HomeThe ShuffleTitans, Cowboys Need Win for Playoffs

Titans, Cowboys Need Win for Playoffs

The Tennessee Titans are hosting the Dallas Cowboys this Thursday night. There’s a ton on the line for both teams in this TNF matchup.

Both the 11-4 Dallas Cowboys and 7-8 Tennessee Titans are in the thick of their respective division races with just two weeks left in the regular season.

Both need this win desperately and will fight tooth and nail to make that happen when they meet on Thursday in Nashville.

Here are some things you should consider before placing a bet on this big game.

Titans Hope Rests on Derrick Henry

The Titans have one of the worst offenses and defenses in the league statistically. The Cowboys have one of the best offenses and defenses in the league statistically.

These statements apply to the season as a whole, but hold much more weight over the last few weeks. The way things have been going for both sides, Dallas should dominate Tennessee in almost every aspect of this game.

The Titans glimmer of hope? Superstar running back Derrick Henry. While the Titans haven’t played well this season, Henry has been keeping them afloat and has the ability to win the team a game nearly single-handedly every time out.

Henry enters this game ranked second in the NFL in both rushing yards (1,429) and touchdowns (13). He will face a Dallas run defense allowing an average of 130 yards a game, 22nd-best in the league. There should be some room for Henry to exploit that matchup and if he can do so, this will be a closer game than people expect.

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Cowboys Banged Up

Henry does find himself on the injury report as questionable heading into this game, but has participated in practice and doesn’t often miss games. Other than the star running back, Tennessee doesn’t have too many significant injuries to report.

Dallas, on the other hand, is badly beaten up from its Christmas Eve battle with top-seed Philadelphia. Many Cowboys are listed as questionable, including RB Tony Pollard and several key members of the defense, including Micah Parsons, Leighton Vander Esch, and DeMarcus Lawrence.

Tennessee’s Recent Struggles Concerning

Tennessee has gotten incredibly cold over its last five games, losing them all. The team has failed to put up more than 22 points in any of those games and only scored above 17 once. The defense that the team hangs their hat on has allowed 35-plus points twice in that span as well. Neither side of the ball is playing well for Tennessee lately and that may not change on Thursday, especially with QB Ryan Tannehill out.

The Cowboys are playing opposite football as the Titans at the moment. The team’s only loss over the past five games came in overtime on the road. Other than that, they have been rolling since QB Dak Prescott’s return and don’t appear ready to stop any time soon. 

Take Titans +10, Under

The Cowboys have lots of advantages to be excited about in this one. They are the better team in just about every category, just not by too wide of a margin.

They also will be facing arguably the game’s best running back in Henry, who should find plenty of running lanes and keep the clock moving. Overall this should be a Cowboys victory but a margin of a touchdown sounds more realistic than double-digits.

Tennessee by itself should influence this game enough to stay under. Three of its last five games have stayed under 40 points and with a virtual inability to pass against Dallas, they shouldn’t exactly run up the score in this one either.

This will come down to Dallas blowing the Titans out or not. Between the team being on the road, on a short week and banged up, I don’t expect the Cowboys to run up the score. This one should stay under.

Prediction: Titans +10 (-110 at Caesars)

Prediction: Under 40.5 points (-110 at Tipico)

Watch: Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime

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Justin Epifanio is a sports journalist who studied TV and digital media at Montclair State University, and majored in sports broadcasting and journalism. Justin is a sportsbook writer at Rivers Casino Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse). In addition to iGamingPlayer, Justin has contributed to online publications including WiredJersey.com, SportsArePhilly.com and Great.com.

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