Fan’s Week 1 NFL Picks Against the Spread: New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans

Yahoo Contributor Network

The New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans will meet during Week 1 of the 2012-13 NFL season on September 9, 2012. The game will be played at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. These are my picks against the spread for that contest.

The Patriots are the defending AFC champions. Since 2004, they've won eight consecutive regular-season openers. They've scored 38 points in each of their last two Week 1 games. Excluding preseason starts, Jake Locker will be making his NFL debut as a starting quarterback. On a side note, Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty and Titans cornerback Jason McCourty are twins.

The early spread is Patriots (-6). The over-under total is 47. As of September 3, all odds are from Yahoo! Sports. Injury reports are from ESPN. ESPN will update their injury reports throughout the week.

Key Injuries: Tennessee Titans (As of September 3)

WR Kenny Britt (Suspended), WR Lavelle Hawkins (Probable), DT Jurrell Casey (Probable), DT Sen'Derrick Marks (Probable)

Key Injuries: New England Patriots (As of September 3)

S Patrick Chung (Questionable), TE Aaron Hernandez (Probable)

Keys To The Game

Can The Patriots' Defense Force Takeaways When Jake Locker Makes Errant Throws?

Can The Patriots' Offense Protect Tom Brady?

Can The Titans Win The Time of Possession Battle?

CJ2K Or CJ2YPC: Which Chris Johnson Will Show Up?

Zach Brown and Akeem Ayers vs. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez

Tom Brady vs. Titans' Slot Cornerbacks

With Vince Wilfork, Can The Patriots Take Advantage of Leroy Harris and Fernando Velasco?

Summary

In 2011, the Titans faced a similar "Us against the world" scenario when they played the New Orleans Saints. The Saints were supposed to trounce the Titans. Although they won 22-17, the Saints only scored nine points through three quarters. The Titans' defense had become exhausted from the offense's lack of possessions.

That's what I expect for this game. Throughout the preseason, the Titans' offense has been inconsistent. Jake Locker has sailed passes over his receivers' heads. The Patriots are as good as any team with capitalizing on mistakes. They had a plus-17 turnover margin in 2011. The Patriots' opportunistic defense will turn those bad throws into interceptions.

I like Locker. I just don't think that he could've gotten a worse hand than these first two weeks. This won't be anything like the 59-0 embarrassment in 2009. This could be another one of those 23-17 type of games. Throughout 2011, 17s and 23s were very common occurrences in games that involved the Titans.

I'd be very surprised if the over-under exceeded 47. The Titans haven't exceeded an over-under of 45 in any of their past 10 games.

New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans: The Pick

Against The Spread: Tennessee Titans (+6)

Straight: New England Patriots 23, Tennessee Titans 17

Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.

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