It was as if I transported myself to Arrowhead circa week 3 to watch the Chiefs offense play. For all the trash Alex Smith gets about being Captain Checkdown, Ryan Fitzpatrick takes the cake. Reviewing the Raider game, the deepest shot I saw him take was a 20 yard post down the middle. Other than that everything is quick. Three step drop and out. This should give the Broncos some issues in the pass rush department especially on early downs, but it will also keep the Titans drives more methodical. Big plays for the Titans come when the defense makes a blunder, not because of design.
Fitzpatrick doesn't have the strongest of arms, and if anyone would struggle in cold weather, it would be him. As far as the Titans receiving corps, Nate Washington should be considered their #1 on the outside at the moment. He has 647 yards (15.8) on 41 receptions with 2 touchdown catches. Nate is targeted all over the field, but is their primary deep threat. Overall, he has five receptions and 223 yards receiving on balls thrown to him over 20 yards down the field. This includes 1 touchdown and 5 interceptions.
Their other star receiver is Kendall Wright who can do it all. Though used more as the season has progressed as an inside or slot receiver over the middle, Wright has the ability to play on the outside as well. He has 71 receptions on the season for 840 yards (11.8) and 2 touchdowns. Most of his damage has come within 10 yards of the LOS. In this area Wright has been targeted 71 times and has pulled down 60 catches for 610 yards (444 YAC). This will be a good matchup to watch.
Going to pass on TE Delanie Walker as he still was not cleared following a concussion last week.
On the offensive line and in the running game, LG Andy Levitre is a pretty important piece of the puzzle. The Titans like to pull and run some counter plays and the athletic Levitre allows them to work those things into their system. As far as pass protection, the right side of that line (Chance Warmack RG, and David Stewart RT) have allowed 10 sacks combined.
Shonn Greene figures to be your short yardage and goalline back. Nothing spectacular from him thus far. FB Collin Mooney is a good run blocker but offers little to nothing in the passing game with only 6 receptions.
It is absolutely amazing to me that Chris Johnson was a 2000 yard runner. His vision stinks, he has little patience, and he has a hard time hitting the hole decisively. He is still a threat in space but he will not get you yardage if the space is not there. The Broncos need to be aware of his use in the passing game but beyond that the Titans will not grind out a winning formula on the ground.
Titans Offense vs. Broncos Defense
When the Titans pass: Advantage Broncos
This is a grind em out, quick passing team with very few weapons at the receiver position. When the Titans make big plays on offense it is because the defense makes a mistake, not because of design or execution from superior playmakers. Chris Harris will need to shut down Kendall Wright which he is more than capable of doing.
Fitzpatrick is not accurate enough to sustain long drives consistently over the course of a game. He lacks the arm to push the ball downfield consistently and is prone to making mistakes. If this offense falls behind, it will have a hard time manufacturing points.
In the short game our speed at linebacker with Trevathan and Woodyard provides the sideline to sideline coverage needed to bottle up the short outlet throws to Chris Johnson. CJ2K has speed but so do the Broncos defense.
When the Titans run: Even
After the Broncos showing last week without Kevin Vickerson and Derek Wolfe, I have little confidence that this team can bottle up the running game like it had all season. Though CJ2K may be on the decline, until the Broncos prove they can shut the run game down without those players they are at a distinct disadvantage every game.
Wild Card: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick can scramble and run the ball when things break down. He is the kind of running quarterback that gives the Broncos issues because the Titans don't run read option and he is not in the super athletic mold of Cam Newton who requires a spy. If the Broncos play a lot of man free and the coverage is there, expect Fitzpatrick to move the chains with his feet.
This unit will have to hope for a close game and some above par execution in order to hang points on the board. They are simply not a chunk or big play offense and will have a hard time keeping things close in a shootout.