The Tennessee Titans earned the top seed in the AFC and a week off by having a stellar regular season despite critical injuries.
Now, they’ll try to advance to the AFC Championship Game for the second time in three seasons. NFL betting lines for the divisional round have the Titans as 3.5 point favorites.
The Titans will try to prove the oddsmakers right this Saturday, led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill is one of the few offensive players to suit up and start in all 17 games. Can he keep the Titan’s season going strong for another week?
Bengals at Titans (-3.5)
Before looking any deeper, here’s the information for their game:
- Date: Saturday, Jan. 22nd
- Time: 4:30 P.M. EST
- Venue: Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee
The Titans will host the AFC North champions, the Cincinnati Bengals, to kick off this year’s divisional round.
The Stability of Ryan Tannehill
It’s no secret that the Titans’ strength offensively is running the ball. They ran the ball more than any other team this season, even with star running back Derrick Henry missing the last nine games.
Tennessee’s top two receivers, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones, also missed four and seven games, respectively.
The offense still averaged 24.6 points per game, 15th in the league, primarily because of Tannehill’s efficiency.
Tannehill finished 10th in completion percentage with a percentage of 67.2. He only completed fewer than 60% of his passes once. He only completed 52% of his passes against the New England Patriots, whose defense allowed the second-lowest completion percentage.
Tannehill also finished second in rushing touchdowns among quarterbacks despite not being known as a dangerous runner. His yardage numbers passing and rushing may not be extraordinary, but he makes the plays that the Titans need.
And this week, he should have all of his weapons.
The Bengals Defense
Tannehill will be going up against a defense that gave up the 27th-most yards through the air and registered the 11th-most sacks.
That was on full display in their win over the Las Vegas Raiders last Saturday when they surrendered 310 passing yards but sacked the quarterback three times.
The Bengals’ ability to rush the passer should concern Tannehill and the Titans’ offensive line as they allowed the seventh-most sacks this season.
The Bengals’ defense also forced two takeaways against the Raiders, intercepting Derek Carr and forcing him to fumble the ball. This year, Tannehill had issues with ball security, throwing 14 interceptions and fumbling the ball ten times, four of which the defense recovered.
The turnover differential usually indicates success in a game, and the Titans finished with more giveaways than takeaways on the season. Tennessee has a -3 turnover differential on the season, while the Bengals have a 0.
Can He Deliver?
Ryan Tannehill has proven he can lead the team to success, even without his top weapons on the field. If Derrick Henry returns, I feel confident that he’ll be able to do enough to lead them to a victory this week.
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