#265 Cleveland Brownsvs.#266 Tennessee Titans
Written by Chuck D
When and Where. Sunday, Oct. 16, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tenn. 1:00pm EDT (CBS)
Spread: Tennessee -7; Total: 45.5
The only winless team in the National Football League goes in search of victory once again on Sunday when the hapless Cleveland Browns head to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans. Last week the Browns were dismantled by Tom Brady in the Patriots, 33-13 in Cleveland. The Titans, meanwhile, hit the road and came up with a 30-17 triumph over the Dolphins in Miami. Cleveland leads the all-time series 35-29 and that includes victories over Tennessee the last two seasons.
The quarterback carousel in Cleveland continues. Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown each lasted one game and rookie Cody Kessler has started the last three games but exited Sunday’s contest with rib and chest injuries. Charlie Whitehurst was brought into finish the game but word is that McCown could return for this week’s matchup with the Titans.
The issues at the quarterback position certainly does not help things, but the Browns seem to keep finding new ways to lose. The latest method was to get blown out at home. The defeat was their worst of the season and came on the heels of three competitive losses in the previous weeks. The squad only amassed 262 yards total yards with just 27 of them coming on the ground. That stat is particularly disappointing when pointing out that the team came into the game averaging an NFL best 149 rushing yards per contest. Conversely they gave up over 500 yards to the Patriots and Tom Brady threw for over 400. Cornerback Tramon Williams missed the game with the Pats after being limited in practice all week, but hopes to return Sunday.
Prior to Sunday’s victory over the Dolphins, every single game Tennessee had participated in had been a single-digit affair. The problem for the Titans is that they had only come out on the winning side of one of those contests. With the 13-point triumph in Miami, the Titans moved to within one game of the Houston Texans, tied with the Indianapolis Colts for second-place in the AFC South.
The matchup was a battle of two of the five lowest-scoring teams in the NFL. One advantage the Titans had in the contest was health. Miami was without seven starters. Marcus Mariota did not mind taking advantage of that fact, throwing for three scores and running for another. The squad was dead last in the league in scoring at just 15.5 points per game but nearly doubled that in victory. The ground game was in full-effect as well, as the Titans averaged 5.7 yards a carry en rout to running for 235 yards. On the day, Mariota threw for 163 yards on 20-of-29 passing with no interceptions. He carried the ball seven times for 60 yards as well. Demarco Murray had seven carries for 121 yards while rookie Derrick Henry ran seven times for 54 yards. The team nearly doubled up the ‘Fins offensive effort by gaining 398 yards to Miami’s 200. The defense was on-point as well, pitching in six sacks and intercepting Ryan Tannehill twice.
The line opened at -6 and quickly moved to -7. Perhaps the uncertainty at the quarterback position for the Browns is the reason why. The truth of the matter is, however, that if Cleveland is going to get a win this season, this is one of their more realistic chances. Despite effort against Miami, the Titans offense is still pretty bad. Cleveland has seemed to be able to put up points no matter who is behind center and at the very least will keep this one competitive.
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Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.