Broncos Week 3-Traveling to Tennessee

NASHVILLE TN - OCTOBER 03: Marc Mariani #83 of the Tennessee Titans runs a kickoff back for a touchdown aganst the Denver Broncos at LP Field on October 3 2010 in Nashville Tennessee. Denver won 26-20. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

This week the Broncos take their show on the road for the first regular season road game of 2011, as the (1-1) Tennessee Titans play host to (1-1) Denver. Both clubs came away with their first win of the season . The Titans are fresh off a 26-13 win over the Ravens, giving new head coach Mike Munchak his first career win. The Broncos defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, which gave new head coach John Fox his first win in Denver. This weeks contest will take place at LP Field in Nashville at 11:00 AM MDT on Sunday September 25th.


The game will be broadcast by CBS. Bill Macatee will handle play-by-play duties, while Steve Tasker will provide analysis. Check here for the Regional Telecast.   

LP Field has a Tifsport Bermuda Sod surface and seats 69,143. The weather forecast for the game on Sunday calls for 

Hi_shwrs
 Rain showers
Temperature: 56/74f

For the current up to date forecast, check here.

The Officials for the game are:

Referee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Parry                              
Umpire  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dan Ferrell                             
Head Linesman  . . . . . . .Derick Bowers                            
Line Judge . . . . . . . . . . . Rusty Baynes                             
Field Judge  . . . . . . . . . . Scott Edwards                            
Side Judge . . . . . . . . . . .Keith Washington                         
Back Judge . . . . . . . . . . Perry Paganelli     


OFFENSE


On Offense, the Titans are ranked 24th in points scored (20.0), 15th in Total Yards (362.0), 7th in Passing Yards (303.5) and 30th in Rushing with 58.5 Yards per game.


The Titans couldn't get their running game going through the first two weeks, partly because RB Chris Johnson held out for the entire preseason. Johnson had  a meager 53 yards on 24 carries (2.2 ypc) against the Ravens last week. Javon Ringer had a 10-yard touchdown run, but the Titans needed their passing game to move the football. The Offensive Line did not give up a Sack and Matt Hasselbeck threw for 358 yards in the game including a 4-yard touchdown pass to WR Kenny Britt, who led the team with 135 yards receiving. WR Nate Washington added seven catches for 99 yards.

The Titans gained 432 total net yards, qualifying as the highest yardage total in team history against the Ravens. 

Against Baltimore, the Titans ran the ball a little more to the left side than the middle or right. They ran most of the time in the 212 (RB, TE, WR) set, but also in the 122. They also like to run a delay to Chris Johnson in the 3 WR set out of the shotgun. When they passed the ball, Tennessee employed a 4 WR, 1 RB set. That is where they beat the Ravens. The Titans also passed more often than ran out of the 113 set and ran play action in the 212 effectively. Matt Hasselbeck spread the ball around the field, passing 16 times to the left, 9 to the middle and 19 to the right side, including the touchdown and interception.

Kenny Britt has the size and speed to outmatch the Bronco DB's. He is having trouble with his Hamstring tightening up this week in practice, which may have an affect on the game. Nate Washington is a reliable #2 guy and coming in at the 3rd and 4th Receiver spots are Lavelle Hawkins and their primary return man Marc Mariani.

DEFENSE


Defensively, Tennessee ranks 4th in points given up (14.5), 3rd in Total Yards yielded (276.0), 3rd in Pass Defense (172.0) and 14th in Rushing Yards allowed with 104.0 per game. The Titans Defense has allowed the least yards per play (4.4) through Week 2.

The Titans defense forced three turnovers, totaled three sacks and limited the Ravens to 229 total yards last week. Their Defensive Line got good penetration when the Ravens ran the stretch run play, swarming to the ballcarrier. DE Dave Ball, who usually plays on the right side, played at Left end for the Raven game. 2nd year DE Derrick Morgan rotated in on passing downs. This week Ball should be moving back to the right side as current starter William Hayes returns from a preseason shoulder injury. They are also high on rookie DT Karl Klug, who got his first career sack on Sunday and also forced a pair of fumbles in the game.

The Titans clamped down and stopped the run on Sunday, holding Rice to 43 yards on the ground. That was an improvement from Week 1, when Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 97 yards and a score. 

                       

At Linebacker, Free Agent acquisition Barrett Ruud is the Titan's leading tackler. He and 10th year Will Witherspoon balance out the rookie Akeem Ayers.

In the backfield, FS Michael Griffin is the team's 2nd leading tackler. Starting SS Chris Hope missed the Ravens game with a shoulder injury. He should return to practice this week, and how strong the shoulder is will determine if he plays on Sunday. Jordan Babineaux played well filling in for Hope, with a fumble recovery in the game. 

Cortland Finnegan and Jason McCourty are the Cornerbacks for Tennessee. Alterraun Verner is their 3rd CB. This trio is as good as any in the league. Cortland Finnegan is the starting RCB, but played the nickel spot against Baltimore.


SPECIAL TEAMS


Former Bronco punter Brett Kern has 10 punts with a 41-yard average, putting 7 inside the 20 with one touchback. The punt Coverage Unit has allowed an 8.75 return average. 

Kern had a nice 38.3-yard net on Sunday. Rob Bironas made four straight field goals after missing a 34-yard try in the first quarter.

Rob Bironas is 4/6 (58.1%) on his Field Goals this year. He is an 85% career success rate and his longest Field Goal was 60 yards, though he is 15/23 (65.2%) over 50+ yards. Rob's kickoffs average 67 yards. Half of his 10 kickoffs have been touchbacks, the other half were ran rack an average of 33.6 yards. 

Marc Mariani has 4 punt returns for a 6-yard average. He hasn't had the opportunity to return a kickoff yet and it should be a priority for the Broncos to continue that streak. Mariani scored on a 98-yard kickoff return against the Broncos in 2010.

SERIES HISTORY

This will be the 36th time the Broncos have played the Oilers/Titans franchise. The Broncos and Oilers played twice annually from 1960 through 1969, and it started off very rough for the Broncos. The series now stands at a 14-20-1 record for Denver, but in those American Football League years Houston won 14 games. Since the merger, the Broncos have led this series.


The 39th all-time meeting between the former American Football League rivals is also a rematch of an early season battle last year at LP Field.  In that contest, played on Oct. 3, the Broncos used 341 passing yards by Kyle Orton to defeat the Titans 26-20.  Orton provided the game’s decisive score with a touchdown pass to Correll Buckhalter with less than two minutes remaining


THE BOTTOM LINE


This is going to be a tough matchup for Denver. The Broncos have yet to record an interception this year and the Titans Matt Hasselbeck-to-Kenny Britt tandem is clicking well. The Broncos should be able to contain CJ again, but if they can't get pressure on Hasselbeck, their Cornerbacks will have their hands full. On Offense, Denver will need to run the ball (cue broken record) effectively. The Titans have a solid Defense and it will take a mistake-free game to defeat them.

The Broncos head into this game as one of the league's most penalized teams, with 17 accepted penalties in two games, six for Offensive holding, and four Personal Fouls

The next regular season win for the Denver Broncos will be the team’s 400th in its history. With that win, the Broncos will become the 3rd original AFL franchise to hit the 400 win mark. Oakland and New England are the others. The Line in Vegas has the Titans favored by 6.5 points, but Denver has prevailed over the last 3 games in Nashville.


Go Broncos!                    




 

                                                    
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