Titans bounce back from COVID

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Through a lot of league language, what I deciphered from Monday’s story via The Associated Press was the Tennessee Titans won’t likely face any discipline for their recent COVID-19 mess.

Titans fans were going “Whew!” After all, they don’t want to see this undefeated run derailed anytime soon.

Tennessee (5-0) was 3-0 before a multitude of positive coronavirus tests shut down operations, as the outbreak grew to as many as 24 and forced the NFL to reschedule its games with Pittsburgh, from Oct. 4 to Oct. 25, and its game with Buffalo from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13.

The Titans are 2-0 since team operations reopened, after blasting the Bills in Week 5 and sneaking past the Texans in OT on Sunday.

Bettors should be salivating with this team at this point, as the Titans have a chance to win their next four before enjoying 10 days off between Weeks 10 and 11, when they’ll face the Ravens in Baltimore on Nov. 22.

This Sunday is the biggest chore, as they host fellow-undefeated Pittsburgh (5-0) in a showdown of division leaders.

As of Tuesday, the Steelers (-1.5) were laying a small number in Tennessee, and it’s tough to overlook a home underdog when its offense ranks 12th in the league in total offense (2,110 yards in five games), and the first 11 teams have six games under their belt.

The Titans rank second in the NFL with an average of 422 yards per game. Seattle is the only team scoring more — by one point — than Tennessee (32.8), which has scored at least 30 in four straight games and at least 42 points five times since the start of the 2019 season — most in the NFL in that span.

Last week, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill passed for 364 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Derrick Henry — who is on pace to have a career season — totaled a career-high 264 scrimmage yards (212 rushing, 52 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns — including a 94-yard touchdown run. Tight end Anthony Firkser added 113 receiving yards and a touchdown

Tennessee, which is averaging a league fifth-best 6.2 yards per play, is the third team to have a 300-yard passer, 200-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same regular-season game in NFL history.

The Titans are just 2-3 at the betting windows, but the three ATS losses came before the team shutdown and they failed to cover by an average of just 2.5 points. But they’ve gone over in four of their five games.

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I told you about their offense. That’s the good part. But their defense ranks dead last in the NFL in the red zone, allowing touchdowns on 87.5% of opponents’ trips. The Titans rank 27th, surrendering 409.8 yards per game. They gave up 10 plays of 15 yards or longer to Houston and a total of 412 yards for the game.

The “Over” is going to be attractive until they work things out. It’s safe to say when you’re looking for value with short point spreads, and high totals, “Remember the Titans.”

I’m ready to forget last week’s display:

Sunday

Browns at Bengals +3.5: One-win Cincinnati has played well enough to be 5-1 right now. We’re talking a tie with the Eagles in Week 3, and three of four losses by a combined 12 points. Maybe a division foe is exactly what is needed. BENGALS

Bills -13 at Jets: New York averages 12.5 points per game. The league average is 25.5. Buffalo needs a punching bag after back-to-back losses. The Jets may not score. BILLS

Packers -3.5 at Texans: Last Sunday’s defeat to the Buccaneers was Green Bay’s fourth straight regular-season setback following a bye. Now it’s back to business against struggling Houston. PACKERS

Seahawks -3.5 at Cardinals: Just because Arizona waxed the Cowboys on Monday doesn’t mean the Glendale birds are ready to fly with NFC West’s mighty Seahawks. Teams are 3-0 the game after beating Dallas, but Seattle isn’t losing this game off a bye. SEAHAWKS

49ers at Patriots -2.5: A monumental win for San Francisco on Sunday, toppling the Rams on national television. But a trip to back east to start a back-to-back road set in New England and Seattle is no way to celebrate. Especially with the Pats off a home loss to Denver. PATRIOTS

Jaguars at Chargers -8: Did you read last week’s column on L.A. quarterback Justin Herbert? One thing I didn’t tell you was the Jaguars passed on Herbert in the NFL Draft and stuck with Gardner Minshew. Herbert is about to hit Jacksonville’s secondary like a bolt of lightning. CHARGERS

Last Week: 2-4

Season: 19-14

About the Author

W.G. Ramirez

W.G. Ramirez is a 32-year veteran covering sports in Southern Nevada, and resident of 46 years. He is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada correspondent for The Associated Press.

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