- BetOnline has Tennessee as 3.5-point home favorites over the Bengals on Saturday
- The Titans captured the AFC’s No. 1 seed for the first time since 2008
- Joe Burrow threw for 244 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in his first career playoff start
In the playoffs for the third-consecutive year and coming off a first-round bye, top-seeded Tennessee will host a Cincinnati team that just ended a 31-year drought between postseason wins with a 26-19 victory over the Raiders.
While the game’s Saturday afternoon time-slot suggests it’s the least interesting matchup of the NFL’s Divisional Playoff Weekend, the ascendance of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and the looming return of Titans running back Derrick Henry makes this AFC showdown must-see TV.
Titans vs Bengals
|Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Cincinnati Bengals||+3.5 (-117)||+151||Un 47.0 (-113)|
|Tennessee Titans||-3.5 (-103)||-171||Ov 47.0 (-107)|
Derrick Henry makes his return
The 12-5 Titans finished the year winning three straight games and four of their last five, going an impressive 6-3 without the two-time NFL rushing champion. While Henry has yet to be activated from injured reserve, the Big Dog returned to practice a fortnight ago and is set to play for the first time since Halloween.
That could be a problem for the Bengals’ beat up defensive line, which has allowed more than 100 rushing yards in five of the past six contests and could be missing Trey Hendrickson (concussion) and defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (foot).
"I just think they're pretty cool."
Joe Burrow found glasses he likes and he's not looking back 😂🤓
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 16, 2022
Burrow’s post-game presser sunglasses suggest he’s feeling himself right now. After racking up nearly 1,000 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions in Weeks 16-17 to clinch the AFC North, Joe Cool threw for 244 yards, two touchdowns and no picks in his first career playoff start last Saturday.
With the Titans allowing an average of only 17.5 points over its final 11 games, Burrow will need to be at his best to bring Cincy to their first AFC championship game since 1988.
Titans to cover 3.5-point spread. The fantasy football-loving public will want to back the Bengals and star receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, but Mike Vrabel’s team has been punching opponents in the mouth all season, with upset victories over the Bills, Chiefs, Rams and 49ers.
Tennessee enjoyed a 7-2 record at Nissan Stadium this year. But while Cincinnati was a respectable 5-3 on the road, their offense ranked just 25th in DVOA on the road compared to ninth at home. Zac Taylor picked the right day to stop by his neighborhood pub, because the locals might not be as welcoming next weekend.
Who would you pick?! 🤔
— #SuperWildCard Weekend on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 14, 2022
Bet the OVER on 47 points. Tennessee’s No. 2 ranked run defense should bottle up Joe Mixon, forcing Burrow to take to the air. And with A.J. Brown and the corpse of Julio Jones finally healthy, Ryan Tannehill will find success against Cincy’s 24th ranked pass defense despite suffering a down year statistically.
Mike Vrabel’s battle-tested club has built up big game experience over the past three seasons. It will come in handy this Saturday against a young Bengals team still learning to fly.
Final Score Prediction: Tennessee 27, Bengals 21.
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