It’s finally here! This coming Sunday, the Tennessee Titans will open up the regular season against the Minnesota Vikings. Last year, the Titans lost several close games and a few blow outs to fall to a 3-13 record, receiving the number one overall pick in the draft in the process. The Vikings, on the other hand, won their division and went to the playoffs.
Due to an unfortunate injury, the Vikings will be without their franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The team made a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to land Sam Bradford, but he will probably not be starting due to not knowing the offense yet.
Here’s what Mike Mularkey said about the events taking place in Minnesota: “It doesn’t matter who their quarterback is, we have to focus on stopping Adrian Peterson first and foremost. He’s a real game wrecker.”
Which brings me to my first point, which is a no brainer. Adrian Peterson has been one of the most dominant backs in this generation of football, and our defense hasn’t been exactly good at stopping the run over the last few years. If we’re going to win we have to keep AP contained as much as possible.
Secondly, Minnesota has a very stout defense, particularly in the secondary. Although we plan to be a run first team, we’re going to be put in situations that we have to throw the ball. When that happens, Marcus Mariota is going to have to put the ball where only our receivers can catch it, or it’s likely going to end up being a turnover. It can’t all be put on Marcus’ shoulders though; our receivers are going to have to step their game up and get open as well.
Next, going back to Minnesota’s defense, their front seven is sneaky good also. Anthony Barr is one of the league’s up and coming linebackers. The Titans offensive line is going to have to show improvement from last year. They need to give Mariota time to throw and open up lanes for DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.
On paper, and going back to what we saw last year, this is a game the Titans are suppose to lose, but I think this is a winnable game. I’m expecting a physical, low scoring game in this one. One other thing I think the Titans should try and do is keep time of possession and keep the ball out of Adrian Peterson’s hands.
Oh, and don’t be surprised if you see Marcus Mariota take off on some scrambles. As good as this secondary is, there’s a good chance there will be some plays where no one will be open.