The Tennessee Titans have had plenty of time to stew over an embarrassing showing on Thursday Night Football, and they hope to put the extra preparation to good use when they visit the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Since an impressive 30-point win at Cleveland to open the year, the Titans dropped a close one to Indianapolis before a lackluster showing in a 20-7 loss at Jacksonville on Sept. 19.
The Titans committed nine penalties, had the game’s only turnover and let the Jaguars get to quarterback Marcus Mariota for nine sacks, pushing Tennessee’s sacks allowed total to a league-high 17. “It was inconsistency, whether it be fundamentals or just the way that we communicate in picking up the protection,” left guard Rodger Saffold told reporters of the rough showing by the offensive line, which also included six offensive holding penalties. “We’re taking the blame collectively as an offense.” The Falcons may give the Titans a reprieve in this area as they have just five sacks through three games — one in a 27-24 loss at Indianapolis last week. To make matters worse for Atlanta, it lost standout safety Keanu Neal to a torn Achilles in the setback, a big blow for a defense that allowed Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett to throw for 310 yards and two touchdowns.
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, September 29, 2019
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Falcons -4. O/U: 45
ABOUT THE TITANS (1-2): Mariota could get a key piece back this week in the form of rookie guard Nate Davis, out with injury since the preseason, and veteran left tackle Taylor Lewan will return from suspension the following week. Behind the current makeshift line, Mariota has thrown for 706 yards — 304 at Jacksonville — with four TDs and no interceptions. Tight end Delanie Walker has been his favorite target with 16 catches, seven more than anyone else on the team, and team highs of 158 yards and two TDs.
ABOUT THE FALCONS (1-2): Atlanta nearly matched Tennessee last week with 16 penalties of its own and it enters Week 4 as the most-penalized team (35) in the NFC. Coupled with a turnover margin of minus-4, the Falcons have been putting themselves in difficult positions that even the talented skill players on offense cannot overcome. “I think everybody is angry with not performing the way we can,” quarterback Matt Ryan told the media last Sunday after throwing for 304 yards and three scores. “The penalties, turnovers, those kind of things, we’ve had too much of that in the first couple of weeks of the season. We had too much of that today. Those are things that we’ve got to clean up to be a better football team.”
1. Falcons WR Julio Jones has 234 receiving yards and three TDs over the last two games.
2. Titans WR Adam Humphries hauled in six catches for 93 yards versus Jacksonville after managing only three catches for a total of four yards through the first two games.
3. Atlanta has won the last two meetings, including the most recent encounter in 2015, when Ryan hit Jones for the game’s only TD in a 10-7 triumph.
PREDICTION: Falcons 28, Titans 20