The Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) secured their first win of the season by beating the Los Angeles Rams 19-16 at home on Monday Night Football. They take a newfound confidence to Nissan Stadium this Sunday, hoping to make it back-to-back wins in the road tie against AFC foes the Tennessee Titans (1-2).
Both outfits are struggling badly for any sort of consistency on the offensive end at the start of the season.
The Titans opened up as slight favorites, but the odds have shifted drastically in the Bengals’ favor since. Tennessee is now a 2.5-point underdog, while the Over/Under line is set at 41 points.
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The Titans’ Promising Future Hinges on Derrick Henry
Tennessee goes into this clash off the back of a dreadful offensive display in a tough 27-3 loss at the Cleveland Browns. It was a one-way street from the first to the final play as the Titans’ offense faced enormous problems with the rivaling pass rusher Myles Garrett. Garrett terrorized Tennessee with nine quarterback pressures last weekend.
The matchup against the Bengals will hardly get Ryan Tannehill more breathing space, as the visitors have a deadly weapon of their own in Garrett’s position. His name is Trey Hendrickson, and he is the third-most efficient pass rusher in the whole league this season, sitting just behind the likes of Garrett and the reigning DPOY Nick Bosa. Hendrickson significantly contributed to the Bengals’ maiden win of the season on Monday by forcing ten quarterback pressures against the Rams.
The Bengals should be more vulnerable on the ground, meaning Derrick Henry needs to step up and produce his best performance of the season if the Titans stand a chance on Sunday. Henry rushed for only 20 yards last weekend, the second-lowest he has ever achieved in games in which he had a double-digit number of carries (11).
Burrow and Chase to Exploit Tennessee’s Leaky Pass Defense
While the Bengals thrive in air protection and struggle in rush defense, things are completely opposite for the Titans’ defense. Despite their slow start to the season and two losses in the opening three games, no other team allowed fewer yards per carry in the league than Tennessee. That said, their secondary ranks in the bottom five in most significant categories, including yards allowed, passer rating against, and completion percentage against.
This screams a big game for Joe Burrow. Burrow has been miles away from his best form at the start of the season as the star quarterback is still feeling the consequences of a calf injury that kept him away from the training ground in the offseason. Even the rusty Burrow found his favorite target, Ja’Marr Chase, eleven times last weekend against the Rams. Will we see an even better display from the Bengals’ signal-caller this time around? The matchup is ideal against the struggling pass defense of the Titans.
Speaking of Chase, he was certainly the main catalyst for the Bengals’ first win of the season. He has never had a game with 12 catches, while 141 received yards represent the fourth-best game in Chase’s career in this parameter. The No. 1 Cincy wide receiver should feast against the Titans.
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Best Pick — Cincinnati -2.5 (-110) with BetMGM
The Under would be the obvious pick here based on everything we know about these two teams after the inaugural three weeks of the season. However, we will not go there because of two reasons. First, we like this matchup for Henry on one and Burrow/Chase on the other side, and we would not be surprised to see these guys roaring on Sunday. Second, the O/U line is set at 41 points, lower than we’d like.
Instead, we see more merit in backing the visitors to cover this short spread. The Bengals go into this encouraged after the first win of the season. They have an elite offensive unit that has just not been clicking properly in the opening two weeks. The Titans are struggling on all ends, and it would take something really special for them to bounce back and see off Cincinnati on Sunday. We will go for the -2.5 spread at -110 odds at BetMGM.
Player Prop — Ja’Marr Chase Over 81.5 Receiving Yards (-115) with BetMGM
Tennessee is the third-worst team in the league in passing yards allowed on completions this season. Ja’Marr Chase registered a career-high 12 catches for 141 yards on Monday Night Football against the Rams. This is a match made in heaven for Joe Burrow’s favorite target, and we can hardly imagine Ja’Marr going below this line at Nissan Stadium. We’ll back Chase to register over 81.5 receiving yards in this matchup all day long at -115 odds.