Titans vs. Panthers: When the Panthers Have the Ball

The key to this game for the Titans on defense will be containing Cam Newton. He has been a whole lot better in his rookie season than I ever imagined he would be. There was no doubt he would be able to use his legs to make some plays, but he has been throwing the ball really well. He is averaging almost 300 yards per game passing with 11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.

His favorite target so far has been Steve Smith. He already has 918 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns. The Titans corners will match up pretty well with Smith. The concern comes when they pass him off to safeties in zone coverage. Hopefully Griffin/Hope/Babineaux will be smart enough in this one to worry about their deep responsibilities instead of play fakes.

The other huge concern in the passing game is Greg Olsen. He is having the best year of his career, and the Titans would have trouble covering my 3-year old if he lined up at tight end. My guess would be that we see Will Witherspoon and Gerald McRath at linebacker in nickel situations. They aren't very good in coverage, but at least Barrett Ruud won't be out there.

The Panthers rushing attack is a two-headed monster with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Williams, like Chris Johnson, got a huge contract extension this summer. He hasn't been putting up big per game numbers, but he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry. We would be having a party on Broadway if Johnson had that number. Stewart is in the same boat. He only gains 40.9 yards per game, but 4.6 yards per carry.

This is the most powerful offense the Titans have seen this season. They key will be forcing Cam to make mistakes while limiting his big plays. I hope they spent a lot of time working on wrapping up while tackling this week because you aren't going to arm tackle Newton, and if you allow him to extend a play when you should have gotten him down bad things are going to happen.

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