The New York Giants take on the Tennessee Titans this Sunday in a battle of two struggling teams. The Giants carry the burden of a 7 game losing streak while the Titans slump has seen 6 games pass without knowing the taste of victory. With the season reaching its almost merciful end, both teams strive to finally give their fans something to cheer about. Who will be victorious and who will taste the usual bitterness of defeat once again?
Scouting Report On the Titans:
The Titans are led by their rookie quarterback, Zach Mettenberger. It looks like the Mettenberger will play on Sunday based on reports on NFL.com, despite suffering a shoulder injury last Sunday. Mettenberger has stumbling footwork, and throws late passes. This is a huge reason that the rookie has thrown at least one interception in every game he has started this season.
Mettenberger is not your typical quarterback from the SEC; the former LSU Tiger has almost no mobility. The one strength that he has is incredible arm talent. He is a strong armed quarterback who can make all the throws accurately. The Titans throw the deep ball every chance that they get knowing it is what he does best.
Oct 12, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running backBishop Sankey
(20)rushes against Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) during the second half at LP Field. Titans won 16-14. Mandatory Credit:Jim Brown
-USA TODAY Sports
The Titans have one of the most impressive groups of running backs in the National Football League. Tennessee does not get to run the football as much as they like because they are often playing catch up. If the Titans can stick to their rushing attack you see their best talent.
Bishop Sankey is an explosive and shifty rookie running back out of Washington. In the open field he is awfully hard to catch so he plays a huge role as a receiver out of the backfield. Sankey plays bigger than he looks at 5’10” and just over 200 pounds.
He is a surprisingly powerful runner in between the tackles. He is a patient runner which makes him ideal for the zone running scheme and he has great acceleration through the point of attack. Shonn Greene (formerly of the New York Jets) is their power runner. Dexter McCluster and Leon Washington are offensive weapons they use in a lot of creative ways.
The Titans’ offensive line is decent and they have spent consecutive first round picks on the offensive line in Taylor Lewan and Chance Warmack. Taylor Lewan is possibly the most athletic left tackle in football, they love to run the stretch play behind him and to send him out as a blocker on receiver screens.
Warmack is a beastly run blocker and one of the Titans most complete players at the right guard position. The most impressive player on the offense though might be Nate Washington who is their only go to wide receiver. (Washington can be a good WR3 or flex in fantasy football, he is a big fish in a little pond).
The Titans defense blitzes more than any team in football. Tennessee loves to send pressure so that they can hide their Swiss cheese doppelganger secondary. The deep ball is always in play against this team. If Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning can actually get some consistent pass rush, Odell Beckham Jr could have the best fantasy football day of the entire season.
The Titans blitz and stunt well. You may recall watching the Titans on Monday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers a few weeks ago. The Titans almost beat the Steelers dropping Ben Roethlisberger to the ground.
The Titans blitzing slowed down the Baltimore Ravens high powered offense earlier this season as well. The problem is that it is the only card in the Titans pocket and they overplay it. Week after week their relentless pressure rattles opponents in the first half. The opponent inevitably adjusts, burning the Titans with screens, quick passes and a heavy dose of max protection.
The Titans mix up their fronts but an even front (Center uncovered) is their favorite alignment to bring the blitz. The Titans will pull out all the stops to get the blitz going. They love to use a radar defense in which the defensive players move in an amoeba of a formation.
They also love their Psycho front which features 2 defensive tackles in a 2 technique (head up over the guard) when they are in a Nickel package. Their defensive line is very strong and consistent. In film study, I must admit their nose guard Sammie Hill is a terror. When in an odd front, Weston Richburg is in for a challenge.
Nov 16, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants tight endLarry Donnell
(84) can not make a touchdown catch during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
The Giants must get Manning into a good rhythm and he must have a quick release. This is a good week for screen passes, and the typical array of 3-5 step drop backs that are in the West Coast offense. This game is really in the comfort zone of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who is to his core a west coast coach.
The Giants must slow down the pass rush with draws and screen passes. When attempting a deep pass (especially in obvious passing situations) the Giants must have no less than 6 men in pass protection. The rushing attack will be pivotal. The Giants must win on first downs and stay on schedule offensively. The secondary of the Titans may be horrible but you have to evade their pass rush to throw it deep.
Nov 17, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive endJason Pierre-Paul
(90) celebrates his interception return for a touchdown with New York Giants defensive tackleLinval Joseph
(97) and New York Giants corner backPrince Amukamara
(20) during the fourth quarter of a game against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Giants have to do what they are not good at doing to win this football game. They have to stop the run and defend the deep ball. Mettenberger is a mid-line passer, a sloth stuck in quicksand. The Giants need to get A gap pressure to not only sack him but to disrupt the throwing lanes.
They should send Jason Pierre-Paul on superstick stunts in which he crashes the A gap to his side from his defensive end position. To block this effectively the guard and the tackle should switch players to block.
Often their is no such teamwork on the opposing offensive line so the defensive end flies by the tackle and the engaged guard for a free shot at the quarterback. The Giants can also blitz the A gaps. If the Giants do this they will rattle Mettenberger. Run defense will be of great importance.
Prediction: Giants win ugly 17-14
Neither team is doing what it takes to win football games in the National Football League. Something has to give in this match up of teams that can’t find the win column. Give me the Giants to nickel and dime the Titans defense down the field.
This will keep Manning safe from a team that intends harm on the quarterback but it will also create time consuming drives. This will keep the defense rested and the pass rush fast. Its hard to have confidence in either team but I’d like to think the Giants can pull this win off.