If there was a tough time to be the Tennessee Titans, right now would be it. After letting the lead in their division slip away thanks to a five-game losing streak, Tennessee will be fighting to survive one more week against the Cowboys on the last edition of Thursday Night Football this season.
Just by looking at the overall stats, and both teams’ games from last week, it doesn’t take a genius to understand why the Cowboys are coming into this game as overwhelming favorites. While the Cowboys put on a stellar performance beating Philadelphia in overtime, the Titans on the other hand, well, they lost to the Texans. Yes, the now 2-12-1 Texans.
With the Jaguars well in place to take over the AFC South and their playoff hopes slipping away, will the Titans step up to the challenge and stop Dallas?
Let’s check the latest NFL picks, stats, injury reports, and NFL predictions. We’ve plenty of NFL expert picks for you to consider.
Without Henry, How Will the Titans Score?
How can you go from having a hold of your divisional title race for most of the season, especially in the AFC South, where talent and competition are not really a thing, to struggling to stay alive in the race? Well, have you met the Tennessee Titans?
With their fate hanging from beating the Cowboys at home on TNF and defeating Jacksonville in what promises to be a showdown for the crown next week, the Titans are drowning so badly right now, that not even Jacques Cousteau could save them.
Without Derrick Henry, who is out with a hip injury, it will take close to a miracle for Tennessee to come out of this game unscathed.
Josh Dobbs, Tennessee’s new starting QB will be taking the lead on offense Thursday, eight days after being signed from the Lions’ practice squad. With Ryan Tannehill being out with an ankle injury, Tennessee had a choice between the rookie backup Malik Willis and Dobbs, choosing the latter.
And while I prefer Willis and his Michael Vick kind of moments here and there, this is a team that does not know how to score, even more so with Dobbs now taking over.
During their current five-game losing streak, the Titans have not been able to score more than 22 points in any of those games. So what can they do now, when they’re about to face one of the toughest defenses in the league? Utilizing whatever Treylon Burks and Chig Okonkwo can bring to the table would be a great start.
Yes, Dobbs hasn’t played in quite some time, but if he can find his groove and connect with Burks and Okonkwo, the Titans could do some great things on offense. By hitting Okonkwo in short passes and leaving the deep-ball plays to Burks, Tennessee could find a way to break through Dallas’ defense, especially since they’ll be without Henry to take care of all the rushing attacks.
Defensively, the Titans will have to rely heavily on their stellar front defense, ranked second in the league against the rush to try and pressure Dak Prescott constantly and stop Dallas’ rushing attack.
By not allowing Prescott to get his passing game going, thus making the Cowboys run the ball more, the Titans could have an edge. If the Cowboys get the ball down the field through the air though, there’s little that Tennessee’s secondary will be able to do.
The Cowboys Are Scary Good Right Now
While the Niners might be the scariest team to face in the NFC, the Cowboys are right behind them. After their win over the Eagles last weekend, which ignited the race for the NFC East, Dallas is a team nobody is looking forward to facing.
Even after having a shaky start to the game against Philadelphia, once Prescott and his offense got into their groove, it became apparent that this team knows a thing or two about putting up points. Even with Tony Pollard still uncertain to play in the game because of a thigh injury, Prescott and the Cowboys still have plenty of weapons.
CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, and Michael Gallup will all be more than ready to put Tennessee’s secondary under siege. If Prescott can get rolling fast and avoid making dumb mistakes like at the beginning of the game against the Eagles, everything should flow with ease for Dallas.
On defense, this game will be all about Dallas’ ability to overwhelm Tennessee’s offensive line and Dobbs. By ranking third in the league in sacks, with 3.3 per matchup, facing off against an O-line as fragile as Tennessee’ should be a walk in the park for Dallas’ elite frontal defense.
Add to that a strong coverage game plan to lock down Burks, Okonkwo, and the rest of Tennessee’s receivers, and the Cowboys should be good to go.
12-4 Sounds Perfect for Dallas
If Henry was suiting up for the Titans, I would at least give some benefit of the doubt to Tennessee. They have a much bigger need to win, especially knowing that the Jaguars will most likely tear the Texans apart on Sunday. But without their star player, it’s difficult to envision Tennessee being able to stop Dallas.
As the competition for their divisional crown feels like it will be a race to the finish, as well as the chance of scoring the No.1 seed in the NFC playoff race also present, the Cowboys will be looking to win, and win big.
So roll with Dallas to score the win on the last Thursday Night Football game of the season.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.