Titans remember past champs, face old nemesis

Friday, September 13, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 37

Colts at Titans

Sunday, Sept. 15, noon, Nissan Stadium


Radio: 104.5 The Zone

The Titans stunned the Cleveland Browns in the season opener and now return home on a day that will be special even before the ball is kicked off against the visiting Indianapolis Colts.

That’s because the jersey numbers of Eddie George and Steve McNair will be retired Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

So while the Titans honor legacies of the franchise’s first two stars in Tennessee by retiring 9 for McNair and 27 for George, the current Titans can get in on the act by defeating the Colts to take command of the AFC South.

Here is what they need to do to make that happen.

First down

Keep the pressure coming. Last year, the Titans had to manufacture a lot of their pass rush with blitzes, and that will still be a prevalent part of the defense. But the fact that Cameron Wake had a big debut for Tennessee with 2.5 sacks, including a safety in spot duty should be a big help. Sharif Finch also got a sack for the Titans who need to keep the pressure on Jacoby Brissett.

Second down

Don’t sleep on Brissett. He will never be confused for Andrew Luck, who retired a perfect 11-0 against the Titans, but he’s not terrible either. The Titans secondary picked off Baker Mayfield three times in the opener, and they may have a chance to do so against the Colts. But Brissett has weapons like T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron who are still dangerous, and they must respect that.

Third down

Pick their spots with Mariota. Marcus Mariota was quiet in the first half, but in the second half, he threw six passes, completing all of them for three touchdowns and 140 yards. Mariota still needs to scramble more, and the deep pass needs to stay a part of the equation, especially with A.J. Brown coming up big in his NFL debut.

Fourth down

Keep churning. Derrick Henry took a little while to get going against the Browns, but once he did, he carried the load, scoring two touchdowns, including one on a 75-yard screen pass. Look for Henry to keep getting his touches and the offense to keep flowing through him.

Week 2 predictions

Panthers 24, Bucs 17: Cam Newton and the Panthers are the team to rebound from a Week 1 loss, especially being at home.

Titans 27, Colts 21: Tennessee has a chance to establish itself as a leader in the AFC South, and with no Andrew Luck, this is the time for them to do it.

Ravens 30, Cardinals 20: The Ravens destroyed the Dolphins in Week 1. This matchup is between two very similar read-option style quarterbacks. Lamar Jackson is in year two, Kyler Murray in year one. Advantage Baltimore.

Chargers 33, Lions 27: This game could be a shootout and be a fantasy player’s dream. Even though the Chargers are the better team, the Lions could be a tough out, smarting from last week’s tie in Arizona.

Bengals 21, 49ers 20: Cincinnati traveled west and lost a close one in Seattle. Don’t think the Niners are good enough to win two weeks in a row traveling across multiple time zones.

Texans 23, Jaguars 16: Jacksonville’s season may already be over with Nick Foles’ week 1 collarbone injury. The Texans should take advantage of that situation, even though the Jags have given them troubles over the years.

Vikings 26, Packers 24: A good NFC North matchup. After seeing Thursday’s opener, not buying the Matt LeFleur-Aaron Rodgers marriage just yet. Kirk Cousins has struggled against winning teams, but maybe he gets it done – maybe.

Cowboys 34, Redskins 26: The Redskins gave one away in Philadelphia, blowing an early 17-0 lead. Dallas has Ezekiel Elliott back and Dak Prescott playing for a contract. Washington can’t count on Case Keenum to light it up every week.

Bills 20, Giants 17: Two not so good teams face off as the Bills take a on New York team for the second week in a row to start the year. Buffalo might have the edge here if they can contain Saquon Barkley.

Steelers 20, Seahawks 19: The Steelers get the nod in this one because they’re at home. Seattle has been known to be slow starting in years past, but catching fire later on for a playoff push.

Patriots 45, Dolphins 7: Seriously? So soon after the Dolphins were destroyed by Baltimore in the opener? Maybe Bill Belichick will play nice and not run up the score. Maybe not.

Chiefs 42, Raiders 20: At least the Raiders don’t have the headache that is Antonio Brown anymore. They also don’t have any playmakers to help Derek Carr. Patrick Mahomes not only is a playmaker, he has several weapons at his disposal despite losing Tyreek Hill to an injury.

Saints 34, Rams 31: Let’s just say that the Saints get revenge in this one for what happened in the NFC Championship Game last season. Maybe there will be poetic justice enough that a challenged pass interference call can decide it.

Bears 20, Broncos 16: Denver is tough to beat at home, but the Bears just have to play defense and not have Mitch Trubisky give the game away.

Falcons 30, Eagles 28: The Falcons, pardon the pun, laid an egg in Minnesota. They will have a big challenge against the Eagles, but they can’t afford to slip to 0-2.

Browns 34, Jets 24: It only took one week for the luster to wear off this game. The Browns were overhyped, judging by the way they struggled against the Titans. The Jets may be improved, but look like about a 4-6 team.

-- Terry McCormick