Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- The Browns defense has given up roughly the same amount of points this season as the offense.
- Tennessee’s offense has struggled to find itself in the first two games of the season.
- Cleveland lost star running back Nick Chubb for the season on Monday night and has to figure out its backfield and Deshaun Watson’s accuracy.
- The Titans defense continues to be one of the biggest “pass funnel” defenses in the NFL.
- Both teams rank in the bottom 10 in the NFL in pass rate over expectation (PROE) as they lean on their running game and offensive line to mask passing game deficiencies.
How tennessee Will Try To Win ::
The Titans under Mike Vrabel have stayed consistent if nothing else. They want to run the ball, milk the clock, and “win ugly.” The issue they had last year and continue to have this year is a pass defense that is weak, to put it nicely. Tennessee ranks 27th in the NFL in PROE and 32nd in seconds per snap (aka, “tempo”). This is nothing we weren’t already aware of. They are going to play slow and pound the rock with Derrick Henry. They will occasionally take shots downfield – like last week when Treylon Burks got loose for a 70-yard reception – but for the most part, this team is going to ride Henry and make their hay off of his physical dominance and leveraging how defenses adjust to contain him. Play-action passing, quick screens, and downfield shots against single high safety looks when teams bring an eighth defender into the box to contain the “Big Dog.” Unfortunately, Henry has been mediocre so far this season averaging only 3.6 yards per carry over his first two outings.
This week, Tennessee takes the short trip to Cleveland for a matchup with an extremely good Browns defense. Through two games, the Browns defense has given up only 15 points to the Bengals and Steelers while their offense has given up 14 points on turnovers that handed their opponents defensive touchdowns. This elite defense has the physicality and talent to mute the Titans offense as long as they are not given short fields. The Titans offense faces an especially difficult task if DeAndre Hopkins is not able to return to form, as he has been nursing a hamstring injury for over a week and missed Thursday’s practice. Tennessee’s approach is a very direct one that doesn’t require a ton of insight. They want to get in a street fight and hope that the fact they’ve got the biggest, baddest dude is enough to make their opponent say “uncle.” The presence of Hopkins would help (especially if he is able to move like himself and present a “threat” to Cleveland) as that would occupy more attention from their secondary and open things up for Treylon Burks, Chig Okonkwo, and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine to move the chains as secondary pieces who Cleveland isn’t as focused on.