After a shaky start to the season, the Tennessee Titans are now one of the hottest teams in the NFL.
The Titans have won four games in a row and six of their last seven. During their impressive run, the offense has been the main focus for the team. Ryan Tannehill has emerged as one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the league, while running back Derrick Henry is continuing to feast on opposing defenses.
However, I believe defense will be the key going forward for the Titans’ late-season playoff push.
While Henry and Tannehill have been praised by the media, the Titans defense has been putting in work — especially in the second half of games. Tennessee has only allowed 24 points in the second half over the last three games combined. What’s more impressive is they’ve accomplished this while missing key players in the secondary.
Kevin Byard talks about the defense facing some adversity + moving on and preparing for the Texans. pic.twitter.com/mplN9YW7fb
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 9, 2019
Malcolm Butler has been on IR since breaking his wrist in week none. The Titans were also without cornerbacks LeShaun Simms and Adoree Jackson on Sunday against Oakland. And safety Kenny Vaccaro left Sunday’s game with a concussion. There is no word on if these defenders will suit up next week against Houston.
If the Titans are without these three defensive backs, the team will have to rely on depth to contain the high-flying offenses left on the schedule.
The secondary will have their hands full with Houston’s speedy receivers. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V have combined over 1,600 yards and 10 touchdowns. Fuller didn’t suit up for Sunday’s game and will likely be questionable when the Texans come to town. Even if he doesn’t play, they still have to deal with Keke Coutee who averages close to 12 yards per reception.
It won’t get much easier the following week when NFC South champs New Orleans Saints visit the Music City. Michael Thomas is probably the best receiver in the league. He has caught 121 passes for 1,424 yards and seven touchdowns.
The rest of the Saints’ wide receivers haven’t done much this year, but tight end Jared Cook and running back Alvin Kamara are heavily involved in the passing game. They have combined for close to 1,000 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
This Titans defense will definitely be put to the test with the offenses left on the schedule, but I think they’re up to the task. The defense has really seemed to hit their stride lately. If they can contain these high-powered offenses, their offense shouldn’t have much trouble scoring. The Texans’ and Saints’ defenses rank No. 27 and No. 20 in the league.
If the Tennessee defense can put the offense in good field position, I think the Titans can win out and take the AFC South. If you’re a Titans fan, the next three weeks should be fun.
Featured image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports