Those expecting the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans to put on a show equal to what we saw last week in Chiefs-Rams should probably temper expectations. However, there’s a lot to dig in to here. This Week 12 Monday Night Football betting matchup has all sorts of AFC South and playoff implications, and the stakes will be highly dependent on how the Colts fare on Sunday. Both teams, however, have been tough to figure out all season.

After Week 3, the Houston Texans’ chances of making the playoffs sat at just 2%. Houston was in bad company with two other 0-3 teams, the Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders. Most felt Texans’ coach Bill O’Brien might not last until Week 6.

But, look what’s happened since. Not only have the Texans won games, they’ve won every game since the Week 3 loss. Houston sits atop the AFC South Division with a fantastic 7-3 record. The Texans are 2 games ahead of Monday night’s opponent, the Tennessee Titans, in the division.

The Titans looked like they were on their way to respectability after a fantastic win against New England, but in Week 11 Tennessee dropped to 5-5 after Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck blasted them with 3 touchdown passes. Because of Houston’s bad start, the Titans aren’t out of it. They can win the division. A victory over the Texans brings Tennessee within a game.

Will the Titans pull off the big upset? Or, will Houston increase their AFC South lead?

NFL WEEK 12 MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL BETTING
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Monday, November 26th – NRG Stadium – 8:15pm ET
Odds: Texans -5.5 (Off)

Mariota Needs To Be The Man

In the devastating loss to Indianapolis in Week 11, starting quarterback Marcus Mariota got hurt. Prior that elbow injury, Mariota had been on fire. He dominated the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10 going 21-of-29 for 240 yards and 2 TD passes. Against the Patriots, he outplayed Tom Brady with a 228 yards, 2 TD performance.

He threw a pick and only passed for 85 yards before getting hurt versus the Colts. Up until being forced out of the game, Mariota had completed 76% of his passes. If he can’t go on Monday night, Blaine Gabbert gets the reigns.

Gabbert played okay versus Indy, but he doesn’t have the skills to keep the Titans in the game when it turns into a shootout. Houston can score all sorts of ways, which means the Texans could try to push the pace.

Without Mariota, the Titans’ chances of winning, could end before kickoff. The good news for Tennessee’s that Mariota’s listed as questionable, which is much better than being listed as doubtful. He is being treated for a stinger, a very temporary nerve injury, in his elbow and should be good to go. His elbow has been a sore spot for the team all season, but Mariota has to put that behind him and start performing as a second overall pick is supposed to.

The Titans desperately need him to keep pace in Week 12 Monday Night Football betting. All signs point to him returning to form.

Houston Looks to Continue Winning Streak

It’s impressive how Houston has come back from the dead after looking like one of the worst teams in the NFL before mid-October. The Texans can’t take ease off the gas because of the 0-3 start. Every game means something until Houston ties up the division. They’re only 2 games ahead of Tennessee and Indianapolis. We knew going in that the AFC South might be one of the deeper division in the league. Right now, it’s proven to be that.

We can discuss individual matchups, but right the battle with Tennessee is more about the Texans continuing a winning streak that appears long in the tooth. They barely escaped Washington with a victory in Week 11 and they only beat Denver by 2 in Week 10.

Houston must step it up on Monday night. There’s too much at stake for them to let the streak end.

Week 12 Monday Night Football Betting Analysis

The total remains off because NFL handicappers know the Titans won’t score as much with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. Again, it’s very likely (if not assured) that Mariota will suit up for this one. The line’s only Texans -5.5. If they didn’t believe Mariota would play, the line would be -6.5 to -7.5.

A lot of people are going to be hanging their hats on the Texans, but the Titans are the much better team against the spread based on trends. Tennessee’s 7-0 ATS in their last 7 on Monday night, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 versus the AFC South, and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 following an SU loss. Houston is 2-10 ATS in their last 12 on Monday night and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 at home.

I like the Titans even if Mariota doesn’t play. Once we hear word, one of two things will happen: If he plays, the Titans become a great pick at -5.5. If he doesn’t play, Houston rises to a -7.5 favorite. I’m taking the points either way.

Week 12 Monday Night Football Betting Free Pick: Titans +5.5