Tennessee Titans (8-5 SU, 5-7-1 ATS, 7-6 O/U) vs. San Francisco 49ers (3-10 SU, 7-6 ATS, 5-8 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 4:25 p.m. EST
The San Francisco 49ers have won three of their last four games heading into a home date with the Tennessee Titans at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon. San Francisco started the season 0-9, but it has reeled off recent victories over the Giants, Chicago, and Houston. The Titans are hoping to bounce back from a loss at Arizona that dropped them behind Jacksonville in the AFC South.
Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz was not the only up-and-coming quarterback who sustained a knee injury this past Sunday. Fortunately for Tennessee, Marcus Mariota is not out for the year with a torn ACL. Mariota sprained a knee during the Titans’ recent 12-7 setback against Arizona, but he stayed in the game–albeit being visibly less than 100 percent–and finished with 159 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions on a 16-for-31 passing effort. For the season, Mariota has more interceptions (14) than touchdown passes (10).
“Frustration is an understatement,” the former Oregon signal-caller said following Tennessee’s loss to the Cardinals. “The defense played lights out, special teams did their job and I have been hurting our team and I have to find ways to get better and improve.”
“He missed some throws he usually doesn’t miss,” head coach Mike Mularkey admitted. “I definitely think it had a little bit of an effect, it certainly did in the play-calling…. We’ve just got to do a better job of execution across the board. We didn’t have very many mental errors, probably one of our least mental-errors games. But unfortunately those ones we had were right at the point of where the ball was going to be, either thrown or run.”
Two starts into his tenure with San Francisco, Jimmy Garoppolo is 2-0. By comparison, the 49ers were 1-10 before the former New England backup took over under center. Garoppolo is 48-for-72 with 645 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions so far this season. He went 20-for-33 with 334 yards, one TD, and one INT during last week’s 26-16 victory at Houston. In their last two games, the Niners have scored a combined 41 points. That may not be a lot, but is their highest-scoring two-game stretch since going for 47 in a pair of early October contests. It is their third-highest two-game stretch of the 2017 campaign. Garoppolo and head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed that he is starting against Tennessee, albeit without going out and saying it.
“I mean, I don’t know,” Garoppolo said when asked immediately following last week’s game about how he feels about making his first home start. “We’ll find out as tomorrow comes…. Am I (starting)?. Well, we’ll see what happens this weekend. That’s on Kyle.”
“Yeah, I’m going to keep Tennessee guessing also,” Shanahan joked on Monday. “So they’ll find out on Sunday kickoff…. No, I think he knows the answer. So I think he’s just playing along with it–similar to how I am, also.”
The Tennessee Titans are:
- 19-43-4 ATS in their last 66 overall
- 7-20 ATS in their last 27 road games
- 16-33-3 ATS in their last 52 games against teams with losing records
The San Francisco 49ers are:
- 5-1 ATS in their last six games after passing for more than 250 yards in their previous game
- 5-1 Under in their last six overall
- 20-9 Under in their last 29 home games
San Francisco has gotten in gear following a 1-10 start, and has coincided with the arrival of Garoppolo. Tennessee, on the other hand, is going in the wrong direction. It fell out of first place in the AFC South last weekend, passed by a Jacksonville squad that got the best of Seattle. Mariota may continue to struggle against the 49ers’ improving defense. The Titans are 19-43-4 ATS in their last 66 overall, 7-20 ATS in their last 27 on the road, 16-33-3 ATS in their last 52 against losing opponents, 3-13-1 ATS in their last 17 on the road against opponents with losing home records, 17-37-4 ATS in their last 58 on grass, 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine after scoring less than 15 points in their previous outing, and 5-19-2 ATS in their last 26 in December. San Francisco is 5-1 ATS in its last six after passing for more than 250 yards in its previous outing. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.
Pick: San Francisco 49ers -2
The Titans’ offensive issues are well-documented. Luckily for the visitors, their defense is a strong unit. Tennessee is ninth in the NFL in total defense at 323.3 yards per game. San Francisco is countering as a team that has allowed only 30 points in its last two outings. It has not given up more than 24 points since Oct. 29, a stretch of five games. The under is 4-1 in the Titans’ last five on the road, 4-1 in their last five against losing opponents, 11-5 in their last 16 on the road against opponents with losing home records, 4-1 in their last five after passing for less than 150 yards in their previous outing, and 4-1 in their last five in December. It is also 5-1 in the 49ers’ last six overall, 20-9 in their last 29 at home, 18-8 in their last 26 against winning opponents, 10-1 in their last 11 at home against opponents with winning road records, and 10-4 in their last 14 following a win. Look for this one to stay under the total.