The San Francisco 49ers will face the Tennessee Titans in a battle of playoff-caliber teams. It's time to continue our NFL odds series and make a 49ers-Titans prediction and pick for Thursday Night Football.
This game is absolutely crucial for both of these teams. The Niners are barely holding on to the second Wild Card spot in the NFC with an 8-6 record. A loss here obviously drops them to 8-7, a record that three teams could potentially tie with victories in Week 15.
For more insight on the 49ers-Titans matchup in Week 16, listen below:
Despite their status as division leaders, Tennessee also really needs a win here. The Indianapolis Colts are only one game back of first place in the AFC South, so the Titans desperately need to keep winning in order to avoid playing on the road throughout the postseason. With so much at stake in this contest, both teams should be pulling out all the stops. It should be a fun one to watch, so let's get into the pick.
Here are the 49ers-Titans odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
NFL Odds: 49ers-Titans Odds
San Francisco 49ers: -3.5 (-110)
Tennessee Titans: +3.5 (-110)
Over: 44.5 (-110)
Under: 44.5 (-110)
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Why The 49ers Could Cover The Spread
In recent games, the Titans haven't looked nearly as good as they did to start the season, particularly offensively. The absences of running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver A.J. Brown are clearly taking their toll on this team, as it has been a full month since Tennessee scored more than 20 points in a game. In that stretch, the Titans faced the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, two of the worst defensive teams in the NFL, yet they still failed to put together any sort of meaningful offense. Now they face a top-10 pass defense in the Niners. It's unlikely that things get any better on offense for the Titans, especially with Julio Jones hurting again, though Brown could be in line to return.
San Francisco's offense is definitely one of the more run-heavy approaches in the NFL, but their passing game is hugely underrated. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has quietly been fantastic, earning a 67% completion percentage while throwing for 3,172 yards, 18 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Garoppolo's success should continue against the Titans, as they've been horrible against opposing passers. Tennessee allows 250 passing yards per game and a mediocre 6.6 yards per attempt, so the Niners shouldn't have too much trouble moving the football in this one.
Why The Titans Could Cover The Spread
Despite their success in the passing game, the 49ers still heavily rely on their run game to get their offense going. That probably won't work against the Titans, as Tennessee has been elite against opposing rushing attacks this season. Head coach Mike Vrabel's squad is only allowing four yards per carry, as well as holding their opponents to 90 rushing yards per contest. San Francisco will likely be forced to play a one-dimensional style of offense here.
The Titans have struggled to score the football in any capacity lately, but that could change here. The 49ers' defense is racked with injuries heading into this matchup, some of which could have a huge impact. Linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair will both be questionable at best for this contest. Al-Shaair has been particularly impactful this season against both the run and the pass, so missing him would be a huge blow. Safeties Jimmy Ward and Talanoa Hufanga are also somewhat likely to miss this game, and both play significant defensive roles for San Francisco. Tennessee won't be facing the best version of this defense, and that should be evident when the Titans take the field.
Final 49ers-Titans Prediction & Pick
Tennessee always seems to win in surprising spots, but this isn't one of them. The Niners have been the better team over the last month, and that won't change in this game.
Final 49ers-Titans Pick: San Francisco 49ers -3.5 (-110)