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Friday, November 19, 2010

Titans vs. Redskins game preview

Kickoff: Noon

TV: Fox

Radio: 104.5 The Zone

Weather: 54 and partly cloudy

Commentators: Dick Stockton, Jim Mora Jr., and Charles Davis





Tennessee finally gets back to friendly confide of LP field this Sunday, for their first game in nearly a month. The Titans look to rebound from a two-game losing steak. What a good time to have the reeling Washington Redskins to come to town. The Skins got flat out embarrassed by Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick was a one man show, accounting for 413 total yards and six touchdowns. The Redskins had trouble containing the mobile Vick and he was able to pretty much do as he pleased. This particularly bodes well for Vince Young, who is of course one of the more mobile QBs in the league.



Another interesting storyline going into this game is the return of former Titan Albert “Big Al” Haynesworth. He signed a $100 million deal with Washington after playing with the Titans his first seven years in the league. Haynesworth had an embarrassing play himself Monday night, when he stayed on the ground and didn’t get up as Michael Vick scrambled around (Big Al said “ I had, like a Charlie horse in my Thigh or whatever.”). This is just the latest in a number of incidents that have Redskins fans questioning his effort and Titans fans glad he isn’t with the team anymore. Mike Shanahan and Haynesworth have continuously bumped heads on his conditioning and work ethic. His rocky relationship with Shanahan led to speculation that Haynesworth could be traded back to the Titans and Jeff Fisher even confirmed the report that the Titans looked into the idea, but the deal never really got off the ground.



Haynesworth’s homecoming will definitely be something to see but the Titans are more worried about getting back into the win column. Vince Young gets the start after coming in as the second QB on the depth chart last week. Kerry Collins was initially ruled out for several weeks after injuring his calf against the Dolphins, but now coach Jeff Fisher said he will the number 3 QB. Young has to stay healthy now with the Collins injury as the Titans only have backup rookie Rusty Smith in case Young goes down. Young also has another chance to exploit one of the worst secondaries in the league. Washington is actually allowing an NFL worst 415.3 yards per game, with 286.6 of that through the air. The newly acquired Randy Moss again is pushed to the forefront in this game. After being targeted 4 times and only having one catch, Moss has yet another chance in his first home game to make his mark. He will be matched up with one of the better corners in the league in Deangelo Hall. Hall you may remember intercepted former Commodores QB and current Bears signal caller Jay Cutler four times in one game earlier this season. So that will be a key match-up in the game. As good as Hall is, he is very aggressive and has a tendency to either make the interception or get burned for a touchdown.



Now with the storylines out the way, let’s breakdown the three key factors in the game:



1. The Titans dominant defensive line vs. the porous Redskins offensive line: On paper this one is a mismatch. The Titans have accumulated 25 sacks which has them tied for 3rd in the league. Washington’s offensive line has allowed 25 sacks. The Titans should be able to pressure Donovan McNabb. McNabb has thrown 11 interceptions to 9 touchdowns and the line is to blame for some of that. If the Titans do what they do best, than they should be able to fluster McNabb out of the pocket and help the secondary out. McNabb does throw the deep ball well so you have to account for that.

2. McNabb’s Arm vs. Titans Secondary:  As I stated above, if there is one good thing McNabb still does, it’s taking a shot down field. The Redskins Anthony Armstrong is one of five players in the NFL averaging more than 20 yards per reception and his 22.6 average is the highest in team history since 1952. Tennessee allowed Miami and its three QBs to throw for 316 yards going 24 of 37 in the process. The Titans have allowed six TD passes of 20 yards or longer already this year and are ranked 25th in pass defense, so the secondary will need to step up to defend Armstrong’s big play ability. Cortland Finnegan and Alterrun Verner have to be sure in coverage and the Titans need to continue to get a good pass rush to thwart the McNabb and the Redskins passing game.

3. The Moss effect part 2.: A lot of attention was given to Moss for only catching one pass for 26 yards in last weeks game against the Dolphins. I won’t jump on the bad-mouthing bandwagon though. For one, he was only thrown to 4 times the whole game. For two, it’s hard to expect a guy to come in and make an immediate impact, especially when the QB situation changes on a dime at any moment with Young or Collins. And for three, his debut also came against Vontae Davis who seems to have his number this year. In two games against Davis, Moss has only that one catch he had last week. And just to be sure about my analysis, I made sure to pay extra close attention to how the Miami defended Moss. From my break down they rarely double-teamed Moss, allowing Davis to cover him for the most part. They did keep a safety in the vicinity of Moss though and didn’t have eight men in the box, except on a few plays. That allowed Chris Johnson to get those long gashing runs that he was getting all game. Johnson finished with 117 yards on 17 carries and a lot of it had to do with Moss’s presence on the field. Young and Moss got to have another week of practice under there belt, and also have one of the worst pass defenses coming to town. The Moss effect will show up even more in this game, I all but guarantee it.



Game notes and stats: The Titans enter the game with a 12-game winning steak versus the NFC. This will be only the second time the Redskins have ever visited LP field and the first time was in 2006. Donovan McNabb teams are 46-2 when he has a passer rating of 100 or higher including the playoffs. LB Brian Orapko has 5 ½ sacks in the past five games and 8 ½ in six games versus AFC opponents. Vince Young is 12-2 against the NFC and got his first NFL win against the Redskins in 2006. Chris Johnson ran for his 5th 100-yard rushing game and 21st of his career last Sunday. Randy Moss (949) needs just 3 catches to pass Andre Reed eight-most in NFL history.



Food Drive: The Titans are encouraging fans before the game to participate in the annual Second Harvest Food bank food drive. Fans can drop off non-perishable items at one of the several collection sites around LP field. The most reportedly needed items are canned tuna and chicken, canned vegetables and fruit, peanut butter, rice, chili, and macaroni and cheese.

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