Tennessee have been one of this season’s big NFL success stories and will be determined to further enhance their play-off hopes with a home win over Super Bowl champions Denver on Sunday night.
Having struggled with records of 3-13 and 2-14 over the past two years, the Titans have turned things around to prevail in half of their 12 matches in 2016, to lie joint top of the AFC South alongside Houston and Indianapolis. Cornerback Jason McCourty is keen to make it past the regular season, declaring: “Obviously, the last two years haven’t been pretty, so to be a part of a situation where you are in it is exciting.”
Much of their progress has been down to the form of second-season quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was named AFC offensive player of the month for November and has thrown for 21 touchdowns against only three interceptions in the last eight games. The maturing Mariota has been complemented by impressive running back DeMarco Murray, while the Titans will be fresh from having a bye week since prevailing 27-21 in Chicago.
Denver improved to 8-4 with a dogged 20-10 defeat of Jacksonville last time out but rookie QB Paxton Lynch was far from convincing when standing in for the injured Trevor Siemian and they look vulnerable against better opposition.
Recommended bet: Tennessee to beat Denver
Seattle travel to Green Bay on the back of a resounding 40-7 win over Carolina but can expect a much sterner test of their resolve against a pumped-up Packers outfit seeking a third straight win.
QB Aaron Rodgers (pictured above) and wide receiver Jordy Nelson once again teamed up well in a 21-13 home victory over Houston last weekend, but two other things stood out from that encounter. Firstly, defences were well on top until a final quarter which produced 20 points. Secondly, the all-too-familiar wintery conditions have returned to Lambeau Field.
With those factors in mind, and Seattle also boasting an in-form and stingy defence, the shrewd bet could be to back a low-scoring fixture.
In the late game, Dallas get the chance to avenge their opening-week loss to the Giants when visiting New York on a run of 11 straight wins since that loss.
As a team with rookies at QB and running back, it is easy to understand why the Cowboys have improved significantly since that sole setback of the season and they appeal at 87/100 to prevail by more than three points.
Dallas have already clinched a place in the play-offs but signal caller Ezekiel Elliott insists there will be no chance of resting on their laurels. “The games are going to get better and better, so it’s going to get tough,” he said. “I just think it’s about will, and at the end of the day it’s going to be our will against their will.”