The Tennessee Titans will host the Carolina Panthers this weekend, and it is a game that has gotten very little attention both nationally and locally.
That shouldn't be surprising when you realize that the two have a combined 4-16 record this season.
For Carolina Panthers fans, their attention is focused on their head coach and whether or not ownership will make an aggressive move in the offseason to help their young quarterback.
In Tennessee...well actually there is a lot of the same going on, but the difference is that the Tennessee Titans still have their first round pick and more than $100 million to spend this offseason.
2023 is a lost cause or both teams, and now this is a game about the young quarterbacks and how much pride the veterans have. One thing that motivates great veterans is competition, and there are two sets of Pro Bowl players that should be competing with their counterpart on the other team.
Interesting comparisons between some Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers players
Brian Burns is one of the most prolific pass rushers in the NFL with 30.5 sacks over the last three years. He is a two-time Pro Bowler and he is the pride of the Carolina Panthers defense, and every year at the trade deadline reports come out that it would take multiple first-round picks to pry Burns from the Panthers.
It might be surprising for some negative Tennessee Titans fans to learn that this season, Burns and Titans EDGE Harold Landry are tied with 5 sacks each. Despite a slow start, Landry might be the team's best pass rusher over the last month and he certainly is their most productive.
To be fair to the Titans fans who are down on Landry, it is hard to get an accurate gauge on just how good he is thanks to the Tennessee Titans' very effective gameplan of playing their corners so far off the ball that some of the worst offenses in the NFL can march down the field on long, double-digit play drives without needing to sit in the pocket for more than two seconds.
Landry and Burns should both be licking their chops his week because they get to go against two of the worst offensive tackle groups in the NFL. Given the disrespect that has been given to Landry this season and how the season has turned out for Burns and the Panthers, these two might find motivation in trying to outproduce their counterpart on the other side.
Going from young EDGEs to older receivers, both DeAndre Hopkins and Adam Thielen have been great additions to the rosters they joined. Obviously, it can't be going the way that they hoped when they signed on, but statistically, the two are as strong as ever and both players lead their team by a wide margin.
DeAndre Hopkins is currently on pace for 1,100 yards which would be the most by a Titans receiver in the last 20 years, but he is actually getting outproduced by Thielen. The former Minnesota Viking has 726 yards, which is 15th most in the NFL, and he has done that in just 10 games. If he keeps up his current pace, Thielen should pass 1,200 yards which would have been good enough for the top-10 in 2022.
While Thielen is having a better season, it is impossible to forget what Hopkins did the last time the Tennessee Titans were at home. In that game, he had 4 receptions for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns, and since the Titans are so much better at home this season (3-0 vs 0-7) it is fair to expect that Hopkins will be pushing to be the most producive receiver on the field this weekend.
The only goal for the Tennessee Titans in each game is to protect Will Levis and to help him thrive. If Harold Landry and DeAndre Hopkins outperform Brian Burns and Adam Thielen, it is almost a guarantee that they achieved their goal. If not, then there is a good chance that the Tennessee Titans lost this game and Mike Vrabel is staring down the barrel of a 3-15 record over the last 18 games having just lost to the worst team in the NFL at home.