Titans well behind the pack in Super Bowl odds

BetAmerica Staff

January 14th, 2020

Every week we sit down with BetAmerica Extra columnists Ashley AndersonJames Scully and Scott Shapiro to discuss the latest news from around the NFL. This week they weigh in on the future of new Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and the Tennessee Titans' surprisingly long Super Bowl odds.

Did Lamar Jackson simply have an off game against the Titans, or did Tennessee finally discover the blueprint for slowing him down?

Ashley: I don’t think Jackson is to blame for the Ravens’ loss. His receivers committed six drops, and one of his interceptions occurred when Mark Andrews tipped a pass off of his fingers and into the Titans’ arms. Jackson’s scrambling ability is one of the main reasons he’s so difficult to defend, and he led his team with 143 yards on the ground. If anything, the Titans figured out how to expose the Ravens’ defense by unleashing Derrick Henry.

James: Jackson had an off game along with his teammates. His receivers dropped passes, and Derrick Henry hurt them by gaining 195 rushing yards on 30 carries. Jackson had opportunities, recording 508 yards of offense (365 passing and 143 rushing), but two interceptions, a fumble, and bad decision-making on fourth downs proved costly.
Scott: Lamar Jackson was not incredibly accurate with his arm on Saturday night and failed to value the football, but I think this was more about the Titans than the former Louisville QB having an off game. Throughout the regular season, the Ravens jumped on teams early, but Tennessee did not let this occur. Instead, the Titans picked Jackson off on Baltimore’s first drive and took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. This took Greg Roman’s offense out of its comfort zone. They are just not equipped to drop Jackson back as often as they did in the Divisional Round. Kudos to Mike Vrabel and his team.

Tennessee’s Super Bowl odds are just +750 despite knocking off New England and Baltimore. Should bettors jump on them now before they get any shorter?

Ashley: The Titans became the third playoff team to beat the top-ranked defense (New England) and offense (Baltimore) in consecutive weeks. The 1988 49ers and 2004 Patriots also accomplished the feat and eventually won the Super Bowl. That said, the sixth seed hasn’t reached the Super Bowl since 2010, when Green Bay did it and lifted the Lombardi Trophy. I don’t see Tennessee getting past Kansas City’s potent offense on Sunday or besting the Niners’ defense, should the two meet in Miami.

James: Tennessee has controlled the line of scrimmage against highly-rated defenses, with Derrick Henry exploiting open run lanes in the playoffs, and they are 4-0 ATS when grabbing five or more points this season. I won’t recommend their Super Bowl odds, but the physical Titans can’t be dismissed as a 7.5-point underdog versus Kansas City.

Scott: The Titans have been extremely impressive through the first two rounds of the playoffs, but they still have a long way to go before hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Miami on Feb. 2. Not only will they have to find a way to slow down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Arrowhead, but they are also likely to encounter the 49ers elite defensive line if they earn a trip to the Super Bowl. The value is solid, but I still do not see Tennessee having what it takes to win it all this year.

The Browns hired Kevin Stefanski as their new head coach on Sunday. Can the former Vikings OC propel Cleveland into the playoffs during his first year on the job?

Ashley: It will depend on his ability to manage personalities in his first stint as an NFL head coach. Stefanski helped revamp the offense in Minnesota by focusing on the run and feeding star running back Dalvin Cook. He can do the same with Nick Chubb in Cleveland, but if he can’t keep his team disciplined and together, then he won’t make much difference.

James: Cleveland faces a tough task in the AFC North. The Browns have a young and talent-laden roster, and the new coaching staff is likely to make a big difference with Baker Mayfield. However, I am skeptical of their playoff chances with Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the same division.

Scott: Kevin Stefanski is an upgrade from Freddie Kitchens, but I am not expecting the Browns to make the playoffs in his first season at the helm. Sure, they should be more disciplined than they were in 2019, but Stefanski has never wowed me with is play calling despite being a hot commodity around the NFL for a few years. Furthermore, Cleveland still has major holes on the offensive line and a franchise quarterback that played poorly in his second season in the league. I can see them winning 8 games in 2020, but making the playoffs seems like a reach.

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