For the first time in over a month, the Tennessee Titans will travel on the road for their Week 8 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Since their COVID-19 outbreak, the Titans have played three games in less than two weeks. On Sunday, they will face a young and talented Bengals team that is still learning how to win and close out games.
It seems both teams have been in games where it comes down to the last possession. However, the difference between the two is that the Titans find a way to win, whereas the Bengals find a way to shoot themselves in the foot.
Joe Burrow vs. Titans Defense
Although the Bengals are 1-5-1, they should be excited about their future with Joe Burrow.
The No. 1 overall pick looks exactly as a franchise quarterback should, having already thrown for over 2,000 yards (third in the NFL), as well as nine touchdowns to five interceptions. The rookie has had some impressive performances so far, including two games where he posted a quarterback rating above 100. The Bengals have a talented receiving corps to help Burrow as well. A.J. Green, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd are all polished pass catchers who can beat man coverage.
The Titans defense will still be without Adoree’ Jackson, as the talented cornerback has yet to be removed from IR. The same story persists for Tennessee’s defensive woes. A lack of pass rush and mediocre cornerbacks will continue to hamper this team. Last Sunday, Ben Roethlisberger had ample time finding his receivers and making plays, especially in the first half. The Titans are allowing just over 400 total yards per game, which ranks them in the bottom-third of the league. Their defensive line has yet to produce sacks. The Titans have registered a measly seven total sacks. Only their divisional foe, the Jacksonville Jaguars, have fewer sacks in the league.
Although the Tennessee Titans have a porous defense, they do create takeaways.
The secondary miraculously has 9 interceptions this year, which is second in the NFL. The Titans also have a +9 turnover differential, which ranks first in the NFL. The Bengals, however, have a negative turnover differential and have been unable to win the close games. Besides their beatdown against the Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals have been in one-possession games that have resulted in either a loss or a rare tie. The lack of experience and pedigree down the stretch is evident. The Titans secondary will look to force Burrow into making mistakes. An opportunistic defense will have chances to capitalize against an inexperienced quarterback.
The Bengals have enough firepower on offense to match the Titans in what I expect to be another shootout for both teams. Neither team usually gets blown out, nor do they win in a landslide.
Almost every game comes down to the last minute for both.
However, experience matters, and the Titans should edge out another close game against a very talented team.
Pick: Titans 34, Bengals 27
(Featured Image Credit: TennesseeTitans.com)