Time: NOON ET, CBS
Spread: TEN -2
Betting odds c/o Bovada
The Marcus Mariota era is off to a smashing start. The 1-0 Tennessee Titans have already won half as many games as last year’s disastrous season and Mariota looked like the real deal squaring off against Tampa Bay last week as the Titans won 42-14 behind 209 passing yards on 13 of 16 completions.
Mariota had four TDs in the win while throwing no INTs and was sacked just twice. He will look to build on that momentum on the road in Cleveland as the Titans enter as 2-point favorite at oddsmaker Bovada.
Mariota’s favorite target in the opening week win was Kendall Wright, who caught four passes for 101 yards including three first downs and a TD. Mariota’s long pass of 52 yards came to Wright, who was among six Titans to have recorded a reception. RB Bishop Sankey also had a nice outing with 74 yards on 12 attempts including a TD, though Sankey did fumble once in the game.
Terrance West also contributed 41 yards, though he needed 13 carries to do it and he lost two fumbles (Sankey’s was recovered). The Titans got a good balanced attack going in Week 1, but will look for the backfield to cut down on fumbles and maybe coax some bigger plays. Mariota rushed just twice for six yards himself, too, preferring mostly to operate from the pocket and doing so adroitly.
The Cleveland Browns began the season with a 10-31 loss to the New York Jets. Johnny Manziel threw 13 of 24 for 182 yards with one TD and one INT, but he was sacked three times and his passer rating was just 75.3 He replaced Josh McCown late in the first quarter, and simply commented that “First and foremost, you can’t turn the ball over.”
Cutting down on turnovers is a place to start for the Browns improvement, but the team will need more offense from its backfield to be sure.
Manziel and McCown rushed for 58 yards, but the backfield produced almost nothing, getting 22 yards from Duke Johnson Jr. on seven carries and just 20 yards from Isaiah Crowell on 12 carries. Manziel was able to air it out to Travis Benjamin who caught the lone receiving TD and had 89 yards on his three catches.
The Browns had 18 receptions for 231 yards, but will need to find a way to get some scoring production from its WRs if its backfield remains unproductive.
The Browns did get 10 passing first downs in the loss to the Jets, but got just five from its rush attack and though it amassed 321 yards it was only able to get one TD from it. The three sacks on Manziel were a cause for concern and the Browns were 0 of 2 in the red zone. More than anything the five turnovers, four of which came via fumbles, were what sealed Cleveland’s fate.
If the Browns can cut down on turnovers this should be a competitive game, but it makes good sense to project the Titans to cover the spread and win this by at least five points. The over/under is more precarious still to bet on at 41.5 points.