New Orleans began this season 0-2 both straight up and against the spread; now the Saints own a three-game winning streak and a 4-1-1 ATS run. Tennessee, on the other hand, won its season opener with its rookie quarterback, but is 0-6 SU and 2-4 ATS since then and just fired its head coach. Two teams headed in different directions cross paths when Tennessee takes on New Orleans Sunday afternoon at the Superdome.
Point spread: The Saints opened as 8.5-point favorites; the total was off the board early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NFL pick, via Odds Shark computer: 28.9-17.1 Saints
Why the Titans can cover the spread
The Titans lost at Houston last week 20-6 but had their chances. Tennessee led early 3-0, but a fumbled kickoff led to a Texans field goal. Later, a promising Titans drive ended with a sack and a pick, and another Tennessee fumble led to another Houston field goal. On the day the Titans struggled on offense, but the defense limited Houston to just 270 total yards, just 56 on the ground on 23 carries.
Two weeks ago, while Tennessee lost at home to Atlanta 10-7, the defense limited the usually potent Falcons offense to a single touchdown.
On the season the Titans rank just 31st in total offense but fifth in total defense. If they just could grind out some first downs against New Orleans' 24th-ranked run defense, and avoid the turnovers, they could keep this one close.
Why the Saints can cover the spread
After a stumbling start to this season, the Saints are suddenly hot, with three wins in a row, including a wild 52-49 victory over the Giants last week. New Orleans trailed early, led by two touchdowns into the fourth quarter, fell behind, but tied the game with 36 seconds to go and won it on a long field goal at the buzzer. On the day the Saints racked up 608 yards of offense, as quarterback Drew Brees threw for 505 yards and an NFL record-tying seven touchdowns.
Two weeks ago New Orleans won at Indianapolis 27-21, taking that game outright as a five-point underdog, and just before that the Saints upset Atlanta 31-21. At 4-4 New Orleans has played itself back into the NFC playoff picture.
These teams are polar opposites; New Orleans could score 40 points, and/or give up 40, while Tennessee can't do much on offense but is tough on defense. And while the Titans are going through a transition right now, teams sometimes pull together in times of adversity. If Tennessee can control some clock with the running game, get a few stops on defense, perhaps pick Brees a time or two and hit him a few times, it could pull a surprise Sunday. Take the Titans, plus the points.
The Saints are 33-12 SU in their last 45 games after consecutive wins.
The Titans are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games on the road.
The Saints are 7-1 SU in their last eight games in Week 9.