Titans look to end two-game skid in Atlanta

Tennessee Titans

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 19: Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel directing his team in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on September 19, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)

ATLANTA, Ga. (WKRN) – Two teams desperate for a win square off Sunday in Atlanta when the 1-2 Titans visit the 1-2 Falcons.

Both teams are calling it a must win kind of a game because crawling out of a 1-3 hole is not easy.

The Titans have dropped their last two games, scoring a combined 24 points against the Jags and Colts after scoring 43 in their opener in Cleveland.

They face a Falcons team giving up 25 points a game and struggling to get off the field.  Atlanta is 29th in the league on third down allowing opponents to convert almost 53% of the time.

“I think that they got good talent, good scheme, they’re aggressive.” Said head coach Mike Vrabel, “I would say somewhat of a different front maybe in size, but they make up for it with quickness, athleticism, technique, the effort in which they play.”

Grady Jarrett leads the Falcons with two sacks and Vic Beasley has 1.5.

The Titans have had their own struggles on third down, converting only 29% offensively.  17 sacks and 20 penalties have put them in third and long far too often.

Vrabel said the Titans need to manage their drives better and quit being self-destructive.

“I think we have to be smart and be able to run the football and have a good scheme, but also be able to take advantage of some of the post safety looks that we’re going to get on first and second down and be able to throw the football.”

That means they will be looking for a faster start from Marcus Mariota, who struggled in the first half of both of the last two games.  This Titans QB has been under fire from fans and national media, who say it is time to move on from Mariota.

Statistically, the numbers are not bad for Mariota.  He has thrown for 706 yards, four touchdowns and he has not turned the ball over one time.  Still, the Titans have only scored 17 and 7 points the last two games and ultimately points and the board and wins are what people are looking for. 

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is also under fire.  Ryan has thrown for a gawdy 928 yards and 8 touchdowns, but he has also thrown six interceptions despite being sacked only five times this season.

Last week in Jacksonville the Titans defense was unable to pressure Gardner Minshew.  Not only did they not sack the rookie, but they were also unable to get turnovers.

The Titans defense also faces what might be the best receiver in the NFL in Julio Jones.  He already has 19 catches for 265 yard this season and four touchdowns. 

Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees acknowledged sometimes teams can have perfect coverage and still lose the battle.  Pees says what he is most concerned about is that Jones is not “running free” through the secondary.

We could see several changes for the Titans Sunday.  Rookie guard Nate Davis is expected to see his first action of the season and Adam Humphries could take over the punt return duties has repeated mistakes from Adoree Jackson. 

The Falcons enter the game a four-point favorite in the first game ever between these two teams at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

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