The Tennessee Titans are fresh off their bye week, while the Atlanta Falcons are looking to retain their momentum from their win over the Houston Texans 26-16 as both teams lock up in Nashville. The Titans (2-1) are off to their best start since 2003 when they last visited the playoffs. The Falcons (1-3) are looking to keep up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the leaders in the NFC South.
The Falcons are having a renaissance of sorts with quarterback Joey Harrington (89-of-125, 983 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) – easily a career year for him. The receiving corps are beneficiaries of Harrington’s sudden resurgence, led by wide receiver Roddy White (18 catches, 301 yards, 1 TD) and always reliable tight end Alge Crumpler (16-190-1 TD). Slowly rising in the ranks is WR Michael Jenkins (15-168-2 TD’s). The Falcons’ defense, much-aligned as it is, does have its bright spots – defensive end John Abraham (4 sacks) and Johnathan Babineaux (2 sacks).
The Titans are probably best described as “offensively challenged”, despite the heroics of QB Vince Young (42-of-67, 426 yards, 3 TD’s, 2 INT’s; 21 carries, 96 yards, 1 TD). Not great numbers by any glance, but yet he finds ways to win. The running game has been a pleasant surprise, led by the tandem of RB’s Chris Brown (42-247) and LenDale White (50-180-2 TD’s). But it is the Titans’ defense that has won games for the team. LB Keith Bulluck (3 INT’s) leads this defense.
The Falcons will need to blitz often to take the Titans’ Young out of his rhythm; they will also need a very good effort by Harrington as the Titans’ secondary can be vulnerable (24th-ranked overall). Their running game will suffer as a result. The Titans will need to run often (35 carries a possibilty?) to make things easier for Young. A combination of Titans rushing and pass rushing will be the difference here as Tennessee wins by at least a TD in Nashville.