Tennessee Titans: Gameday Cleveland Browns
By Les Bailey
The AFC leading Tennessee Titans will face their second consecutive home opener on the road when they take the field at First Energy Stadium in Cleveland today. Sometimes know as “The Dawg Pound”.
More at Titan Sized: Titans vs Browns Q&A with The Dawg Pound Daily
The Titans are coming off an impressive win against Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week where they scored 21 unanswered points, kept their foot on the gas and never looked back. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt had his team well-prepared and I expect more of the same today.
The Browns have quarterback issues, with Josh McCown in concussion protocol since taking a scary hit at the goal line in the week-one loss to the New York Jets. The veteran quarterback was at practice all week, but did not clear the protocol by Friday and is out for today.
Second-year quarterback Johnny Manziel will be under center today with suspected arm problems after being pressed into service last week.
During his time under center last week, Manziel did not have a stellar day as explained by editor Thomas Moore at the Dawg Pound Daily.
"It will be the first start for Manziel in front of the home fans since last season’s 30-0 debacle against the Cincinnati Bengals.The one good aspect in all of this is that Manziel has practiced with the first team all week and looked better – if still not good – against the New York Jets last week when called upon after McCown was knocked out of the game. On the day Manziel was 13-of-24 for 182 yards and a touchdown, while also leading the Browns in rushing with 35 yards. He also committed three turnovers, which led to 21 points by the Jets.Manziel said earlier this week that he will be looking to build on that small step the next time he takes the field."
The Titans and Marcus Mariota in particular got a lot of attention this week after their impressive win in Tampa last week, but if they want to be taken seriously and gain some stature around the NFL, this is a must win game.
A win in Cleveland and a tough performance when they come home to face the Indianapolis Colts next week in Music City will go a long way in identifying this young team as a legitimate contender.
At the heart of another victory in week two will be another stellar performance from Marcus Mariota with another back-breaking game plan from Dick LeBeau and the defensive unit that will keep Johnny Manziel confused and flustered all day.
Mariota threw four touchdown passes in his debut with no interceptions and perfect passer rating, was named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Week and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Senior Editor at Titans Online, Jim Wyatt expects more of the same from Mariota this week:
All eyes will be on Mariota this Sunday in Cleveland to see if he can match that performance. Mariota will face a different challenge this week with the Browns, who will show him multiple looks and try and keep him guessing. Mariota passed his first test, but this week should be tougher. Only four rookie quarterbacks since 1970 have won their first two starts to begin a season.
All indications around Nashville this week are that the Titans have not gotten too high after their win in Tampa last week, and to the man have continued to say they are 1-0 and have 15 more games to play.
I’m sure they will go into the Dawg Pound with a little swagger but they need to beware of a home team with a strong fan base who have limped home after losing to the Jets 31-10.
The Browns and their rabid fans will rally around their new starting quarterback and make it difficult for the Titans to leave with a 2-0 record.
The betting odds on this game are favoring the Titans by a point and a half with the over-under at 41 points. That sounds like another 31-10 defeat for the Browns in week two.
Next: Where the Tennessee Titans and Marcus Mariota Go From Here