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NFL Week 8 Thursday night pick: Take Titans over Jaguars

Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans calls a play during the second quarter of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on Nov. 19, 2015 in Jacksonville, Fla. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Rob Foldy

JAGUARS (2-4) AT TITANS (3-4), 8:25 p.m.

TV: NFL; Radio: WCBS (880)

Titans by 3.5; O/U 43

Back in the 1990s, NBC called its Thursday night lineup “Must-See TV.” With hits such as “Seinfeld” and “Friends,” it was can’t miss. Fast forward to the present and the NFL has a ratings problem, especially in its prime-time games. Jaguars-Titans on Thursday night isn’t going to help. Talk about a show about nothing.

Luckily for the NFL, the World Series has an off day Thursday. So the avid football watcher will tune into the NFL Network for this battle of AFC South teams that began the season with bigger expectations than usual but have yet to prove they’re ready for prime time.

The AFC South is the NFL’s weakest division, so eight wins might take it. If Tennessee wins, it will be 4-4. It all starts with the running game for the Titans, who are third in the NFL with an average of 143.4 rushing yards per contest. The Jags (109.8 rushing yards allowed) can expect a heavy dose of DeMarco Murray. Marcus Mariota, who has eight touchdown passes and only one interception in the last three games, averages 7.2 yards per carry, so he’s also a threat to break a long run.

Tennessee (2-5 against the spread) has struggled at home, going 1-3 overall and 0-4 ATS. As the betting saying goes, “They’re due.”

Jacksonville was supposed to be due for a breakout season, but it’s been the same old story. Too many mistakes and an inability to make big plays in crunch time. The Jags’ two wins are by a combined four points.

If the Jaguars (3-3 ATS) pull off the mini upset, it won’t be a shock. However, home teams on Thursday night are 5-2 overall and ATS this season, so the safe bet is taking Tennessee and hoping to see another rerun.

The pick: Titans





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