Monday night football
September 14, 2020
Empower Field at Mile High
About the titans
After falling within one victory of a Super Bowl appearance, the Titans exceeded expectations last year and hope to continue to have similar success. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill took over the starting role last season after quarterback Marcus Mariota was benched and earned the right to be the starting quarterback after his impressive performances. Tannehill makes good decisions with the ball and rarely changes it. RB Derrick Henry, fresh off his first running title, is the focal point of the Titans offense. Henry is a good size and a very powerful running back who punishes defenders for getting into his WR. AJ Brown had a spectacular rookie season compiling 52 receptions, 1,051 yards with 8 TDs, making him Tannehill’s most reliable target. Protecting Tannehill’s blind side will be LT Taylor Lewan, one of the best offensive linemen in the league. He has a refined approach when it comes to pass protection and possesses a unique combination of speed, strength and agility for a man of his size. There is concern over who will replace the late RT Jack Conklin. Second-year player Nate Davis seems like the best option. Davis is raw but brave as a run blocker and needs to become reliable at pass protection. S Kevin Byard has 3 consecutive seasons with at least 4 interceptions, as he is able to take quick breaks in coverage with his ability to sell balls. DL Jeffrey Simmons replaces DL Jurrell Casey who the Titans traded in the offseason. Simmons is a devastating pass rusher with power and athleticism and will be challenged by the Broncos’ offensive line.
About the Broncos
Quarterback Drew Lock has earned his spot as a full-time starter and hopes to bring the Broncos back into contention in the AFC West. Lock has the arm strength to attack defenses anywhere on the field and has the balance to resist pressure. LT Garrett Bolles has struggled with pass-rushers in the past and will have to hang on at the point of attack so his young QB doesn’t wobble or lose confidence, which could result in turnovers. RB Melvin Gordon signed with the team this offseason and will share snapshots with RB’s Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Gordon can affect the game with his versatility as a running back and as a pass receiver. WR Courtland Sutton led the team with 72 receptions and 1,112 yards last year, but he injured his shoulder in practice and is listed as questionable. Rookie WR KJ Hamler is also listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. The Broncos took a big hit when All-Pro LB Von Miller possibly missed out on the season after sustaining an ankle injury in practice. The good news is that LB Bradley Chubb is back after missing last season with a torn ACL.
Players to watch
Corey Davis (Titans): This will likely be the last chance for Davis to convince the Titans that the first-round pick the franchise used to draft him was worth it. If he doesn’t perform well, the team could part ways as they have a lot at stake this season.
Jurrell Casey (Broncos): Upset by the trade that sent him to the Broncos, he faces his former team in the first game of the season. With revenge on your mind and a chip on your shoulder, seek out Casey to wreak havoc on the Titans’ offensive line.
Kristian Fulton (Titans): You should see early game time with the rotation in the secondary. It can also line up in the slot in five- or ten-cent packages. He is also capable of playing different coverages and will benefit from his experience playing at LSU.
Jerry Jeudy (Broncos): Jeudy’s road running skills are impeccable and he can create a separation from the DBs with ease and will punish his opponent in man-to-man cover and find the holes in a zone.
After an impressive run last season, Tannehill and company will be motivated to get back on the winning track with one goal in mind … to get back to the playoffs and take care of unfinished business. Drew Lock will play well, but the more experienced QB will get a late win in the fourth quarter.
Final score: Titans 31 / Broncos 27