The Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans are set to play each other this Sunday at Nissan Stadium. In order to preview the Eagles’ Week 4 game, I reached out to our associates over at Music City Miracles. The jovial Jimmy Morris (@jmorrisMCM) took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming tilt. Let’s take a look at his answers.
1 - What’s going on with the Titans’ quarterback situation? What’s your confidence level in a seemingly less than 100% Marcus Mariota?
Mike Vrabel said on Wednesday that Marcus Mariota will start on Sunday and shouldn’t be limited. Austin Davis, who the Titans signed on Tuesday, will most likely serve as the backup with Blaine Gabbert in the concussion protocol.
I have all of the confidence in the world in Mariota. He will be much closer to 100% on Sunday, and he proved last week that he doesn’t need to be 100% to be effective. This coaching staff, and I will elaborate on this more in the next question, has proven that they can put together a game plan that gives the Titans a chance to win regardless of the limitations.
2 - What’s your early impression of new head coach Mike Vrabel and his coaching staff?
They have been nothing short of awesome. The Titans are 2-1 and here is what they have had to deal with so far:
Week 1 in Miami they play a 7+ hour game because of 2 weather delays that combined were a little bit more than 4 hours. In that game they lost Mariota to the nerve issue he is still dealing with, Pro Bowl LT Taylor Lewan to a concussion, and Pro Bowl TE Delanie Walker to a broken ankle. They were already playing without All-Pro RT Jack Conklin.
Week 2 they have to play without Lewan, Conklin and 3rd OT Dennis Kelly who was hospitalized because of an illness. They had to call up a tackle from the practice squad to play RT and use Kevin Pamphile, who they signed to play guard, at LT against a Texans’ defense featuring JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus. On Friday afternoon they installed a wild cat package with Derrick Henry and the Titans won the game.
Week 3 they have to travel to Jacksonville to face arguably the best defense in the NFL still without Conklin and with Mariota not ready to start. Gabbert gets knocked out in the first quarter so they have to figure out a way to move the ball with Mariota not being able to throw downfield. They win that game as well.
This coaching staff has proven to be able to adapt on the fly. The coaching staff here last year was terrible at that. There is still a lot of season left to be played, but we couldn’t be more thrilled with the job they have done so far.
3 - What is the Titans’ biggest strength? Where do they have the biggest edge in this game?
We still haven’t seen this offense at full strength, which it looks like we finally will in this game, but they should be able to control the line of scrimmage- even against a front as good as the Eagles. That will allow them to run the ball with Henry and Dion Lewis. I also think they will be able to slow down the Eagles’ pass rush with screens to Lewis and the wide receivers.
4 - What is the Titans’ biggest weakness? What concerns you the most about the Eagles?
The Titans, particularly Malcolm Butler, have been bad against the deep ball this season. With the Eagles seemingly getting more healthy on offense, I worry that they will be able to hit some shots down the field against this defense- especially when you consider Wentz’s ability to keep plays alive and allow things to develop.
5 - Who wins this game and why? Score prediction? And what are your expectations for the rest of this Titans season?
I’m going to be a homer here and pick the Titans. They are on a roll now and playing with a lot of confidence. The way they have won the last 2 weeks has them believing they can beat anyone right now, even with limitations. The game is close in the 4th quarter with the Titans kicking a late field goal to get a 27-24 win.
As for the rest of the season, I expect the Titans to be a 10 or 11 win team and win the AFC South. They won a playoff game with one of the worst offensive coaching staffs in the history of the world (not an exaggeration). There is no reason not to expect them to take another step forward this season with a competent coaching staff.