TNF Preview: Week 16 – 49ers at Titans

Time is of the essence this time of year and I still have plenty of holiday-related stuff to do besides the weekly football picks, so I am going to attempt to do this as quickly as possible. Thursday Night Football gets a good one to kick off Week 16 with two teams jockeying for playoff position as the (8-6) 49ers head to Nashville to take on the (9-5) Titans.

(-180) 49ers at (+155) Titans (+3.5, o/u 45.5)

Quarterback play will be a massive factor in this game.

Both Jimmy G and Ryan Tannehill have had their share of ups and downs under center for their respective teams. Jimmy is having his second-best season since the year he got 49ers to the Super Bowl and, as it is in the NFL, the team goes where the QB takes them and his play has put the team in a good position. Tannehill has been playing without the majority of his full arsenal for the majority of the season and his production is way down as a result. However, he played well enough early as the injuries were piling up to keep them on top of the AFC South.

Tennessee could desperately use one of their big guns to step up and play like it in this one.

He’ll be getting one important piece of the puzzle back as A.J. Brown returns from injured reserve as Julio Jones is once again out with injury. Brown should get a heavy workload as the division has tightened and this is the first really big game for the Titans since jumping out to an early lead through the first half of the season.

San Francisco has one of the better pass defenses in the league, so it won’t be easy for Brown and Tannehill. On the other side of that coin, the Titans have one of the very best run defenses in the league and the Niners are without de facto starter Elijah Mitchell. Jeff Wilson Jr. and JaMychal Hasty are both pretty good in their own right as running backs, but all signs point back to QB play being hugely important in this one.

Jeff Wilson Jr. is coming off a big game against the Falcons and SF could use another one Thursday

It’s tough to say who has the better shake on the personnel situation for this one. The Titans have 11 players listed as OUT including LG Rodger Saffold III and LB David Long Jr. The Niners have four players OUT besides Mitchell, including LB Dre Greenlaw. San Fransico probably has a slight edge because linebacker depth is thin for TEN which plays into their strengths. Conversely, SF is a little thin in the secondary so any kind of additional injury could play a big factor with Brown returning for the Titans.

This is a very close matchup in most areas, whether it be points-per-game (for or against), yardage, or records. Get this, it’s in Tennessee, where the Titans are 5-2 on the year but the Niners are 5-2 on the road this season as well. It’s really a coin toss but I understand SF being favored. It’s a big game for both teams, so I’m more excited for this one than I would have anticipated.

Pick: 49ers | ATS: Titans +3.5 | O/U: 45.5 | Final: SF 26 – TEN 23

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