Tennessee (6-2) at LA Rams (7-1)
When: Sunday, November 7th 2021
Where: SoFi Stadium,
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Los Angeles -4/52
Two of the tops teams in the league will meet in prime time this week in Los Angeles as the Rams host the Tennessee Titans in a matchup that has lost a little luster. The Titans are currently the No. 1 seed in the AFC but just lost the best running back in football in Derrick Henry to a likely season-ending broken foot. Henry is not only the NFL’s leading rusher with 937 yards, but he’s also becoming a better receiver out of the backfield. Tennessee signed former 2,000-yard rusher Adrian Peterson this week in hopes of keeping the dominant rushing attack going. The Titans have won four in a row after a key 34-31 win at the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday to push their lead up to three games in the division and have scored at least 27 points in each contest. They will now battle one of the favorites to come out of the NFC in the Rams.
Los Angeles is clearly going all-in this year after acquiring eight-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher Von Miller from the Denver Broncos that will give the team a once-dominant edge rusher to go along with star tackle Aaron Donald. Miller suffered an ankle injury two weeks ago that caused him to miss the Broncos’ 17-10 win last week over Washington and could keep him out this week. The Rams’ defense is already one of the best in the league, leading the NFL in sacks (25) and interceptions (11), while the offense scores 30.6 per game. L.A. built a 38-0 third quarter lead at the Houston Texans last week and came away with a 38-22 victory. Despite the 7-1 record, the Rams are currently the fifth-seed in the NFC because the Arizona Cardinals own the tiebreaker in the division. Los Angeles owns an 8-5 lead in the all-time series, winning 27-23 on Christmas Eve in 2017 in the last matchup. The Titans are 4-0-1 against the spread in the past five in this series.
The Titans had to rally last week to beat the Colts and the win essentially wraps-up a second straight AFC South title barring a collapse. Tennessee clinched the season tiebreaker with Indianapolis and has a three-game lead. It’s still possible that Henry could return at the end of the year or even the playoffs as long as it wouldn’t risk a long-term injury. The former Heisman winner also has 10 rushing touchdowns to go with his league-leading 937 yards. The Titans’ only other running back on their roster is Jeremy McNichols, who is more of a third-down back. Top wide receiver Julio Jones missed the Colts game with a hamstring and is questionable for Sunday. Henry’s injury should put more focus on Ryan Tannehill and the Titans’ passing attack that ranks 22nd in the league (229.5 ypg). The defense allows a lot of points and yards through the air and will be challenged to stop a potent Rams offense.
The Rams don’t have many 2022 NFL Draft picks left after trading for Miller and previously handing over a few more to get Matt Stafford in the offseason. The Rams are tied for the NFC’s best record at 7-1 and are going after the No. 1 seed. Stafford threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Houston last week. The former Detroit Lion has 22 touchdowns to only four interceptions in first year with the Rams. Darrell Henderson, Jr. averages 4.6 yards a carry and recorded a season-high 90 yards last week. L.A. is fifth overall with 30.6 points per game and also fifth in total offense with 405.9 total yards per contest. The Rams have held four opponents under 20 points this year and rank 10th in points allowed per game (21.0). Los Angeles will play at San Francisco next Monday night before entering their bye week.
This line would be a lot lower if Henry were playing, but I would have still taken the Rams. I hate that its 7.5 now, but L.A. has been blowing teams out all year. They have six wins by 9 or more points and I expect their defense to give Tannehill all sorts of problems on Sunday night.
Pick: Rams -7.5
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