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Behind Enemy Lines: Bengals vs Titans

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Since 1990, 75 percent of NFL teams that have started 3-0 have made the playoffs. To reach the 3-0 mark the Bengals have to get past the Tennessee Titans and win their franchise best 12th home game in a row. To preview the game, we sit down with Jimmy Morris of Music City Miracles to talk Bengals vs. Titans.

Jamie Sabau

Q: After a very impressive road victory in Kansas City to open the season, the Titans had an equally disappointing home loss to the Cowboys. What happened in week 2? And which team do you believe to be closer to the "Real" 2014 Titans?

A: In week 2 Jake Locker was terrible in the first half. That really got them in a hole that they couldn't dig out of. They also couldn't stop the run. That's never a good combination.

The real Titans are somewhere in the middle. I think they will be a pretty good team by the time the year is over, but they are going to have some growing pains.

Q: Jake Locker is in the last deal of his contract and there has been a lot of talk about a "make-or-break" season for Locker. Where do the Titans stand with Locker? And do you see Locker with the team after 2014?

A: Whether or not Locker is with the Titans next year really depends on how the season plays out. He is not the type of QB that Ken Whisenhunt has wanted in the past, but Whiz has had nothing but good things to say about Locker so far. He is going to get every chance to prove himself this season. If he continues to be inconsistent the team will probably move on.

Q: I liked Bishop Sankey coming out of college, but so far, he has just 8 carries for 28 yards (0 receptions). What gives? And where does Sankey fit in the offense?

A: He fumbled quite a bit in the preseason. I think that has put him in the dog house with the coaching staff early on. They are going to use a rotation, but right now he is the third man in that rotation. The other 2 have run pretty well in front of him. I think his involvement in the offense grows as the season goes along.

Q: Despite losing their top CB in the offseason (Alterraun Verner), the Titans find themselves #1 against the pass after 2 weeks with an impressive 163.0 YPG. What makes the pass defense so impressive?

A: Well they faced Alex Smith with Donnie Avery as his #1 receiver in week 1, and they were giving up over 7 yards per carry in week 2. The pass defense is probably improved, but that number is a little bit hollow right now.

Q: What are the strengths and areas of concern for the 2014 Tennessee Titans?

A: The strength is the offensive line. They have invested a lot in that unit over the last 2 years. They look good so far this year- especially running the ball.

The area of concern in the rush defense. The Cowboys could get 5 or more yards anytime they wanted too last week. They were good in Kansas City, but that was because the Chiefs stopped giving the ball to Jamaal Charles early in the game.


Q: If you were game planning against the Titans, where are the vulnerabilities that you would attack?

A: I would run the ball right at them until they stopped it. They haven't proven they can yet. The Bengals have a good line and good backs. That is where I would start.

On defense, I would try my best to get pressure on Jake Locker. He looked uncomfortable last week with people around him in the pocket. Stack the box and make Locker beat you.


Q: Where/how to you believe the Titans will look to attack the Bengals defense?

A: The Titans want to be balanced. I think they will try to establish the run early and give Locker some short throws to get him comfortable. Then they will take some shots down the field. They will make the Bengals prove they can stop the run before they throw it down the field much.


Q: On Sunday, the Titans will win if...

A: Jake Locker plays like he did in Kansas City. This offense is good with weapons if Locker is on his game.

Q: On Sunday, the Titans will lose if...

A: Locker doesn't play well, and the defense still cannot stop the run.

Q: Who is a player most Bengals fans won't know, but should know, or should look for on Sunday?

A: Delanie Walker. He had a HUGE game last week but still isn't a household name. He is a good weapon because he can block and catch the ball. They don't have to take him off the field in any situation.

Q: Where do you see the Titans finishing in the AFC South in 2014?

A: Second. They aren't ready to knock the Colts off yet, but they are better than the Texans and Jaguars.

Q: What is your prediction for Sunday's matchup between the Bengals and Titans?

A: Bengals win 27-17 in a game that the Titans don't really ever threaten in.