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NFL upset of the week: Don't write off the Titans just yet

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The Saints got it done for us last week, so we're playing with house money, and it didn't even cost us much in sweat with the Packers getting beat down. Week 2's underdog won't be so straightforward, as we stare down Russell Wilson and hope he blinks.

Before we talk ourselves into the Titans, it's worth reminding that games lined under four points aren't considered significant upsets.

Titans @ Seahawks (-6, 54)

One of the big coaching changes last winter was Arthur Smith moving from his position as the Titans' offensive coordinator and becoming the Falcons' head coach. There was immediate concern about the effect it would have on Tennessee's offense. Nothing from the Titans' lopsided Week 1 loss to the Cardinals quells that fear, as Ryan Tannehill threw a measly 3.86 yards per attempt. Meanwhile, Smith didn't show us much in Atlanta, so maybe we don't blame Tennessee's rough contest entirely on his departure. It could have simply been an off game. Those happen.

Are the struggles a sign of things to come? I'm not so sure. Chandler Jones was a menace for the Cards, torturing Taylor Lewan to the tune of five sacks and numerous pressures. The Seahawks don't have the same threat on the edge, and Lewan, who played in his first game after missing almost the entire 2020 season, vowed publicly to be better.

The Titans will stretch Seattle's vulnerable defense more than Carson Wentz did, creating extra space for Derrick Henry to do Derrick Henry things. More two-dimensional success for Tennessee will open up a game that could become an offensive track meet.

The Seahawks will score here as well, of course. The Titans tried to address a soft defense during the offseason but aren't quite there yet. That said, as great as Wilson is, he's still easier to prep for than the slick-running Kyler Murray. Tennessee will have more chances to abbreviate Seattle drives with pressure in the backfield since it'll be able to get a hand on Wilson after grasping at air in Week 1.

Fundamentally, the line move to -6 is too much of an adjustment to make off one game, and since my ratings make this closer to -4, there's good value on the underdog. If the expectation is this will be a one-score game, in which the team who has the ball last wins, I'll take my chances with the Titans, who have the ability to piece together a late game-winning drive or use Henry to run the clock out with a late lead.

Pick: Titans +210

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on twitter @mrussauthentic.

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