Tennessee Titans vs Cleveland Browns: Odds and Predictions (NFL Week 1)
John Breech of CBS Sports takes the under and predicts the score as Browns 23, Titans 20. My prediction is take the under, final score Browns 27, Titans 17.
How to watch the Titans vs the Browns
What: Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns
When: Sunday, September 8, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. ET
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio
How (TV): CBS
Latest Point Spread: Browns -5.5, Titans + 5.5
Time for the over-hyped 2019 Cleveland Browns to finally take the field and prove that all their upgrades on all three sides of the ball can actually win games together, something that franchise has struggle greatly with before general manger John Dorsey was hired two Decembers ago.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is in the fifth year of his rookie contract, and he can begin to prove his worth by traveling north and stealing a Week 1 victory from Baker Mayfield’s and Odell Beckham ‘s reworked Browns in their home stadium.
Let’s take a quick look at each of these teams now ready for the 2019 season.
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The 0-0-0 Tennessee Titans
For a second season, the 2019 Tennessee Titans will be lead by head coach Mike Vrabel, who, along with general manager Jon Robinson, attempted to upgrade the roster enough this offseason to push the team past its 9-7 threshold, their final record the last three seasons.
Starting quarterback Marcus Mariota has a new backup who could start at any minute, Ryan Tannehill, but it’s now Mariota’s job to lose or to solidify, depending on how well he does in Cleveland on Sunday.
The Titans picked up wide receiver Adam Humphries, who will also play on special teams as a punt returner, and the offensive line that gave up 47 sacks last season was improved with the acquisition of left guard Rodger Saffold.
The 0-0-0 Cleveland Browns
The 2019 Cleveland Browns will soon prove to be the real deal (finally) or a complete bust (as usual), game planned by first-time head coach Freddie Kitchens and led by second-year phenom Baker Mayfield, whose rocket arm and cocky leadership have united the city of Cleveland even further around their perennial underdogs.
But this team is favored in Week 1, and credit that to high-level passing targets (Beckham, Jarvis Landry and tight end David Njoku) a stellar run game (Nick Chubb) and a special teams unit that includes the Scottish Hammer.
Then you look at the additions to the Browns 30th ranked defense, including defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, and this rebuilt team from Northern Ohio suddenly seems capable of winning big.
Check out the Cleveland Browns Postseason Moves.
What’s at stake?
These two teams have met 66 times (including 1 postseason game), with Cleveland winning 35 of those games and Tennessee winning 31 games.
The Titans won in their last two meetings but the Browns beat them two times in a row before that.
If the Titans win this matchup, they’ll start the season 1-0-0 and get a nice jump ahead in the Andrew Luck-less AFC South, a division they haven’t won since 2008.
But if the Browns come out on top, they’ll prove to the world that their paper roster also looks good on the field, and that 1-0-0 record will feel great atop the AFC North, a division that will most likely take more than ten wins to conquer in 2019.
Questions to answer
Who’s favored to win this Week 1 Titans-Browns matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to compare the Titans and the Browns next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Offensive stats comparison
Tennessee Titans overall offense
- Ranked 25th overall in 2018
- Ranked TBD overall in 2019
Passing Attack: Marcus Mariota only completed 228 passes last season for 2,528 yards and 11 touchdowns with 8 interceptions, so he will be on a short leash to start the season.
Last season, the Titans passing offense was ranked 29thth, averaging 185.9 yards through the air and scoring 19.4 points per game.
The Tennessee offensive line allowed their quarterback to be sacked 47 times last season, tied for tenth most in the NFL.
Rushing attack: Derrick Henry had a solid 2018 season out of the backfield, running 215 times for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns, establishing himself as a top tier running back in the league.
The Titans running offense was ranked seventh overall, averaging 126.4 yards on the ground per game.
Dion Lewis will be the backup after rushing the ball 155 times last season for 517 yards and 1 touchdown while catching the ball 59 times for 400 yards and another touchdown.
Tennessee offensive injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 1: offensive tackle Jack Conklin (knee)
INJURY NOTE: Placekicker Ryan Succop (knee) was placed on injured reserve.
Cleveland Browns Overall Offense
- Ranked 13th overall in 2018
- Ranked TBD overall in 2019
Passing Attack: This passing offense is ready to fire on all cylinders and will be successful if Baker Mayfield’s receivers can hang onto his fiery passes, a problem some of them had last season and a bit this preseason, as well.
Mayfield has so many targets to choose from now, beginning with Beckham and Landry, now including newly acquired Tywan Taylor (from the Titans), tight end Njoku and plenty of depth at all offensive positions.
The front line is questionable at times (they gave up 38 sacks last season), but mostly on the edges, especially the blind side ever since future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas walked away from the game two seasons ago, and as he did last season, Greg Robinson, a former undrafted free agent, will attempt to fill Thomas’ mighty shoes.
Rushing Attack: The Browns have second year running back Nick Chubb, who was responsible for 1,145 total yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns last season.
Backing up Chubb, for now, is Dontrell Hilliard and newly acquired D’Ernest Johnson, the Browns still eight games away until the suspended Kareem Hunt gets to step back onto the field.
The Browns were ranked 14th in rushing last season, averaging 118.3 yards per game on the ground, but with the talent, they have on their offensive roster this year that should greatly improve because now defenses will have to split their attention (and game plan) in many more different ways.
Cleveland offensive injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 1: no Browns offensive players are listed as questionable
INJURY NOTES: fullback Joe Kerridge (shoulder), center Kyle Kalis (concussion) and offensive tackle Drew Forbes (knee) were all placed on injured reserve
>> OFFENSIVE ADVANTAGE: Cleveland Browns
Defensive stats comparison
Tennessee Titans overall defense
- Ranked 8th overall in 2018
- Ranked TBD overall in 2019
Pass coverage: The Titans defense allowed just 216.9 passing yards per game last season and were ranked 6th best in the league in pass coverage.
The Tennessee D sacked opponents’ quarterbacks 39 times, tied with five other teams for 16th most in the NFL and had just 11 total interceptions all season, tied for 23rd least in the league.
Run coverage: The Titans allowed opponents to run for 116.4 total yards per game and were ranked 18th overall in run defense.
Tennessee’s defense allowed opponents to score 18.9 points per game, 303 total points all season.
Titans Defensive Players to watch
Linebacker Wesley Woodyard was impressive last season with 4.5 sacks along with 113 total tackles (5 for loss), 7 quarterback hits, 2 passes defended and a fumble recovery.
If you like watching sacks, check out defensive end Jurrell Casey, who had 7.0 of them all to himself last season, along with 62 tackles.
Hard tackling free safety Kevin Byard is a blast to watch in the secondary, last season snagging 4 interceptions along with 90 tackles, 12 passes defended and 2.0 sacks.
Titans defensive injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 17: linebacker Reggie Gilbert (knee)
INJURY NOTES: cornerback Joshua Kalu (hamstring) was placed on injured reserve
Cleveland Browns Overall Defense
- Ranked 30th overall in 2018
- Ranked TBD overall in 2019
Pass coverage: Don’t let the Browns’ terrible overall defensive ranking last season fool you into thinking this current pass defense squad is no good – they were ranked 8th as a unit in 2018 and their secondary still has pro-bowler Denzel Ward and now it has strong safety Morgan Burnett and talented rookie cornerback Greedy Williams.
The defense sacked opposing quarterbacks 37 times last season, and now they also have Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon next to Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi and it just doesn’t seem fair to any of their opponents.
Run coverage: Cleveland was not good against the run last season, ranked 28th overall after allowing opponents to rush for an average of 135.2 yards per game.
The Browns’ defense allowed opponents to score 24.5 points per game, 392 total points all season.
Browns Defensive Players to watch
Defensive end Myles Garrett puts on a show you won’t want to miss, last season with 13.5 sacks, 29 quarterback hits, 44 tackles (12 for loss), 3 passes defended and 3 forced fumbles.
Third-year linebacker Joe Schobert is the Browns’ defensive quarterback and it’s best to keep an eye on him, last season with 3.0 sacks, 103 tackles (3 for loss), 6 quarterback hits, an interception, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries.
Speedy and hard-hitting cornerback Denzel Ward is absolutely worth watching, with 3 interceptions, 53 tackles, and a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries last season.
Browns defensive injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 1: rookie linebacker Sione Takitaki (hamstring)
INJURY NOTE: cornerback Phillip Gaines (concussion) was placed on injured reserve
>> DEFENSIVE ADVANTAGE: Tennessee Titans, but only because it’s Week 1
Special Teams Stats Comparison
Tennessee’s punter, Brett Kern, is in his eleventh season with the Titans, his 13th in the NFL, and last year he punted 74 times for a net average of 41.7 yards per punt, 8th best in the league.
Cleveland’s undrafted rookie punter, Jamie Gillan, is known as “The Scottish Hammer,” a Scottish born rugby player who proved he fully made the conversion to football by punting a 74-yarder in the preseason.
Tennessee’s placekicker Cairo Santos was just signed after starting kicker Ryan Succop was placed on injured reserve.
Santos was 14-for-18 last season for two teams (Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers), his longest a 45-yarder, and he missed one extra point attempt (22/23).
Cleveland’s rookie placekicker, Austin Seibert, beat out last year’s starting kicker, Greg Joseph, by making 6-of-7 field-goal attempts and 6-of-6 extra-point attempts in four preseason games.
Seibert’s longest was a 54-yarder.
Tennessee’s punt returner, wide receiver Adam Humphries, was ranked 47th in punt return average last season.
In 2018, Humphries returned 21 punts for 139 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 6.6 yards per return, his longest for 16 yards.
Cleveland’s new punt returner, running back Dontrell Hilliard, didn’t return punts last season but was ranked 35th in the league in kickoff return average last year.
Hilliard returned 11 kickoffs for 264 yards, averaging 24.0 yards per return, his longest for 31 yards.
>> SPECIAL TEAM ADVANTAGE: Neither team has a definite advantage, but keep your eye on the Scottish Hammer – not only can he punt huge, he tackles like a gunner.
Final game analysis
Why will the Titans win this game?
The Tennessee Titans are a good team that is finally in a position to do better than the 9-7 record they have been posting for the last three seasons.
Mariota has a lot to prove, and he will make it his personal goal to go into Cleveland on Sunday and prove he is worthy of the franchise quarterback title.
This team has a solid defense and they can shut this young Browns team down (for now) because while Cleveland is still learning how to play together, Tennessee already has that down.
Why will the Browns win this game?
This Cleveland Browns team looks amazing on paper, but now it is time for Kitchens, Mayfield, and company to prove that they are the real deal – and what better way to show the football world you’re serious than to win a game you’re favored in while at home in front of the league’s die-hardiest fans.
Don’t let the Browns’ overall youth lure you into thinking they are new to the game – most of the starters are at least in their second season now and they are ready to take their games to the next level.
These Cleveland Browns have a better passing game, running attack and their unproven special teams unit looks at least as good as the Titans’ so expect them to shut down these visitors at home by at least a touchdown and field goal to start this new era in Cleveland the right way.
>> THIS GAME GOES TO THE: Cleveland Browns let the winning start here.
Current odds listed for Week 1: Titans vs Browns
Check out the latest odds here.
- Tennessee Titans: +190
- Cleveland Browns -240
- Browns -5.5, Titans + 5.5
- Total score over/under: 45.5
John Breech of CBS Sports takes the under and predicts the score as Browns 23, Titans 20
My prediction is, take the under, final score Browns 27, Titans 17