Fans are anxiously waiting for Saturday night, as the New England Patriots prepare to welcome the Tennessee Titans into Foxborough. As we wait, it’s time for us to look at the Titans’ strengths and weaknesses.
In his third year in the league, quarterback Marcus Mariota is establishing himself as a premier mobile quarterback.
When Mariota has more than five rushes in a game, the Titans are 5-0. With a total of 312 rushing yards this season, Mariota brings a dynamic addition to the Titans’ running game.
With running back Demarco Murray officially ruled out for Saturday’s matchup, Derrick Henry will be taking the main rushing duties for the Titans. With 156 yards on 23 carries, Henry was responsible for about a third of the team’s total offensive yards in their victory over the Chiefs. Sufficient to say, he will have to carry most of the load for the Titans’ offense.
Third down is one of the most important plays in a game. It can determine field position, momentum and the difference between seven and three points. Ranked at 13th in the league in total defense, the Titans have 36 percent completion rate for stopping teams on third down. They are in the top 15 best teams in the league at getting the team off the field on those crucial plays.
One thing the Patriots do well is protecting the ball during a game. The Titans, not so much.
Ranked in the bottom 10 in turnovers in the league, the Titans sometimes beat themselves. With 17 interceptions and eight fumbles, the blame falls mostly on Mariota, as he contributed 16 of these turnovers.
There has to be some sort of concern from the Titans about ball security going into the next round. They were able to get out Arrowhead stadium with the win while only conceding two turnovers but the game will be a lot more difficult to win heading into Gillette Stadium, especially if they can’t lower their turnover numbers.
The Titans’ pass defense will have to play the greatest game of their lives. Allowing over 325 yards a game, the defense will need to minimize the short yardage plays while at the same time not give up the big plays down the field.
If the Titans’ want to have any chance of winning, they will need to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots passing game. The Titans defense has its work cut out for them. Going 5-5 in the regular season when letting over 300 yards of total offense, they will have to try to stop Brady from getting into a rhythm. Brady went 5-1 when throwing over 300 yards this season so if the defense does let Brady get into rhythm, it is going to be a long night.