Game: Tennessee Titans vs. Seattle Seahawks on September 24th
Unlike the Steelers, the Titans will not face the Seahawks in the playoffs unless both teams make the Super Bowl, since the Seahawks are an NFC team. Thus, this is likely not a potential playoff preview. That said, the Seahawks have been a model of consistency in the 2010s, as they have been routine playoff contenders thanks to stellar defensive play, a strong running game, and lately, the borderline elite play of Russell Wilson.
The Seahawks have faltered a bit of late after reaching back-to-back Super Bowls in 2013 and 2014, winning one and losing the other in heartbreaking fashion. The “Legion of Boom”, though still elite, is on the decline with Frank Clark being the only real new star on the defense. Furthermore, the offensive line has been in shambles for years since the departure of Max Unger and Russell Okung. The poor offensive line play has been back-breaking, with Russell Wilson constantly running for his life, and the Seattle running game has taken a big step back from its peak.
The Titans are a team on the rise, while the Seahawks seem to be on a bit of a decline, but the Seahawks are still a proven playoff contender. On offense, the Titans can capitalize on the Seahawks’ inability to find a running mate for Richard Sherman by using a deep receiving corps to generate mismatches or by splitting Delanie Walker wide. The front seven for the Seahawks might make running difficult, but the Titans should look to get ahead early and then run out the clock late.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Titans should look to overwhelm the bad Seahawks line. Though the Seahawks have a strong running back stable with C.J. Prosise, Eddie Lacy, and Thomas Rawls, if the Titans can get through the o-line, they can shut down the running game by hitting the running backs early and often. The Titans pass rush needs to pressure Wilson by again exploiting the poor line play.
Defeating the Seahawks early in the season gives the Titans good momentum for an important Week 4 game against the Texans. The first half of the Titans season is significantly more difficult than the latter half, so if the Titans can get a win versus one of their toughest matchups, it will bode well for the Titans’ playoff hopes.