Despite the Titans not meeting pre-season expectations, there is plenty to be happy about. They are on a three-game winning streak and only have to worry about Jacksonville in the division.
The Titans also are gifted with another sputtering offense. The Bengals still boast a stout defense but have had trouble scoring. A.J. Green‘s increased frustration boiled over last week. Andy Dalton appears to be playing for his job. The run game hasn’t gained much traction. For the Titans defense, this is another opportunity to get better.
Last week the Titans defense took advantage of a lackluster Joe Flacco. Kevin Byard picked him off twice. This week Andy Dalton should give Byard and company another chance for turnovers. The Bengals line has been a disaster and that makes life easier for Wesley Woodyard and Jurrell Casey.
A.J. Green is the only reliable Bengals receiver which is advantageous for the secondary. Dalton is still capable of the occasional deep pass. As long as the pressure continues the Bengals offense won’t function.
Offensively, the Titans might struggle running the ball. The Bengals still have a solid defensive line. The passing game should thrive now that Corey Davis is improving. Mariota looked good last week despite throwing a late interception.
His mobility should get better and open things up against a lesser Bengals secondary. If the Titans can score early they should be able to maintain the lead. As long as Mariota keeps the turnovers under control this should be an easy win for Tennessee. The only major concern is that no one suffers any major injuries as the Titans have a short week.
The Titans need this game because they face a tough Thursday night matchup against Pittsburgh. It is a game that could affect playoff seeding in the AFC. A win over Pittsburgh could give the Titans a shot at a first-round bye. It might seem improbable but that’s the state of the AFC.