NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Titans face significant injury issues once again as they host the New Orleans Saints (5-3) this Sunday.
Wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) joined running back Derrick Henry (foot) on injured reserve Saturday knocking out two of the Titans’ biggest weapons of action.
It puts even more pressure on Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill and receiver AJ Brown who are expected to carry a heavy load against the number one rush defense in the league.
- Rush Yards Per Game- 73.9 (1st)
- Pass Yards Per Game- 273.3 (27th)
- 3rd Down Percentage- 37.6 (9th)
- Points Allowed- 19.5 (5th)
The Titans will attack that defense with a running back committee once again with Adrian Peterson, D’Onta Foreman and Jeremy McNichols. The Titans trio rushed for only 74 yards against the Rams last week.
Peterson had 21 yards on 10 carries in his Titans debut. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel sees better days ahead, “He has practiced well. He and D’Onta (Foreman) have practiced well. The verbiage and understanding of where things may be on certain runs that we have and where the cut may be, not that you can anticipate anything like that. The more that he sees it and the more he is in the backfield for us, hopefully, that helps,” said Vrabel.
The Titans run game should also be helped by the return of left tackle Taylor Lewan who practiced all week after missing the game in Los Angeles. With Lewan out, Bobby Hart struggled mightily in his place. The Titans also expect to get back starting right guard Nate Davis who missed last week with a concussion.
Injury is also putting a lot of strain on the Saints’ offense. New Orleans has already lost quarterback Jameis Winston (knee) and announced on Friday star running back Alvin Kamara (knee) will not play either which is the Saints’ leading rusher and receiver.
Alvin Kamara Stats-
- Rush Yards: 146-530 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
- Receiving Yards: 32 Rec, 310 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
“They put a lot on his plate,” said Vrabel, “I think as far as percentage of offense, we talk about where Derrick (Henry) was for us where Alvin Kamara or (Christian) McCaffery is out there. Those are premiere players. He has speed, quickness, he runs behind the pads. It’s not like he is just a one-hit-takes-him-down, he breaks a lot of tackles,” said Vrabel.
“I have always had a lot of respect for him. I think he catches the ball well. He is a good route runner, he will protect. I watched Seattle and he comes back and protects him when he blitzes. He is not afraid to run in between the tackles. It is not like it is just two sweeps. He runs the entire offense and gets downhill when he needs to get downhill. He is a really good player,” said Mike Vrabel about Alvin Kamara.
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With Kamara down, Mark Ingram is expected to carry the load for the Saints attack. Ingram has carried 15 times for 70 yards since the Saints traded him for Houston.
With both offenses banged up, it puts an added emphasis on special teams and turnovers. The Saints are fourth in the NFL in turnover ratio at +6, while the Titans are +1. However, Tennessee is at a +6 during their recent 5-game win streak.
The Titans enter the game 7-2 and with the top record in the AFC.