Eagles – Titans Pregame Notes

Last week sucked, but the Eagles couldn’t have asked for a better game with which to get back on track.  The Titans are 2-8, and have lost 8 of their last 9 games.  Their only win came by two points, at home, against Jacksonville.  As you’ll see below, the spread reflects this as the Eagles are 11 point favorites.  Here are a few notes:

– The defense was embarrassed last week, but now they play an offense averaging just 16.8 points per game.  In fact, the Titans have scored 17 or fewer points in 7 of their 10 games this season.  Basically, the defense has absolutely no excuse for not shutting this team down.  Bishop Sankey isn’t exactly a world-beater at RB, and the Titans don’t have anything close to the deep passing game of the Packers.  Nate Washington could certainly beat Bradley Fletcher in a footrace, but he still needs Zach Mettenberger to get him the ball.

In all, if the defense plays well, we should see a huge blowout.

– The Titans defense isn’t quite as bad as their offense, but it’s still not a unit the Eagles should struggle too much with.  I’m not a big Mark Sanchez fan, but he’s certainly capable of putting scoring drives together with regularity against a mediocre defense.

– Tennessee ranks first in the league with a Fumble Recovery % of 66.67%.  That’s pretty high.  The team overall has recovered 11 fumbles while losing just 4.  That doesn’t really effect today’s game, but it suggests the Titans’ “true” level as a team might be even worse then their record.

– The Titans are allowing 4.4 yards per carry to opposing teams and are 2nd to last in the league in rush yards allowed per game (143.5).  Shady hasn’t looked 100% this year, but today is a chance for him to have a strong performance.  Leveon Bell ran for 204 yards and a TD last week against TEN, and Justin Forsett rushed for 112 and 2 TDs the week before.

That’s all for now.  I could keep throwing out stats, but the message isn’t changing.  There are no excuses for not coming away from today’s game with a comfortable win.  The Eagles are playing at home, against a 2-8 team coming off a short week (they played Monday night).  With the Eagles playing on Thanksgiving, it’s even more important for the team to take care of business early.  Although Chip Kelly has shown a puzzling tendency to leave starters in the game too long, pulling Shady/Maclin/Sproles/Cox/etc… early might go a long way to keeping them in good condition for Thursday.

Full odds breakdown from BGN is below, but the summary is I see some recency bias in the line here and think the Eagles win by close to 2 TDs.  I’m taking the over because its the Eagles (they’ve hit the over 7 out of 10 this season, despite very high lines).

My picks record to date:

Line: 4 – 6

O/U: 5 – 5

Reader record:

Line: 5 – 5

O/U: 8 – 2

This week’s lines:

Eagles -11 (-110)

Packers +11 (-110)

Over 49 (-105)

Under 49 (-115)

Reviewing last week:

Well that sucked.  I didn’t think the Eagles would win, but certainly expected it to be a close game.  That’s what happens when you get outplayed AND have nearly every bounce go against you.  Took an 0-2 here, and the 55 point O/U that seemed really high ahead of time was nearly covered by just GB.

This week’s game:

This is a really interesting line.  11 points is big, especially when it favors a team that just lost by 33 points.  Meanwhile, the Titans are just 2-8.  After an opening week win against Kansas City, Tennessee has lost 8 of its last 9 games.  It’s only win was at home against Jacksonville, by just 2 points.   Last week, the Titans nearly beat the Steelers (lost by 3), but that’s about it for positives.

Needless to say, the Eagles will almost certainly win this game.  The question, of course, is by how much.

DVOA Breakdown:

Eagles Overall DVOA: 9.6% (8th)

Titans Overall: -16% (27th)

Eagles Offense: -3.4% (18th)

Titans Defense: 9% (29th)

Eagles Defense: -5.6% (8th)

Titans Offense: -6.0% (20th)

On Special Teams, the big news is that the Eagles have fallen out of the top ranking for the first time since week 2.  They now trail Baltimore, but Tennessee ranks just 19th.

Opponents in Common:

Washington – Eagles won by 3 points at home.  Titans lost by 2 points on the road.

Jacksonville – Eagles won by 17 at home.  Titans won by 2 at home.

Houston – Eagles won by 10 on the road.  Titans lost by 14 at home.

Indianapolis – Eagles won by 3 on the road.  Titans lost by 24 on the road.

Every result is in the Eagles’ favor, and to a significant degree.  Now, we already knew the Eagles would be the the pick to win, but these results point to a lot of potential for a blowout.

Score Projection:

The Titans are bad on defense.  The team is allowing an average of 25 points per game and ranks 29th by DVOA.  The Eagles haven’t played anyone quite as bad on defense, with the Colts coming closest (26th).  Against them, on the road, the Eagles scored 27.

The Eagles offense ranks 18th by DVOA, just better than Houston.  Against the Texans, at home, the Titans allowed 30.

Those results point towards a 30-33 point game for the Eagles.  Given that the team is averaging 29.9 on the season, that seems reasonable. For a projection, I’m setting the Eagles line at 31.5 points.

The Titans, on the other hand, are averaging just 16.8 ppg.  By DVOA, they rank 20th, right above Washington, and just below Houston.  Agains those teams, the Eagles allowed 34 and 21 points.

Among Titans’ opponents, the Eagles rank most similarly to Baltimore, coming in just be behind them.  Against them (on the road) the Titans scored just 7 points.

Now we see the tricky part.  Pegging the Eagles defense is tough, especially after the team gave up 55 (Yes, I know that wasn’t all the defense).  If we think the Eagles will score 31-32 points, that means we need to project the Titans to score 20 or less, so let’s see how likely that is.

The team is allowing an average of 25.1 ppg this season.  They’ve allowed 20 or less just twice, against Jacksonville and New York.    They’ve also allowed 21 points twice, to Houston and Carolina.  So expecting them to hold the Titans below to 20 or less doesn’t seem like a high probability bet, BUT, we have to look at the other side of the equation.

The Titans have scored 20 or less SEVEN TIMES.  In 10 games.  Overall, the team averages just 16.8 points per game.   If we just peg the Titans at their average, we get a spread of 13-14 points.

So why is the spread just 11?  Everything above points to a 2 TD game.

My answer:  I think there’s a strong recency bias here.

The Eagles are coming off of a terrible game, and the Titans have just played their most impressive game since week one.  Add in the fact that Tennessee is coming off a short week (played Monday Night) and playing on the road, and it looks like we might be seeing a dislocation here.

I’m taking the Eagles, and I think the Titans score just 15-17 points. 

Adding my projections together, I get 46-48.5 points.  The over/under is set at 49, so that says take the Under.  However, that goes against my general rule for this year (bet the over unless there’s a VERY strong signal.)  The Eagles have hit the over in 7 of 10 games this year, and I’m confident in Billy Davis and the defense allowing 1-2 late garbage TDs.

So Over is the pick.

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