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Atlanta Falcons vs. Tennessee Titans 8/23/14 NFL Pick, Odds, Prediction

Tennessee Titans (1-1 preseason) at Atlanta Falcons (1-1 preseason)
Date & Time Saturday August 23, 2014, 7:00 PM (EDT)
The Line
The Line: Atlanta Falcons -3 -- Over/Under: 44
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NFL | Tennessee Titans (1-1 preseason) at Atlanta Falcons (1-1 preseason)

The Atlanta Falcons host the Tennessee Titans for a regional showdown in week three of the NFL Preseason.

The Tennessee Titans are 1-1 to kick off the preseason with a win over the Packers in the opener and a loss on the road to the Saints last week.  Jack Locker has control of the offense at the QB position in his fourth year with the Titans and was effective in week two action completing 8/11 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.  At backup QB Charlie Whitehurst and Zach Mettenberger are battling for the number two slot on the depth chart and Mettenberger appears to have an edge after 20/25 passes for 269 yards with 2 TD’s and 1 INT in last week’s game against the Saints.

The Titans parted ways with Chris Johnson in the backfield, opening the door for Shonn Greene to take over as the feature back with Bishop Sankey providing a change of pace and the elusive Dexter McCluster adding an element of surprise to the attack.  At receiver the Titans feature veteran Nate Washington and rising star Kendall Wright, neither of whom have contributed much thus far in the exhibition stage.  The Tennessee defense doesn’t feature many household names but was a middle-of-the-pack unit in 2013 showing more competency against the pass than against the run in terms of yards allowed.

The Atlanta Falcons have the HBO Hard Knocks cameras following them around in the 2014 preseason which may have served to motivate the team in week one of the preseason as Mike Smith got a rare win, but in week two the Falcons were destroyed on the road by a Texans team of questionable quality.  Matt Ryan controls the Falcons offense from the QB position, and it’s safe to assume that if Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Steven Jackson can all stay healthy there’s not much concern over the offensive capability of this team.

Defense could be a different story for Atlanta as the team ranked 31st in opposing rushing yards in 2013 and 21st in opposing passing yards, prompting the coaching staff to preach toughness as the primary goal in camp.  The Falcons have never really made defense their calling card though, instead relying on a potent aerial attack and strong home field advantage at the Georgia Dome under Matt Ryan’s tenure. 

Falcons coach Mike Smith has a dubious distinction of being the worst active NFL coach in the preseason, with just a 2-8 record thus far from 2012-2014. 

I expect the Falcons to put up some early offense in this one and simultaneously I can’t buy in to the Falcons being the tough defensive team Mike Smith dreams they can be in this 2014 rebound campaign.  I’ll take the over here in a game where both teams should find the end zone.  

Over 44 (2 units)

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