Week 3 begins with the annual “Get these two shit teams on prime time in one fell swoop early in the season so that no-one has to watch them again” matchup between the Titans and the Jaguars.
It is definitely the dream of many to have this one shown to the nation and across the seas at 120am in the UK. It does however mean I can get a full night sleep and not worry too much about missing some NFL action.
Titans -1.5 v Jaguars; Total – 38
The total has been dropping all week and has gone down two point since I checked it yesterday, possibly due to the expected 20mph winds which is around the level it could affect play, but more likely just because of the low opinion a lot of people have of these teams.
The Titans are tough watch. They stomped on the Browns in week one, then went on to lose to the Colts last weekend in a weird, low scoring, mis-managed game. They had the ball with minutes to go, on the charge, but decided to spike it on 3rd and 2 to stop the clock, leaving them only one chance to get the yards, which inevitably failed.
Marcus Mariota is average. 7.5 yards per attempt in his career, 56 games with 73 TDs, about 3 TDs every 2 games, and that’s right about where he is and probably will be this season. He’s playing for a contract this year but I think he’s just leaving the Titans in QB purgatory, he’s not good enough for them to make much of a splash, but he’s too good for them to reasonably replace him. Although he did win a playoff game in 2017.
They seem to have finally realised that the key to winning games for them at the moment is Derrick Henry. Give the big man the ball as much as possible; he’s had 34 rush attempts so far this season for 166 at a decent 4.9 yards per carry. In fact since he blew up against this Jags side in week 14 last year, Henry leads the league in rushing yards, rushing TDs, scrimmage yards and scrimmage TDs. It’s safe to say that he’s the key to this game. He’s also been increasingly getting more pass targets as well, scoring a 75 yard TD from a screen pass against the Browns and making 2 catches last week. Their other choice in the backfield is Dion Lewis who isn’t actually a bad RB himself, although generally used on passing down plays these days. He’s actually had the same 5 targets as Henry has had this year so far with much lesser success.
The passing game…well. The tight end Delanie Walker is probably Mariota’s favourite and most reliable pass catcher, he scored twice in week 1, and has drawn 6 targets in each game so far. Corey Davis really should be good in this league but it’s just not happened for him so far, he was a beast in college but so far has only 4 TDs in 29 games for the Titans. The rookie AJ Brown has started off his career pretty well with a big game against the Browns, before stumbling a little last week, he’s had 3 receptions each week so far. It seemed like Adam Humphries would be a decent player in this short passing offense, he was a reliable pass catcher in the slot for the Buccs before joining the Titans over the summer, but it couldn’t have gone much worse for him so far this year with 3 catches from his 3 targets for a grand total of 4 yards, including a -1 yard game last week somehow from 2 receptions. Against the Jags defense you’re probably better just avoiding everyone in the passing game.
The Titans defense has been good so far though, Cam Wake has started well for them and as a team they’ve had 8 sacks so far this year. Their corners have been shutting people down and they’re 2nd in defensive passing yards, also 6th in points allowed.
It’s not much better on the Jags side of the ball. Offensively they’re nearly as inept as the Titans are.
They start this tonight with Gardner Minshew at QB, the 6th round rookie starts his second game this week after coming in part way through the first against the Chiefs. In fairness he’s done as much as could be asked from him given his pedigree, 88% completions in week 1, nearly 70% last week really isn’t that bad. He also showed some good work with his legs last week, 56 rushing yards for him against the Texans.
His favourite target seems to be DJ Chark whom he probably played with a lot in training camp so that makes sense, Chark has a TD each week and finished last week with 7 receptions for 55 yards. It was expected by most that Dede Westbrook would have been the main man in the passing attack but he doesn’t seem to have much of a connection with Minshew at the moment, just one reception from 5 targets last week for a grand total of 3 yards. Chris Conley actually led the team in yardage last week with 73 from 4 catches and he was the other who I thought would have a bit more of a connection with Minshew. Tight end is a mess for the team at the moment, James O’Shaughnessy has 4 catches per game, Geoff Swaim has 7 from their 2 so far. Blah.
When healthy Leonard Fournette is a good running back, I won’t call him great, I don’t think he is, and he gets injured a lot, but he is the man they were attempting to build their roster around but injury has hampered their attempts in doing so. He has averaged 4 ypc this year and has been mixing in the passing game as well with 4 receptions in each game, earning 40 yards from them at the weekend.
Their defense is still their strength, for now anyway, Jalen Ramsey has apparently requested a trade. He’s considered one of the best CBs in the league so the Jags want 2 firsts is reports are to be believed. I’m not sure if he’ll be playing tonight, if he wants out, and they want him gone, why would they risk him getting injured?
What a crock of shit. 38 points is too low for me to take the unders, although I would still lean that way on the total anyway. It seems like a solid ‘Unders’ night on the whole to be honest.
I think the Titans are the better team but Thursday night road teams don’t have a good record which makes me want to avoid the spread as well.
- Derrick Henry o9.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (365)
- James O’Shaughnessy o2.5 receptions – 2.00 (365/PP)
The guys over at @Gscurftraders amazing spreadsheet have tipped Gardner Minshew II to top 13.5 rushing yards at William Hill which is one I wouldn’t put you off, and him to score tonight is at 10/1 on 365 which is pretty tempting as well.
Onwards and upwards to the weekened. The Ravens v Chiefs should be a brilliant game.
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