NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The injury-plagued Tennessee Titans (9-5) host the San Francisco 49ers (8-6) in a big game for both teams on Thursday Night Football.
The Titans are expected to get back wide receiver AJ Brown from a chest injury but left guard Rodger Saffold has been ruled out with COVID-19, and left tackle Taylor Lewan is out with a back injury. Those two losses up front could be a major problem against one of the most physical defenses in the league. While the Titans rank fourth rushing the football at over 142 yards per game, the loss of Saffold and Lewan tacked on to the continued absence of Derrick Henry could be a lot to overcome.
The 49ers defense ranks 13th in the NFL, giving up 108 yards rushing per game.
Brown could be a big boost for an offense, though, that has struggled to create any shock plays without him, Henry, and a healthy Julio Jones – who is a game-time decision with a hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, the Titans have their hands full with two big-time weapons on the San Francisco offense in George Kittle and receiver Deebo Samuel. Titans safety calls Kittle the best all-around tight end in the game.
George Kittle Stats
- 63 receptions
- 850 yards
- 13.5 yards per catch
- 6 touchdowns
Kittle’s ferocity with the ball has been a problem for everyone.
“You swarm.” Said head coach Mike Vrabel, “I used the other day as an example, we had three missed tackles on one play on defense and they gained a yard. Guys were running. You don’t love the three missed tackles, but you love the swarm in which guys were running. We are going to need to get as many people to the football as possible. He is very good with the football. He is an excellent player. He has speed and a good catch radius. He is a very good player.”
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Meanwhile, Samuel has lined up all over the field for San Francisco and is also ferocious with the ball. “He is a very physical player who is a strong runner once he has the football in his hands. Kyle [Shanahan] and his staff do a fantastic job of creating those and getting him the football,” Vrabel said.
The Titans enter the game with a magic number of two in the AFC South. Any combination of two wins or Indianapolis losses in the last three weeks wins them the division.