The Tennessee Titans made it to the AFC Championship game last season. And they managed to get through the first five games of their schedule undefeated. But they are undefeated no more.
It’s no shame to get beat by the Pittsburgh Steelers. But last week they were turned back to rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. Now it’s time to regroup, but does a team do that so easily against the defensively stout Chicago Bears?
We’ll find out starting at 1 PM ET at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
CHICAGO BEARS at TENNESSEE TITANS, 1 PM ET
BetAnySports NFL Football Odds: Titans -6.5, Total 47.5
The Titans are going to have a hard time competing in the AFC South, much less the AFC title, if they can’t put some more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Their sack percentage is second worst in the league, beating out only the Jacksonville Jaguars. Things are bad enough that they could not register on sack last week against Burrow, who not only had been dropped more than any other QB in the NFL, but was working behind an offensive line that essentially was a second-string unit.
The result was that he threw for 249 yards, and even without Joe Mixon in the lineup, Cincinnati won the game by double digits. This is not insult to the Bengals, who have played with a lot of heart this season. But things like that can’t happen to teams who consider themselves Super Bowl contenders.
In four of their six games, the Titans have scored 30 or more points. But they have also surrendered 30 or more four times.
The Bears are one of those teams where it has been almost depressing to talk about their offense. There was some justifiable doubt about Nick Foles, who was the replacement for Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. Was the ceiling high? Well, yes, when you consider that Foles was a Super Bowl MVP. But hey, the Jets had a guy like that starting a couple of games for them (Joe Flacco).
But Foles got some numbers going against New Orleans last week, with 272 yards passing, and David Montgomery added 89 on the ground. Da Bears stormed back from ten points down in the last three and a half minutes to force overtime, where they fell short.
We’re going to talk about this Chicago stop unit. Clearly their focus has to be slowing down Derrick Henry first and foremost.
To say that Henry is carrying a load would be a major understatement. He is, in fact, about as important to his team as anyone. Henry, the former Heisman Trophy winner, leads the NFL in rushing yards coming into this week’s games, and that is 123 more than Dalvin Cook and 203 more than Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
We will say this; the Bears have not been the stingiest team on the ground, allowing a mediocre 4.3 yards per carry. But it’s pretty tough to get up the field against their secondary, as they yield just 6.2 yards per pass.
The key for the Bears is that they are so tough when opponents get inside the red zone. In fact, they give up just 40% touchdowns, which is best in the league. And if you think this kind of thing is important, there is quite a disparity between what they can do and what the Titans do in red zone defense (Tennessee is 30th, allowing 81% TD’s).
Here’s the thing, though – Tennessee is a match for the Bears when they get the ball close. Since Ryan Tannehill took over as the starting quarterback last season, they are the absolute best at crossing the goal line in red zone situations, at better than 80%.
The weather’s going to be agreeable; we see ample reason this game could go OVER the total.
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