The Cincinnati Bengals travel to Nashville this week to take on the Tennessee Titans in the biggest game for the franchise since January of 1991. Cincinnati slayed some demons with their first postseason win in 31 years last Saturday, but a tougher test lies ahead in Nashville a week later.
Tennessee fields a solid squad. They can be flashy at times, but also know how to grind out tough wins with or without some of their stars.
Meanwhile, Joe Burrow is on a tear akin to his LSU National Championship run a couple of years ago. Cincinnati has been playing its best football at the right time, making this a marquee matchup.
To help us preview the clash, we welcomed in Davey Hudson of the Bleav podcast network. He co-hosts the Bleav in Titans podcast with former Titans defensive back, Denard Walker (who was on our show last year, as well).
In our talk with Hudson, a number of topics arose. Some tidbits of information on this talented Titans team going into this Saturday’s clash, courtesy of Hudson and some additional research:
- Three of their four starting defensive linemen/edge rushers have amassed eight sacks or more, with Harold Landry leading the crew with 12 on the season.
- While much has been made of Joe Burrow being sacked a league-high 51 times in the regular-season, Ryan Tannehill has quietly been sacked 47 times.
- Speaking of Tannehill, Hudson relayed the fact that since his arrival and role as the Titans’ starting quarterback back in 2019, he leads the league with fourth quarter and overtime game-winning drives at 13 total.
- Mike Vrabel has been a quality coaching hire for Tennessee, but there have been some criticisms. However, his incredible record coming out of a bye and/or a long break (Thursday Night Football) stands at 8-0 as the Titans’ coach.
- In terms of roster health, the Titans appear to have their trio of offensive skill position stars back in Derrick Henry, Julio Jones and A.J. Brown for this critical game. The three seemingly-Canton-bound players combined to miss 20 collective games this regular season.
- The Titans’ secondary has allowed a number of teams to make big plays through the air, Kevin Byard remains a force in the secondary. His five interceptions in 2021 is just one less than every other starting and reserve defensive back on the team.
In terms of game plan, approach and focuses for the Titans, here are some of the areas in which Hudson pointed for Saturday’s contest.
- With Henry looking like he’ll be back for the first time since Week 8, most believe Tannehill will employ the “turn-and-hand-it-off” offensive system. While that may be partially true, look for the veteran quarterback to utilize play-action, should Henry get things going on the ground.
- While there is rightful excitement amongst the Titans faithful that the three-headed monster of Henry, Jones and Brown are playing together, that didn’t happen much in the regular season. So, while it has the potential to be extremely potent, there are also potential kinks and rhythm issues to iron out for Tennessee.
- Because of their ability to get to the quarterback with many members of the defensive front and Joe Burrow’s high rating against blitzes this year, expect the Titans to shy away from sending extra pass-rushers on Saturday.
- Look for Kristian Fulton to cover Ja’Marr Chase (the two are buddies from LSU and workout together in the offseason) with some additional help, with Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins to cover Tee Higgins.
- In terms of coverages and looks, Hudson believes the Titans will not just go with strictly man coverage, but will mix things up, in hopes of potentially confusing a Bengals quarterback and weapons harboring a lot of youth.
There was so much more with our 36-minute chat with Davey Hudson of Bleav in Titans! Check out his great show with Denard walker on every major streaming platform via the Bleav podcast network!
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