It’s officially Fall.
The temps are ideal. The clocks have fallen back. And, just like clockwork, another season for the Carolina Panthers has reached its halfway point.
The Tennessee Titans are in Charlotte today. They bring with them a punishing style of offense, a fervent dedication to running the football, a physical, run-suffocating defensive , and a healthy +7 turnover differential.
Here are a few pre-game notes to get you ready for kickoff:
- The Titans have made the decision that Ryan Tannehill is their future. The former Dolphins signal caller makes his third start and looks to stay undefeated with a win against Carolina today. He has moved the offense with a higher degree of success than his predecessor, former number one overall pick Marcus Mariota. Tannehill is highly athletic—he played some WR in college. I’m not telling you to look out for any throwback gadget plays. Houston tried that against this defense, it failed miserably. But I wouldn’t entirely rule it out. And the stat sheet won’t show it, but Tannehill is mobile and might present some challenges if he gets the defense in a man coverage situation. I don’t think they need to assign a spy, but I do think they need to keep a close eye on that, situationally.
- One player you need to keep a close eye on today: Titans TE Jonnu Smith. With starter Delanie Walker out of the lineup, Smith has excelled, especially with his ability to get down the field and his prowess in the RAC game. You’re looking at 239 yards on 15 catches. That’s superb production and value. He also appears to be a personal favorite of Tannehill: 9 catches for 142 yards in Tannehill’s first two starts.
- Tennessee has a strong run defense. The pass defense isn’t terrible, but their bread and butter is run containment. The Titans have allowed just three rushing touchdowns on the season, which ranks 3rd in the NFL. They allow 3.9 yards per attempt, which ranks in the top 10. They’ve also held opponents under 90 yards rushing three times this year.
- Here’s a revealing stat: we told you Tennessee is +7 in the turnover differential this season. According to @pfref: The Titans have turned the ball over on just 5.3% of their offensive drives, while forcing turnovers on 13.4% of their opponents’ drives.