The 2-0 Tennessee Titans take on the 0-2 Minnesota Vikings at noon today in Minnesota. This game has a “trap game” vibe for Tennessee, because the Vikings are not a team you want to underestimate. This game begins a vital stretch for the Titans and their defense.

Tennessee’s offense has looked phenomenal so far to start the season. Although the Broncos game doesn’t show that on the scoreboard, the week two Jaguars game is where the sloppiness went away and the execution showed.

However, it’s the defense that seems to be a liability so far. It’s only been two weeks, so it isn’t time to panic yet. But, the Titans’ next four games, including today, presents a different challenge than what Denver and Jacksonville offered.

Let’s take a look at the bright side, first. The Minnesota Vikings’ defense is injury-riddled. They are missing two defensive backs in Cameron Dantzler and Mike Hughes. They will be playing some inexperienced players in the secondary, and missing linebacker Anthony Barr.

So the Titans offense will be facing a depleted Minnesota defense that has had trouble stopping the run. On paper, it seems like it will be a big day for Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. However, the Titans are kind of facing the same issue in their secondary.

It is good news that Malcolm Butler will play, but they are missing Adoree Jackson, which has been noticeable so far. More good news is that the Titans will be somewhat at its healthiest point on defense so far this season, but with both defensive backs Adoree and Chris Jackson out, the Vikings may look to exploit Titans cornerbacks not named Malcolm Butler.

Today’s matchup with the Vikings will provide a chance to see how the defense looks at its healthiest, because their next three opponents could present some problems. The Titans will be hosting Big Ben and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Josh Allen and the red-hot Buffalo Bills, and Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans.

Today and the next three games will give us great insight on who the Tennessee Titans really are. If after the Buffalo Bills game the Titans are 5-0, it is safe to say the Titans are contenders and the following game with Houston is very winnable.

Yet, it is very possible that this team could be 3-3 at the end of this stretch. If Gardner Minshew can look like prime Tom Brady versus the Titans’ defense, imagine how Kirk Cousins, Big Ben, Josh Allen, and Deshaun Watson could look, three of which have talented receivers in Adam Thielen, Ju-Ju, and Stefon Diggs.

Anything better than a 3-3 overall record at the end of this stretch is a win for the Titans. Especially for the secondary. Adoree Jackson’s three weeks on injured reserve will be up after this game, but it is likely Jackson will continue to miss time.

Before you rip me, let me say I do believe all four games are very winnable if the Titans can continue lighting it up on offense. But the defense is concerning me, and because of the defense, the upcoming gauntlet of quarterbacks scare me.

Without Jackson, rookie cornerback Kristian Fulton is being thrown into the fire. He isn’t doing bad, thankfully, but going into these three contests facing some of the league’s most talented receivers with just Malcolm Butler is a bit discouraging. If the Titans can contain Adam Thielen and Kirk Cousins today, I like their chances moving forward.

Minnesota’s defense is one the Tennessee Titans’ offense should shred up if it is indeed a top NFL offense. Now with Vic Beasley in the mix for the defense, it has a chance to take a step forward. Let’s see if they can do that today against the Vikings.

Featured image by Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports


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