The Cincinnati Bengals are unsurprisingly making their first playoff appearance in a decade. The Tennessee Titans will face the challenge of stopping this explosive offense.
The “titans record” is a team that has had an up and down season. They will face a tough challenge with the explosive Cincinnati Bengals offense.
21 January 2022
Davenport, Turron ESPN
- USA Today’s Covered Eagles
- For the Baltimore Times, I covered the Ravens.
- Cheyney University was where he played college football.
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – After a week of waiting to find out who their next opponent would be, the Tennessee Titans learned that they would host the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round of the playoffs on Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET, CBS) at Nissan Stadium after receiving a bye in the first round as the AFC’s top seed.
The No. 4-seeded Bengals will provide Tennessee with a number of obstacles, particularly on offense.
The explosive duo of quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has continued to set records in the NFL after a record-breaking season at LSU in 2019. Chase has 81 catches for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns, an NFL rookie record.
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In the Bengals’ wild-card playoff victory against the Las Vegas Raiders last week, Chase had nine catches for 116 yards. In the playoffs, he became the fourth player in team history to have a 100-yard receiving game.
For just the second time this season, the rookie receiver got out to a fast start, collecting three catches on the first drive. Chase and Burrow got the game started right away, connecting three times for 37 yards.
Burrow’s 7-yard touchdown throw to C.J. Uzomah finished off their opening drive. Burrow has only thrown one opening-drive touchdown pass in his 26 regular-season starts.
The Titans must get a start on the Bengals’ explosive attack early in the game. Cincinnati has scored just 17 points on opening drives this season, tied for the second fewest in the NFL, before last week’s wild-card showdown with the Raiders.
If the Titans can take an early lead, they can use their ball-control strategy to keep the Bengals’ offense off the field and shorten the game. During the regular season, Tennessee’s average time of possession was 32:39, which was second in the NFL.
The Titans are no strangers to keeping rival teams at bay. With Derrick Henry due to return, running a ball-control offense will be considerably simpler (foot). For this week’s game, Henry should be activated off injured reserve. He was the NFL’s top rusher until he was put on injured reserve in November, and despite missing the last nine games, he finished ninth.
Even if the Titans do manage to dominate the time of possession, they still have to be concerned with Burrow’s ability to connect on deep passes. Burrow has completed 66% of the fades he has thrown, for an average of 22.3 yards per attempt, and eight touchdowns on such passes, per ESPN Stats & Information. All are tops in the NFL.
#Titans scouting report from Kevin Byard on the #Bengals WR trio. pic.twitter.com/tCufFEbl0G
January 18, 2022 — TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport NFL)
Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Chase will put Tennessee’s secondary to the test. The Titans would be best served by using a strategy similar to the one that helped them defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 27-3 in Week 7: rush four and drop seven into coverage.
The Titans’ front four is capable of getting to Burrow, who was the most-sacked quarterback in the league (53), without blitzing. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Tennessee generated 35 sacks during the regular season when using a standard four-man pass rush (second in NFL) and 153 QB pressures in that situation, which was also second best.
“Going into this game, that’s the most essential thing,” defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons said. “It’ll all come down to how well our front four performs this week. We’re aware of it. Of course, we must stop the run, but how can we influence the quarterback? Raise our hands at the scrimmage line. How can we prevent him from visiting his favorite haunts?”
Then there’s Joe Mixon, who finished third in rushing yards with 1,205. It’s not tricky to defend against the run while having seven guys in coverage. The defensive backs will have to do a good job tackling and pursuing the football.
Titans safety Kevin Byard remarked, “You don’t have to go out there and do something wild.” “Just do what we’re doing and play as a team.”
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