This is the first true test for a Titans defense that is ranked #1 in yards allowed this season. Last year the Giants finished the season ranked 8th in total offense (366) and 8th in points scored 25.1. In their 2 games so far this year they have averaged 393 yards and 22.5 points, good for 18th and 12th respectively through two games.
This game will be all about the defensive line getting pressure on Eli Manning. It looks like the Giants will be without their starting center, Shaun O'Hara, which should pave the way for Jason Jones to have a big day. Our secondary has looked pretty strong thus far, but they haven't faced a receiver combo that is anywhere close to as good as Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. Jason McCourty said as much this week according to John Glennon:
"And I think Eli Manning at quarterback is very talented. They’ve got very good wide receivers on the outside in (Steve) Smith, (Hakeem) Nicks and (Mario) Manningham, so I think this week will be a different challenge for us in the secondary."
Eli will pick them apart if he is given all day to sit back there and find an open guy.
The Giants have a pretty good running back combo in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. They used to be a thunder and lightning type deal, but lately Jacobs has decided to run soft when not throwing his helmet in the stands. There run game doesn't really scare me, but they will need to make sure and play their assignments against Bradshaw.
On offense, as we have talked about all week, this game is all about how Vince Young comes back. I do believe that he has gotten to a point in his career that he will be able to put last Sunday behind him. It would also be nice to see the offensive staff not mail it in halfway through the game this week and do some of the things that have made them so dangerous since VY re-entered the line-up.
I want to see the offensive line come out and maul some people in this game. Their performance last week was one of the worst in the Mike Munchak era. I expect they have gotten tired of hearing about this week and will have a point to prove on Sunday.
The same thing goes for Chris Johnson. Hines Ward said CJ gave up last week. Now none of us believe that is true, but I expect that CJ2K wants to come out and get another 100-yard game streak going. The Giants have never CJ in person so I expect him to be able to get some chunks early because it is impossible for guys to really understand his speed, quickness and acceleration until they see him live on the field.
- Biggest key to the win
Taking care of the football- The Titans are -5 in turnover ratio this season, and you better believe that if they come out and give the ball away like they did last week the Giants will be up by 3 touchdowns before the Titans know what hit them.
- Most important match-up for the Titans to win
The point of attack on defense. Again, Eli will put up numbers if he has time. This defensive line has been really, really good so far. They will need to continue to be that good in order for the Titans to get a win here.
- Titans player that needs to step up
Kenny Britt's name will be here until he actually shows up for a game. This guy is the key to the Titans passing game being dynamic. Nate Washington is a nice receiver, but Britt has one million times the talent of Washington. Time for him to prove it.
From the time the schedule was released I thought the Titans needed to start 2-1 to have a good season. After the suspension to Ben Roethlisberger was announces, I figured they would win the first two and drop this one. Obviously that scenario hasn't played out, but that start can still be accomplished.
I pretty much always expect Titans games to come down to the wire, and this week is no exception. To me these to two teams are in very similar positions- Both are trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2009 season, both are at least wild card caliber teams, and both are trying to bounce back from embarrassing losses last week.
Titans 24 Giants 21