The Philadelphia Eagles are hosting the Tennessee Titans at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon. In order to preview their Week 13 matchup, I reached out to our enemies over at Music City Miracles. The jolly Jimmy Morris took the time to answer my questions about this upcoming battle. Let’s take a look at the answers. [For my answers to Jimmy’s questions about the Eagles, check out MCM.]
Our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook have all of the odds for this week’s games.
1 - To what extent do the Titans miss A.J. Brown, if at all? Would you take back the trade if you could or are you happy with how things have played out?
Do teams usually miss #1 receivers that are traded before their second contract? You probably don’t know the answer to that question because it has never happened before in the history of the world. Don’t fact-check that. That’s how it feels so it has to be real!
They have missed that play where they throw him a slant and he turns it up field and scores a 60-yard touchdown. They have missed having a guy that is an alpha that they can go to when they need a big first down on 3rd and 8 or a touchdown in the red zone. Other than that, they really haven’t missed him at all.
I will say this, with each passing week Treylon Burks looks more and more like a guy that can be a #1 receiver. That eases the pain a bit.
As for would I go back and make the trade if I could? Absolutely not, and I don’t think Jon Robinson would either.
2 - The Titans’ defense has been pretty good; that unit ranks 7th in opponent offensive points per game. What has been the key to success? And how much credit can be attributed to former Eagles DC Jim Schwartz?
The key to their success has been the pass rush. Until Joe Burrow last week, they had been really good at keeping quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket. Up front, they have Jeffery Simmons, who is the best defensive tackle in AFC. They also have Bud Dupree and Rashaad Weaver coming off the EDGE. Those are players you have probably heard of. The guy who is the unsung hero of the group is Denico Autry. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury in week 11 against the Packers. I’d be surprised if he plays this week. They have also been able to get contributions from an undrafted guy in Teair Tart and two reclamation projects in Mario Edwards, Jr. and DeMarcus Walker.
It is hard to say how much credit Schwartz deserves. I will say that Shane Bowen took over as the DC in 2020.* The defense was really bad that year and has been much better in 2021 and 2022. Schwartz joined the staff in 2021 so I’d say he’s helped quite a bit.
(*Bowen didn’t have the title of DC in 2020. The Titans technically didn’t have one, but it was Bowen. It’s way more complicated that anyone on BGN would care about, ha!)
3 - What is the Titans’ biggest strength? How should they be attacking the Eagles?
Derrick Henry is their biggest strength. His ability to take control of a football game is unparalleled in today’s NFL. He can change the course of a game by breaking off a big run at any time. There have been plenty of games in the last couple of years where is banging out about three yards per carry, but then breaks off a 60+ yard TD run. He also gets stronger as the year goes on. We don’t call this month D-Henber for nothing!
4 - What is the Titans’ biggest weakness? What should the Eagles be looking to exploit?
The Titans’ offensive line, particularly the left side, is really, really bad at pass blocking. Taylor Lewan tore his ACL back in week 2. They replaced him with Dennis Daley and for some reason that is unknown to anyone with eyes, Daley is still their left tackle. He is the worst left tackle in football. You can fact-check that one. [BLG Note: Daley is indeed PFF’s worst graded LT.]
Next to him, they have Aaron Brewer at left guard. He seems to be technically fine, but he only weighs 270 pounds. He gets pushed around pretty easily. He has played center the last two games with Ben Jones in concussion protocol, but hopefully, Jones will be ready to go in this one.
This is why the Titans have to stay in a positive game script in this one. If they get into a situation where they have to play catch-up and throw the ball a ton, it will be a disaster.
5 - Who wins this game and why? With DraftKings Sportsbook listing the Eagles as 5-point favorites, what’s your score prediction? And what are your expectations for the rest of this Titans season?
I think the Eagles win this game 31-21 because they are just a better team. The Titans will keep it close into the 4th quarter but the Eagles pull away.
As for the rest of the season, the Titans will win a terrible AFC South. The NY Times playoff simulator has the Titans with a 99% to win the division if they just split with the Jaguars, beat the Texans and lose the rest of their games. They will then host a playoff game and probably lose in the wild card round.
BGN’s John Stolnis interviewed Jimmy further on this week’s episode of Eye On The Enemy.