Falcons Vs. Titans NFL Player Props & Picks (10/29/23)

Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith will return to Nashville for his first regular-season matchup against the Tennessee Titans, with whom he made his name as an offensive coordinator. There will be plenty of stars in action, like rookie sensation Bijan Robinson and safety Jessie Bates, so let’s dig into some Falcons vs. Titans player props.

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Desmond Ridder has struggled at quarterback all year, and the Titans just received some bad news as their own starter, Ryan Tannehill, was ruled out for Sunday. With some combo of rookie debutant Will Levis and second-year Malik Willis set to go, let’s see how the uncertainty might affect Atlanta’s approach to the game.

Desmond Ridder Under 0.5 Interceptions (-135)

Yes, I’m on the record stating that Ridder is the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, rookies included, but we’re putting a micron of faith in him to protect the football in this one. Actually, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about the fact that Ridder just might not have many chances to turn the ball over.

The Falcons should be conservative in this game, plain and simple. Atlanta’s own excellent run defense will force Tennessee to the air, which is not likely to go well given the inexperienced quarterback duo of Levis and Willis. With a talented duo of Robinson and Tyler Allgeier in the backfield, Atlanta runs the ball at the fifth-highest rate in football, and that shouldn’t change this week.

When the Falcons do throw, Ridder will be put in decent situations to succeed. Tennessee’s pass defense is horrid, ranking 26th in DVOA, 28th in EPA, and 29th in success rate. They’ve limited big plays relatively well, instead getting sliced and diced to death, a perfect approach for Ridder, who ranks near the bottom of the league in average depth of target and big time throw rate.

Interestingly, given how many picks Ridder has thrown, they’ve come in three of his seven starts so far, so they come in clusters rather than consistently each week. Against a Titans team that has picked off two total passes in six games, it’s not too likely that this is going to be one of the games where he simply gets beaten over and over.

Bijan Robinson Over 27.5 Receiving Yards (-110)

I should start by backpedaling just a bit on the concepts we built on for the previous prop. Robinson is going to be a major factor in this game and will protect Ridder from exposure to turnovers, but that doesn’t mean his involvement is going to mean rushing between the tackles every snap.

The Titans run defense is a pretty good one, third in the league in DVOA and just outside of the top ten in EPA and success rate, while despite all of the talent in the backfield, the Falcons are well below average in most rushing metrics. Still, since they’re not likely to fall behind to the extent where they’ll need to be pushing downfield, they’ll want to get Robinson involved.

With a dynamic back like Robinson, that’s not too hard, even against a solid run defense. He’s a capable receiving threat, and if the interior rushing lanes are closed, the Falcons can swing outlet passes out to him in the flat, or even run designed screens to get him into space and keep both the clock and chains moving.

Excluding the strange game last week, where Robinson’s snap count was greatly diminished, he’s played six games. He’s gone over 27.5 receiving yards in half of those, but two of the three unders, including his pro debut, were exactly 27 yards, so he’s been right there all season.

This number is rising, so find the best one you can, but the upward movement is a good sign that we’re on the right track with this one. In a game where the Falcons should be playing from ahead but may not have the easiest time rushing the football in the traditional sense, look for Smith to think outside of the box and lean on his best playmaker in other ways.

Jessie Bates Under 5.5 Tackles and Assists (-120)

As I always make sure to note, taking the under on a defensive player is not usually a “fade,” it’s a situational play, and in some cases, actually an endorsement of that player’s ability. A lockdown corner who does his job should, in theory, have almost no tackles due to the lack of completions in his area, and that’s part of my projection here for Bates, one of the league’s best coverage safeties.

He’s second amongst all qualified safeties with an outstanding PFF coverage grade of 89.5, and has grabbed three of the Falcons’ four interceptions this year. He has helped to transform the Falcons’ pass defense into the eighth-best in terms of success rate, a very relevant metric in terms of tackle volume for a secondary player.

As solid as the Atlanta run defense has been, the Titans are probably going to be running the football plenty. With no reason to have any faith in Levis and Willis, they’ll instead rely on the highly dependable Derrick Henry, who is unfortunately having a down year behind an average offensive line. Lots of runs that get snuffed out around the line of scrimmage means lots of three and outs, and very few snaps where a safety has a chance to make the tackle.

This under has hit in three of Bates’s seven games this year, but let’s look at the overs; six combined tackles against the Bucs, who throw constantly due to a completely inert running game, and overs against the Jaguars and Lions, who have outstanding quarterbacks and wide receiver groups. Against a soundly run-first Titans team, Bates should have a very relaxed day, and stay under this number.

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From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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