The Tennessee Titans will try to keep their playoff hopes alive when they host the New York Jets in Week 13 NFL action. Kickoff is set for 4:05 EST on Sunday, December 2, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Fans in local markets can watch the game on CBS.
Based on the Week 13 betting odds, the Titans are favored by 7.5 points at home. The over/under is set at 40.5 points.
The Titans have learned just how quickly things can change in the NFL. Just a couple of weeks ago, they were fresh off a dominating win over the Patriots and in good shape at 5-4. However, back-to-back losses to the Colts and Texans have caused Tennessee to drop to 5-6 overall. They now find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture. The Titans are one of six teams that are separated by just one game and fighting over one playoff spot.
The good news for Tennessee is that their schedule in December is one of the easiest in the NFL. For starters, the Titans will play four of their final five games at home. They will also play their next three games against teams that are currently 3-8 on the season. If Tennessee can sweep those games against weaker teams, they’ll keep their playoff hopes alive.
As for the Jets, the ship has sailed on them making the playoffs this season. With five straight losses, the Jets have fallen to 3-8 on the season, putting head coach Todd Bowles on thin ice. If it matters, New York’s last two losses have been without rookie Sam Darnold, who is hoping to finally return from his foot injury this week.
Coming down the stretch, the Jets play three of their final five games on the road. They also play most of their games against teams that are in the playoff hunt. Even without much on the line, the Jets will have a chance to play the role of spoiler, starting with this week’s game against the Titans.
It’s been impossible to figure out the Titans this season. They have both a three-game winning streak and a three-game losing streak. Plus, they’re now on the verge of another three-game losing streak. On paper, they should be able to handle the helpless Jets. But with a spread over a touchdown, I don’t particularly trust them, so I’ll take my chances with the Jets and the points.
I won’t deny that the Jets have a lot of flaws, but Tennessee has nearly as many flaws. Offensively, they are untrustworthy, averaging less than 18 points per game. That’s a big reason why I’m hesitant to pick them as a 7.5-point favorite.
Tennessee’s offensive struggles start with the running game. Despite two capable running backs, the Titans are averaging less than four yards per carry on the ground. Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis have combined for less than 900 yards this year, which is a paltry number through 11 games.
Part of the season for the Titans struggling to run the ball is the lack of a downfield passing attack. To be fair, Marcus Mariota has completed 70% of his passes this year. But almost all of his passes are short, which makes it easier for opposing defenses. Corey Davis is technically the team’s top receiver, but the second-year player has been too inconsistent in that role, which is holding back the Tennessee offense. It’s also worth noting the poor performance of the Tennessee offensive line, which has allowed 11 sacks over the past two weeks.
Obviously, the Jets are nothing special defensively. The specter of giving up 41 points to the Bills a couple games ago doesn’t help. But they’ve had some success this year against teams like the Titans that are limited offensively. If nothing else, the Jets have done a good job of limiting big plays. If they can continue that trend and make the Titans work, they should be able to get some stops in this game.
On the other side of the ball, the Tennessee defense has carried them for most of the season. However, things have suddenly gone south the last two weeks with the Titans giving up a combined 72 points to the Colts and Texans. Against the Colts, Tennessee was beaten through the air, but against the Texans, big running plays were the biggest problem. That gives the Titans a lot to fix moving forward.
Of course, the Jets aren’t much of a threat offensively, as they’ve been held under 20 points in each of their last five games. The running game has let them down during that span, putting way too much pressure on Darnold and his backup Josh McCown. However, the Jets may get a little bit of a spark offensively if Darnold ends up getting the start this week.
Admittedly, I don’t have much faith in the Jets with all that has gone wrong over the past month. But I also don’t trust the Titans after the way they’ve looked the past two weeks. As 7.5-point favorites, the onus is on the Titans to win by a comfortable margin. In the end, I don’t think the Titans will score enough points to cover the spread, which makes me lean toward the Jets.