Titans Bengals preview

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Titans Bengals preview
Marcus Mariota and Taylor Lewan celebrate a touchdown earlier in the season. Photo courtesy of USAToday

Titans Bengals preview

The Titans have a lengthy history of playing down to their opponent. The Bengals have a won-loss record of 3-5 and could easily be worse than that. There are all sorts of holes in their roster and issues that are reminiscent of some prior Titans teams.  “We” are not there now though and it’s time for the Titans to take advantage of a lesser team.

The Bengals offensive line is a mess and quarterback Andy Dalton takes far too many risks with his throws. Further, the Bengals are without their excellent tight end Tyler Eifert. The Titans defense should “have a field day” against the Bengals. I had written previously how the Titans stats were way off projections this year so they were due. This is exactly the type of game where they could “explode” and get back on track. That Bengals line could get Brian Orakpo back on track with his sack numbers and Dalton could potentially throw interceptions to someone other than Kevin Byard. Titans fans know what a negative impact a weak offensive line can have.

Oh but hold on
The Bengals offense does have some weapons. Tyler Kroft seems to go from an uninteresting backup tight end to a big play tight end every week. The Titans can’t fall asleep on him. Giovanni Bernard, Jeremy Hill, and Joe Mixon form one of the most talented backfields in football. The Bengals have less rushing yards per game than any other team in the NFL. Statistically, they are poor, but that is some “stable” of running backs they have. AJ Green is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He’s a prototypical wideout with impressive speed, an outstanding catch radius, size, and strength that’s difficult for anyone to match up with. The Bengals don’t even average 200 yards per game passing though. The Titans absolutely must “let sleeping dogs lie” this week.

The Bengals have the sixth-rated defense. They offer some 1970s style “dirty” play with some fine athletes as well. Former Titan Pacman Jones (of “make it rain” fame) leads the fifth-ranked secondary in the NFL. It should be a tough week for Marcus Mariota. Taylor Lewan and the offensive line must keep their tempers in check regardless of any hits by Bengals defenders.

Every Titans fan seems to want either Derrick Henry or DeMarco Murray to have a big game and is a bit anxious to see that. This could be the week. Not only would this assure Mariota stays upright, but the Bengals allow 116 rushing yards per game. While the Bengals have some big-hitting linebackers, the Titans big backs can “lay some wood” as well. Coach Mike Mularkey is surely going to have a run-heavy game plan this week.

The Titans are likely to be without Quinton Spain again this week. Brian Schwenke would start in his place. Eric Decker has had an illness keep him out of practice. While his status is questionable, as long as Corey Davis is active Decker would play sparingly anyway.

The Titans not only should win this game, but this could “right the ship” for a lot of what has plagued the Titans this season. This could be a pivotal game for the offense and defense getting back on track and be a turning point toward the playoffs. The only concern here is the Titans playing down to their opponent.


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