With the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans set to face off on Sunday, I chatted with Matias Wodner from Titan Sized and crossed over to enemy lines to ask a few questions.
The Denver Broncos take a rare trip out to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans. Both teams sit in third place in their division.
This is a must win for both teams. A win will put either team within one game of the division leader. And having that home game in the playoffs could help out.
This could be a preview of a potential AFC Wild Card Game. Stranger things have happened, but if all the dominoes fall both these teams could see each other again in January.
As it currently stands, the Broncos hold the No. 6 seed in the AFC Playoffs while the Titans are on the outside looking in.
I decided, with this game and its playoff implications, to cross into enemy territory.
Matias Wodner is a writer over at Titan Sized, which is the FanSided site for the Tennessee Titans.
I decided to ask him a few questions about the State of the Titans and his takes on Sunday’s game.
What is your take on the Titans season thus far? Anything impress you? Anything the team needs to work on?
So far it’s been as expected record-wise. I predicted either 7-9 or 8-8 at the beginning of the year, and it seems like either of those is possible. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the offense.
Through the first four weeks of the season, the Titans were on pace to be the lowest scoring offense in the league. But the coaches have have done a better job of playcalling and scheming to Mariota’s and the receiver’s strengths. That has turned this into a dominant offense through the air, as well as a mauling team on the ground with DeMarco and Derrick Henry (sometimes) and a great offensive line.
The defense needs PLENTY of work. The run defense, and even pass defense for the most part, started out really solid. But just like last year, they have faded and become a sieve over the past few weeks. Much of the secondary needs to be upgraded, and a good coverage linebacker needs to be found through the draft.
The Titans and Texans are tied in the AFC South. Do you believe the Titans have a shot at winning the division this year?
I really do. The one thing working against the Titans is their division record, which is the main tiebreaker if division leaders are tied. The Titans don’t have enough division games left, and neither do the Texans and Colts, for the Titans to force a tie there.
So the Titans are most likely going to have to win three games, with the Colts and Texans each losing twice. I think that’s plausible, but the Titans NEED to win this Sunday against the Broncos.
I don’t think they can go to Arrowhead in Week 15 and take down a Chiefs team that plays so well at home. If we beat the Broncos, our last two games are the Jaguars away and the Texans at home, two very winnable games. I would love if the division came down to that final game in Tennessee.
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From someone who has seen Marcus Mariota a lot, can you give us a perspective on how he has performed so far this season?
He has been so good. He started out rough, to be honest. His first four weeks were rather concerning, and many fans were calling for his head (not really, but they were upset) and rightfully so. He was making poor decisions with the football and trying to do too much at times.
But since then, he has settled into an unforeseen rhythm for a Titans quarterback since Steve McNair. He’s playing within himself, nailing the intermediate throws he always does and adding the ability to throw dimes deep into the secondary. It also helps to be able to scramble and improvise like he does.
I haven’t been this excited for the future as a Titans fan since the 2008 Jeff Fisher- and Kerry Collins-led Titans gave us false hope. Barring injury, we have our franchise guy for the next 10+ years.
The Titans begin a tough four game stretch to close the season against the Broncos. What do you believe the team needs to do to win against the defending Super Bowl Champs?
I’m not confident in the passing game getting much going against the Broncos defense. The Broncos have been much more vulnerable on the ground, and the Titans will need to control this game through that phase of the game if they are to come out with a win.
Also, the defense sorely needs to step up. They’ve been getting shredded by the likes of Matt Barkley and Cody Kessler. If Trevor Siemian plays, I’m not sure our pass defense will be able to limit a lot of his explosive plays through the year.
No offense to the rookie (I’m sure he’s a nice guy), but I would much rather play against Paxton Lynch this Sunday than Siemian. Lynch hasn’t shown much, and has been rather inaccurate, in his two starts this season. I think the Titans chances of winning this game increase a good amount if Lynch is behind center.
Is there one player on the Titans roster that perhaps not a lot of fans know about that could make an impact in Sunday’s game?
I imagine by now most of everyone knows of Rishard Matthews, who has been excellent this year in his first year as a Titan. An under-the-radar guy that non-Titans fans probably won’t know about is Kevin Byard.
We picked him in the third round out of Middle Tennessee, where he was an absolute ballhawk. He made a lot of plays in the preseason, and has forced his way into consistent snaps throughout the season.
Although he’s a ballhawk, he’s very active around the line of scrimmage and has made several tackles for loss, some coming near the goal line. He’ll need to have a solid game in order for the Titans to limit Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in the middle of the field.
Thank You Matias for taking time out to chat with us. If you would like to know what the site is saying about the game on Sunday, check out Titan Sized right here.