The Tennessee Titans got the ball rolling with a strong performance in their season opener in Cleveland against the Browns. After all of the hype about Baker Mayfield and the Browns, they were pounded by the Titans, 43-13. The Browns got frustrated and the Titans thrived on their mistakes.
Tennessee forced Mayfield into 3 interceptions and held Nick Chubb to 75 yards rushing. The second-half was a total mess for the Browns, as they were outscored 28-7 in the blowout. By the 4th quarter, there was no interest in the game from the Cleveland side.
The Browns’ highly touted season started with a thud. The good news for the Browns is that it is only Week 1 and they have a lot of time to get things right. All we’ve heard is how badly the Browns played last week. And while the Browns didn’t play well, let’s give a lot of credit to the Titans. It felt like all afternoon that their defense was playing with 12 guys on the field.
When Baker wanted to go somewhere, the Titans were on his case quickly. The Titans without a doubt did their homework leading up to that contest. Mike Vrabel wants to institute a defense that ranks among the best in the NFL. He was a field general with the Patriots at linebacker and you can tell that Vrabel wants to stress defense as a head coach.
Along with the suffocating D, Marcus Mariota put together an underrated performance on Sunday. Mariota threw for 3 touchdowns and most importantly, didn’t turn the ball over like he got into a habit of doing the last couple of years. If Mariota can just have a serviceable season and the defense plays like they did last week often, the Titans are going to be in business.
Their opponents this week, the Indianapolis Colts, played a hard-fought contest on the west coast against the Chargers. The Colts had a furious comeback to erase a 24-6 deficit, but it was all for nothing. Jacoby Brissett looked good, though, and he definitely looks capable of leading this team at QB. Indianapolis are back on the road for Week 2 in Nashville. Head below for our free Colts vs. Titans pick.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans NFL Week 2 Betting Odds:
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Colts vs. Titans Pick:
The Titans have to take their blueprint from last week and use it again vs the Colts. If they play a fundamentally sound defensive game again, then the Titans are not dropping this game. Tennessee were one of the more underrated defenses last season. Because of poor play offensively, the Titans didn’t garner much attention nationally. However, their defense was not to blame for the shortcomings they suffered in 2018. The Titans finished 8th in the league with 333.4 yards allowed per game.
This is a defense that allowed just 18.9 points per game, which put them in a tie for 3rd in the NFL. If Malcolm Butler played better last year, the Titans may have had the best defensive team in the league with respects to points allowed. Butler was acquired on a big contract to be a shutdown corner, but he was burned far too often. If Butler returns to form, then their defense has another dimension in 2019.
In other words, put the blame on the offense for a record of 9-7. Like I said last week, the loss of Delanie Walker was significant. Without Walker on the field, the Titans were really limited in what they wanted to do. A lot of their playbook is developed around involving him. So, it was no surprise that he was an immediate contributor in Week 1. Delanie hauled in 5 balls for 2 touchdowns to give Mariota an intermediate target.
The Titans spent a second-round selection on the athletic freak A.J. Brown in the 2019 draft. He didn’t look like a guy who was playing in his first ever NFL game. Brown stretched the field for 100 yards on just 3 catches. Suddenly, there is something to feel excited about in Nashville regarding the offense. The key will be keeping Delanie healthy and everyone else should be able to contribute.
I don’t like the fact that the Colts must play back-to-back games on the road to open the season. They’ve already racked up the air miles, with a trip to Los Angeles, back to Indianapolis, and now they’re down in Tennessee for a meeting with a tough Titans’ defense in their home opener.
I can see Brissett and the Colts’ offense getting boggled up against the most underrated defense in the NFL. The Chargers allowed them to get back in the game when they let up and relaxed, but don’t expect that from a Mike Vrabel coached defense. The Titans suffocate Brissett and the Colts, as they prove last week wasn’t a fluke with another win to open the season at 2-0. No, the path to the AFC South is not going to be all Texans.