- Nashville,TN in this upcoming weekend’s matchup the Tennessee Titans take on Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks have a bruised and not too good offense of line. There will be struggles on protecting Russell Wilson this Sunday in Nashville. With it only being the fourth match up between the Titans and Seahawks it will be a defensive battle . Richard Sherman and the legion of boom will give Marcus Mariota and the high-powered offense their first real challenge. With Corey Davis already ruled out of the game will it be Taywan Taylor or Rishard Matthews, Eric Decker or Derrick Henry that gets the offense moving. Will the Titans be able to score points on Richard Sherman & Company. If the Titans can beat the Seahawks this sunday afternoon, in Nashville, this could be a real statement game. That the Titans are here to play with the big boys of the NFL! A young and talented team has a real chance to step out of the shadow’s. By Adam Pitts
Keys to watch for in this week 3 match-up between the Titans and Seahawks.
- Titans defensive front seven vs. Seattle Seahawks offensive line. The Titans front seven on the defense consist of Casey, Jones, Johnson, Morgan, Williamson, Woodyard and Orakpo will be looking to have a breakout game against the Seahawks poor offensive line. Look for Dick Labeau to use stunts and delayed blitzes to confuse the offensive line of the Seahawks. Morgan leads the team with 2 sacks followed by Orakpo and Woodyard with 1 a piece. The Titans defense has allowed 208 rushing yards (15th) and 461 (11th) most in the NFL. The Seahawks offensive line is well known for their poor pass protection of Russel Wilson. Seattle is averaging 158 yards passing per game. (29th) and 110 rushing yards per game (13th) The offensive line has allowed 6 sacks for 40 yards through 2 games.
- Titans wide outs and tight ends vs the Seahawks legion of boom. How will Matthews, Walker, Decker, Taylor and maybe Davis if he is good to go fair against Sherman who has been one of the best corners in the NFL since 2012. Kam Chancellor is a feared safety in the middle of the field with his hard hitting ability. Matthews and Walker will have to step up against Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas as the Seahawks has arguably a top 3 secondary thanks to the Legion Of Boom (LOB)
- Will the Titans be able to run? The Seahawks are well known for the impressive defense since Pete Carol has arrived. In 2016 the Seahawks finished 6th in the NFL against the run allowing 93 yards per game. But in week 2 last week Carlos Hyde of the 49ers ran for 124 yards on only 15 carries. In week 1 the Titans couldn’t get the run game going. Running only for 95 yards on 21 attempts. With Marcus running for 26 of those 95 yards. The Titans cannot go away from running the football, In week 2 playing Jacksonville the Titans ran 12 times in the 1st half. But ran for 24 in the 2nd half. Large portion was due to them leading in the game.
- Turnovers, Can the Titans continue forcing turnovers in week 3 like they did in week 2. The Titans are plus 2 in turnovers thanks to causing 3 turnovers last week in their victory against Jacksonville. Head coach Mike Mularkey said. It’s the difference. You can put a chart that goes back 20 years and it will show you the difference in the outcomes of games based on turnovers.
- Titans pressure on Wilson, Russel Wilson has been hit 16 times in just 2 games. And has been sacked 6 more times. That means he’s been hit 22 times on 66 drop backs. Outside Linebacker Derrick Morgan has a sack in each of the first 2 games of the season. Wilson is one of the most elusive quarterbacks in the NFL. He has ran for 74 yards on 14 attempts. The Titans defensive front must maintain good gap control and not over pursue Wilson. That would allow Wilson to climb the pocket and possibly find a running lane to take off. Mularkey went on to say that Wilson has a history of that and we know that.
- The Tenneesse Titans have faced there frist AFC South rival and have come out on top.1st half was a Offence struggle as they went in to half time 6-3 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.With both Defense holding there own.When running back Demarco Murray comes out the game with a strained hamstring enters Derrick Henrey and major contributors like Taywan Taylor on offence and Jaylon Brown, Derek Morgan and Byrad this is a preview to all Titans fans of what this team is becoming right before their eyes… by Adam Pitts
Running back Juice stands 5’11 210 pounds. I really like his style as a running back. He is very decisive and reaches top speed very quickly. He has the agility to make defenders miss in tight quarters and in open field. He has incredible contact balance, which allows him to consistently bounce off of tacklers without falling down. He has the home run speed once he gets into the open field. He busted a 92 yard run against the Arkansas defense. I’d like to see Juice get more chances in the passing game. He has the ability in the open field to make a difference and turn a screen pass or dump off pass for a long run. But you can’t say he isn’t a good route runner or doesn’t have good hands due to the fact LSU isn’t using him a lot in the passing game. He does have to work and get better in pass protection. He needs to bend his knees and sink his weight when protecting vs the pass. He gets to narrow which allows the blitzing defender displace him. Juice isn’t going to be the first running back taken in the up coming draft. That will belong to Barkley of Penn state. He reminds me a bit of LaDainian Tomlinson in his running style. He isn’t as strong or powerful as Fournette was for LSU but he is faster and more elusive.
Minkah Fitzpatrick is a well known corner among NFL scouts. Minkah has been a major contributor to Alabama’s defense. Minkah is a versatile defender who lines up at multiple spots across that Alabama defense. Bama will use him inside, Outside, and even at safety. His position changes with every play depending on what the offense alignment is set at. Defensive back Derwin James is the only other defensive back that does what Minkah Fitzpatrick does and performs at a high level as well. James who is notched in as the best defensive player coming out in 2018. Minkah is a smart football player who is capable of reading the quarterback. Minkah has the ability to locate the ball and attack the ball at it’s high points. His instincts and experience makes him a great fit for a zone scheme. Minkah doesn’t get a lot of playing time in one on one coverage in the defense. NFL teams may look at the fact that Alabama doesn’t ask Minkah to follow the opponent’s top threat or leave him on an island as a negative. When he is in coverage he takes great angles to the ball which leads him to breaking up pass plays or getting the interception. NFL scouts will love how he uses his hands to work off the blocks of wide receivers whose aggressive against the run game. Alabama even uses Minkah Fitzpatrick in punt coverage. He’s a true 4 down player. Fitzpatrick is a great athlete that excels with the mental part of the game. Very versatile defender that impacts the game all over the field who has great ability to create turnovers.
What defensive coordinator has more success with safeties than the legend, Dick Lebeau? He has orchestrated some of the most fearsome defenses in the NFL throughout his coaching career. When a coach with his level of expertise handpicks a prospect, there is a good chance that he will pan out. Dick Lebeau was vocal about Middle Tennessee safety, Kevin Byard. Before the season, we chose him to be our Breakout Candidate of the year.
His rookie campaign was solid, yet unspectacular. With poor cornerback play last season, Byard was left cleaning up broken coverages and holding the last line of defense. The cornerback position has been rehauled since then and two games into this season, he has been very outstanding. He’s great in coverage and active in run support. The former Middle Tennessee standout has already racked up 14 tackles.
Extrapolate those numbers through a 16 game slate, and he would be looking at 112 tackles. Are those tackle numbers sustainable? Maybe not. But, this week against the Jaguars, Byard played all 67 defensive snaps. He was the only player on the defense to do so. The coaching staff has faith in him, and so does the man who drafted him.
“He’s always had a swagger, but he’s more vocal. He’s kind of the field general back there.” Titan’s GM Jon Robinson on Kevin Byard’s progression.
Pair his instincts and his high motor together, add in being on the field for the majority of defensive snaps, and you’re going to see Kevin Byard blow up this year. Anything less than top five safety numbers this season, would be an absolute surprise.
In what was most certainly a tale of two halves, the Titans proved that they are the smashmouth kings of the AFC South. It seemed like coaches Mike Mularkey and Doug Marrone were using the same playbook in the first half, feeling each other out and trying to establish the run game.
It was tough sledding for the Titans early, and the Jacksonville defensive line kept Demarco Murray bottled up. Likewise, Jacksonville’s Fournette couldn’t get much going either. Marcus Mariota had a spotty first half, with a few questionable throws. Including an errant throw that was picked off by Telvin Smith. He settled down once the run game started to take off. He ended the day 15/27 with 215 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
The real story on the day was the emergence of Derrick Henry. He did most of his damage in the second half, and had a career high 92 yards on the day with a touchdown. He consistently broke tackles, and the Jaguars couldn’t slow him down.
Blake Bortles is always going to Bortles it seems, his three turnovers were nails in the coffin for Jaguars. Brian Orakpo hit him for a strip sack in the second quarter, which was recovered by Erik Walden. Then Bortles had two tipped balls in the second half that the opportunistic Titans defense intercepted.
The Titans dropped 31 points on Jacksonville in the second half, and validated some of the hype that media pundits were lavishing on them prior to the season. Next week’s matchup, against the Seattle Seahawks, will be another bar fight and will test the toughness of this Titans team. Fantasy owners, do what you can to move Demarco Murray, King Henry has ascended his throne.
Not much production in quarter number 1 for Baker. Baker did get beat in coverage that went for a touchdown. If he turned his head he could’ve located the ball and got his hands up and got his hands on the ball. Almost got beat again late in the first on a wheel route but the QB for Indiana threw a bad ball and hit Baker on his helmet. That could have been a easy INT if he turns around. Early in the 2nd quarter he came on a blitz and pushed the RG on his butt. Got much lower and exploded up and got great penetration which made the QB hurry the throw. He did okay with playing against the run and the pass. There were times when he got confused on which player to take to cover. But I do believe with time he will learn and develop a little more. I think overall as of now he has to get a little stronger with his hands at the point of attack. He did have a good deflection on a pass that should have been intercepted but a teammate knocked the ball loose..
At the end of the game. Baker ended it with 3 total tackles. With 2 pass deflections. 0 sacks and 0 pressures on the QB. Overall grade: B-
Florida Gators over 8 or under 8 wins is the real question here. Jim McElwain hired Randy Shannon to take over the defense after Geoff Collins left for Temple. Eight starters are gone including Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson from the secondary. This could be one of those rare years in Gainesville where the offense has to carry the team. Since the strong suit of the Florida defense could be in question as to how good will their secondary be. Antonio Callaway is back and will lead the group of wide receivers. He could possibly miss a game due to suspension, but nothing has been determined yet. The opener is against Michigan in Arlington, Texas. After that, Florida has five of its next six at home. I think seven to eight wins is a really good number for the Gators. If you think the Gators lose to the Wolverines in week one which could very well set the tempo for the rest of the season.
Georgia, I have the Bulldogs winning 9 games. It’s clearly Jacob Eason’s team and he’s got Sony Michel and Nick Chubb back at running back to help relieve a lot of the pressure. The biggest question mark for the Georgia offense is the offensive line and wide receivers. With 11 starters coming back on the defensive side of the ball. The defense could be the side of the ball that carries the team. Up front, Trenton Thompson and Jonathan Ledbetter chose not to go pro could make the front 7 a top front 7 in the SEC. The group was 16th in FBS in 2016 and could hover around there this season as well. With games at Notre Dame and Georgia Tech are intriguing matchups. The Bulldogs should be able to win both of these games.
Kentucky, Winning seven games is very likely for this team. After last season finishing up 7-6 and returning eight starters on both sides of the ball. Leadership shouldn’t be a big question for the team. With the majority of their offensive line back as well as running back Benny Snell Jr. And wide receivers Dorian Baker and Garrett Johnson. On defense, the secondary should be solid with Derrick Baity, Chris Westry and Mike Edwards returning. Things are looking up for Kentucky. The schedule features four of their first six at home with the two road contests being winnable games against Southern Miss and South Carolina. There really isn’t that tough of a stretch the whole year unless you consider back-to-back trips to Vanderbilt and Georgia.
Missouri, Six games is believable here. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel did good things with QB Drew Lock, who has top target J’Mon Moore (23 receptions over last three games) to throw to. The offensive line is pretty much intact for the most part and Damarea Crockett is in the backfield so the offense could match some of its stats from last season. The problems come on defensive side of the ball. Where only three starters return. The linebacker group has potential yes but is unproven. The first four games and seven of eight are at home. The wins will come early I can see, but a hard finishing stretch against Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas will be tough and hard to see Missouri winning more than 6 games.
Tennessee, Tennessee is a little difficult to decide on how many games they will win and lose. Last season they won games late and in fashion that will be very hard to copy. Head Coach Butch Jones has 11 starters back, six of those on defense. The Volunteers allowed more than 200 yards per game on the ground which hurt them in several matchups. Spring was not to kind on the defensive line as several potential starters did not participate. (Vols took a big hit when Derek Barnett left for the draft who was arguably a top 5 defensive lineman in the country) Todd Kelly Jr. and Nigel Warrior form a solid safety group. Quinten Dormady appears to be the favorite to win the quarterback job over Jarrett Guarantano. There are some questions at the skill positions, but the offensive line should be strong. Tennessee as tough games against Florida and Alabama away from home. With LSU coming to Knoxville, But LSU will not be a easy win at all.
Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt will have a difficult schedule but 6 wins and a bowl game is possible. Derek Mason was finally able to produce a worthy season to watch in 2016 with six wins and a bowl appearance. Building off that is a possibility with a veteran group returning. Ralph Webb is a great running back who would be able to do so much more if he wasn’t constantly facing stacked boxes every game. Kyle Shurmur threw only nine touchdowns in 2016 to 10 interceptions ( he MUST be better). He’s got weapons out wide in Trent Sherfield, Caleb Scott and C.J. Duncan. However linebacker Zach Cunningham is gone on defense so this unit needs to find a new leader to rally around. It could come from the all-senior secondary. After a tough road game at Middle Tennessee to open things up, Vanderbilt will have three straight and four of five at home. The problem is two of those games are against Alabama and Florida which will be extremely hard games. I do see Vanderbilt winning 6 games but it won’t be an easy route to a bowl game.
Alabama, The Tide is clearly the favorite not only to win the West but to win the SEC Championship again. And for good reason. I have the Tide winning every game except for possibly the opener against a very good and well coached Florida State team. And of course as always for Alabama it begins on defense with Ronnie Harrison and Minkah Fitzpatrick taking care and leading the secondary. Da’Ron Payne and Da’Shawn Hand will put the pressure on the quarterback and stuff the run up front. On offense Jalen Hurts gets the call to start. And for the first time in what seems like forever Alabama is going into the season knowing who their quarterback will be. Even though Tua Tagovailoa will be nipping at his heels. The freshman got a lot of publicity for what he did in practice this offseason. Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough lead a crowded backfield while Calvin Ridley is the team’s No. 1 target. Things lighten up against Fresno State and Colorado State after the opener in Atlanta.
Arkansas, Arkansas will be around the 5-7 wins. With Austin Allen coming back to be the starter. Austin Allen (3,430-25-15 in 2016) is one of the SEC’s top quarterbacks, although he may not get the same amount of attention as some of the other quarterbacks in the SEC. Devwah Whaley will get a lot more of the workload in the backfield following Rawleigh Williams’ retirement because of a serious neck injury. The offensive line remains mostly intact so the Razorbacks should hit the ground running. Former Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads takes over as defensive coordinator and he’ll try to fix a unit that gave up more than 420 yards per game. The secondary comes back intact with some depth to spare. Arkansas doesn’t play its first true road game until Oct. 7 at South Carolina. Before then there are four home or neutral site games. It is possible that Arkansas start the season 3-1. The games that are very possible loses or will be very hard winnable games will be @ Alabama, @ LSU, @ Ole Miss, and VS. Auburn.
Auburn, The Tigers are coming into the season with a new quarterback. Junior college transfer quarterback (by way of Baylor Bears) Jarrett Stidham is the key to success for the Tigers’ offense. Stidham looked good during the spring practice. He’s got the productive duo of Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson to lead the way on the ground, along with one of country’s top offensive lines to help keep him up right. On defense, Kevin Steele has some holes to patch up with Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams and Rudy Ford gone. Last year Auburn finished seventh in FBS in scoring defense (17.1 ppg). There’s talent on each level with DE Marlon Davidson, LB Deshaun Davis and CB Carlton Davis. The Tigers play three straight on the road in October followed by three straight at home. There are four potential losses with a road game at Texas A&M, Clemson and LSU also in the mix.
LSU, The LSU Tigers are coming into the 2017 season following a 8-4 overall and 5-3 record. With Derrius Guice being widely considered to be as good of a running back, if not better, than Leonard Fournette. Guice also figures to see just as many stacked boxes with the uncertainty at quarterback. Danny Etling’s improvement is the biggest key for an improved offense now under the direction of new coordinator Matt Canada. D.J. Clark has some big shoes to fill at wide reciever with Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural gone to the NFL. Pass rusher/Sack specialist Arden Key (12 last season) is dealing with a shoulder injury and is uncertain for the season opener. Reports are saying that he is ahead of schedule in his recovery so he should be back at some point early this season. Christian LaCouture is back to help up front. The Tigers have an intriguing opener against BYU in Houston. The Tigers also play at Florida, Alabama and Tennessee, which will be pretty tough games considering they are away games. LSU could very well win 9 games this season.
Ole Miss, Ole Miss will be an interesting team to watch this season. Largely due to the news that Hugh Freeze will no longer be the Head Coach of the team. There as been a lot of excitement surrounding sophomore dual-threat quarterback Shea Patterson. Who finished out the 2016 campaign in good fashion. The offensive line remains pretty much back so that which will help with protection. D.K. Metcalf, Van Jefferson and A.J. Brown will look to contribute and be a solid trio at wide receiver. Defensive linemen Marquis Haynes and Breeland Speaks anchor the front and bring the pressure while Myles Hartsfield and Zedrick Woods will cover the back of the defense. The Rebels play three straight road games in late September, but will follow that up with three straight at home. If the Ole Miss Rebels don’t slip up early against South Alabama or FCS member UT Martin alongside hoping that off-the-field issues don’t carry over to the on-field product Ole Miss could win 6 games in 2017.
Texas A&M, The Aggies and coach Kevin Sumlin have plenty of things to figure out and fix some problems before they start the season @ UCLA. The quarterback position is up in the air with senior Jake Hubenak trying to hold off the freshmen Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel. Who will take over for No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Myles Garrett on defense as the guy to get pressure on the quarterback? Wide receiver Christian Kirk is a nice place to start on offense along with 1,000-yard rusher Trayveon Williams, So there are areas that A&M can build around. However there’s pressure on Sumlin to end the Aggies’ 8-5 rut or at least the late-season collapses. It doesn’t help that Texas A&M opens on the West Coast against the Bruins. After that four of the next five are at home with other game coming against Arkansas in Arlington, Texas. A&M finish the season against a tough LSU team that could knock the Aggies out of being bowl eligibility. 6-8 games are in range of being wins.
Week 3 Matchups
Predicted winners denoted with (+)
Samford vs Georgia (+)
Mercer vs Auburn (+)
Delaware State vs West Virginia (+)
San Diego vs Princeton (+)
Furman vs NC State (+)
Bryant (+) vs Brown
Yale vs Lehigh (+)
Jacksonville (+) vs Walsh
Marist (+) vs Georgetown
Harvard (+) vs Rhode Island
Fordham vs Eastern Washington (+)
Ohio Dominican vs Penn (+)
Wagner (+) vs Columbia
Duquesne (+) vs Dayton
Citadel (+) vs ETSU
New Hampshire (+) vs Holycross
Central Conn. State vs Youngstown State (+)
Northern Colorado vs Colorado (+)
Howard vs Richmond (+)
Valparaiso (+) vs Trinity Int’l
John C. Smith vs South Carolina State (+)
Illinois State (+) vs Eastern Illinois
Murray State (+) vs Missouri State
VMI (+) vs Robert Morris
Tennessee Tech vs Ball State (+)
North Dakota vs South Dakota (+)
Savannah State vs Montana (+)
Morgan State vs Rutgers (+)
Cornell vs Delaware (+)
Norfolk State vs James Madison (+)
UC Davis vs Portland State (+)
Western Carolina (+) vs Gardner-Webb
Florida A&M vs Tennessee State (+)
Lafayette vs Villanova (+)
Colgate (+) vs Buffalo
Livingstone vs Hampton (+)
Bucknell vs William & Mary (+)
North Carolina A&T (+) vs Charlotte
Indiana State vs Liberty (+)
Sacred Heart vs Stony Brook (+)
UT-Martin (+) vs UT-Chattanooga
Dartmouth (+) vs Stetson
Charleston Southern (+) vs Elon
Bethune-Cookman vs Florida Atlantic (+)
Taylor University vs Butler (+)
Towson vs St. Francis (Pa) (+)
Idaho State vs Nevada (+)
Morehead State vs Austin Peay (+)
Alabama A&M vs South Alabama (+)
Drake vs South Dakota State (+)
Lamar (+) vs Northwestern State
Southeastern La. vs Central Arkansas (+)
Guilford vs Davidson (+)
Monmouth (+) vs Albany
Southern vs UTSA (+)
Southern Illinois (+) vs SEMO
Prairie View A&M vs Nicholls State (+)
Incarnate Word vs Stephen F. Austin (+)
Campbell vs Presbyterian (+)
Jackson State vs Grambling State (+)
McNeese vs Alcorn State (+)
Ark.-Pine Bluff vs Arkansas State (+)
Houston Baptist vs Abiliene Christian (+)
Northern Iowa (+) vs Southern Utah
Kennesaw State (+) vs Alabama State
Weber State (+) vs Sacramento State