Titans' Malik Willis gets boost on NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year odds; when might quarterback replace Ryan Tannehill as starter?

Could the Titans turn the quarterback reins over to rookie Malik Willis sooner rather than later?
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Malik Willis was trending big time on Twitter last night as the Tennessee Titans were being embarrassed 41-7 at the Buffalo Bills to fall to 0-2. Titans starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was nothing short of terrible, completing 11-for-20 for 117 yards and two picks (including a pick-six) before being pulled for Willis. The former Liberty starter was 1-for-4 for 6 yards and rushed for 16 yards with a lost fumble, but did get a boost across the board at sportsbooks to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. SportsLine offers odds on how many starts Willis may get this year.

Just to show how much sportsbooks can vary on futures odds: At PointsBet, Willis dropped from +4000 to +1200 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year simply because Willis was the first rookie QB to see the field in 2022. At Caesars Sportsbook, he's +2000, At DraftKings, the number is +3500.

The Titans scored on their opening drive Monday but the offense managed just 112 yards and eight first downs in their final 10 possessions. Tannehill's 32.7 passer rating was his lowest in a game for his career, and it was the first time he's had zero passing TDs and multiple interceptions since joining Tennessee (the last time was Week 17, 2018, with Miami in a 42-17 loss to Buffalo).

The Titans are now 0-2 for the first since the 2012 season. Frankly, the AFC South looks soft overall. The only team with a victory so far is Jacksonville at 1-1. Not a single AFC South team has odds under +5000 to win Super Bowl 57. Every other division as at least one.

Tennessee could get out of Tannehill's contract somewhat painlessly this offseason, but he remains the obvious starter for this Sunday's potentially season-saving home game against the 0-2 Raiders. The question is how bad things might have to get before Mike Vrabel & Co. think about turning the offense over to the talented but raw Willis.

The Titans' bye is Week 6 and that's surely too early. Perhaps after Week 11? The Titans visit Green Bay on a Thursday that week and then obviously have a few extra days ahead of Week 12 at home vs. Cincinnati. Coaches always prefer to start rookie QBs at home for the first time. Or perhaps circle Week 16 at home vs. Houston, if the season is already lost, just to get Willis three starts of experience ahead of taking over full-time in 2023.

Via SportsLine oddsmakers: How many starts will Malik Willis make for the Titans this season (not because of an injury)?

  • Over 4.5 +180
  • Under 4.5 -220

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