The Tennessee Titans travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders in Week 14 of the NFL. Looking for value in the NFL Week 14 odds? Read on to inform your predictions.
NFL Week 14 predictions
There are now just four regular season weeks remaining in the NFL, and Week 13 brought us the first confirmed playoff team. The New Orleans Saints clinched the NFC South title and therefore a guaranteed top four seeding in the conference, although they still have work to do to ensure they sit out the wild-card weekend with a bye.
In the AFC game of the week, a last-second field goal allowed Baltimore to edge past San Francisco and jump to the head of the conference seeding courtesy of a helping hand from New England’s loss to Houston. They are all but assured a first-round bye in January and appear to be the team to beat in the race for the Super Bowl.
Can Tennessee or Oakland make the playoffs?
Tennessee and Oakland, who the Titans travel to on Sunday, are both currently sitting just outside the playoff positions looking to grab a top six spot. Tennessee’s 7-5 record currently has them in seventh in the AFC conference rankings, whilst Oakland (6-6) lie in eighth.
The Titans are in the stronger position of these two playoff hopefuls. They are currently rated as having an approximately 40% chance of playing post-season football and 20% likelihood of a divisional title, which would guarantee at least one home field playoff game.
Oakland’s approximate 10% chance of winning the AFC West division all but evaporated with their comprehensive Week 13 defeat to Kansas City and their overall percentage chance of progressing to the playoffs has now fallen to single figures.
Sunday’s meeting between these teams is a must-win for the hosting Raiders. A loss would leave them with a minimal chance of playing past December, whilst boosting the Titans to having a nearly 60% likelihood for a playoff berth.
Conversely, a Raiders victory would increase their playoff chances to 25%, which would see them leapfrog above the Titans - as their playoff projections would then likely fall to around 20%.
Overall, there’s little to suggest that either team has realistic Super Bowl aspirations, and a brief appearance in the knockout phase is likely to be the limit of their ambitions.
Could Ryan Tannehill be crucial?
Ryan Tanehill is the unlikely driving force behind Tennessee’s playoff push. The one-time 2012 Miami first round pick rarely rose above the middle of the pack during his time with the Dolphins, eventually delivering a winning season in 2016 before injury ruled him out for the whole of the 2017 campaign.
He was traded to the Titans to act as backup to Marcus Mariota this year. However, the latter has struggled with poor completion rates, and Tanehill was elevated to starter after Tennessee suffered a underwhelming 2-4 start that left their playoff chance percentage teetering in single figures.
Tanehill has hauled the Titans back into contention by throwing for a career-high 9.2 yards per attempt against defences that have allowed an average of just under 7 yards per attempt.
He has connected with 72% of his pass attempts and produced an above-average running game. Under his tenure the Titans have scored nearly 30 points per game against defences that allow just 24 on average, whilst also accruing a 5-1 record post-Mariota.
Defensively, the Titans are a solid, mid-table unit. Overall, they have been efficient against the run, par against the pass and reduced their opponents to two fewer points per game compared to their average. However, this advantage has waned in matches where Tanehill has been under centre.
Oakland’s defensive woes
Oakland are led by six-year veteran Derek Carr at quarterback. Drafted in 2014, Carr has incrementally improved both his completion rate and yards per attempt. The former has risen from 58% in his rookie year to over 70% this campaign and his average yardage has increased from 5.5 to 7.8 during the same period.
He is an efficient passer and has averaged half a yard per attempt above the defence adjusted average, which is good enough to rank him just inside the top ten.
The Raiders' opponents have scored 4.5 more points per game than their average.
The Raiders’ ground game is just above par and overall they have a top ten offence, although they have struggled to convert these yardages efficiently into points. Whilst they match up well with Tennessee’s season-long offense, they trail the charged version that is currently being run by Tanehill.
Defence has been their major weakness in 2019. A barely average run defence can’t hide deficiencies against the pass, where Oakland allow a yard per attempt more than their opponent-adjusted average. This has often been reflected on the scoreboard, as they have conceded 4.5 more points per game than their opponents score on average.
Conceding 40 points to Kansas City is perhaps understandable, but allowing only six fewer to the NY Jets in Week 12 is a cause for concern, especially as the rate that they are scoring points appears to have dried up as well.
Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders: Where is the value?
It is highly likely that Tanehill’s numbers will eventually fall back towards his less impressive career average. However, even if his six-game hot streak is partly discounted, Tennessee would appear to be on the good end of a significant mismatch when their offence takes on Oakland’s near-bottom pass defence.
It is always difficult to give points on the road, although Tennessee’s present incarnation is the superior team on both sides of the ball. With the line currently giving the hosts a field goal start, the visiting Tennessee Titans are predicted to ease past the Oakland Raiders by around six points in a game with 45 total points.