Pro Football weekly

A look at NFL handicapping with the PFW editor lobbying to become Las Vegas bureau chief.

Rams-Titans could be a puzzler for handicappers

About the Author

Recent posts by Mike Wilkening

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Mike Wilkening

Titans QB Vince Young sat out practice with a knee injury on Friday, but he told The (Nashville) Tennessean that he expects to play Sunday vs. the Rams.

But even if he suits up Sunday, this game has some puzzling elements for handicappers from a pointspread perspective.

For one thing, the Titans are being asked to cover a big, big spread -- anywhere between 12½-to-13½ points. That's a lot to ask of a 5-7 team, even one that's 5-1 in its last six games.

Also, the Rams continue to play hard, covering in four of their last five games. Home losses to New Orleans (by five) and Arizona (by eight) look better and better as the Saints aim for 19-0 and the Cardinals gather steam.

Another factor handicappers must weigh: The Titans are still alive in the playoff hunt, but they will need to win out and get a lot of help to have any shot. Are they due for a letdown now that their postseason hopes, damaged early, are very close to being completely broken?

However, could the letdown factor be nullified by any extra motivation the Titans garner from RB Chris Johnson's quest for the single-season rushing record? Johnson needs 597 yards for the record; as he gets closer and closer to the mark, that could give Tennessee something of a lift. Per The Tennessean, Johnson (ankle) is expected to be listed as probable on Friday's injury report, according to head coach Jeff Fisher.

All in all, this is an intriguing game, even if the playoff ramifications are few.


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