Week 4, and both the Denver Broncos and the Tennessee Titans need a statement win. The Titans are coming off a 29-10 victory over the Giants at the New Meadowlands Stadium and are looking to break away from the 3-way tie for first in the AFC South. The Broncos lost an offensive shootout last week against Indianapolis and are trying to avoid their worst 4-game start in 11 years.
I think everyone would tell you the Titans’ victory in week 3 was much closer than the score suggested. Had New York not committed 3 costly turnovers and 11 penalties, the Titans could easily be sitting with the Broncos at 1-2. But, such is the game, and you have to commend Jeff Fisher for keeping is squad disciplined and capitalizing on the Giants’ miscues. The Titans offense fired back after a lackluster performance against the Steelers, which featured 7 turnovers. Vince Young went 10-16 with a touchdown, and most importantly, no interceptions. Chris Johnson was back to his Chris Johnson self, dashing for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That’s right fantasy owners, take a breath, Johnson seems to be his explosive self again. Look for Johnson to keep his quest for 2500 yards alive this week. Besides Maurice Jones-Drew in week one, this is the Broncos first look at an elite back, and their 10th ranked run defense won’t be able to contain Johnson’s break away speed.
The Broncos offense is coming into LP Field with the number 1 ranked pass offense. They are averaging 350 passing yards per game. Kyle Orton, after a mediocre-at-best career in Chicago, seems to have found his groove in the foothills of Colorado. Denver’s receiving corps features four receivers with over 140 yards for the year. Brandon Lloyd has 339 yards in 3 games, and is averaging nearly 25 yard/reception. These guys will have to especially step up this week as Knowshon Moreno is likely out with a hamstring injury, leaving the running game to unproven Laurence Maroney and inconsistent Correll Buckhalter. The Titans pass defense will have to improve since last week if it wants to come away with a win this week. The Titans pride themselves on a bend but don’t break mentality, but Tennessee will have a hard time getting away with allowing over 350 yards in the air again, as it did against Eli Manning and the Giants. In addition, Tennessee will be without starting cornerback Jason McCourty (arm). So, if Orton can take advantage of his McCourty’s replacement, rookie Alterraun Verner, it could be a long day for the Titans’ secondary.
This is only the second meeting between the Titans and Broncos, since the Titans moved from Houston from 1997. My guess: The winner between the Broncos’ air attack and the Titans’ ground game will be the victor at the end of the day.
Prediction: Titans 27, Broncos 17
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Written by Patrick Quinn