(Mandatory Image Credit: Aaron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post)
Written By: Joseph Yun
After a hard-fought overtime thriller, the Titans return home to take on the rested Denver Broncos. This game will be a battle of attrition as both teams are heavily reliant on backups in pivotal roles due to injuries. Can Russell Wilson lead his band on wild horses to victory over AFC South's favorite Tennessee? Will the return of Ryan Tannehill finally spark something anything in the Titans' lifeless passing offense? If Mike Vrabel can cook up a victory over the self-appointed Mr. Unlimited and Subway connoisseur Wilson, he should be a lock for Coach of the Year honors.
Broncos’ key numbers + info
HC: Nathaniel Hackett (3-5 career)
OC: Justin Outten
DC: Ejiro Evero
2022 Record: 3-5 (0-2 AFC West)
PPG Against: 16.5
Rush yards: 867
Rush yards allowed: 981
Avg. per rush attempt: 4.1
Avg per attempt allowed: 4.9
Pass completion rate: 58%
Pass completion allowed: 63%
Leading Rusher: Melvin Gordon (75 attempts for 263 yards and two touchdowns)
Leading Receiver: Courtland Sutton (35 receptions for 467 yards and one touchdown)
Leading Tackler: Alex Singleton (62 tackles; three passes defended, four tackles for loss)
Key Additions: QB Russell Wilson, OL Billy Turner, OL Calvin Anderson, OL Luke Wattenberg (rookie), CB K’Waun Williams, LB Alex Singleton, LB Nik Bonitto (rookie), DL D.J. Jones, CB Damarri Mathis (rookie), S Delarrin Turner-Yell (rookie), TE Greg Dulchich (rookie), RB Chase Edmonds (trade), LB Jacob Martin (trade), RB Latavius Murray,
Key Losses: DL Shelby Harris (trade), TE Noah Fant (trade), DE Bradley Chubb (trade), LB Randy Gregory (IR), WR Tim Patrick (IR), C Lloyd Cushenberry III (IR), RB Javonte Williams (IR), CB Ronald Darby (IR), OT Garrett Bolles (IR), LB Christopher Allen (IR / rookie)
The Titans lead the all-time series 24-18-1. Both teams have split the last two meetings with Denver leading the margin 30-16. Tennessee is 3-5 against the Broncos since the 2004 season (the first time playing them as the rebranded Titans). Furthermore, the Titans are 3-2 against Denver since the 2011 season.
Keys to a Titans Victory
Limit Mr. Extremely Limited
- The Titans' defense is a walking MASH unit that somehow curtailed Patrick Mahomes and his superpowers to a measly 20 points last week despite playing an incredible 91 snaps. In comes a Denver offense that hasn’t been the most effective at times. Russell Wilson has been a shell of himself during his debut Broncos season. Denver will still have weapons that should concern the Titans like rookie tight end Greg Dulchich, receiver Courtland Sutton, and Jerry Jeudy. Missing dynamic weapon K.J. Hamler will be felt. The defense will be without key pieces like Bud Dupree, Jeffery Simmons, and Amani Hooker.
Win the trenches
Denver’s offensive line is bad and heavily injured. This unit just lost starting center Lloyd Cushenberry to injury which will be a huge blow. The issue is that the Titans’ front is depleted themselves so key backups like Rashad Weaver, Mario Edwards, and DeMarcus Walker will need to step up. Walker will be particularly motivated as a former Bronco.
Does anyone want to be a WR?
- The Broncos will likely have sat back and chuckled at the anemic Titans’ passing attack. Can the Titans receivers step up against a secondary that features outstanding sophomore Patrick Surtain, Jr and veterans Justin Simmons plus K’Waun Williams? Treylon Burks is slated to return from injury so that’s a positive. Cody Hollister has not covered himself in glory during an increase in reps. Robert Woods needs help as the lone NFL-caliber receiver. The good news is that Ryan Tannehill is on target to return.
Keys to a Broncos Victory
It’s all in the wrist (and other parts)
- The latest ongoing quarrel between former power couple Seattle and Russell Wilson is about wristbands or lack thereof. Russ stoked the fire with his latest boast about doing knee highs on the team flight to London. The continued stories from Wilson and his team have to be tiresome for everyone to address. The former Mr. Unlimited will have to break out of his rut and expose an average secondary who just contained Patrick Mahomes for large portions last Sunday. Can his lack of a wristband help him though?
Let Todd Downing be Todd Downing
- The embattled Titans offensive coordinator has been even worse this season. He has seemingly learned nothing from his past failures. To be fair, the receivers given to him have been less than ideal but a good OC scheme past that. Downing is not a good OC. Eventually, he will do something silly that Denver can take advantage of. It could be assumed that he’s worse than, *gasp* Nathaniel Hackett. DC Ejiro Evero is one of the best young defensive minds in the game, coming from the McVay lineage. He doesn’t have to do much to stop the Titans.
Establish. The. Run
- Denver has completely remade their running back room after losing ascendant runner Javonte Williams. Melvin Gordon leads the group that also has Chase Edmonds and Marlon Mack as key backups. Tennessee’s front line as mentioned has been decimated with key injuries so the opportunity to run will be there. Can the moribund Broncos’ offensive line get them the room to run wild, though?
Injury Report - Broncos @ Titans
What are the Odds?
BetMGM has the Titans being three-point favorites at -105, the money line at -150 for Tennessee, and the Broncos at +125. over/under is set at 37.5.
Caesar’s has the Titans being three-point favorites at +100, the money line being -160 for Tennessee, and the Broncos being +135. The over/under is set at 38 even.
WynnBet has the Titans being three-point favorites at +100, the money line being -150 for Tennessee and the Broncos being +125. The over/under is set at 38 even.
FanDuel has the Titans being 2.5-point favorites at -118, the money line being -148 for the Titans, and the Broncos being +126. over/under is set at 38.5.