Two years ago fans of the Tennessee Titans were just clamoring for wins. Today that’s not enough. The Titans must also dominate their way to the playoffs.
Ah yes, the gift and curse of raised expectations.
Based on the local call in shows, social media outlets, and various message boards that follow the team, most Titans fans have a lukewarm feeling about Tennessee’s season-high three game win streak.
Most are unimpressed by what they deem as ugly wins over the seemingly inferior Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, and Baltimore Ravens.
Well, I have some sobering news for those that fit this category. This week’s matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals should be just as ugly as the previous three games.
While the Bengals opened this week as 5.5 point underdogs, they will have no fear of the Titans under head coach Marvin Lewis.
For all of their shortcomings, Lewis’ teams have fared well against Tennessee…winning four of the last five contests in convincing fashion.
The Bengals have won three of their last five this season, and their two losses were on the road to Pittsburgh and Jacksonville.
As it relates to the Titans and their struggling offense, don’t expect the Bengals to roll over and allow a stat-padding day for Marcus Mariota and company.
Cincinnati is 11th in the league in scoring defense, allowing less than 20 points per game. The Bengals also have the 6th best overall defense as well, giving up just under 310 yards per game.
On the other side of the ball, Cincinnati’s offense is equally inept after eight games.
The Bengals have the worst offense in the league statistically, ranking dead last in total yards per game (269) and rushing yards per game (72.3)
Those numbers should play right into the hands of a Titans’ defense that has been playing lights out the last four games.
Add it all up and you have the makings of another defensive struggle where points are at a premium and field position is paramount.
With arguably the best punter, place kicker, and returner trio in the league, the Titans’ special teams unit and the hidden yardage they account for could and presumably will make the difference in yet another important AFC clash for the boys in two-tone blue.
Will it be pretty? probably not.
Will the Titans take another win to inch closer to the ever-elusive division title? Regardless of the way it plays out?
I think we all know the answer to that.