Titans offense vs. Patriots defense
The Titans named Jake Locker a team captain for this game, and there will be a lot heaped on the shoulders of the second-year quarterback. A natural leader and physical quarterback, the Pats will likely have to spy a linebacker (question is, who?) against Locker to make sure he doesn’t take off and gain yards with his feet. While Locker’s accuracy is below-average, it is an overstated criticism. Although prone to low completion percentages, a major reason for this is that Locker loves to gun it downfield and show off his cannon arm. Even with Kenny Britt out with a suspension, he still has two big-time deep threats in the underrated Nate Washington and breakout tight end Jared Cook.
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Chris Johnson is, of course, the Titans biggest weapon on the ground and is one of the biggest weapons in the league. A feature of Johnson’s game is the counter-toss plays that the Titans run in order to misdirect the defense’s linebackers to one side of the field before pitching it out to the other side, thus giving Johnson more room to turn the corner and burn a defense with his elite speed and agility. Running up the middle will be difficult for Johnson against a stout Pats interior, especially since the Titans interior offensive line struggles.
Containing Nate Washington is a task that will not rest solely on Devin McCourty’s shoulders, as Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung need to effectively bracket Washington and avoid getting burned by his speed. The Patriots defense is prone to giving up big passing plays, especially McCourty and Chung. The Pats will also need to figure out how to contain Jared Cook, and that duty could be given to rookie “money” safety/linebacker Tavon Wilson.
Syracuse rookie defensive end Chandler Jones has quickly become a favorite, especially after what he did to Jermon Bushrod in the preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints. But he will have a stiff challenge ahead of him in his regular season debut against Michael Roos, who bounced back last season to reclaim his spot as one of the best tackles in the NFL.
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Continue Reading to view how the Titans defense stacks up against the Patriots offense, as well as my final prediction for the game.