The first week of the NFL season comes to a close with the Tennessee Titans travelling to Denver to play the Broncos. Ben Steele previews a potential QB duel.
"With Miller out and Bradley Chubb also dealing with an injury that saw him limited in preseason training Tannehill will fancy his chances of a productive game."
Titans have to cope with slow starting Henry
The Tennessee Titans were the surprise package of last season's playoffs as running back Derrick Henry exploded for a career best season, helped by a sparkling eight game stretch where he amassed 1,273 yards at an average of 159 yards per game. Henry's efforts couldn't quite lead Tennessee to the Super Bowl but it certainly helped his bank balance. The 26-year-old signed a $50m contract this offseason, he'll come in to 2020 looking to prove he is worth the money, but I don't think we'll see that in Week 1.
Historically Henry, a 2nd round pick in 2016, has never got out of the blocks fast to start a season, in fact the earliest in any season he has ever gone over 100 yards is Week 4. Even last saeson when Henry led the league with 1,540 yards he posted 896 of those in the final six weeks of the regular season.
While he is obviously talented, and has the ability to break off long runs, I think Henry's rushing yards line, which is set at 90.5 yards is too high so I'll be backing the under on this one.
Missing Miller helps Tannehill
One of the key reasons for Henry's success late in the season was the development of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The former Miami Dolphin become the perfect play-action QB down the stretch, benefiting immensely from the threat of Henry, and forming a decent partnership with rookie receiver A.J. Brown.
Similar to Henry, Tannehill signed a lucrative contract this offseason as Tennessee put their faith entirely in the 2019 Comeback Player of the Year. Coming in to his first game of the season, the 32-year-old Texan received a boost, as Denver announced that future Hall of Fame pass rusher Von Miller will miss at least three months of the season with an ankle injury. With Miller out and Bradley Chubb also dealing with an injury that saw him limited in preseason training Tannehill will fancy his chances of a productive game.
With Tennessee boasting a decent offensive line and Denver's pass rush down to the bare bones I'm looking at the Titan's signal caller to throw at least one touchdown in each half at 16/5.
Lock will exploit Denver deep threat
The 2019 season was a mixed bag for the Denver Broncos, finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs but in the form of quarterback Drew Lock there was at least one bright spot. Denver picked Lock in the 2019 draft but, due to injury trouble, had to wait until Week 13 for their rookie QB to make his first start. In the final five weeks of the season Lock went 4-1, beating the LA Chargers, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders with his only loss coming against the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Lock was helped immensely by receiver Courtland Sutton, who had a breakout season last term (72 catches, 1,112 yards and six TDs) and emerged as a top receiving threat. If he can stay fit Sutton will fancy his chances of building on those stats in 2020. The Broncos star is questionable for Monday's game but Lock will still be confident of having success particularly as Denver's first round pick in the draft, Jerry Jeudy, comes in to the league with a lot of hype around him. The 2020 Draft was touted as one of the best receiver classes in recent history, and Jeudy is arguably the best of the bunch coming out of college.
Look for Lock to attack a Tennessee secondary who are opportunistic but certainly not infallible. Drew Lock to throw a touchdown in each half is an attractive OddsBoost at 4/1.