NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Titans (5-3) host the Denver Broncos Sunday at Nissan Stadium minus four starters on the defensive side of the ball.

Jeffery Simmons, Bud Dupree, Zach Cunningham and Amani Hooker will all miss the game. Cunningham was placed on Injured Reserve Saturday with an elbow injury. 

The injuries put a ton of pressure on a Titans defense that has dominated since their week two meltdown in Buffalo.  They have at least one interception in six straight games and at least three sacks in five straight games.

“We will make sure that we have 11 players out there, coach them up, and get them ready to go,” said head coach Mike Vrabel, “We will make sure they know what to do, play fast, aggressively and put the team first. That’s the players’ job.”

In other words, it is the next man up again for a Titans team that has been plagued by injuries for two consecutive seasons.

On Sunday they get a Broncos team that has struggled offensively this season averaging only 15.1 points per game despite their blockbuster trade for quarterback Russell Wilson before the season.

Flanked by Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, Wilson was supposed to flourish, but the Broncos are averaging just over 170 yards passing a game. 

Offensively, the Titans’ pass attack has been even worse.  It has been downright dreadful especially with the quarterback Ryan Tannehill out the last two weeks with an ankle injury.

Tannehill did practice every day this week and Vrabel said he “is making progress and feeling better.”

If he can go Sunday, Tannehill could also have a weapon back with rookie first-round pick Treylon Burks off Injured Reserve and available to play.

Treylon Burks:

  • Games- 4
  • Receptions- 10
  • Yards- 129

There are easier games to return to.  The Broncos have the top-ranked pass defense in the NFL giving up just 165 yards per game. 

So, once again, the Titans will have to lean heavily on Derrick Henry who leads the NFL in rushing after ripping off 5 straight 100-yard games.

NFL Rush Leaders:

  1. Derrick Henry (Titans)- 870 Yards
  2. Nick Chubb (Browns)- 841 Yards
  3. Saquan Barkley (Giants)- 779 Yards

Henry faces a Broncos defense giving up 122 yards per game and, now minus Bradley Chubb, after was traded at the deadline to the Miami Dolphins. 

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The battle to watch in this one is in the red zone where the Titans’ offense ranks number one in the NFL at 78.9% and the Broncos’ defense also ranks first at 26.3%. 

First, the Titans have to get there and that has been a challenge all season, especially in the second half where their offense has been pathetic at best.