New Orleans Saints @ Tennessee Titans Matchup Preview 12/22/19: Analysis, Betting Picks

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, December 22, 2019
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Nissan Stadium (Nashville, TN)
Coverage: FOX

New Orleans Saints Analysis

New Orleans SaintsThe Saints are currently rolling offensively. They have scored 30 or more in 6 of their last 8 games. Everyone knows how prolific Michael Thomas has been. Game planning for guys like Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Jared Cook is a challenge in its own right. While Kamara and their offense have not found as much success with the run this year, they rank 7th in ppg and have already clinched the NFC South. With a chance at a higher playoff seeding, do not expect them to take the gas off the pedal. Their defense is also ranked 9th for fantasy production. 


New Orleans Saints Depth Chart

QB: Drew Brees
RB1: Alvin Kamara
RB2: Latavius Murray
WR1: Michael Thomas
WR2: Ted Ginn
WR3: Austin Carr
TE: Jared Cook

Tennessee Titans Analysis

Tennessee TitansThe Titans theoretically do not control their own destiny for a playoff spot. Yet and still, they will be playing their last two games with the hope of somehow making the postseason. The Titans are sitting at 8-5. Since starting the season 2-4, Ryan Tannehill has led them to victories over the likes of the Chiefs and Chargers, among others. As one of the hottest teams in the league, Tannehill and AJ Brown’s chemistry has been great.

Tennessee Titans Depth Chart

QB: Ryan Tannehill
RB1: Derrick Henry
RB2: Dion Lewis
WR1: Corey Davis
WR2: A.J. Brown
WR3: Adam Humphries
TE: Jonnu Smith

Passing Game

The Titans rank 25th in passing defense this season. This only bodes well for a Saints team that is clicking at the moment. The Saints pass defense is not great either, with average stats compared to the rest of the league. The Saints will certainly be airing it out, and it helps even more that Michael Thomas is chasing some records. 

For the Titans, they have nothing to lose as they have to win their remaining games and get some help. Ryan Tannehill has been on a role since becoming the starter. With 4 of their last 5 scoring 30 points or more, a large reason is the strong arm of Tannehill. Both teams will look to throw often, so expect several deep shots and a high scoring game.

Running Game

The run game for the Saints has not been prolific, but effective. In the past 4 games, Alvin Kamara has only received 11, 11, 13, and 14 carries respectively. For a defense that has struggled against the run all year in the Titans, look for the Saints to get him going early. Derrick Henry of the Titans has been tremendous all year. He is currently the 3rd ranked back in fantasy and already has 13TDs on over 1,300yds for the season. At the moment, he is questionable and was a non-participant in Thursday’s practice. The Saints have given the 4th least yards to backs this year, so don’t expect a huge day from him if he plays. Keep an eye on his health as Sunday approaches. Even if he is a bit banged up, he will get his 20 or so touches to match with the Titan passing attack.

Receiving Game

Michael Thomas is the first person that comes to mind for anything receiver-related. Thomas, along with Cool and Kamara will be the main beneficiaries of a Drew Brees led passing game. Even utility player, Taysom Hill, should be expected to have an impact offensively in the game. 

Rookie WR AJ Brown of the Titans has played like a veteran No.1 receiver recently for a Titans team reeling together several wins of late. The Ole Miss product has 447 yards and 4 total TDs over the past 4 weeks. Besides Brown, consistent production for a particular receiver week-to-week has been absent. Look for Tannehill to complete passes to a number of different wideouts.

Special Teams Game

Both special teams have put together some solid performances in the past. New Orleans is ranked as having the 3rd best special teams unit at this point in the season. The Titans have changed games dramatically through special teams this year. They pride themselves on an aggressive defense, with two notable blocked field goals (1 TD) against the Browns and Colts. The Achilles heel for the Titans is their kicking game, with a dismal 8 out of 18 field goals made this year. In a close game, trust the Saints much more to get it done if it comes down to field goals.

Betting Corner

The Saints are favored by 2.5 points. While the Titans are at home and one of the hottest teams in the league, their defense will not stop the attack of the Saints. Derrick Henry will be limited again a tough run defense. Regardless of a heroic game from Tannehill, the Saints offense will be too much in the end. Given the playoff stakes for both teams, look for this to be a competitive, close game.

I am an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University studying economics and business. I serve as a member for the Sports Analytics Club at CMU. My interests include data analysis, fantasy, player projections, and performance evaluation.

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