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Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks: Preview and Pick
Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks: Preview and Pick
The Tennessee Titans have had a surprising start to the season but enter this game off a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. In the first game without Jake Locker, the Titans were unable to beat the Chiefs and will get another difficult assignment this week when they go up against the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are off a loss and will play at home where they have one of the best home field advantages in the game today.
Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks Odds
The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Seahawks as double digit favorites as they are giving (-13.5) in this game. As can be expected, the public is all over the home team in this game as over 70 percent of the early wagering is on Seattle. This line will be changing leading up to kickoff so make sure to check out the lines at all of the top rated sportsbooks.
Despite the loss to the Colts, the quarterbacks have played very well. Russell Wilson is just the fifth player in NFL history to pass for 200 yards and rush for 100 more in a losing effort. The same cannot be said for the Titans play at quarterback.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was 0-for-8 with an interception on passes traveling 15 or more yards downfield Sunday. The eight attempts on such throws is the most a quarterback has had in a game this season without a completion. Coming into the game, the Chiefs had allowed opponents to complete 34.3% of their deep passes, sixth best in the NFL. Fitzpatrick will have another big problem this weekend when he heads North West to take on a very difficult Seattle defense. Chris Johnson will have to run the rock and keep the pressure off the quarterback and the ball away from the Seahawks.
The latest football betting trends for this game reveal some very interesting trends for this game. The total has gone over in 16 of Seattle's last 24 games at home, over in 5 of Tennessee's last 7 games but under in 5 of Tennessee's last 6 games when playing Seattle. Tennessee is 1-5 straight up in its last 6 games when playing Seattle and is 4-8 against the spread (ATS) in its last 12 games on the road. Seattle is 5-0 in its last 5 games at home and will be ready for the Titans.
Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks Pick
With plenty of time to go before kickoff of this week, I will wait to announce my pick when we get closer to game day. Check back the day of the event for my pick on this great game.
The Seattle Seahawks have played the last two games with the majority of their starting offensive line on the sideline due to injuries. Center Max Unger, left tackle Russell Okung and right tackle Breno Giacomini all have been out of the mix. Seahawks fans got some good news Monday when coach Pete Carroll said that he expects Unger to return to action this weekend against the Tennessee Titans, though Okung and Giacomini remain out indefinitely.
The Seahawks have had trouble in several ways without having that trio on the O-line. That includes pass-protection issues that have limited the team's success on third downs. They've also had trouble keeping defensive pressure off of QB Russell Wilson
In fact, as noted by Pro Football Focus (via the Seattle Times) in the Seahawks' Week 5 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Wilson "faced pressure on 22 of 42 called passes. On plays with no pressure from the pass rush, PFF said, Wilson was 11 of 17 for 150 yards with two touchdowns and a QB rating of 132.0. For the game, Wilson was 15 of 31 for 210 yards -- only the fourth time he has completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes in a game -- with a passer rating of 78.7."
Overall, the Seahawks have seen their passing yards per attempt drop from 9.8 (No. 1 in NFL) over the first three weeks to 6.1 (27th) during the two games in which they were missing all three O-linemen. They made up for their issues in the passing game, though, by leaning on the run, bumping their yards per carry up from 3.7 (23rd) over the first three games to 6.2 (2nd) during their last two contests.
Obviously, the expected return of Unger should help them right the ship to an extent, but they are going to need Okung and Giacomini back if they are going to be a well-rounded offensive threat for a playoff run.
Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner was walking on crutches Wednesday and wearing a protective boot over his sprained left ankle.
“Bobby will see if he can make it back by game day,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday. “But it will go all the way to Sunday.”
If Wagner doesn’t play, K.J. Wright will move from his outside linebacker spot to Wagner’s middle linebacker spot. Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin would start at the outside spots.
Carroll is confident that Pro Bowl center Max Unger will return this weekend after missing the last two games with a triceps injury. Unger was a full participant at practice Wednesday,
“We’re counting on him coming back this week,” Carroll said. “We’re really hoping Max will secure the calls.”
The Seahawks were missing four starters up front in the 34-28 loss to Indianapolisn on Sunday: Unger, tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini and tight end Zach Miller.
Okung and Giacomini still are out, and Miller (strained hamstring) will be a game-day decision, Carroll said. But Carroll believes Unger’s return is a big key to the backup players performing at a higher level.
“Max is one if your team leaders,” Carroll said. “He is the guy who has the greatest command of what we’re doing up front. He will help other guys play well and make the right choices. And he’ll help the quarterback [Russell Wilson], too, in identification.
“We missed that the last couple of weeks and it’s made a difference in our pass protection. There are some spacing issues that we don’t want. Max can get everybody on the right guys. The biggest issue has been the inconsistency on communication. We’ve had to suffer through that and it’s why Russell has had to run more.”
Carroll also was asked how wide receiver Percy Harvin looks since returning to the Seahawks facility after rehabbing in New York following his hip surgery Aug. 1.
“Percy has been working hard,” Carroll said. “He’s excited and he’s running and we’re hoping there are no setbacks along the way. We’ll keep progressing with it.”
Harvin is eligible to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list for the game against the Arizona Cardinals next week, but Carroll does not see that happening.
“I don’t think that is realistic,” Carroll said. “I think that’s too soon, but it’ll happen when he’s ready to go and we get a chance to prepare him so he’s physically capable of being safe.
“He’s a full-on, full-speed football player. He’s got to be ready to go. When he comes back, we want him to be able to endure the rigors of the end of the season. It’s not important to rush him back. It’s important to wait it out and be patient and get him out there when he’s ready to go and withstand the load of the game.”
Defensive tackle Michael Bennett (quad) and cornerback Walter Thurmond (knee) did not practice Wednesday. Running back Marshawn Lynch also did not practice, but he is not injured.
Carroll also said that cornerback Jeremy Lane (hamstring) and running back Spencer Ware (ankle) will be game-day decisions this week.
The Seahawks have the NFL’s sixth-ranked defense. The Titans’ opponent after that, the 49ers, are fifth.
Based on the NFL’s current defensive ratings, the Titans will get to their Week 8 bye having played six of the top 10 defenses in the NFL. (There are only nine to play as the Titans are in the group themselves, currently ninth.) Of Tennessee’s first seven opponents, only the San Diego Chargers don’t rate in the top third of the league defensively.
On "The Midday 180" on Nashville radio today, Greg Cosell of NFL Films talked with us about the Titans-Seahawks matchup.
"Tough matchup for Titans because of their offense," Cosell said. "They probably won't be able to run the ball."
That will leave things on Ryan Fitzpatrick. And with the backup quarterback so erratic and streaky, Cosell said the best thing the Titans can do to help him is run plays that get receivers open quickly and allow Fitzpatrick to deliver it promptly.
This was supposed to be a fun homecoming weekend for Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker.
The former University of Washington quarterback, the kid who stayed home to help a once-proud football program regain respect, was finally going to play in Seattle as an NFL starter against the Seahawks, the team he grew up watching.
It won't turn out that way. Locker suffered a sprained hip two weeks ago and is expected to miss four of five games.
"It's tough," Locker said Wednesday on a conference calls with Seahawks reporters. "I was really looking forward to having the opportunity to play in front of family and friends. It's hard."
It's difficult to overstate just how beloved Locker is among Huskies fans in the Pacific Northwest. He grew up in Ferndale, about 90 miles north of Seattle. By his junior year in 2004, Locker was one of the most sought-after high school quarterbacks in the nation.
Locker could have played almost anywhere, including Texas the year after the Longhorns won the national championship. Coach Mack Brown wanted to bring in Locker to replace Vince Young.
Washington was 3-19 the two seasons before Locker arrived. The Huskies went 0-12 in 2008, Locker's sophomore year, before Tyrone Willingham was fired and Steve Sarkisian became the new head coach.
Sarkisian helped Locker shine. The Huskies went 7-6 in Locker's senior season of 2010 and beat Nebraska 19-7 in the Holiday Bowl, Washington's first bowl appearance in eight years.
Locker was projected as a top-5 draft pick after his junior year but elected to stay for his senior season at Washington, another reason many fans see him as a hero.
Tennessee made Locker its first-round draft pick in 2011, but Locker played behind Matt Hasselbeck, whome he watched play many games as the Seahawks' quarterback. Locker said Hasselbeck was a great mentor.
"He's just a great person," Locker said. "It's the heart of the guy. I learned a lot about just carrying yourself and what it means to be a positive role model, someone who does good in the community.
"And on the field, it was the formula that worked for him about what it takes to be successful in the NFL. He shared as much of that knowledge as he could with me. I'm thankful for that."
Locker took over as Titans starter last season but struggled at times. Before his injury this year, he was playing at a level the Titans always expected of him.
"People were really starting to see what we've always seen here in him as the kind of player that can make the key plays to win the game," Titans coach Mike Munchak said. "It's disappointing whenever you lose your quarterback, but especially for Jake. It really took the wind out of us a little bit and we had a very slow start last weekend."
Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has taken over as the starter. The Titans were 3-1 with Locker starting but lost to Kansas City last weekend 26-17.
"Jake was doing a great job with his decision-making on when to throw the ball and when not to," Munchak said. "He kept us in all the games. But we lost Jake and we ended up having three turnovers last week."
Locker completed 69 of 111 passes for six touchdowns and no interceptions in the first four games.
"I felt really confident," Locker said. "As an offense, we were catching our stride. There's a difference in what we're doing offensively, and the mindset of everybody on this side of the ball has changed this year. The attitude in the locker room is completely different."
Locker is eager to get back on the field. He firmly believes he'll return faster than the projections, already ditching his crutches.
"They want me to be on them still, but for the most part, I've gotten rid of 'em," Locker said. "I'm trying to get back as quick as I can. I'm not paying attention to timelines that have been thrown out there."
It won't be this weekend at home in Seattle, but he might attend the Huskies' big home game Saturday afternoon against second-ranked Oregon.
"We're checking it out," Locker said. "Obviously, I would love to, but I'm a part of this football team and this is a business trip. I might try and catch a little bit of it, but if it interferes with anything we're doing, then I won't."
Locker is 25 now and a father. He and wife, Lauren, a former Washington softball player, are parents to a 14-month-old daughter, Colbie.
"The little one is growing like a weed," Locker said.
So is Locker, who is playing like the talented, tough and determined quarterback everyone watched at Washington. But a chance to do it again in Seattle will have to wait.
Earlier this season, Colts owner Jim Irsay took to Twitter to vow better protection for quarterback Andrew Luck. Seahawks owner Paul Allen won’t need to; his head coach already has acknowledged the problem.
“Both of the last two weeks, Russell has taken what they’re giving him,” Carroll said Monday, via the team’s official website. “There have been a considerable amount of issues in protection that have let guys show up quickly in the pass rush, and he’s had to make a decision what to do with it.”
The issues have arisen in large part from injury. Carroll told reporters that center Max Unger is expected to return to practice this week, after missing the last two games with an injury to his triceps muscle. Carroll was less optimistic about tackle Breno Giacomini. Left tackle Russell Okung remains on injured reserve, with the designation to return.
“He knows,” Carroll said of Wilson using his legs more quickly than usual. “He knows what’s going on. He realizes that that’s happening. But he’s taken full advantage of it and he’s made it difficult on opponents. It’s not exactly the way we like to do it — how to pick them up and throw the football and let him take off at a later part of the rhythm of the play. But he’s been as resourceful as you can be and he’s been very effective.”
The problem for quarterbacks who display their resourcefulness by running is that they can get hit and, in turn, get hurt.
“Russell is going to keep doing it until we settle it down in the pocket,” Carroll said. “I’m a little concerned about that, because he’s so resourceful. He is doing what we have to do right now. And in that regard, he’s done a really good job managing this.”
Carroll is right. Wilson’s mobility allows him to buy time to make a throw or, if necessary, to take off with the ball. His uncanny instinct for self-preservation also means he’ll know when to get out of bounds, when to hit the deck, and how to turn his body the right way to absorb a hit that otherwise could inflict injury.
Though one winning streak has ended, the Seattle Seahawks are poised to make sure another continues.
Looking to bounce back from their first regular-season defeat in 10 games, the Seahawks try for an 11th consecutive home victory Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
Seattle (4-1) led 12-0 early against Indianapolis on Sunday and controlled much of the game, but was outscored 11-0 in the fourth quarter en route to a 34-28 defeat. The Seahawks had won nine in a row in the regular season since a 24-21 defeat at Miami on Nov. 25.
"I don't want to get real good at this," coach Pete Carroll said. "I don't want to get good at playing after losses, but we need to handle it well, but I'm curious to see if we do.
"We'll take care of that stuff day by day and watch what is going on and listen to them and make sure we're on track and getting a great preparation."
Though there's obviously no need to panic, the Seahawks will look to address some issues on both sides of the ball.
A team that yielded 27 points in the first three weeks gave up 54 in the past two games. The Seahawks outscored their first four opponents 44-7 in the fourth quarter but allowed the Colts to dominate the final period by holding the ball for 12:11 and gaining 110 of their 317 total yards.
Seattle managed 30 total yards, ran eight offensive plays and earned one first down in the fourth.
Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch each ran for 102 yards as the Seahawks gained 218 on the ground, but Seattle lost for the first time in its last eight games in which it's rushed for at least 200. Wilson threw for 210 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
"It's a very frustrating game to leave out there," Carroll said.
Seattle would appear to be in good position to get back on track at CenturyLink Field, as its 10-game run there is the longest active regular-season home winning streak in the league. The Seahawks have outscored opponents 222-53 in the last six of those victories.
Tennessee (3-2) snapped a five-game skid to the Seahawks with a 17-13 road win in the teams' last meeting Jan. 3, 2010, but it's dropped three straight road contests against NFC opponents. The Titans were outscored 85-14 at Minnesota and Green Bay in their two such games last season.
Tennessee will also be looking to bounce back from a defeat, as it was unable to complete a perfect three-game home stretch in a 26-17 loss to undefeated Kansas City on Sunday.
"We know going to Seattle, how hard it is," coach Mike Munchak said. "We have to go reload, and we will, and play better."
The Titans hope to run the ball better after totaling 183 rushing yards the past two weeks. Chris Johnson was held to 17 on 10 carries last weekend after gaining 21 on 15 against in a 38-13 win over the New York Jets on Sept. 29. Tennessee also failed to score on a first-and-goal situation from the Chiefs' 1-yard line, with bruising back Jackie Battle stopped twice in the sequence.
Tennessee ranks 19th in the NFL with 3.7 yards per carry, though it's fourth with 31.4 rushing attempts a contest. The Titans hope to have veteran Shonn Greene back this week to provide backfield depth after he missed the last four games with a knee injury.
The Seahawks allow 4.0 yards per carry and 109.0 a game on the ground.
"We're not playing near as well as we hope we will be at some time this season," Munchak said. "We've played well in spurts as far as doing things consistently but haven't yet to this point. When you're not converting things like that third-and-1s, fourth-and-1s, like I said that's concerning and that's up front. We have to get more push at times."
Ryan Fitzpatrick remains under center in place of Jake Locker. Fitzpatrick was 21 of 41 for 247 yards and a TD, but threw a pair of interceptions in final 6:14 against Kansas City.
"We just can't beat ourselves," defensive back Bernard Pollard said.
Johnson rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns at Seattle in 2010.
The Titans won’t have linebacker Zaviar Gooden (hamstring), running back Shonn Greene (knee) or quarterback Jake Locker (hip, knee) with them in Seattle. Linebacker Patrick Bailey (hamstring), defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill (ankle), defensive end Derrick Morgan (shoulder), cornerback Coty Sensabaugh (concussion), tackle David Stewart (ankle) and cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson (hamstring) are all questionable.
The Seahawks remain without tackle Breno Giacomini (knee) and running back Spencer Ware (ankle). Linebacker Bobby Wagner (ankle) is doubtful and running back Marshawn Lynch (not injury related) and tight end Zach Miller (hamstring) are both questionable.