If you thought the Bengals would merely be proud of ending the franchise’s three-plus-decade-lengthy playoff drought, suppose once more. Mere moments after profitable his first playoff sport, quarterback Joe Burrow stated that Cincinnati’s wild card win over the Raiders was “the usual for the naked minimal yearly going ahead.”
Burrow and his teammates at the moment are trying to publish the franchise’s first highway playoff victory. To do this, they may have to defeat a Titans staff that earned the AFC’s high seed after going 12-5 throughout the common season. Making the duty harder would be the anticipated return of operating again Derrick Henry, who ran for 112 yards and a rating when the 2 groups final met in Week 8 of the 2020 season.
We’ll preview the sport together with giving our prediction for Saturday’s end result. Here’s how you may comply with the motion in actual time.
How to watch
Date: Saturday, Jan. 22 | Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Location: Nissan Stadium (Nashville, Tennessee)
TV: NBC | Stream: fuboTV (attempt for free)
Follow: ZellaNews Sports App
Odds: Titans -3.5, O/U 47.5
When the Bengals have the ball
Burrow has familiarity with the Titans, as Cincinnati posted a 31-20 win over Tennessee in Week 8 of the 2020 season. In the win, Burrow threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns on 26 of 37 passing. He additionally was not sacked for simply the third time in his 27 profession begins. Burrow acknowledged this week that each groups have undergone adjustments since that sport. The Titans added move-rusher Bud Dupree in free company, whereas Burrow’s former school teammate, Kristian Fulton, has developed into a top quality starter throughout his second 12 months in Nashville.
The Titans boast a formidable move rush, led by linebacker Harold Landry (12 sacks) and linemen Denico Autry (9 sacks) and Jeffery Simmons (8.5 sacks). While the secondary gave up the twenty fifth most passing yards within the NFL, the unit is led by one of many league’s greatest defensive backs in Kevin Byard, who tallied 5 interceptions and 13 passes defended throughout the common season. The Titans’ protection completed the common season as one of many league’s high items in each third-down and purple-zone effectivity.
Tennessee’s move rush is unquestionably a priority for a Bengals offensive line that allowed 51 sacks of Burrow in 16 common-season video games. When he is had time to throw, Burrow has loved great success getting the ball to wideouts Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and tight finish C.J. Uzomah. Burrow has additionally been aided by Pro Bowl operating again Joe Mixon, who scored 16 complete touchdowns throughout the common season. The unit punted simply as soon as time in final week’s 26-19 win over Las Vegas. It was held to simply two subject targets within the second half, nonetheless, as Burrow and the offense will want to capitalize extra on their scoring alternatives on Saturday.
When the Titans have the ball
Tennessee’s offense initially struggled after dropping Henry in Week 8. The low level occurred when the unit turned the ball over 4 instances in a 19-13 loss in Pittsburgh in Week 15. The offense regrouped after that with spectacular outings in wins over the 49ers, Dolphins and Texans to shut out the season. Along with not committing turnovers in these video games, an enormous cause for the turnaround was the play of operating backs D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard. Look for each gamers to play a major position in Saturday’s sport no matter Henry’s standing.
The Titans’ offense will probably be buoyed by the returns of Henry as effectively as receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Brown. The trio is predicted to swimsuit up on Saturday after lacking a mixed 20 video games throughout the common season. Jones and Brown will look to exploit a Bengals secondary that completed twenty sixth within the NFL in passing yards allowed throughout the common season.
Cincinnati’s protection with hit with an enormous loss when defensive deal with Larry Ogunjobi was positioned on injured reserve after sustaining a foot harm towards the Raiders. Ogunjobi’s spot will probably be stuffed by D.J. Reader, who recorded 50 tackles and 5.5 sacks throughout the common season. The Bengals did obtain excellent news within the type of Trey Hendrickson, as the Pro Bowl move-rusher was cleared to play in Saturday’s sport after spending time within the league’s concussion protocol.
An underrated a part of the Bengals’ protection is its linebacking corps, led by Logan Wilson (4 interceptions) and Germaine Pratt (91 tackles, two pressured tumbles and two fumble recoveries throughout the common season). Cincinnati additionally possesses a tough-hitting secondary that features safeties Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell. The Titans’ offense could have to be leery of cornerback Mike Hilton, who has a knack for making large performs at pivotal moments.
Games between comparatively evenly matched groups usually come down to the quarterback place. Ryan Tannehill has playoff expertise and has confirmed to be a strong participant throughout his time in Nashville. But the Bengals have a singular expertise at quarterback in Burrow, who has the talent and temperament wanted to pull off what could be the largest upset of the NFL playoffs to date. If Burrow performs at the extent that he has performed at for many of the 12 months, and the Bengals’ protection can include Henry and the Titans’ staple of backs, the Bengals will finish one other franchise playoff drought en route to the AFC Championship Game.
Score: Bengals 24, Titans 20