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The 1-2 Tennessee Titans venture into Atlanta to take on the 1-2 Falcons on Sunday Night. While going 1-3 wouldn’t automatically exclude both teams from going to the playoffs, it is a hard hole for a team to dig themselves out of. Therefore, these two teams will be playing extra hard tonight in an attempt to keep playoff hopes alive, a tough thing to be fighting for already in week 4. The Falcons have looked good in their past couple of games, putting up consistent high 300s in offensive yards. However, Matt Ryan has already thrown 6 interceptions this season (most in the league). Mariota has been putting up mediocre numbers this season and while the Titans are considering a change, he will remain the starting quarterback for this game. If Mariota can get the passing game going, the Titans have a chance to beat the Falcons, but the Falcons are favorites at home in this matchup.
Date: Sunday, September 29, 2019
Time: 10:00AM PST
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Titans: Kevin Pamphile (O)
Tennessee Titans Analysis
Marcus Mariota has been putting up lackluster numbers this season. His completion percentage lies at 60.9%, which is 6th to last in the league. Even worse, his first half completion percentage is only 54%, with a quarterback rating of 75.5 points. Mariota tends to turn it on in the second half, his completion percentage raising to around 69% and his passer rating jumping up to a solid 127.6 points. Still, a first half performance like this is bad enough that a team with a powerful offense could score enough against the Titans while holding them to very few points, putting them in a hole that would be very hard to dig themselves out of in the second half.
While the Titans, for the aforementioned reasons, are in the bottom 5 in the league for passing yards, they do rank #12 in rushing yards, thanks to their tank of a running back, Derrick Henry. Henry is incredibly hard to bring down, and seems to run over defenders without even trying. Running a 4.54 40 yard dash at the combine, he can be pretty hard to catch once he gets going. His size, strength, and speed make him a very unique, and very dangerous back. Henry will be key in winning this game, but the offensive line will need to support him. Last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it seems that “Saxonville” made a comeback, sacking Mariota 9 times. If the offensive line doesn’t turn it on, Henry won’t be able to get going, which means they would have to rely on the passing game. As mentioned previously, relying on the passing game wouldn’t be the Titans’ best option, as Mariota has been performing at a pretty low level so far this season.
Overall, if the Titans want a chance at a win, they’re going to have to figure out their passing game. If they can get more yardage through the air, Henry becomes more of a weapon as they can begin to run more convincing play action passes or draw runs to throw the Falcons’ defense off.
Tennessee Titans Depth Chart
Atlanta Falcons Analysis
The Atlanta Falcons are ranked 6th in the league for passing yards. With a receiver like Julio Jones, who already has 4 touchdowns over three games making him tied with Amari Cooper and T.Y. Hilton for first in the league, the Falcons’ passing game is going to be dangerous for the Titans. However, Matt Ryan has been having turnover problems this season. While Julio Jones is first in touchdowns, Matt Ryan is first in the league for interceptions. What’s more, three of these interceptions were crucial redzone interceptions. It seems that turnovers have been the biggest problem for this team. The Falcons are one of only two teams in the top 10 for total offensive yards that doesn’t have a winning record this season. The other is the New York Giants, who are 2nd in the league for fumbles. It’s pretty clear that turnovers are what are losing the Falcons these games.
If Matt Ryan can’t be more careful with the ball, the running game might be a viable option for the Falcons. Devonta Freeman had a rough start to the season, but saw much bigger numbers in week 3, getting 16 carries for 88 yards, and average 5.5 yards per carry. The Titans’ defense has been lacking when it comes to defending the run, so if the Falcons can come in with a good game plan, Freeman could pick up some serious yardage.
Overall, the Falcons are favorites in this game. They have a powerful passing offense, and will be able to run the ball pretty effectively against the Titans. If Matt Ryan can avoid making mistakes and giving the ball back to the Titans, they should get a win at home on Sunday night.
Atlanta Falcons Depth Chart
If you have Julio Jones on your team but haven’t been starting him for whatever reason, I’d definitely do it now. Julio Jones will likely be covered by Malcolm Butler if they’re running man. Butler has allowed 3 touchdowns in his coverage this season, which is the 2nd most in the league (the first being 4 under Josh Norman). Furthermore, Jones has scored 4 touchdowns so far this season – tied with Amari Cooper and T.Y. Hilton for the most in the league. The leading touchdown scorer against a CB who has allowed the 2nd most touchdowns in the league is a matchup that is sure to win you some points. Davonta Freeman might also be a good choice. He had a big game yesterday, and the Titans’ defense has been weak against the run. Starting Freeman might be a good choice, especially because the Falcons might decide to go lighter on the passing game due to Matt Ryan’s six interceptions on the season.