No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota has been drawing rave reviews during the Tennessee Titans’ training camp, showing the type of game that made him last year’s Heisman Trophy winner – and could make him the top rookie of his class.
Can the young rookie keep up his stellar play against his first taste of NFL-caliber opposition in the form of the Atlanta Falcons? Read on below for our preview of this much-anticipated Week 1 preseason matchup.
Get ready for Week 1’s other interesting encounters with our previews of the Giants vs. Bengals and Broncos vs. Seahawks.[sc:Football ]
Tennessee Titans vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta
When: Friday, August 14, 7:00 PM ET
Line: Tennessee Titans (+2.5) at Atlanta Falcons (-2.5); Total: 37.0 – view all NFL lines
Betting on the Tennessee Titans
All eyes will be on No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota as he gets his first taste of NFL action against the Atlanta Falcons. The Titans’ rookie quarterback has been making headlines in recent weeks for going through training camp without throwing a single interception.
[sc:NFL240banner ]This shouldn’t come as too much of a shock to anyone who watched Mariota work in Oregon, though. Mariota threw just four interceptions all of last season and, at one stretch in his college career, went 353 consecutive passes without throwing a pick.
Mariota will look to continue his impressive streak before backup Zach Mettenberger (1,412 yards, eight TDs and seven INTs in seven games last season) takes over.
Mariota has also been busy forming some chemistry with second-round pick Dorial Green-Beckham. The first preseason game against the Falcons will be big for the rookie wideout, who will take part in his first organized game in 20 months. (He sat out all of last season after transferring to Oklahoma.) DGB caught 59 balls for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2013 with Missouri.
On the other side of the ball, the Titans defense is finally starting to grasp Dick LeBeau’s new system. Brian Orakpo, who is working his way back from another season-ending torn pectoral injury last season, has been one of the standout Titans on defense. The former Redskins pass rusher has been productive when healthy, recording 8.5 or more sacks when he’s played 15 or more games in his career.
Create a betting account now and get back in the habit of wagering on the NFL with some preseason action.
Betting on the Atlanta Falcons
The much-anticipated battle for the Falcons’ starting running back spot didn’t materialize during training camp, as Devonta Freeman and rookie Tevin Coleman both suffered from hamstring injuries. Their top position battle will now move on to the preseason, and should make their first game against the Titans all the more interesting.
Coleman, who rushed for 2,036 yards and 15 touchdowns for Indiana last season, was a legitimate threat to take the Falcons’ starting job heading into camp. But his injury has kept the door open for Freeman, who had just 473 total yards and two touchdowns as a rookie last season.
The two backs will play with a somewhat altered offensive line against Tennessee. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who will implement his outside zone blocking scheme this season, has been experimenting with several O-line combinations during training camp with a couple of his expected starters recovering from injuries.
James Stone, who has played at center and guard in camp, could be in line for a possible starting spot with an impressive showing in preseason.
Meanwhile, the Falcons’ second- and third-string linebackers should get more playing time earlier in preseason as starters Brooks Reed and Justin Durant recover from injuries. O’Brien Schofield, a free agent signing from Seattle, is very familiar with Dan Quinn’s defense, but he could see time at strong-side linebacker with Reed still limited by a groin problem.
Mariota and Mettenberger just have too much competence at quarterback. The Titans (+2.5) get the preseason started with a road win in Atlanta.[sc:NFL490Banner ]
2,029 total views, 1 views today