The Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans are both 2-1 heading into Week 4 but the NFL oddsmakers hardly see these teams as equals. The Eagles opened as three-point favorites for their game in Tennessee and some gambling sites now have Philadelphia favored by four points.
It’s not difficult to see why the reigning Super Bowl champions are favored here. Yeah, the Titans just beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville, but it was a very close and ugly game with a final score of 9 to 6.
Moreover, the Titans’ quarterback situation is not ideal right now. Blaine Gabbert had to start last week with Marcus Mariota still dealing with a pinched nerve in his elbow. When Gabbert got knocked out of the game, Mariota was thrust into action and actually did OK for a guy who lacks feeling in his fingers. The Oregon Ducks alumnus completed 12 of his 18 attempts for 100 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 80.8 passer rating. He also contributed with seven rushing attempts for 51 yards.
But Mariota’s limitations were clear and they might continue to be a problem moving forward. Check out these Rotoworld write-ups:
Coming off the bench to replace concussed Blaine Gabbert from the first quarter on, Mariota’s passes consisted of wobbly, egg-beater floaters that were difficult for his receivers to catch. Mariota is playing with a nerve problem in his throwing elbow. But he showed impressive toughness, racking up yards on the ground and doing just enough to eke out the three-point win.
Speaking Monday, Titans coach Mike Vrabel said there are still throws Marcus Mariota can’t make. Mariota was forced into Sunday’s game against the Jaguars after Blaine Gabbert was concussed. It appears Mariota will start Week 4. Vrabel is hopeful the team can run a bigger package of plays this time around. The team will not sign a third quarterback, indicating it does indeed believe Mariota’s health is getting better. Mariota will not be a viable [fantasy football] QB2 against the Eagles’ swarming defense.
As we saw in Week 2, Jim Schwartz’s defense has had issues playing away from the home confines of Lincoln Financial Field. Since 2016, the Eagles are allowing 27.5 points per game in road tilts. With Mariota being less than 100%, though, this could be an opportunity for the Eagles to reverse that trend, at least for one week.
Elsewhere, the Eagles might be getting some good news on the injury front this week. It seems like Alshon Jeffery might have a shot to return against the Titans. Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles are also expected to return to practice this week in some capacity.
And then there’s the fact Carson Wentz is back under center for the Eagles. He looked a little rusty in his first game played since December 2017 but he also showed plenty of encouraging signs that bode well for the Eagles moving forward.
The Titans have played teams tough this year. Their only defeat so far is a one-possession loss to a 3-0 Dolphins team on the road in Miami. I don’t expect them to just lay down and take a beating.
With that said, there’s rightful reason for the Eagles to be favored this week.
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