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Best matchups for Titans fans to watch during the bye

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Titans defense

The Titans get a week to rest, which means Titans fans can have fun laughing at the expense of other teams for a change.

But if you don’t want to do that, I’ve complied a list of intriguing games to watch if you’re fortunate enough to have NFL Red Zone or Gamepass, because not all of them are available at once. So let’s take a look at the best matchups from Week 8 as the Titans get a bye.

Eagles-Jaguars

These have been the two disappointing teams of 2018, and coincidentally both teams lost to the Titans. This London matchup features an Eagles team with strong quarterback play from Carson Wentz but a terrible offensive line and secondary and a Jaguars team with Blake Bortles at quarterback and a loaded defense that is poorly coached.

Bortles usually saves his best games for England, but has he ever earned anyone’s trust at quarterback? I don’t think so. With Leonard Fournette out (again) we’ll get to see Carlos Hyde’s debut as a Jaguar, but I’m not to thrilled as he’s going up against a great defensive line, albeit one that lost Derek Barnett for the season.

Since his return to the Eagles Alshon Jeffery has been balling, as has Zach Ertz, but with a Jaguars pass rush led by studs such as Yannick Ngakoue (having potentially a career year), it’s going to be tough for a struggling Eagles offensive line to keep up. This is played on a neutral site, but who knows, perhaps Bortles actually plays like an NFL quarterback this week.

I guess I’ll take the Eagles, but I won’t be surprised if the Jaguars win, because it’s been that kind of year.

Seahawks-Lions

None of us thought the Seahawks would make it to second place in the NFC West, yet here they are at that after the 49ers were hit by injuries and had their defense consistently lay eggs, as they have the least amount of takeaways in the league with three. After a horrendous start to the season the Lions are suddenly in the mix in the NFC North thanks to an excellent trio of wide receivers, the emergence of rookie running back Kerryon Johnson and an offensive line that’s become one of the best on the season.

The Lions trading for Damon “Snacks” Harrison was astute, as they traded a fifth-rounder for an elite run stopper going up against a team that always wants to establish the run. Incredibly, the Seahawks offensive line, while still bad, has not been overwhelmingly bad like it has been in previous years, and on defense Frank Clark is putting up the best season of his career in a contract year.

So Seattle’s defense has been decent even in the aftermath of breaking up the Legion of Boom, and they face a test in Detroit’s offense. Matthew Stafford, after an ugly first two games, has put together a solid stretch of play, and Kenny Golladay, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones provide an outrageously talented and diverse wide receiving trio.

Russell Wilson has been inconsistent this season, but still has many tricks up his sleeve and will be a reason why Seattle should be competitive in this one. Still, I think Detroit takes this one.

Ravens-Panthers

Titans fans got to witness first hand how incredible the Ravens defense is in that week 6 home shut out. The offense, with a revamped receiving corps and an actually inspired Joe Flacco, has found new life. On the flip side, the Panthers probably aren’t a good team, but they’re “good” in that they have a great quarterback with a good scheme and an offensive line that isn’t killing him for a change. They’ve stumbled their way into close games as a result.

Both teams need a win to stay in their respective divisional races, but Carolina clearly needs it more since the red hot Saints offense plays in the NFC South. Their receiving corps has improved but isn’t outstanding, and outside from a few standout guys like Luke Kuechly and Donte Jackson the defense isn’t that scary. Cam Newton has been playing excellent as of late, though, so the Panthers have a shot.

The issues on offense and defense for Carolina would explain why the Ravens are road favorites. While the defense doesn’t include “big” names, there’s quality and depth at practically every position. On offense, John Brown has been a steal on a 1-year, $5 million contract, and with Flacco playing like he cares the offense is anchored less than it was in the past.

So I’d probably have Baltimore winning, but this should be a fun matchup.

Packers-Rams

This essentially is an injured Aaron Rodgers vs the Rams. Despite a largely ineffective defense and worse offensive line, the Packers have three wins on the season in a tight NFC North race. The Rams are 7-0 thanks to star players like Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, the offensive line, and Aaron Donald.

There’s not much to say about this other than Rodgers being with the Packers will make this fun. It’ll be interesting to see what Donald does against the Packers offensive line, since he had four sacks, six tackles for a loss and five quarterback hits last week against the 49ers.

But yeah I’ll take the Rams here. But having Rodgers in it is always fun, right?

Saints-Vikings

Now for the game of the week. Despite an awful defense, the Saints are 5-1 on the year, with Drew Brees and company lighting it up on offense. After losing their way for a bit after a loss to the Bills, the Vikings defense is back, and now they get Everson Griffen back in time for Sunday’s matchup.

New quarterback Kirk Cousins is playing the best football of his career. While some bone headed mistakes rear their ugly head in from time to time, his play under pressure has taken a big step up, and his chemistry with arguably the best wide receiver in football in Adam Thielen has been much greater than I had expected.

Drew Brees is an MVP candidate right now, and his accuracy and consistency are as sharp as usual. With a loaded cast of skill players in Michael Thomas, Tre-Quan Smith, Taysom Hill, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and perhaps the best offensive line in the league, it’s been easy for Sean Payton to provide an intense, highly entertaining scheme. They’ll need it against a Minnesota defense that’s found their groove once again and is getting one of the best pass rushers in football back.

Oh yeah, and it’s a battle between the two teams involved in the Minneapolis Miracle.

Anyway, the Vikings offensive line has returned to being brutal, but so has the Saints defense, so something has to give. I might take the Vikings to win this one. Looking forward to it.