The battered Bengals have one game remaining before their bye week. After a devastating loss to the Cleveland Browns a week ago, the Bengals will throw on their Color Rush jerseys and look to set things right against the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans have an immensely talented defense and a punishing run game. Making matters worse, they are hungry after suffering their first loss of the season last week.
Let’s take a look at what the Bengals face in this Titans team and what they can do to have success.
The Bengals have struggled to get their running game going for much of the season. One thing that has helped has been the use of Jet Sweeps.
The Steelers were able to get some good gains against a talented Titans defense on Jet Sweeps like the one in this clip.
Getting the ball to Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd and dare I say John Ross on Jet Sweeps should be a big part of the Bengals game plan as well.
Of course, these plays are not limited to wide receivers. The Bengals have run Jet Sweeps to Giovani Bernard successfully.
If Joe Mixon is able to return, this would be a great way to get Bernard a touch. It also works well off of the play that resulted in a touchdown reception for Bernard last week.
Speaking of touchdown passes to running backs, this was a nice little play. The Bengals have had success with a similar play in the past.
The Steelers committed a penalty on this play and it did not count. They ran the same play later in the game and although it was open, they couldn’t connect.
The Titans defense is definitely susceptible to this play. Look for Mixon or Bernard to get targeted in the Red Zone this week.
The Titans play a lot of loose man when they are sending pressure. This creates a great opportunity to get completions and move the chains on slant routes.
Joe Burrow must recognize the pressure and be prepared to get rid of the ball quickly.
As the clip above shows, when the defense is in man a short pass can turn into a big game if you can make one defender miss.
The Titans will also use simulated pressure. They appear to be blitzing, but drop off into coverage.
They fooled Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the play above. They dropped into the hook, taking away the slant and forcing the incomplete pass.
In addition to man-blitzes the Titans run a lot of Cover 1 while rushing only 4.
This provides a great opportunity to strike deep on the outside as the Steelers did with this play to Chase Claypool.
This isn’t anything groundbreaking, but Derrick Henry is very good. The Titans run blocking is also fantastic.
Look at the hole they make for him on this play.
Henry is a beast and can break tackles and stiff arm defenders into oblivion, but he doesn’t have to when the blocking in front of him is this superb.
The Bengals defense has shown improvement stopping the run in recent weeks, but this will be a huge test and provide a benchmark to measure how much their young players have developed throughout the course of the season.
The Titans run a lot of slants off of play action passes. This is something that the linebackers and safeties need to know.
The Steelers got burned by it here, but it is not good enough for the Bengals to prevent a big play. They need to use this as an opportunity to steal the ball.
The defense is going to give up points. They need to also create opportunities for Burrow and the offense to return the favor. Knowing that the Titans love to throw the slant off of play action creates an opportunity to bait an interception. And who better to do that than Jessie Bates III?
This Titans team is good, but they do present some opportunities for the Bengals.
The most important things for the Bengals this week are the most fundamental parts of the game. They need to block to protect Burrow and make tackles against Henry. If they can do these things at a reasonably high level, they will have a chance to win this game.