Written by: Joseph Yun
The inconsistently consistent Monsters of the Midway visit the honky-tonks of Nashville on their way to play the suddenly stumbling Titans this Sunday. Which team will exit the day feeling better about themselves after entering play on two-game losing streaks? Which wounded offensive line can hold up against the defensive pressure? Can the Titans ever get right on defense? Will the Bears offense find salvation against a horrid, ghastly, abhorrent, and fantastically poor Tennessee defense?
This article and future weekly articles were written with the assistance of the Blitzalytics Prospect Encyclopedia, which you can buy a PDF or hard cover copy here. The Encyclopedia has many features such as prospects, top team stars, and other countless data points to expand your knowledge of the game.
Note: all numbers courtesy of profootballreference.com
Key Numbers + Info (2020 season)
Record: 5-3 (1-0 NFC North)
Points scored: 161
Points allowed: 166
Avg. yards per rush: 3.8
Avg. yards per rush allowed: 4.3
Avg. rush yards per game: 85.6
Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 120
Rushing TDs: 2 for, 6 against
Avg. pass yards per game: 225
Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 228.5
Passing TDs: 14 for, 8 against
Pass Completion Rate: 63%
Pass Completion Rate Against: 61%
Top Rusher: David Montgomery (117 attempts for 442 yards and one touchdowns)
Top Receiver: Allen Robinson (77 receptions for 631 yards and three touchdowns)
Top Tackler: Roquan Smith (71 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, five passes defensed, one forced fumble)
Key Additions: QB Nick Foles, TE Jimmy Graham, OLB Robert Quinn, OLB Barkevious Mingo OL German Ifedi, WR Darnell Mooney (rookie), CB Jaylon Johnson (rookie), TE Cole Kmet (rookie)
Key Losses: OLB Leonard Floyd, QB Chase Daniel, S Haha Clinton-Dix, CB Prince Amukamara, DT Eddie Goldman (opt-out), OT Bobby Massie (injured), RB Tarik Cohen (injured), CB Artie Burns (injured), OL Cody Whitehair (COVID-19), OL James Daniels (injured)
The series is tied at 6 apiece
What Happened In The Last Game?
The Titans held a significant lead and had to hang on for dear life against a Matt Barkley led comeback that just fell short, 27-21 during the 2016 season.
Keys to a Titans Victory
- Sack the QB - The Titans have been getting to the quarterback but haven’t been able to get them down this year. EDGE Jadaveon Clowney leads the entire NFL in pressures without sacks. Tennessee will once again face an offensive line decimated by injury and illness but the Bengals did whatever they wanted last week in a similar situation. Can the Titans defense actually buck the horrific trend they have been on and actually get Nick Foles on the ground?
- Arthur Smith - He needs to stop with the “cute” plays and stick with the horses that got him to such a place where he’s being mentioned as a viable head coaching candidate. Ryan Tannehill is more than capable of winning games on his own but Derrick Henry was doing Henry things against a decent Bengals stop unit. Smith inexplicably went against that for some reason.
- Ryan Tannehill - He had a bad game by his Titans career standards last week and will need a bounce-back performance. Can he take advantage of a tired but prideful talented Bears defense that has battled through their own offense’s issues?
Keys to a Bears Victory
- Expose the Secondary - The Titans are abysmally poor in the secondary despite having a stable of pretty good talent there. They had to rely on washed-up veterans such as Johnathan Joseph (since released) and young untested rookies like seventh-round selection Chris Jackson and Kristian Fulton (on IR). Unfortunately, the Bears have a bonafide number one receiver in a very familiar face, Allen Robinson, and a cadre of young receivers just waiting to get their turn at the pinata in Darnell Mooney and Anthony Miller. Tennessee’s secondary is in such dire straits that they are contemplating giving newly acquired corner Desmond King a start with almost 0 live practice reps.
- Keep Foles Upright - The Bears could be missing up to ⅘ of their original 2020 line starters by the first kick. If they can hold up against the lack of a pass rush with the inconsistent Titans edge room, they have a chance. Tennessee is the worst third-down defense in the league and is on pace to shatter the all-time record by a huge margin. The Bears certainly have the assets to batter this iteration of the Titans’ defense into submission. They need Foles to stay healthy as the backup situation is the incomparable Tyler Bray as Mitchell Trubisky is hurt.
- Get to Tannehill / Henry - The Bears have the defensive firepower across all three levels to make life miserable for the duo with the likes of Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, Roquan Smith, and Eddie Jackson. Although starting left tackle Ty Sambrailo has held up wonderfully in Taylor Lewan’s absence so there’s that. While the Bears defense doesn’t have the emergent superstar talent like the Steelers, they will present similar challenges like Pittsburgh. They desperately need the offense to keep them off the field on a consistent basis as they are continually exhausted from having to carry the burden.
Blitzalytics Prospect Encyclopedia Prospects of the Week
5. CB Jaylon Johnson
- The former Utah standout Johnson has taken to NFL life like a duck to water as he’s excelled as a starter. He leads the team in passes defended with 10. He’s listed as a starter, which is impressive nor surprising in the least, given his pedigree.
8. WR Darnell Mooney
- Mooney has come out of nowhere to seize the starting job opposite Robinson with a standout rookie campaign thus far and has outperformed young gun Anthony Miller and old hand Ted Ginn (Ginn was released this week). Expect him to have a huge day against the Titans’ wounded secondary.
What are the odds?
(all odds are courtesy of vegasinsider.com)
Caesar’s has the Titans as 6.5 point favorites at -280 while the Bears are +240 dogs. The over/under has been set at 46.5
DraftKings has the Titans as 6.5 point favorites at -278 while the Bears are +235 dogs. The over/under has been set at 47 even
The WestGate Superbook the Titans as 6.5 point favorites at -300 while the Bears are +250 dogs. The over/under has been set at 47 even.