Sunday Night Football Week 9 Preview and Prediction: Los Angeles Rams vs. Tennessee Titans

Ben Gretch is back previewing and predicting Week 9's Sunday Night Football matchup between the Los Angeles Rams vs. Tennessee Titans.
Ben Gretch
Sat, November 6, 1:36 PM EDT

Sunday Night Football Week 9 Preview and Prediction: Los Angeles Rams vs. Tennessee Titans

Los Angeles Rams vs. Tennessee Titans Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Sunday, November 7, 2021

Game Time: 8:20 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBC

  • Key Stat: Tennessee is last in the NFL in Pass Rate Over Expected (PROE) at -7.8%. No other team is below -5.0%.

Click Here For Rams vs. Titans Odds

Los Angeles Rams vs. Tennessee Titans Preview

The Titans suffered a huge blow this week when Derrick Henry was lost for a lengthy stretch and perhaps the season due to a foot injury. How that will impact their offense remains to be seen, but they’ve signed Adrian Peterson and already elevated him to the active roster. It’s likely Peterson and passing-down back Jeremy McNichols will be the main bodies in the backfield.

The question is more about their run/pass split. Tennessee coaches have been adamant this week that they won’t change their offensive identity, but there’s something to be said for just how run-heavy they’ve been. No team is within three percentage points of the Titans’ -7.8% Pass Rate Over Expected, meaning the Titans opt to run far more than any other team relative to what might be expected of them based on factors like down and distance, score, and time remaining. Even if their offensive structure and philosophy stays the same, it’s incredibly hard to imagine they’ll maintain that same degree of a run lean — they can in many ways have the same identity while just opting for more passes in passing situations, rather than how they’ve tended to turn away from expectation at times, which will naturally shift their overall run/pass ratio.

And that’s the expectation, as it makes sense. With Henry sidelined, their best offensive weapon is pretty clearly A.J. Brown, though Brown’s status is a little iffy. Added to the injury report as questionable after missing Friday’s practice, Brown didn’t sound overly concerned but had practiced fully and was not listed on the report earlier in the week, which is always something to watch. Julio Jones is off the injury report, though, and he appears likely to be active, assuming both are in the lineup, but even if it’s just one, the strength of the Titans’ offense will now lean toward the pass.

Part of why that’s so interesting is Titans’ games have already tended to feature plenty of play volume and points despite their heavy run lean. Tennessee’s offensive efficiency has played into that, but they play fast for a run-first offense, and if they are throwing more, that would presumably only increase those trends. The Rams, meanwhile, are the fastest team in the NFL in situation-neutral seconds per snap, per Football Outsiders. So we should see plenty of scoring in a matchup with a big over/under at 52.5.

It’s no secret, of course, that the Rams are playing great football. They entered Week 9 third in the NFL in total yards and points scored and lead the NFL in yards per play. Matthew Stafford has gelled seamlessly with Sean McVay, and Cooper Kupp is having a career year while the Rams have opened things up down the field. They lead the NFL in success rate on pass attempts but are also fourth in the NFL in explosive play rate on passes, a deadly combination of both being able to create big plays but also stay on schedule when those plays aren’t there.

It’ll be interesting, though, to see what the defenses have to say about things. Tennessee’s defense has been solid against the pass and has notably helped them to wins over the Bills and Chiefs in recent weeks. The Rams’ defense ranks near the top of most major categories and may get Von Miller in a debut with the team, who they traded for this week. Miller is listed as questionable with an ankle injury.

This is a fun game to handicap, and I think it could go a few ways. But I do think the Titans are in for an adjustment period, and Brown being banged up with an uncertain status could make that substantially more challenging. I’m laying the points and also taking the under; the Rams have already won four times this season by more than seven in games that totaled fewer than 50 points.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Tennessee Titans Picks

Ben Gretch
@YardsPerGretch
Ben knows his football. A fantasy football expert who was most recently seen at CBS Sports, he'll be helping bettors find value ahead in the NFL with OddsChecker.
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