New Orleans Saints vs. Tennessee Titans Predictions: Don't Fall for the Trap
No Derrick Henry, no problem for the Tennessee Titans.
Tennessee earned a statement win on the road at the Los Angeles Rams last week, and they enter this week with the best record (7-2) in the AFC. So can the Titans once again prove they do not need the All-Pro Henry to be successful, or will his absence finally catch up to them against a stout New Orleans Saints defense?
New Orleans Saints vs. Tennessee Titans Injury Report
New Orleans Saints
Questionable: S C.J. Gardner-Johnson
OUT: WR Ty Montgomery, DE Carl Granderson, QB Jameis Winston, WR Michael Thomas, OT Andrus Peat, PK Wil Lutz
Questionable: OT Taylor Lewan
OUT: OT Kendall Lamm, CB Greg Mabin, FB Tory Carter, G Nate Davis, LB Rashaan Evans
New Orleans Saints vs. Tennessee Titans Game Preview
The Trevor Siemian-era in New Orleans is off to mixed results through the first two games. Siemian was 16-for-29 for 159 yards with a touchdown in their win against Tampa Bay two weeks ago, but led the team to just three points through the first three quarters last week against Atlanta. Optimists will point to New Orleans’ furious fourth-quarter rally where they scored 22 points and will be encouraged by Siemian’s two touchdowns and that he did not turn the ball over. Pessimists will wonder where the offense was through the first three quarters.
Meanwhile, many left the Tennessee Titans for dead amid the speculation that running back Derrick Henry may not return this season. Many others laughed when the team signed veteran Adrian Peterson off the streets as his replacement. However, Tennessee had the last laugh after dominating the Rams on the road on Sunday night. The Titans did not need a big day from their offense, as their defense controlled the line of scrimmage and held Los Angeles under 20 points for the first time all season. Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons did his best Aaron Donald impression with three sacks, and the defense as a whole forced two costly turnovers from Matthew Stafford.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tennessee Titans Prediction
NFL bettors are a reactionary and many times over-reactionary bunch. They will see the Saints lose disappointingly at home as near-touchdown favorites against the Falcons and will be enamored by Tennessee’s surprising road win against one of football’s best teams. However, a deeper dive suggests the Saints should not be a wholly disrespected bunch this week.
While many will point to Trevor Siemian’s performance and say he is a liability going forward, the fact is that he was not helped out by several drops in critical moments last week. In addition, the Saints were undone by eight offensive penalties. Yes, the Saints enter this week ranked 31st in passing yards per game and dead-last in receptions per game by wide receivers. However, maybe that will cause head coach Sean Payton to insert more packages for Taysom Hill, throwing Tennessee’s defense for a loop this week.
Tennessee’s dominant defensive effort last week masked what was ultimately a putrid offensive performance. They were held to just 194 total yards and 3.5 yards per play. The outcome could have been much different if not for Matthew Stafford gifting the Titans 14 points with two boneheaded mistakes.
While we like New Orleans’ chances in this game, Tennessee’s defensive performance was one to take note of. On Sunday night, the Titans had five sacks against the Rams, primarily with rushing four down linemen and playing seven in coverage. Tennessee pressured Stafford on a career-high 21 dropbacks, which amounted to 38% of Los Angeles’ passing plays. Tennessee has done a great job of getting a pass rush without blitzing all season long. Their 19 sacks without blitzing are tied for first in the NFL, and their 30% pressure percentage ranks second.
The Saints are 13-4 SU without Drew Brees since the start of the 2019 season. Thus, they know how to win football games and will have a great shot of doing so against Tennessee this week on the backs of a solid defensive performance. In addition, New Orleans is 36-16 ATS in their last 52 road games, and the under has cashed in four of their last five road games. In line with these trends, expect the Saints to cover or win outright in a low-scoring battle.