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Tennessee Titans vs Denver Broncos - NFL Week 1
Monday Night Football
September 14, 2020
Empower Field at Mile High
About the Titans
After falling one win short of a Super Bowl appearance, the Titans exceeded expectations last year and hopes to continue to have similar success. QB Ryan Tannehill assumed the starting role last season after QB Marcus Mariota was benched and has earned the right to be the starting QB after his impressive performances. Tannehill makes good decisions with the football and rarely turns it over. RB Derrick Henry, fresh off his 1st rushing title, is the focal point of the Titans offense. Henry has good size and is a very powerful runner who punishes defenders for getting in his WR A.J. Brown had a spectacular rookie season as he compiled 52 catches, 1,051 yards with 8 TD’s as he became Tannehill’s most reliable target. Protecting Tannehill’s blindside will be LT Taylor Lewan, one of the premier offensive linemen in the league. He has a polished approach when it comes to pass protection and possesses a unique combination of speed, strength, and agility for a man his size. There are concerns about who will replace departed RT Jack Conklin. Second-year player Nate Davis appears to be the best option. Davis is raw but is gritty as a run blocker and needs to become reliable in pass protection. S Kevin Byard has 3 consecutive seasons with at least 4 interceptions as he is capable of making quick breaks in coverage with his ball-hawking ability. DL Jeffrey Simmons replaces DL Jurrell Casey who the Titans traded in the offseason. Simmons is a devastating pass rusher with power and athleticism and will be challenged by the Broncos offensive line.
About the Broncos
QB Drew Lock has earned his spot as the full-time starter and hopes to lead the Broncos back into contention in the AFC West. Lock has the arm strength to attack defenses anywhere on the field and has the poise to hold up in the face of pressure. LT Garrett Bolles has struggled with pass rushers in the past and will have to hold up at the point of attack so his young QB won’t be rattled or lose confidence which could result in turnovers. RB Melvin Gordon signed with the team in the offseason and will share snaps with RB’s Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Gordon can affect the game with his versatility as both a runner and as a pass-catcher. WR Courtland Sutton led the team with 72 catches and 1,112 yards last year but injured his shoulder in practice and is listed as questionable. Rookie WR K.J. Hamler is also listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. The Broncos was dealt a huge blow when All-Pro LB Von Miller was possibly lost for the season after suffering an ankle injury in practice. The good news is that LB Bradley Chubb returns after missing last season with a torn ACL.
Players to Watch
Corey Davis (Titans): This will most likely be the final opportunity for Davis to convince the Titans that he was worth the early 1st round pick the franchise used to draft him. If he doesn’t perform well, the team could part ways as he has a lot riding on this season.
Jurrell Casey (Broncos): Upset about the trade that sent him to the Broncos, he gets to face his former team in the very first game of the season. With revenge on his mind and a chip on his shoulder, look for Casey to wreak havoc on the Titans offensive line.
Kristian Fulton (Titans): Should see playing time early with the rotation in the secondary. He can also line up in the slot in nickel or dime packages. He also is capable of playing different coverages and will benefit from his experience playing at LSU.
Jerry Jeudy (Broncos): Jeudy’s route-running skills are impeccable and he can create separation from DB’s with ease and will punish his opponent in man to man coverage and find the holes in a zone.
After an impressive run last season, Tannehill and company will be motivated to get back to their winning ways with one goal in mind……getting back to the playoffs and take care of unfinished business. Drew lock will play well, but the more experienced QB will pull out a late victory in the 4th quarter.
Final Score: Titans 31 / Broncos 27
Home of the Braves: Part One
A series on how "America's Team" became the team to forget.