The Tennessee Titans got a nice win in Week 3, but another level of proficiency will be necessary in Week 4.
After a weather-delayed loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, the Tennessee Titans have beaten two division rivals (Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars) by a combined total of six points (20-17 and 9-6) over the last two weeks. Somehow, despite the Jaguars’ resurgence last year, the Titans have beaten Jacksonville three straight times.
The Philadelphia Eagles welcomed quarterback Carson Wentz back last week, and they narrowly beat the Indianapolis Colts 20-16. They were very thin at running back against Indianapolis with Jay Ajayi (back) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) both out (and as of Wednesday’s practice, still non-participants), and the status of both players seems up in the air for Week 4. Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood may be the top two backs again this week. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) was cleared for contact this week, but if he does play on Sunday he’ll likely be on a snap count.
When Blaine Gabbert (concussion) left the Titans’ win over the Jaguars last week, Marcus Mariota (elbow) was pressed into action at less than 100 percent and it showed despite completing 12 of 18 passes. He did show something as a runner, though, with seven carries for 51 yards, and head coach Mike Vrabel confirmed Mariota will start against the Eagles. With Gabbert obviously iffy to be active as the backup this week or possibly beyond, Tennessee signed journeyman Austin Davis this week.
Having a game under his belt should be good for Wentz coming off his torn ACL, though for what it’s worth the Titans are 10th in the league against the pass. But Tennessee is also setting offensive football back a bit, with only the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals below them in total offense through three weeks. With Mariota playing through a nerve problem in his elbow, it’s incredibly unlikely they suddenly turn into a point-producing juggernaut.
The Titans are one of the flimsier looking division leaders in the league, as they hold the tiebreaker over the Jaguars based on the head-to-head win in Week 3. The Eagles are trying to find their way too, amid injuries and guys returning to action on the offensive side of the ball, but the defending Super Bowl champions are a legit contender until further notice.
The level of their opponent would seem to eliminate the possibility, but coming off the win over Jacksonville the Titans may struggle to bring it on the same level in a second straight game. In any case, they have to find a higher level of play they have yet to this season if they hope to pull another upset. Even with home field advantage, Tennessee is on blowout alert with Philadelphia coming to town.