NASHVILLE — It is hard to ignore the obvious trauma that will be discussed this week when the Tennessee Titans (7-3) host quarterback Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals (6-4). Narratives will swirl through the news cycle in the lead-up.
Tennessee, however, must home in on how to rectify last season’s divisional round loss.
Defeating Burrow is no small task, but there are plenty of ways that this match-up can benefit the Titans. Cincinnati’s starter is tied with Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers for the league lead in batted passes (15). Tennessee’s defense has proven effective in that department through 11 weeks.
The Titans’ defensive front has swatted down 12 balls at the line of scrimmage this season.
Titans defense must win up front
No one is better than Burrow in the last two seasons when his offensive line holds up.
The Bengals quarterback is completing 72% of his passes (1st), averaging 9.4 yard per attempt (1st). Burrow picks up a first down per attempt 41% of the time (1st) and has a passer rating of 114.4 (1st) when his starting five wins up front, per Paul Hembekides of ESPN. Cincinnati’s main issue, though, is that the line rarely delivers on their side of things.
Of the 97 total drop-backs this year where Burrow has been pressured, the Bengals offensive line is responsible for allowing it 91.8% of the time.
Tennessee harassed Burrow thoroughly in their January meeting. The Titans pass rush racked up a record-tying nine sacks in the eventual 19-16 loss. They will get another shot at Burrow on Sunday, coming off a spectacular effort of his own. Burrow helped lead the Bengals to a 37-30 road win over the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-7) by completing 24 of 39 attempts for 355 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Tennessee should relish an opportunity for revenge.
Featured Image: USA TODAY Sports.