On Sunday, the Titans play the Broncos in a late game, at 3:25 central. The Titans will be playing on the West Coast for the first time this season. The Titans currently sit at a record of 2-3 and they are last in the AFC south (1. Texans 3-2, 2. Colts 3-2, 3. Jaguars 2-3, 4. Titans 2-3). The Broncos are 1-4 and last in the AFC west (1. Chiefs 4-1, 2. Raiders 3-2, 3. Chargers 2-3, 4. Broncos 1-4). While the Broncos do not have a great record, their offense can be good. They have two good running backs in Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman and they have a few good receivers like Cortland Sutton and Emanual Sanders. Joe Flacco is on the decline but the Broncos offense looked pretty good last week against the Jaguars.
Week 6 kicked off with a match up between the Patriots and the Giants. Coming into the game the Patriots were undefeated and had the best defense in the league so far this season. The Patriots look like they could be on course for another super bowl year. The Giants were in a very tough situation with Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallaman, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Lorenzo Carter all out with injuries. The Patriots won pretty convincingly. Rookie Daniel Jones had a very rough game, throwing 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. The Patriots defense and special teams had another fantastic game. The Patriots blocked a punt in the first half and returned it for a touchdown. I think the Giants are better than people expected but playing the Patriots is never easy.
Here are the other games around the NFL:
(All games are in Central Time)
Panthers vs Buccaneers SUN 8:30 AM (London)
Redskins vs Dolphins SUN 12:00pm
Saints vs Jaguars SUN 12:00pm
Bengals vs Ravens SUN 12:00pm
Seahawks vs Browns SUN 12:00pm
Texans vs Chiefs SUN 12:00pm
Eagles vs Vikings SUN 12:00pm
Falcons vs Cardinals SUN 3:05pm
49ers vs Rams SUN 3:05pm
Titans vs Broncos SUN 3:25pm
Cowboys vs Jets SUN 3:25pm
Steelers vs Chargers SUN 7:20pm
Lions vs Packers MON 7:15pm
The most intriguing games are: Seahawks vs Browns, Texans vs Chiefs, Eagles vs Vikings, 49ers vs Rams, and Titans vs Broncos.
Titans keys to the game:
1.Stop the Broncos run game
While the Broncos run game has not put up any crazy stats through the first 5 weeks, they have a solid run game with two good running backs. Philip Lindsay is a very quick, second year running back from Colorado. Royce Freeman is a more powerful back from Oregon. Lindsay had a great season last year and he played better than Royce Freeman despite not even being drafted. The Titans have had trouble stopping the run recently so this could be a tough task.
2. Get Derrick Henry going
Getting Derrick Henry going is the key to the offense. I have said this every week but Henry is yet to have a breakout game. Henry has scored 4 rushing touchdowns in 5 games but he has not yet gained the yardage I believed he would. As I have mentioned in other articles, getting Henry going can help the passing game immensely. When teams overplay the run, big passing plays can happen such as AJ Brown’s touchdown against the Falcons. Henry can run down the middle but his strength is getting to the outside. When Henry is outside the numbers, he can use his incredible stiff arm. Henry is extremely difficult to tackle, and if he can get outside, he can make some big plays. Statistically, Denver has a below average run defense. I see this game as a breakout opportunity for Derrick Henry.
3. Improve offensive line play and Help Mariota
One of the most obvious problems with the Titans through 5 weeks has been the play of the Offensive Line. The line has been horrific outside of OT Dennis Kelly. The most angering part of the poor Offensive Line play is Roger Saffold. Saffold has been very unimpressive and had a terrible game against the Bills. In his post game interview, Saffold said “consistency has been a problem for this team for a long time”. He is not wrong but this is coming from a Guard who is paid $11m/year and cannot block very well. The right side of the line has improved but Jack Conklin had a rough game against the Bills and rookie G, Nate Davis, got called for a few penalties. Lewan is back but I have not seen much of a difference with the play of the line. I believe Dennis Kelly should start on the line somewhere, whether it is at guard or tackle. Kelly needs to be the field because I believe he is the Titans best offensive linemen behind Taylor Lewan. Kelly has been one of our best players through the first 5 weeks and he deserves to be on the field. Mariota has had little help. The line has been bad but so have the receivers. The Titans dropped 4 balls last week. Both Delanie Walker and Adam Humphries dropped passes, and they are considered the most sure handed players on the team. Mariota needs receivers to make plays like AJ Brown has in the first couple weeks.
Many have said that Denver is one of the hardest plays to play an away game. I feel that if receivers can make plays, like AJ Brown did against Cleveland and Atlanta, Mariota can have another solid game. Last week against Buffalo, the Titans lost but Mariota should receive no blame. Mariota made good throws, ran when he needed to, and did not turn the ball over. Mariota had 4 receivers drop passes and the offensive line play was sub par. The Broncos defense is not too great and their secondary is not very good. I think Sunday could be a big game for AJ Brown or Corey Davis.
If the Titans were to lose on Sunday, I would have some serious concerns. If the Titans fall to 2-4, the season could be in serious jeopardy. If Mariota plays a bad game and the Titans lose, many people will want Tannehill to start Week 7 against the Chargers. I do not at all think Tannehill should start under almost any circumstances but if the Titans lose, many people will no longer approve of Mariota. I went into depth about the battle of Mariota and Tannehill in this article.
Sunday will be interesting. This is a good opportunity for the Titans to get back on track and build momentum. After Denver, the Titans play the Chargers, Bucs, and Panthers which are all winnable games.
I feel good about the game Sunday but the Titans are so unpredictable that the game could go either way.