San Francisco (8-6) at Tennessee (9-5)
When: Thursday, December 23rd 2021
Where: Nissan Stadium,
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: NFLN
Opening Odds: Pickem/44
We have reached the final Thursday Night Football game of the season and this one has pivotal playoff implications. The San Francisco 49ers travel east to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Both teams are in good shape at the moment, but a loss in the very crowded postseason race, could tumble these teams down the standings. The 49ers are the hotter team coming in with wins in five of their last six games including a 31-13 home win over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday. San Francisco currently sits sixth in the NFC entering Week 16, one game ahead of three other teams. The Niners have a gimme next week versus Houston and then close at the L.A. Rams. San Fran is 7-7 ATS on the season, but 5-1 in their last six. Since the Titans moved from Houston to Nashville, the 49ers lead the series 3-2 including a 25-23 home win in 2017.
Tennessee is looking to get back on track and hold off the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South race. The team has lost three of their last four with the only win coming against lowly Jacksonville. The Titans blew a 10-point lead last Sunday in a 19-13 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Titans clearly miss the contributions of star running back Derrick Henry and quarterback Ryan Tannehill is trying to do too much. He has thrown 11 interceptions over the past nine games and six in the last four. Tennessee is hoping to get back wide receiver A.J. Brown this week after he missed the past three games with a chest injury. Fellow wideout Julio Jones (hamstring) didn’t practice Tuesday and a decision on him will be made closer to game time.
Since Week 8, San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been a big part of the team’s success. Last week, Garoppolo completed 18-of-23 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown. He now has 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 67.4 percent of his passes. Rookie running back Elijah Mitchell missed last week’s win over Atlanta with a concussion and knee injury and could be a game time decision Thursday. Jeff Wilson took over Sunday and rushed 21 times for 110 yards and a score. Tight end George Kittle has been hard to contain the last three games with 28 receptions for 425 yards and three touchdowns. Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who has 96 tackles, two fumble recoveries and 1.5 sacks, missed last week’s game and could miss another. Nick Bosa leads the defense with a career-high 15 sacks and at least one in six straight games. The franchise season record is 19.5 held by Aldon Smith in 2012.
The normally high-scoring Titans have averaged just 14.8 points over the last four games and Tannehill has turned the ball over 13 times with just two touchdowns thrown. Tennessee looked bad last week against Pittsburgh with four turnovers, three via fumbles. With Henry out for the year, D’Onta Foreman is shouldering the running game. He had 108 yards on 22 carries in the loss to the Steelers. The Titans defense recorded three sacks against the Steelers but were not able to force a turnover. They have a better chance this week with the 49ers ranking 20th in the league with a -0.2 turnover margin per contest. The Titans are 4-2 against the spread in their last six games at home.
It’s easy for the public to take the 49ers in this one with the Titans struggling lately, but Tennessee is still a first place team. I don’t like laying points with Tennessee, but I love getting them, especially at home. They are 5-2 ATS in their last seven as an underdog and will keep this game within a field goal, or win it by a field goal.
Pick: Titans +3.5
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