Tennessee Titans vs. Cincinnati Bengals Matchup Preview (11/1/2020): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
The Titans were finally handed their first loss of the season in a battle of the undefeated against the Steelers. Tennessee showed a ton of resolve as they worked their way back into the game after a 24-7 start by Pittsburgh as they ultimately only lost by 3 points. Stephen Gostkowski had an opportunity to hit a 45-yard game-tying field goal with 19 seconds in the game, but he missed. A.J. Brown had another phenomenal game with 6 catches for 153 yards and 1 touchdown, but he was a late addition to the injury report this week as he picked up a new knee injury and missed practice on Thursday. Even if he misses the game, the Titans should be able to score plenty on a Bengals’ defense that surrendered 37 points to the Browns last week. Joe Burrow continues to impress in his rookie season, and the Cincy receiving corps has been very impressive. This game has one of the highest over/under totals on the week, and I’m expecting a barnburner between two hot offenses and two defenses who haven’t shown much this season. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, November 1st, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati OH
TV Coverage: CBS
Titans vs. Bengals Live Stream
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Tennessee Titans: WR A. Brown (knee) Q, CB A. Jackson (knee) Q, LB J. Clowney (knee) Q, CB J. Joseph (illness) Q, C D. Munyer (abdomen) Q, T D. Kelly (knee) Q, CB T. Smith (shoulder) Q, DB D. Cruikshank (groin) Q, CB K. Fulton (knee) Q, RB S. Perry (undisclosed) Q, T T. Lewan (ACL) IR, D. Evans (hamstring) IR
Cincinnati Bengals: RB J. Mixon (foot) Q, T J. Williams (neck) Q, C T. Hopkins (concussion) Q, WR J. Ross (illness) Q, CB D. Phillips (knee) Q, S B. Wilson (knee) Q, T B. Hart (knee) O, DE S. Hubbard (elbow) IR, G X. Su’a-Filo (ankle) IR, NT D. Reader (quadriceps) IR, TE C. Uzomah (Achilles) IR, CB T. Waynes (pectoral) IR, DT R. Wren (quadriceps) IR
Tennessee Titans Analysis
Last season, Ryan Tannehill shocked the world when he became the Titans’ starter for the final 10 games of the season and threw 22 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions on a 70.3% completion rate. Lots of what he did last season was unsustainable, but he has impressed so far this year even as his completion rate has dropped a bit. He’s thrown 15 touchdowns to 2 interceptions, putting him on a 16-game pace of 40 touchdowns to just 5 picks – undoubtedly making him an early MVP candidate. Tannehill has the 4th-best QBR so far at 82.2 and has the 2nd-best quarterback DVOA per Football Outsiders behind only Patrick Mahomes.
Of course, everything that Tannehill is able to do is predicated on the Titans having one of the best play-action attacks in the NFL. Derrick Henry is a force of nature in the backfield, and demands defenses stack the box against him,, leaving Tannehill with easier passing lanes downfield. Henry leads the NFL in rushing yards so far at 663 and has 7 rushing touchdowns despite playing one less game than most other rushers. Henry’s 16-game pace is 1,768 rushing yards and 18.5 rushing touchdowns. He ranks as Football Outsiders’ 2nd-best RB in DYAR and 10th-best in DVOA. He’s set up for a massive game against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL – the Bengals have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards per game and the fifth-most rushing yards per attempt this season.
The Titans’ offense also boasts several pass-catchers who will make life difficult on Cincinnati. A.J. Brown has followed up a phenomenal rookie season with more dominant play since returning from his injury – he has 23 catches for 332 yards and 4 touchdowns through four games, putting him on pace to beat his impressive rookie numbers. However, he could miss this game after picking up a new leg injury late in the week that could keep him out of this game. If Brown doesn’t play, the onus will be on fourth-year wideout Corey Davis to step up. He returned from his spell with COVID-19 last week and had 6 catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. Jonnu Smith, who already has five touchdowns this season, could be in for a big game as well.
The Titans’ offensive line was a major strength last season, but it could be in for a downturn in production after the loss of Jack Conklin in free agency and Taylor Lewan to a season-ending ACL injury. However, Ty Sambrailo excelled in his first start in place of Lewan and contributed to an offensive line effort that allowed Tannehill to be sacked just twice against the defense with the most sacks in the NFL. The Titans have allowed just 8 sacks this season, the 2nd-fewest in the NFL, and have the 7th-best run-blocking offensive line in the NFL per Football Outsiders. Against a poor Bengals’ defensive line, this offensive line should be set for another great week.
It’s a good thing the Titans’ offense has been firing on all cylinders because their defense has been subpar this season. Football Outsiders ranked as the 17th-best defense in overall DVOA – 19th in pass defense and 16th in run defense. They’ve allowed the 8th-most offensive yards per game this season and rank middle-of-the-pack in scoring defense. Even after adding Jadaveon Clowney, this team’s pass rush has struggled as they have just 1.2 sacks per game, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. Clowney could miss this game, which would leave the team’s pass rush rather thin. However, the Titans could get Adoree Jackson back this week, which would be a huge boon to a secondary that allows the seventh-most passing yards per game. The Titans’ defense has to play tougher if this team wants to make another deep postseason run.
Tennessee Titans Depth Chart
Cincinnati Bengals Analysis
Joe Burrow has impressed in his rookie season and is neck-and-neck with Justin Herbert early on for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He ranks 4th in the NFL with 2,023 passing yards on a league-leading 293 attempts. His 9:5 TD:INT ratio isn’t particularly impressive, but he’s been very consistent despite playing behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines. Joe Burrow’s advanced metrics don’t stand out as he ranks 24th in QBR and 26th in both QB DYAR and DVOA per Football Outsiders. However, Zac Taylor has built a tremendous system for his young QB. I’m expecting Burow to improve further as the season goes on, especially with the receiving talent at his disposal.
The case can absolutely be made that the Bengals have a top-five wide receiver corps in the NFL. Tyler Boyd has excelled as Burrow’s favorite target out of the slot with team-leading numbers of 61 targets, 48 receptions, and 517 yards. That puts him on a 16-game pace of 110 receptions for just under 1,200 receiving yards. A.J. Green has looked rejuvenated in recent games as he’s combined for 15 catches for 178 yards in his last two outings after a slow start to the season. The emergence of rookie Tee Higgins as this team’s key downfield threat has allowed Green to kick inside and work against softer coverage. A second-round pick out of Clemson, Higgins has 27 catches for 410 yards and 3 touchdowns this season. He ranks as Football Outsiders’ 22nd-best receiver in DYAR and 19th-best in DVOA.
Running back, Joe Mixon will miss his second-straight game this week, which is a significant hit for this Bengals’ offense. He hasn’t been particularly efficient, but he has been the team’s workhorse as he’s still tied for third in the NFL in rushing attempts despite missing last week’s game. Giovani Bernard will step up as the starting running back again this week after compiling 96 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on 18 touches last week. Bernard isn’t a stellar runner of the ball, but he ranks as the 14th-most efficient pass-catching back per Football Outsiders DVOA. His receiving ability will be important as the Bengals figure to be playing from behind for much of this contest.
The Bengals’ offensive line has been a major issue this season, and it’s something that has to be a major focus for the organization in the upcoming offseason. Cincinnati ranks as the second-worst run-blocking line and the third-worst pass-blocking line in the NFL. Joe Burrow has already taken 28 sacks this season, tied for the most in the NFL with Carson Wentz. It’s impressive that Burrow has been able to succeed despite the lack of protection for him,, but it will hurt his career longevity if this problem persists. Jonah Williams, the Bengals’ first-round left tackle from 2019 who missed his entire rookie year with a torn ACL, is questionable for this week with a neck injury. However, the Bengals’ offensive line shouldn’t be a huge issue against a Titans’ pass rush that has generated just 7 sacks all year and could be without Jadaveon Clowney.
In addition to one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, the Bengals have a bottom-eight defensive line in both run-blocking and pass-blocking per Football Outsiders. Carlos Dunlap was traded to the Seahawks earlier this week and both Sam Hubbard and D.J. Reader are on Injured Reserve. This team has struggled to defend the run all season and are in real trouble against one of the most efficient rushing offenses in the NFL. Football Outsiders has the Bengals ranked as the eleventh-worst run defense in the NFL. The Bengals have also struggled to defend the pass as they’ve given up the eighth-most passing yards per game and surrendered a career-high five passing touchdowns to Baker Mayfield last week. The Bengals have a lot of work to do defensively before they can be competitive enough to keep Joe Burrow and the offense from playing from behind all game.
Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart
Spread: Titans -3.5, Bengals +3.5
Moneyline: Titans -265, Bengals +225
Over/Under: O/U 52
The Titans are -265 to win this game which gives them a 72.6% chance to win the game while the Bengals are at +225 which gives them a 30.77% chance to win. The Titans are going to be able to run the ball all over the Bengals who have the 28th-ranked run defense in the NFL and Derrick Henry is going to have a massive game. The Bengals traded away Carlos Dunlap and already had one of the worst defensive lines in the NFL. The Titans could be without A.J. Brown this week, but it shouldn’t matter as Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, and Jonnu Smith are all capable of making plays against a weak secondary. The Titans are going to come into this game hungry for a win after falling just short of beating the undefeated Steelers last week and the Bengals’ defense is in trouble. On the other side of the ball, the Titans have struggled to generate any kind of a pass rush all year, but they could get Adoree Jackson back this week which would be huge against a talented Cincy receiving group. Joe Burrow should still be able to put up plenty of points and I think this is one of the highest-scoring games of the week. I’ll pick Tennessee to cover ATS with the better coach and quarterback, but the real value in this game is with the over.
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Daily Fantasy Picks
The Bengals’ rookie has suddenly become a very fantasy-viable QB as he had his best fantasy day last week with 33.6 points against the Browns. He has rushed for a touchdown in two straight weeks and has thrown for 300+ yards in five of his last six games. He should have another strong performance against the Titans who allow the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
All of the fantasy analysts, myself included, who called for a year of regression for Ryan Tannehill look silly so far. The Titans’ QB is the QB11 on the season and has scored 17+ fantasy points in all but one game. This week, he faces a beatable Bengals’ defense that allowed a career-high five passing touchdowns to Baker Mayfield last week. He should have another great fantasy performance.
This is absolutely a Derrick Henry game for the Titans after they struggled to get him loose against a tough Steelers’ run defense. The Bengals have been below-average against the run all year and traded away Carlos Dunlap earlier this week with Sam Hubbard and D.J. Reader already on Injured Reserve. Henry is set for a massive day and is well worth spending up for this week.
Joe Mixon is set to miss a second straight game for the Bengals which will put Giovani Bernard in line for another strong workload. Last week he registered 18 touches and scored a touchdown. This week, he faces the Titans who have given up the 11th-most fantasy points to RBs. With Bernard’s involvement in the passing game, this game script should favor him finishing as a PPR gem this week.
The Bengals seem to have made two great draft day moves in pairing rookie quarterback Joe Burrow with rookie receiver Tee Higgins. The former Clemson wideout has 4+ catches in five straight games and 60+ receiving yards in four straight. Higgins scored his third touchdown of the season last week and he continues to emerge as one of Joe Burrow’s favorite targets. With the amount of passing volume in this offense, it can support multiple fantasy-relevant receivers, and Higgins should have another great game against the Titans who allow the 6th-most fantasy points to WRs.