Tennessee Titans (1-1) +4, o/u 45 at New Orleans Saints (0-2), 8:30 pm Eastern Monday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com
The New Orleans Saints look to get their machinery in gear when they host the Tennessee Titans for their home opener on ESPN’s Monday Night Football from the Superdome.
After a magical 2006-07 season that saw them reach the NFC championship game, New Orleans has lost its first two games of this season, and gotten outscored 72-24 in the process.
Tennessee, meanwhile, has split its first two games of this season, winning at Jacksonville 13-10 as seven-point road underdogs in week one and losing at home to Indianapolis 22-20 as seven-point home dogs last week. The Titans outrushed the Jaguars 282-72 and held a 37/23 time-of-possession advantage, as the game stayed well below its posted total of 39. Last Sunday, Tennessee outrushed the Colts 141-81 but came up a bit short trying to rally from a 19-6 third-quarter deficit. That game also managed to stay under its total of 45.
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The Titans lead the league in rushing with 423 yards in two games.
The Saints lost at Indy to open this season 41-10 as six-point road dogs, then fell at Tampa Bay 31-14 last week as five-point road chalk. New Orleans was actually tied at 10 with the Colts at the half, but got outscored 31-0 in the second half, and their only TD of the game came on a fumble return. The Saints got outrushed at Indy 164-106 as the game stayed just under its total of 53. The Saints then fell behind 21-0 to the Buccaneers, despite outrushing Tampa 99-87 and holding a 33/27 T-O-P advantage. The game squeaked over its total of 41 when New Orleans scored a meaningless touchdown with under three minutes remaining.
These two teams haven’t met in a game that actually meant something since September of 2003, when Tennessee beat the Saints 27-12. The starting QBs for that game were Aaron Brooks and Steve McNair.
Monday’s QBs have fairly similar passing numbers this season, but other than that, have little in common. Titans QB Vince Young has completed 62% of his passes this season for a 1/1 TD/INT ratio and a 76.3 passing rating. But Young does more than throw the ball, and has a knack for pulling off late-game heroics.
New Orleans QB Drew Brees, meanwhile, has hit 64% of his throws this season, but for a 1/3 TD/INT ratio and a 66.4 passing rating. And the Saints have been playing from well behind for most of their first two games.
Last year, Tennessee went 4-4 straight up and 6-2 against the spread on the road. On the other side, despite the love affair New Orleans had with their home city, the Saints only went 4-4 straight up and 3-5 ATS at home.
As mentioned above, these two teams already have one opponent in common this season; both teams have lost to the Indianapolis Colts. In its win over the Titans, Indy outgained Tennessee 381-313; in their win over the Saints, the Colts outgained N.O. 452-293.
Last season, the o/u went a lop-sided 13-3 in Titans games; this year, both Tennessee games have gone under. And also last year, the o/u went 8-8 in Saints regular-season games; this year, New Orleans’ two games have split on the totals.
The Saints opened up at right around four on the pointspread for Monday night’s game, with a total of 45, and both those numbers have held steady. Also, New Orleans is listed at about -220 on the moneyline, with the Titans getting +180 as road dogs.
Zman’s Pick: Take Tennessee to cover.