Even after suffering a 35-10 loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles last week, the Tennessee Titans (7-5) still have a firm lead in the AFC South Division since the Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1), Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) and Houston Texans (1-10-1) have all underachieved.
However, if this team wants to make some noise in the playoffs, they’re going to need to make some strides on both sides of the ball, particularly their pass defense.
Despite the fact that Tennessee’s defensive drives have started at their own 26.0 yard line on average (best in NFL), they’ve allowed 2,017 air yards on completions (worst in NFL) and 22 passing touchdowns (4th-worst).
One of the main reasons for this downfield success is the Titans’ unwillingness to blitz. They have blitzed at an NFL-low 14.9% of the time this year and while they are in the middle of the pack in terms of pressure rate, opposing quarterbacks have successfully attacked them in the vertical passing game.
Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith proved that last week when Brown caught eight passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns and Smith caught five passes for 102 yards and a score.
This week, Tennessee will have to limit Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram, all of whom will likely see targets downfield out of Trevor Lawrence’s hand.
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