight games. Doing so against the Bears a couple of weeks ago shows that it’s no fluke. However, the Giants are still facing some shortcomings on offense. Eli Manning is still dealing with a subpar offensive line in front of him, which holds back the passing game most weeks. Also, Odell Beckham Jr. is questionable with a quad injury, so the Giants likely won’t be at full strength offensively for this game.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee defense has been solid but unspectacular most of the season. They’ve had some rough outings, but they also held the Patriots to just 10 points. On the season, the Titans are conceding less than 20 points per game, so more times than not, they bring it on that side of the ball. Against a Giants team with plenty of flaws, I like the Tennessee defense to have a good game on Sunday.
The question, of course, for the Titans is the play of Marcus Mariota. Calling him inconsistent would actually be complimentary. But they got a big game out of Derrick Henry last week and should have some success running the ball against the Giants. Even if Mariota has an off day, the Tennessee offense should be able to move the ball and put some points on the board.
In the end, I’m just can’t buy the Giants as a favorite. They’ve been fortunate to beat a few teams playing backup quarterbacks in recent weeks. Plus, most of those games were decided by three points or less, so they’re not exactly winning comfortably. The Titans aren’t a great team, but they’re good enough to handle the Giants. As road underdogs, I think the Titans find a way to beat the Giants.