This is the closest we have been to a preseason showdown this year because no matter what, next week determines the fate of the Titans and playoffs. The Titans already have 19 players on the injured reserve, with many players being key contributors. Derrick Henry is doubtful, and eight other players are ruled out. The Cowboys have longshot odds to win the division but are mathematically capable of hosting a playoff game.
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Vegas Line: Cowboys -12
Cowboys: IR: CB Anthony Brown, DT Johnathan Hankins, CB Jourdan Lewis, OT Terence Steele; OUT: LB Leighton Vander Esch; QUESTIONABLE: RB Tony Pollard
Titans: IR: WR Kyle Phillips, RB Dontrell Hilliard, OT Taylor Lewan, C Ben Jones, OT Jamarco Jones, OL Nate Davis, DE Da’Shawn Hand, OLB Harold Landry, LB David Long, CB Terrance Mitchell, DB Elijah Molden, DB A.J. Moore, DB Caleb Farley; OUT: ILB Zach Cunningham, OLB Dylan Cole, OLB Bud Dupree, S Armani Hooker, QB Ryan Tannehill, DE Jeffrey Simmons, DB Josh Thompson, OT Nicholas Petit-Frere; DOUBTFUL: DE Denico Autry, CB Kristian Fulton, RB Derrick Henry
Data to Know Provided by Sports Info Solutions
Cowboys Pass Offense vs. Titans
- Dak Prescott averages 7.8 yards per attempt, a 69% completion percentage, and a 6.3% pass touchdown rate.
- The Titans have allowed the third-most passing touchdowns this season.
- It’ll be difficult to predict the coverage of the Titans with their injuries, and I am assuming they will be playing man coverage against the Cowboys to limit the need for communication.
- Against man coverage, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup are the only players with over a 20% target share.
- Noah Brown averages more yards per route run against man coverage than Gallup but gets targeted at a lesser rate.
- Dalton Schultz is not utilized against man coverage and is not effective against it.
- The Titans have allowed the second-most points to out wide receivers and the fifth-most to slot wide receivers.
- Since Gallup returned to a full-time role, Lamb has run 16.6% of his routes out wide.
- Throws of 20 or more air yards account for 38.5% of the passing touchdowns, and 26.4% of the yards passing the Titans have given up.
- Lamb has 21 targets of over 20 or more air yards, while nobody else on the Cowboys has more than ten targets.
Cowboys Rush Offense vs. Titans
- Tony Pollard could potentially miss this contest, leaving Malik Davis in a split with Ezekiel Elliott.
- The Titans have been the second-best run defense in football and have only allowed 3.5 yards per carry.
- They will be without many key pieces on their defense, but even without these players, they can defend the run well.
- Elliott averages 4.1 yards per carry and has 11 rushing touchdowns this year.
- Malik Davis averages 4.5 yards per carry and has caught four passes.
Titans Pass Offense vs. Cowboys
- Josh Dobbs is starting for the Titans, and with that, there isn’t much data to know.
- Treylon Burks, Robert Woods, and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine are the three full-time wide receivers.
- Burks ran 89.3% of the routes this past week but was targeted on just eight percent of his routes.
- Austin Hooper was the only other player to run over 60% of the routes, and he tied with Woods for most targets.
- The Cowboys’ defensive line will have a significant advantage against the Titans’ pass protection, and I expect Dobbs to scramble.
- Chigoziem Okonkwo only ran 39.3% of the routes last week.
Titans Rush Offense vs. Cowboys
- Without Derrick Henry, Hassan Haskins will be the main running back, and Julius Chestnut will serve as the main backup.
- The Cowboys have given up 4.3 yards per carry this year and struggled against a running quarterback in Justin Fields.
- I expect the Titans to run the ball early in often, but with the injuries to the offensive line and without Henry, it’s difficult to imagine they are successful.
Mike Vrabel wants to have this game go by as quickly as possible without furthering the injuries they are dealing with, and there should not be much play volume between these teams. I expect a lot of three-and-outs from this offense and a similar game plan as if this is a preseason game. I don’t believe these wide receivers will get there off of volume, but a deep catch will be the only thing they need, and the talent of Treylon Burks has me going to him.
The Cowboys have a chance to work on getting Michael Gallup more confidence against the Titans’ secondary and show his ability to win down the field. Malik Davis should have a role in this offense if Tony Pollard misses, and as 12-point favorites, he should see north of ten touches. I am not expecting the Titans’ coverages to be complex, and the focus is on defending the man in front of you, which gives CeeDee Lamb a chance to put up a big game.
- WR CeeDee Lamb
- QB Dak Prescott
- WR Michael Gallup
- RB Malik Davis (DraftKings Only)
- RB Ezekiel Elliott
- QB Josh Dobbs
- DST Cowboys
- WR Treylon Burks
- WR Noah Brown
- WR T.Y. Hilton
- K Brett Maher
- K Randy Bullock
- RB Hassan Haskins
- RB Julius Chestnut