The shorthanded Tennessee Titans find themselves in a familiar spot Sunday when they host the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, the Titans are underdogs again.
The Titans defied the oddsmakers beating Houston and Jacksonville the last two weeks. The Titans were a whopping 10 point dog against the Jags last week and despite that win are a 4 point underdog against the Eagles.
Philly got back starting quarterback Carson Wentz last week from a torn ACL suffered against the Rams in 2017. Wentz shook off some rust by throwing for 255 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Most surprising though were the 5 sacks Wentz took.
Eagles QB’s have been sacked 10 times in 3 games while the Titans defense has 8. The Titans need to keep the pressure on Wentz to have a chance Sunday.
The Eagles could also be getting back receiver Alshon Jeffrey this week. He was cleared for contact and practiced Wednesday. Jeffrey got a massive 133 targets last season.
This season the Eagles have targeted their tight ends weekly. Zach Ertz has led them in receptions all three games and will be a big challenge for a Titans defense which has excelled against tight ends this season behind free safety Kevin Byard and linebacker Jayonn Brown.
The Titans also got their quarterback back last week when Marcus Mariota came off the bench – for a concussed Blaine Gabbert – to throw for 100 yards and rush for 51 more in the win at Jacksonville. Mariota shook off an elbow injury suffered in the opener to trigger the Titans offense.
Mariota’s mobility was key against the Jags and could be vital against an Eagles front giving up only 61 yards rushing a game.
The Titans are also getting back starting right tackle Jack Conklin for the first time this season. Conklin tore his right ACL against the Patriots in the playoffs. With Conklin back, the Titans will have their starting offensive line intact for the first time this season.
All of that needs to add up to a better day for Derrick Henry who is averaging only three yards per carry this season.
Henry Game Log:
At Miami – 10 carries, 26 yards
Vs Houston – 18 carries, 56 yards
At Jacksonville – 18 carries, 57 yards
Henry called his play “trash” Thursday, lamenting his mentality in his play and his lack of a 100 yard game.
The Titans offense certainly has to crawl out of its shell. The team has only 2 offensive touchdowns in three games. While the Titans are getting healthier, they also lost receiver Rishard Matthews this week when he walked away from the team after negotiating his release. Matthews led Titans wide receivers the last 2 seasons with 118 receptions.
Matthews playing time could fall on second year player Taywan Taylor who has 7 receptions this season for 62 yards. It also puts more pressure on top wideout Corey Davis who could be in line for even more targets.
Corey Davis Game Log:
At Miami – 6 receptions, 62 yards
Vs Houston – 5 receptions, 55 yards
At Jacksonville – 2 receptions, 34 yards
Running back Dion Lewis could also be a big target for Mariota Sunday as the Titans look to slow down the Eagles pass rush off the edge.
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