Despite coming off of a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, there was plenty for the Tennessee Titans to feel good about.
They did what they did with Ryan Tannehill and some starters on both sides of the ball not playing, so while there will be no moral victories, they have the momentum to build off of moving forward.
A lot of this is due to Derrick Henry, who this season has been not washed, to say the least.
He has rebounded from his foot fracture from last year and is still one of the best players in the league, and is now leading the league in rush yards again.
Henry has done what he has done right before the thick of November and December, which is usually when he is the least stoppable. And when you look at the team’s remaining schedule, it plays into his and their hands just about as perfectly as they could imagine.
Tennessee Titans’ remaining schedule is perfect for Henry and the run game
Now let’s take nothing away from the fact that the Tennessee Titans have a pretty tough stretch of games coming up. They have a night game at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers on a short week, a rematch of last year’s divisional playoff game, and a road matchup against arguably the NFL’s best team in the Philadelphia Eagles.
And even though the Denver Broncos have not been very good so far this year, they have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and with Russell Wilson, they can turn it on at any time. They are also coming off of their bye week, so the extra week to prepare could come in handy for them.
But as far as running the ball goes, which is what the Titans are known to do best, there should be a lot of optimism when looking at their opponents and how they have fared stopping the run. Let’s look at all of them and where their rush defenses rank: Denver (21st), Green Bay (26th), Cincinnati (16th), Philadelphia (20th), Jacksonville (7th), LA Chargers (29th), Houston (32nd), Dallas (24th), and Jacksonville again.
Considering what Henry just did against the Chiefs — who now have the league’s fifth-ranked run defense — while not getting as many snaps as we had hoped for him to get, there is a very good chance that he is going to absolutely feast in the remaining portion of the Tennessee Titans’ schedule.
Possibly even more encouraging is that just based on those numbers, the Jaguars pose the biggest threat to stopping Henry, and we know he is likely to have at least one dominant game against them.
In even better news, the Titans have some critical players poised to return from injuries soon, including Ryan Tannehill, who practiced fully on Thursday. That will further open things up for their offense, which has sorely missed their starting quarterback and any playmakers at wide receiver.
The biggest question moving forward is Todd Downing, who hopefully stops overthinking things but still finds ways to be unpredictable. As long as Henry is doing what he does, all Downing has to do is lean on him as the offense’s focal point, so that they can execute play-action and power runs effectively.
That unfortunately seems to be more a matter of if rather than anything, but the bottom line is that as long as Henry is dominating, anything is possible. With that, their defense surging, and offensive players returning to full health, they have what they want at their disposal, it is just a matter of if they can execute.