On Sunday, the New Orleans Saints (11-3) will head to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans (8-6). The Saints have already clinched a playoff berth but they will be fighting for a first-round bye and home-field advantage. The Titans are one game back of the Houston Texans for the AFC South division lead and could really use a win to keep their playoff aspirations alive.
What To Watch For
Drew Brees has been hot as of late, throwing for four touchdowns last week and only one incompletion. He was able to break the record for most passing touchdowns in NFL history and the single-game completion percentage record. Michael Thomas is also working his way into the record books. Thomas only needs 12 catches to break the single-season record, held by Marvin Harrison, and still has two games to do so.
The Titans have been on a roll since benching quarterback, Marcus Mariota, in favor of Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has been nothing short of sensational, igniting the Tennessee offense. He has led Tennessee to six wins in their last eight games. Since taking over, Tannehill is leading the league in yards-per-attempt (9.5) and has thrown for 17 touchdowns to only six interceptions. He has thrown multiple touchdown passes in five straight games. Their postseason hopes are still very much alive, and they will be playing every game like it’s a playoff game.
Derrick Henry has been instrumental to Tennessee’s success. The workhorse back has been a focal point for his team, forcing opponents to play the run first. He wears down opposing defenses with his physical style of play. In order to beat New Orleans, Mike Vrabel will need to gameplan a run-heavy attack to keep Drew Brees off the field.
The Titans defense is average against the pass but they have a solid pass rush. Tennessee has sacked opposing quarterbacks 36 times on the season (T-13th) while the Saints have given up the second-fewest sacks. They will need their corners to cover well enough to force Brees to hold the ball. If they can do that, it will give their pass rush enough time to pressure Brees.
I think the Saints will jump out to an early lead, which will force the Titans to abandon the running game. I expect Tannehill to have a good statistical game, however, it won’t be enough to outperform the explosive and efficient New Orleans offense.
Saints 27 Titans 21
You can follow me on Twitter @Alex2TheSimpson for more football content.
New designs are dropping in our merch store! Be sure to check out the latest threads!