The Tennessee Titans (6-2) travel to the City of Angels to take on the Los Angeles Rams (7-1) on Sunday Night Football.
Last week’s thrilling overtime victory in Indianapolis seems like it was a month ago after Derrick Henry’s foot injury caused him to go on IR earlier this week. Seeing a significant contributor go down is tough, but it makes it even tougher when it happens before you fly across the country to play another top team in the NFL.
The addition of quarterback Matthew Stafford has been huge for the Rams. Second in the league in passing yards (2,477) and passing touchdowns (22), Stafford leads an offense that averages nearly 31 points per game. One of Stafford’s top targets has been wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who leads the league in receiving yards (924) and receiving touchdowns (10).
There are several superstars on the defensive side of the ball for the Rams, such as Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald, and Von Miller, who Los Angeles just traded for this week. While their defensive ranking says they are 21st in the NFL, six of the seven wins for the Rams have been by two scores or more. Complementary football is being played right now by the L.A. Rams.
Biggest question for the Titans heading into this matchup: what does the offense look like without Derrick Henry? Adrian Peterson, who has the fifth most rushing yards in NFL history, was signed this week. How involved will he be after a couple days of practice? Ryan Tannehill and the passing game might have to fill some of the production lost without Henry in the lineup. Tannehill found AJ Brown for 150 yards and a score last week, but was dinged up near the end of the game. Would really be helpful for this offense if Julio Jones is able to go on Sunday.
Defensively, two P’s are the topic of conversation: pressure and PI calls. The Titans have really hurried opposing quarterbacks recently, but extended some drives last week with pass interference calls. They face a top five passing attack this week, so let’s see how they defend this high powered Rams offense.
Both the Titans and the Rams enter this game on four-game winning streaks. We will have to wait all day for Sunday Night Football between two of the top teams in the NFL.
Tennessee Titans (6-2) @ Los Angeles (7-1)
Game Time: 7:20 pm CDT
Location: Inglewood, CA (SoFi Stadium)
TV Broadcast Crew: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya, Terry McAulay
Radio: Titans Radio, 104-5 The Zone
Radio Broadcast Crew: Mike Keith, Dave McGinnis, Amie Wells, Rhett Bryan
Referee: Brad Rogers
Line: Los Angeles -7.5
Over/ Under: 53.5
Three Things to Watch
Rams O-Line vs. Titans Pass Rush – A huge key to the Titans success on defense this season has been the pressure applied to opposing quarterbacks. Although just one sack last week in Indianapolis, pressure on Carson Wentz led to Elijah Molden’s pick-six late in the fourth quarter and other favorable results for the Titans defense. This week, it would be a challenge to get after Matthew Stafford. The Rams are tied with Buffalo for the fewest sacks allowed this season, seeing Stafford sacked just eight times in eight games. Harold Landry, Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, Bud Dupree, and others have done a great job of making opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable, but they will have to battle through a solid Rams offensive line before getting to Stafford.
Offense Without Henry – The only surprise about including this topic is that it was not listed first. Since taking over the full-time workload earlier in his career, Derrick Henry has been a staple for the Titans offense. Even when he was injured last week, the ball was still in his hands during a 4th and 1 scenario late in the fourth quarter. With Henry out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, what will this offense look like minus the league’s top running back? Expect the Titans to still want to establish the running game, whether it be with the newly added Adrian Peterson or with Jeremy McNichols. Nearly halfway through the season, it would be very difficult to veer from what has been their identity for several seasons. On the other hand, an offense without Henry puts more emphasis on Ryan Tannehill and the entire passing game. All eyes will be on the Titans offense to see what it looks like without Derrick Henry on the field.
AJ Brown vs. Jalen Ramsey – After setting a new career high with 155 receiving yards last week in Indianapolis, AJ Brown will get to meet Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Sunday night for the second time in his career. Brown and Ramsey’s only other game against each other was back in 2019. Brown finished with one reception for four yards in his third game in the NFL, which also happened to be Ramsey’s final game in Jacksonville. The matchup could be altered a bit if Julio Jones is active, but either way, expect to see one of the best corners in the game defending one of the top young wide receivers in the NFL.
Did You Know?
- As he has in the past, Titans safety Kevin Byard has been a turnover machine this last month. Byard has recorded a turnover, either an interception or recovered a fumble, in four consecutive games. With his interception in Indianapolis last week, Byard has had at least four interceptions in four out of the last five seasons. Byard’s overtime pick makes him just the second Titan/Oiler since 1991 to record an interception in overtime. Former Titans safety Michael Griffin did the same against Miami back in 2009.
- This trip to Los Angeles will be the first time since 1990 that the Oilers/Titans franchise plays in L.A. and also serves as the team’s first visit to SoFi Stadium. In recent history, the Titans have fared well in stadiums they have never played in, with a 5-2 record dating back to 2009. Inaugural trips to CenturyLink Field (Seattle) in 2009, AT&T Stadium (Dallas) and MetLife Stadium (New York) in 2010, Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta) in 2019, and US Bank Stadium (Minnesota) in 2020 all resulted in victories for the Titans. The two most recent losses the Titans have suffered in venues they had never played in before actually took place in back-to-back weeks. During a West Coast road trip back in 2017, losses at Arizona’s State Farm Stadium and San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium spoiled the visitor’s first time in each venue.
- Last week’s victory in Indianapolis improved the Titans current winning streak to four consecutive games. In Mike Vrabel’s first four seasons as head coach, the Titans have had a winning streak of four or more wins at some point during each of those four seasons.