The Tennessee Titans have won two in a row after changing quarterbacks. The offense looks a little more dynamic, Ryan Tannehill is not making mistakes and the defense is doing its usual. This week the task leads them to Charlotte, North Carolina as the Carolina Panthers are returning home after allowing over fifty points to the San Francisco 49ers. The Panthers will be focused and ready to get back in the win column in the worst way, but they have a tough customer in the Titans coming to town. In a battle of wills, who will win? The Titans hope it is them, and with these six keys they will help themselves get closer to that win.
1) Third Down Magic
The Tennessee Titans have converted 11 of their last 24 third downs over the past two games. With a defense as talented as the Panthers, the conversions of third downs will be crucial to winning this game. Also, the more they convert third downs, the more the Titans can continue to wear down the Panthers defense. Time of possession will be huge in this game with two very good defenses on display.
2) Contain the Pass Rush
The Titans offensive line seems to be doing a little better over the last two games, but the Panthers are a different animal altogether. With center Ben Jones out this game, the task will be a little more difficult, and the Titans will have to find a way to protect Tannehill if they want to have a chance at winning this game.
3) More Jonnu
Tight end Delanie Walker is out yet again. Of course the running game will be the focus for the Titans, but eventually they are going to have to put the ball in the air. One man that has proven to be very important to Tannehill’s success is Jonnu Smith. The young tight end is still developing, but in the last two weeks he has shown that he’s ready to take a bigger loan when called upon. His connection with Ryan Tannehill can be critical this week. He set a career-high with seven receptions against the Bucs, so the Panthers will be looking for him. It will be interesting to see how Smith deals with being on the scouting report.
1) All eyes on Christian McCaffrey
The most talented running back the Titans will face this season will be opposite of them this weekend. Christian McCaffrey has done a lot of things for the Panthers offense since he has become the focus of it. With the Titans knowing the capabilities of McCaffrey, they must make sure to fill holes and tackle in open space. The more that happens, the more the Panthers offense will struggle.
2) Jeffery Simmons time
No one was sure when Jeffery Simmons would come back and what he would look like. Well, he is back and he looks like a man possessed out there. With Jurrell Casey out for this game, Simmons’ role will more than likely expand. With a bigger role, he has to make more plays in this game for the Titans to win. Look for him to have at least two sacks along with making the Carolina offensive line feel him all game long.
3) Ball Hawks
The Titans have a stout defense and it has kept them in games all season long. Along with needing them to play at their peak level, the big thing that needs to continue is the turnovers. Two big turnovers gave the offense 14 points and in this game, they will need to do the same defensively on the road against a desperate team.
Can the Titans keep the energy up and continue this winning streak or do they let the Panthers get back on the winning side of things? We shall see come Sunday.
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