The Tennessee Titans are sitting on top of the AFC south currently with an important divisional showdown on the road against the winless Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5. In recent seasons, a game versus the Jaguars has normally been a guaranteed win, but if no other team is aware of this, the Titans, of all teams, should know how hard it is to win in the NFL.
Upsets can happen on any game day, and that’s a fact that Tennessee knows all too well.
The Titans suffered a devastating loss to the New York Jets in Week 4 where their biggest weakness (pass protection) was exploited over and over again. The Titans’ offensive line allowed 14 hits on Ryan Tannehill and seven sacks on the day.
Certainly, the absence of star wide receivers Julio Jones and AJ Brown was crucial, but the Titans had their chances to execute in the red zone multiple times, and those attempts stalled and resulted in field goals.
The Tennessee Titans wouldn’t lose two straight games to inferior teams, right?
In Week 5, a hungry Jaguars team that’s looking for its first win with rookie sensation Trevor Lawrence at quarterback will get their chance to notch a victory. If last week was any indicator, the Titans can’t overlook the underdog. Tennessee needs to build some momentum as they prepare to enter a difficult stretch of their schedule.
The Titans will hopefully see a few players return from injury this week, but that will probably won’t solve the issues this team is currently facing. They need to do a better job of protecting Ryan Tannehill while also avoiding third and long situations. Tannehill was solid in that aspect against the Jets, but no offense should want to make a habit of that.
Regardless of what the Jaguars’ record is, their rush defense ranks in the top half of all NFL teams with allowing 106.3 yards per game, so, expect the Jags to stack the box against a red-hot Derrick Henry, and try to force the Titans to go through the air more often.
On defense, the secondary has given up too many long passing plays. The Titans can’t afford more blown coverages, and they’re hoping that Amani Hooker, who is eligible to return from the injured reserve this week, can make his usual impact in the secondary (if he plays).
A bright spot on the team this season has been the pass rush. Fourth-year linebacker Harold Landry leads the NFL in quarterback pressures with 23. That places him ahead of Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett. Landry already has 2.5 sacks this season, and that’s almost half of his total (5.5) from 2020.
Winning in the NFL is very difficult no matter who the opponent is, and all three phases of an NFL team must play solidly in order to stand a chance of winning week in and week out. Expect the Tennessee Titans to learn from an embarrassing loss in Week 4 and come out with a motivated mindset to pull off a victory in an important game versus a divisional opponent.