Titans at Cardinals: What to watch

Friday, December 08, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 49

Titans at Cardinals

Sunday, Dec. 10,

3:05 p.m. CST

TV: CBS (WTVF, Channel 5)

Radio: 104.5 FM

1. Get after Gabbert. The Cardinals are starting Blaine Gabbert at quarterback on Sunday, and Titans coach Mike Mularkey knows him well. Gabbert was his starting QB for 10 games in Mularkey’s lone year as the Jaguars head coach in 2012. Things didn’t go well for Mularkey, Gabbert or the Jaguars that year. Gabbert has hung around the league since then and made some modest improvements, but he still is prone to mistakes, as he had two interceptions and a lost fumble Sunday against the Rams.

2. Keep on trucking. The Titans seem to have found their running game the past two weeks, at least in spurts. They would love if it DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry and the offensive line could put together a full 60-minutes of dominance, but at least the situation has improved over what it was a month or so ago.

3. Put Mariota in good spots. The Titans got Marcus Mariota into an early rhythm Sunday and he played well. They incorporated a couple of designed runs and Mariota made good decisions throwing the football. That will be key going forward as the postseason nears.

4. Do it with defense. Who would have thought six weeks ago that the Titans defense would be the unit carrying this team? But a solid unit, especially against the run, is helping the Titans, who have been a bend-but-don’t break type defense at times, play an effective brand of football down the stretch.

Matchups to watch

Delanie Walker vs. Tyrann Mathieu. Walker is the Titans go-to receiver, even if he is a tight end. The Cardinals have a playmaker in the old “Honey Badger” himself who should know Walker well from Delanie’s days as a 49er.

Rishard Matthews vs Patrick Peterson. Peterson is a ballhawk, who would love nothing better than to take a pass from Marcus Mariota back in the other direction. The Titans are hopeful of having Matthews back to add another weapon in the passing game, after he has missed the past two weeks with a hamstring issue.

Logan Ryan or LeShaun Sims vs Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, the future Hall of Famer, still knows how to get the job done. Ryan is a question mark until he comes out of the concussion protocol. Sims held up well in his stead last week, even snaring a game-saving interception working against DeAndre Hopkins. But old pro Fitzgerald knows his way around and how to use all the tricks to get open.