Colts favorites at Titans with playoff spot on line Sunday night

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A play-in game could be boiled down to something as elemental as the respective health of the two quarterbacks – plus the Indianapolis Colts also have a strong track record as a road underdog.

With an AFC playoff berth at stake, the Andrew Luck-led Colts are 3-point road favorites on the Week 17 NFL odds against the Tennessee Titans with a 43.5-point total for Sunday night at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Led by a reinvigorated Luck, the Colts will try to tap into a long-term trend of being 12-2 straight-up and 11-3 against the spread in their last 14 games against the Titans, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The Titans are hopeful that quarterback Marcus Mariota, who suffered a “stinger” on the right side of his body in their Week 16 game on December 22, will try to play in a do-or-done game.

The Colts, who are 9-6 SU and 7-7-1 ATS this season, are laying points since they put up 38 points against Tennessee in the AFC South rivals’ first matchup of the season. It may not feel as easy this time around, but the Colts do an excellent job of keeping Luck upright and should give him a chance to make some plays downfield against Tennessee’s pass defense, which is the fifth-stingiest in yards-per-pass

Luck will have to rely on other weapons, as No. 1 wide receiver T.Y. Hilton will likely have a tough matchup against Adoree’ Jackson, while tight end Eric Ebron is facing a secondary that clamps down well on tight ends. The Colts have had a steady, if slowing down of late, ground game built around Marlon Mack.

Despite Luck’s injury issues prior to this season, the Colts are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six games in Week 17.

For the Titans, who are 9-6 SU and 8-7 ATS, the main question involves the extent to which Mariota playing hurt affects an offense that has run hot and cold all season. Indianapolis allows the sixth-lowest yards-per-rush in the NFL, and if Mariota’s physical limitations take away a read-option threat, then the Colts could thrive at blowing up rush attempts by Tennessee running back Derrick Henry.

The Titans are not an explosive team – only the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills, losing teams with rookie quarterbacks, have connected on fewer touchdown passes this season – and need their ground game to keep them out of obvious passing downs. If Mariota is unable to play, veteran Blaine Gabbert is the next man up behind center for Tennessee, which is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games at home.

The total has gone UNDER in five of the Colts’ last six games at online betting sites, with an average combined score of 38.0 points. The total has gone UNDER in three of the Colts’ last four games against the Titans, with an average combined score of 45.75 points.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Why Bill Belichick isn’t retiring anytime soon

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Bill Belichick turned 67 the other day, which is about the time most normal human beings are seriously pondering retirement. There’s no indication Belichick is. With 56 more coaching victories (regular season and postseason), Belichick would become the NFL’s all-time winningest coach. Top three in wins now: Don Shula 347, George Halas 324, Belichick 292. Shula coached 33 seasons and Halas 40; Belichick has coached 24, and in fairness to the leaders, Shula coached half of his career in 14-game seasons, and the majority of Halas’ years were 12-game regular seasons.

What’s interesting to me is how few of the best coaches ever coached this late in their lives. In fact, 12 of the 15 winningest coaches have not coached, or did not coach, at age 67 or older. Belichick will make that 11 of 15 this fall.

Looking at the top 15, and how many seasons they coached after turning 67:

1. Don Shula: 0. Coached last game at 65.
2. George Halas: 6. Went 47-33-5 and won one NFL title after turning 67.
3. Belichick.
4. Tom Landry: 0. Coached last game at 64.
5. Curly Lambeau: 0. Coached last game at 55.
6. Chuck Noll: 0. Coached last game at 59.
7. Andy Reid: 0. He is 61.
8. Marty Schottenheimer: 0. Coached last game at 63.
9. Dan Reeves: 0. Coached last game at 59.
10. Chuck Knox: 0. Coached last game at 62.
11. Bill Parcells: 0. Coached last game at 65.
12. Tom Coughlin: 3. Went 19-29 after turning 67.
13. Mike Shanahan: 0. Coached last game at 61.
14. Jeff Fisher: 0. Coached last game at 58.
15. Paul Brown: 1. Went 11-4 after turning 67.

Belichick doesn’t talk about how long he’ll coach—surprise!—but those who know him say they think he’s not close to walking away from football. My take: Halas coached his last game at 72. I would not be shocked if Belichick matches that; nor would I be shocked if he coaches two or three more years and ends it. I never sensed the record mattered to him … but if it does, that means he’ll coach six more years. Seems like a stretch, but those who have been around him say he never shows the signs of stress even during big moments of big games that have made some great coaches walk away. Does he look or sound like a 67-year-old man? Not to me. 

Read more from Football Morning in America here

Why these NFL teams should take a chance on Josh Rosen

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So I believe the Cardinals, should they—as I suspect—choose Kyler Murray number one overall, will be inclined to make the best deal they can for the quarterback they picked last year 10th overall, Josh Rosen. It’s easy to say Rosen’s a big boy and he’s going to have to get over the biggest snub job in recent NFL history. But he heard Kliff Kingsbury take the job and say on several occasions, Josh is our quarterback, or words to that effect. Now you draft a guy number one overall and asked Rosen to be a good soldier and carry the clipboard and help Kyler Murray win games for the team that misled him about being the quarterback under the new coach? Awkward.

I don’t know how the draft is going to fall, but if Miami or Washington or the Giants do not draft a quarterback high in the draft, what seems fair to me is offering a third-rounder (78th overall by Miami, 95th overall by the Giants, 96th overall by Washington) to Arizona for Rosen. And Arizona, I’m assuming, would strongly consider doing the best deal it could at that point.

I’d be really interested if I were Miami. Imagine trading the 78th pick and having a year to see if Rosen has a chance to be the long-term guy. If the Dolphins are unconvinced at the end of 2019, they could use a first-round pick (plus other draft capital if need be) to draft the quarterback of the long-term future in a year when the quarterback crop is better than this year.

There’s also this matter: In the last four-and-a-half years, Rosen has been coached by six offensive architects. At UCLA beginning in the fall of 2015, Rosen had Noel Mazzone, Kennedy Polamalu and Jedd Fisch, followed in Arizona by Mike McCoy and Byron Leftwich last year and Kingsbury this year. Imagine Rosen having the same system and coach for two or three years in a row. It hasn’t happened to him since high school. Seems worth a shot to me.

This is going to be a very interesting week in the history of the Arizona Cardinals, but also in the personal history of Josh Rosen.

Read more from Football Morning in America here