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Playoffs Or Bust When Titans Clash With The Rams

A month ago it appeared that the Tennessee Titans had the AFC South on lock. A week ago it appeared that the Titans had a spot in the playoffs on lock. Now the Titans are fighting for a spot in the playoffs. Life happens fast in the NFL. Sure, they are still the fifth seed but with two games left against actual playoff teams, it is looking bleak. Their first game is against the resurgent Los Angeles Rams. The Rams need a win to clinch the NFC West. There will be Super Bowl XXXIV footage abound in this game. Also, a look back at the trade that between both teams that allowed the Rams to draft Jared Goff.

To defeat the Rams, the Titans defense needs to shut down Todd Gurley. Gurley mowed down the limping Seahawks last week. He had 180 yards and four total touchdowns. He is the catalyst for everything the Rams do in the passing game. Wesley Woodyard needs to blast the Rams offensive line. Kevin Byard and Adoree’ Jackson have to keep the Rams receivers at bay. That becomes difficult given their arsenal of weapons. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are the primary targets. The problem is, the Rams can take advantage by airing it to Sammy Watkins or Josh Reynolds. Sean McVay could also elect to go heavy tight end by using a lot of Gerald Everett and/or Tyler Higbee.

The Titans defense will be busy. Offensively, Marcus Mariota needs to take advantage of an understaffed Rams secondary. Troy Hill is replacing injured starter Keyvon Webster. He did fine against the Seahawks but he didn’t have to cover much. Russell Wilson was being chased all day by Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn. The main priority for the Titans line is to keep Donald from tearing through them like Vice Admiral Holdo’s Rebel Cruiser. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry could take advantage of a banged-up linebacker corps. Alec Ogletree is still recovering from an elbow hyperextension and Connor Barwin is dinged as well.

Of course, Mike Mularkey needs to heed Rishard Matthews┬áconcerns. They need to start running the no huddle or at least air it out more. Mularkey’s offense is so conservative congress would pass it in the dead of night. That won’t cut it. Marcus Mariota looked good running a no huddle and that will tire out the Rams thin defense. It’s now or never. If they blow this game they can kiss the playoffs goodbye. Next week brings Jacksonville who can both clinch the division and get a first-round bye. They will be just as motivated as the Rams. How motivated are the Titans?

The Titans appeared to win the Goff trade hand over fist. They walked away with a treasure chest of picks. Thus far it doesn’t appear they got much out of it. Corey Davis hasn’t become the target Mariota needs. Jack Conklin has been fine at tackle. Derrick Henry is clearly the best pick. The problem is he’s stuck behind DeMarco Murray. At the start of the season, this looked to be a referendum game against the Rams. Now the tables are turned. The Rams are guaranteed a trip to the playoffs. The Titans are in danger of collapsing out of them.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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