NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Titans can advance to the AFC Championship for the second time in three years with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals (11-7) Saturday at the Nissan Stadium.

The Titans come in rested after a first-round bye, while the Bengals advanced beating the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19.

Rest could be the Titans’ ultimate weapon. They have all 22 starters for the first time since opening day and they are 8-0 after an extended rest under Mike Vrabel.

Not only have the Titans won after rest, but they have also dominated winning those 8 games by 150 points and 7 of 8 by at least 14 points.

This is the first time the rest has come headed into the playoffs. “Well, I would never say it is just a game,” said Vrabel, “Our families are invested in what we do. This is all we know. Our players are deeply invested at this point. This is more than just a game. This is an opportunity to put ourselves in a position. You have to win to move on. We haven’t really – I think we are excited, and I think we are ready to play. We have been off. These guys were prepared to play long into 2022.”

This is a Titans team with lofty goals. Safety Kevin Byard said a loss this week or next would be a major disappointment because of what their goals are and the position they have put themselves in as the top seed.

Byard and the Titans’ defense faces a major test against young quarterback Joe Burrow and a talented group of young receivers led by Jamar Chase.

Bengals Receivers

  • Jamar Chase- 81 Rec., 1,455 yards, 13 TD
  • Tee Higgins- 74 Rec., 1,091 yards, 6 TD
  • Tyler Boyd- 67 Rec., 828 yards, 5 TD

Burrow has been sacked 51 times and the Titans’ ability to rush Burrow with only their front four is one of the big keys to this game. They not only have to pressure Burrow but they also have to contain him and not allow him to make plays outside the pocket.

Titans Front Four

  • Harold Landry- 12 sacks
  • Denico Autry- 9.0 sacks
  • Jeffrey Simmons- 8.5 sacks
  • Bud Dupree- 3.0 sacks

Offensively the Titans will have Derrick Henry, AJ Brown, and Julio Jones on the field for the first time since October with Henry’s activation Friday. When those three players all play the Titans average 7 yards per play, they average just under 5 without all of them.

It gives Ryan Tannehill three trusted and explosive weapons, “I am excited to have our guys back. It is a little bit different when you have guys back and guys you have played with a lot. It is definitely a positive thing, but at the end of the day, you have to go make the plays and execute. Just because you have guys back or maybe Derrick (Henry) is coming back, just because he walks out there, doesn’t mean anything is going to happen. We still have to earn it and make the plays necessary to win the game,” said Tannehill.

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Upfront left tackle Taylor Lewan faces a big challenge against Trey Hendrickson who had 14 sacks this season and is active despite suffering a concussion a week ago. Look for tight-end Anthony Frisker to chip Hendrickson before he releases in the passing game.

With a win, the Titans will host the AFC Championship next Sunday at 2:00 P.M. for the first time ever. The winner of the Titans/Bengals game will meet the winner between the Chiefs and Bills who play Sunday evening in Kansas City.

The Titans are a 3.5 point favorite in this game.