Titans vs. Bengals Updated Odds, Schedule, Predictions For Divisional Round: Tennessee Opens NFL Playoffs As Favorite
Getty Images. Pictured: Bengals QB Joe Burrow, Titans QB Ryan Tannehill
- The Titans are favored as the No. 1 seed in the AFC against the Bengals on Saturday.
- Tennessee is not without its flaws, although Cincinnati had to sweat through a win last week over Las Vegas.
- Check out the updated odds as of Tuesday evening and a breakdown below.
Titans vs. Bengals Odds
With the Chiefs set to take on the Bills after blowing out the Steelers, the 4-seeded Bengals will take on the 1-seeded Titans in the Divisional Round of the 2022 NFL Playoffs.
Find one of our expert’s projected odds, another’s early pick on the spread, and a recap of each team’s seasons below.
Titans vs. Bengals Schedule
Titans vs. Bengals Projections
Our Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner, reveals his initial projections for the spread and over/under based on his model.
These are subject to change before kickoff, though, so be sure to check out our NFL PRO Projections — i.e. real-time consensus projections based on models of six experts (including Sean).
- Spread: Titans -2.5
- Total: 48.5
Titans vs. Bengals Predictions
Pick: Lean Titans -2.5
Brandon Anderson: Sigh.
I waited all season to bet against the Titans in the playoffs. I picked all 272 regular-season games; I backed the Titans in exactly two. I’ve been fading them all year. And I was practically drooling over the chance to fade this fraudulent 1-seed into oblivion.
But you have to play the matchup in front of you.
The Titans did juuust enough to eke out a three-point win over the terrible Texans in the regular-season finale, barely hanging onto the 1-seed and grabbing a bye week thanks to their sixth one-score victory in eight such games. And then the bracket broke perfectly. The two heavy AFC favorites will face off in the other matchup, the Patriots are out, and the Colts and Chargers didn’t even make it.
Instead, the Titans get to face a similarly-average team for a shot at the AFC title game.
That’s the Bengals, of course, and the numbers say these teams are relatively equal. They’re both below-average in season-long DVOA, per Football Outsiders, and neither finished top 10 in rushing offense or defense — nor passing offense or defense. The Titans and Bengals played in 17 one-score games combined. Tennessee’s DVOA profile is similar to Cleveland or Chicago Browns. Cincinnati’s is closer to Vegas or Minnesota.
Are we excited yet?!
Both of these teams went 4-2 against eventual playoff teams, but those records are not created equal. If the Colts and Chargers had won in Week 18 as expected by books, the Titans would have been 6-2 against playoff teams with comfortable wins over the Chiefs, Rams and Colts, while the Bengals would have been 1–3. Instead, the Bengals paded their record with wins over the mediocre Raiders and Steelers, while the Titans lose credit for those Colts wins.
But Tennessee still has the far more impressive resume.
The best unit on the field will be the Titans defense. It finished the season eighth in weighted DVOA and was especially strong against the run.
The Bengals have remained over-committed to the run, which could really hurt here. They had inefficient running metrics all season and made the same mistake on Wild Card Saturday against the Raiders, keeping the Raiders in the game with 21 early down runs at -0.23 Expected Points Added (EPA) per play, just a 19% success rate. Joe Burrow and the passing attack have gotten very good, but the Bengals are still not passing enough, and the poor play calling is crippling the offense.
Cincinnati benefited from playing a very soft schedule. The offense hasn’t been as reliable against good defenses, and the defense has struggled against strong attacks.
Are the Titans that?
They weren’t late in the season, but they should get Derrick Henry back, plus rested and healthy A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. The Titans ranked sixth in rush DVOA with Henry before falling to 24th without him, and he opens up the play-action, making the passing game far more deadly. Cincinnati will struggle to cover Brown and Jones — this is exactly why Tennessee traded for Jones.
The Bengals defense ranked 31st in DVOA on first downs in the regular season. When the Titans are at their best, they run the ball well and hit on play-action early to put Ryan Tannehill in positive down situations. They can do that here.
The Bengals also ranked 29th in first quarter DVOA, so the Titans could get out to an early lead.
And don’t forget the obvious advantage: Home field and a week of rest. The rest should give Tennessee a much healthier offense and passing attack, and home-field advantage could be huge. Cincinnati’s offense ranked ninth in DVOA at home but just 25th on the road, and Tennessee’s defense ranked 17th on the road but seventh at home.
The Bengals’ best performances this season came at home, but this young team is mostly unproven on the road.
I waited all season to fade the Titans in a huge playoff spot, but we need to wait one more week. This line is showing too much respect to a young Bengals team with weaknesses the Titans are built to exploit. I’ll hope they win comfortably and set up an inflated line for the AFC Championship Game.
How Bengals Reached 2022 NFL Playoffs
- Wild Card Round: Beat Raiders, 26-19
- Regular Season: 10-7
Tommy Stokke: In Joe Burrow’s first full season as an NFL starter, he has looked exactly like the talent prognosticators had predicted he would be when he was the No. 1 overall pick out of LSU in 2020.
Burrow and former college teammate Ja’Marr Chase have put together one of the most explosive passing attacks in the NFL just two years after the Bengals finished 2-14.
This team hasn’t been the most consistent — losses to the Bears and Jets have indicated as much — but they’ve peaked at the right time with three straight wins, capped off by a dominant Burrow display in a win over the Chiefs.
Cincinnati will host a home playoff game come January. That in and of itself has to be a success for Bengals fans.
How Titans Reached 2022 NFL Playoffs
- Wild Card Round: Bye
- Regular Season: 12-5
Tommy Stokke: With all the uncertainty surrounding the AFC South, the Titans closed as the odds-on favorite to win the division. They did just that, despite some issues of their own.
Derrick Henry broke a bone in his foot, A.J. Brown missed multiple weeks with various injuries and the team got little production out of offseason acquisition Julio Jones.
But quarterback Ryan Tannehill kept the offense afloat, and the defense rebounded nicely. After giving up over 30 points in each of their first two games, the Titans gave up 30 points in just three of their remaining 15 games.
Now in the playoffs for the third consecutive year — and with Henry potentially coming back — the top-seeded Titans hope this is the year they break through to the Super Bowl.
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