NFL Week 5 Preview: Tennessee Titans
There was one particularly bad aspect of the loss to Denver. Not only was it at home, it came in a game they controlled and dropped them to .500 with a game at Dallas this week.
The Titans have played well enough through a negotiable period of their schedule to be 3-1 and ensured of a plus-.500 record through five games. Instead, they need a victory over a talented Dallas team to stay above .500. With Dallas still needing to play focused and inspired to reach .500, this will be a tough matchup in a game the Titans need to win to avoid a two-game losing streak.
The opponent: at Dallas (1-2).
The trend: The Titans have settled into a win-one-lose-one pattern, losing this past Sunday to settle into three-way second-place tie.
Recent history: The TItans leads the series 7-5, but Dallas has won three of the last five games. The series has been most noticeable in recent seasons for then-Titans' defensive tackle Abert Haynesworth stomping on Dallas center Andre Gurode. Haynesworth was subsequently suspended for five games.
Key question: Some may say it's, "Are the Titans cheap?" That' has been getting a ton of national play this week following remarks made to that effect by Broncos' quarterback Kyle Orton and Broncos' Head Coach Josh McDaniels last week. But don't look for the Titans to change their ways, so the biggest question just how good are the Titans. So far, they have been good enough to beat subpar teams and not good enough to beat teams that are playing well. That's why they're .500 squad. But a victory Sunday over what many believe is a Super Bowl contender would be the most important victory of the early season for a team with playoff aspirations.
Pressing issue: The running game. To be fair to the Titans, this probably isn't as big a concern as many are believing after four games. Chris Johnson has twice rushed for more than 100 yards, and he has two long runs including one that got called back by penalty. Johnson thus far has turned in a season that would be very good by nearly any running back's standards. The problem is, Johnson rushed for more than 2,000 yards last season and spoke publicly of rushing for 2,500 yards. He also is the focal point of the Titans' offense, so if he's not reeling off 100-yard games and long touchdown runs on a regular basis, its going to be a cause for concern.