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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:01 PM

MNF - Titans at Cowboys

LAST GAME

Both these teams are off the bye last week as each squad looks to climb back to the .500 mark. The Titans (3-4 SU, 4-3 ATS) were once 3-1 after three consecutive three-point wins. However, the offense has scored a total of 31 points in the past three losses, while coming off a 20-19 defeat to the Chargers in London back in Week 7. Tennessee cashed as 6 ½-point underdogs to improve to 4-1 ATS when receiving points, but there were many questions on why the Titans didn’t win.

The Titans erased a 17-6 deficit to creep within one point in the final minute on a Marcus Mariota touchdown pass to Luke Stocker on fourth down. However, instead of opting for the tie and overtime, Titans’ head coach Mike Vrabel put his offense on the field for the game-winning two-point conversion. Tennessee didn’t convert as that call was questioned by the pundits, even though the Titans’ defense limited Los Angeles to one touchdown in the final three quarters and the Titans had momentum late.

The Cowboys (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) have not owned a winning record this season, while alternating wins and losses through the first seven games. Prior to the bye, Dallas fell short at Washington, 20-17 as kicker Brett Maher hit the post on a game-tying field goal in the final seconds. Running back Ezekiel Elliott ranked second in the NFL in rushing yards heading into Week 9, as the former Ohio State standout was limited to a season-low 33 yards against Washington.

Off a win this season, the Cowboys have scored 13, 16, and 17 points. However, Dallas has put up 20, 26, and 40 off a loss, which is the situation the Cowboys are in this week. The Cowboys and Titans are part of a three-team group that has not allowed more than 27 points in a game this season, while the Eagles are the other.

DIAL UP ANOTHER WIN?

The Cowboys have yet to lose a game at AT&T Stadium this season by beating the Giants, Lions, and Jaguars. Yes, it has worked out that Dallas faced all those off road losses, where they are 0-4 this season. Dallas has split its first against the spread in the home favorite role by cashing against New York, but needing a late field goal to edge Detroit. Since 2016, the Cowboys have covered in four of five opportunities as a home favorite of six points or more, while being listed in that range for the first time this season.

DOGGY DOES IT

Tennessee has thrived in the underdog role this season by covering in four of five opportunities. Prior to the one-point loss (and cover) against the Chargers in London, the Titans had won outright when receiving points in their first three chances against the Texans, Jaguars, and Eagles. The 4-1 ATS mark under Vrabel is a significant change from the 4-6 ATS record last season as an underdog, while the Titans posted a horrific 9-18 ATS ledger from 2014 through 2017.

SERIES HISTORY

Before the Texans were even a thought, the Cowboys and the then-Oilers were the two main attractions in the Lone Star State. Since the Titans moved to Nashville in 1998, Tennessee and Dallas have hooked up five times in the regular season with the Cowboys coming out victorious three times. The Cowboys knocked off the Titans in their last meeting at Tennessee in 2014 as three-point underdogs, 26-10. Every main offensive weapon on both sides is no longer on the active roster as tight end Delanie Walker is the lone contributor still on one of these teams, but he is sidelined with a season-ending ankle injury.

MONDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

The Cowboys have won in each of their last three opportunities on Monday night football since 2015. In the past two seasons, Dallas has cruised in the favorite role on Mondays by pounding Detroit, 42-21 in 2016 and taking care of Arizona last season, 28-17 as three-point chalk. The Titans have covered six consecutive Monday night games dating back to 2008, while winning five times straight-up. Last season, Tennessee pulled away from Indianapolis, 36-22 after rallying from a 10-point deficit in the first half.

HANDICAPPER’S CORNER

VegasInsider.com handicapper Joe Nelson checks in on this interconference matchup by noting how competitive Tennessee has been this season, “Six of the seven games for the Titans have been decided by a single-score, making this underdog spread of nearly a full touchdown appealing. However, Tennessee is on a 12-25 ATS run in road games since 2014. The Titans have the third-best scoring defense in the NFL allowing 18.1 points per game but only Arizona and Buffalo have been worse scoring teams with Tennessee averaging 15.1 points per game.”

Two seasons ago, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys owned the best record in the NFC. Things have changed quickly for the former Mississippi State standout, according to Nelson, “Prescott has been a top 4 QBR quarterback each of the past two seasons for the Cowboys, but with some changes on the offensive line, he has struggled this season. He and Mariota are both outside of the league’s top 20 in QBR at this point in the season. The numbers are even worse in traditional QB Rating with Prescott 24th and Mariota 30th as the star quarterbacks trail players like Derek Carr, Brock Osweiler, and Eli Manning in that metric.”

Nelson also notes that Dallas needs to end their inconsistent ways if it wants to make a playoff push in the NFC, “For Dallas, road games at Philadelphia and at Atlanta follow this game as the season is certainly at a critical juncture. All four losses have come by 11 or fewer points vs. winning teams while the wins for Dallas have all come at home vs. losing teams. Dallas made a bye week deal for Amari Cooper looking to boost the offensive potential of the team though he remains questionable with a concussion. Cooper was one of the best receivers in the league in 2015 and 2016, but has just 70 catches for 960 yards over his past 20 games.”

LINE MOVEMENT

The Westgate Superbook opened the Cowboys as 6 ½-point favorites last Monday. However, that line has dropped to Dallas laying four at the Westgate, while other books are showing Dallas -4 ½. There hasn’t been much movement on the total, which opened at 41, as this number has dipped to 40 ½ at most outfits.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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