There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the Titans match-up with the Eagles on Sunday. However, there are also quite a few reasons to be optimistic. Brandon Gowton, the smartest man on the internet and manager of Bleeding Green Nation, gives us his 3 reasons that the Eagles will lose to the Titans on Sunday.
THREE REASONS WHY THE EAGLES WILL LOSE:
1) Jim Schwartz’s defense struggles on the road
Philadelphia’s defense plays very well at the home. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, the Eagles have allowed just 13.8 points per game when playing at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles are 17-3 in that stretch. Playing on the road has been a different story for Schwartz’s unit, however. In that same time frame, the Eagles are allowing 24.3 points per game in away matchups. They’re 7-10 in those contests.
The Eagles obviously don’t have the same crowd noise advantage to help their pass rush in road games. That’s a bit of a concern going up a Titans offensive line that’s allowed the fewest quarterback hits through Week 3. Philly’s defense is very reliant on getting to the quarterback. It’s something they’re typically very good at doing considering they lead the NFL in pressures generated.
But Marcus Mariota’s mobility presents the Eagles with a challenge they won’t face on most weeks. His ability to avoid pressure and take off running should be a concern for the Eagles. Since 2017, the Eagles have surrendered 282 rushing yards (6.6 yards per rush attempt) and one touchdown to mobile quarterbacks. 33 of those yards came on a run by Andrew Luck last weekend.
2) Carson Wentz might continue to be rusty
Wentz showed plenty of encouraging signs in his return to the field last week. But he also showed a lot of mental rust. Wentz threw an interception when he stared down Zach Ertz. He got the ball out late a little too often which caused some sacks and incompletions.
I have complete confidence Wentz will improve over the course of this season. But it might take him more than just one game before he’s completely shaken the rust off.
While I don’t think the Titans’ defense is a juggernaut just yet, the unit has performed well under new head coach Mike Vrabel and veteran defensive coordinator Dean Pees. Tennessee’s defensive line ranks 10th in pressures generated, per Pro Football Focus. The defense obviously did a great job of shutting down Blake Bortles, who had played well in Week 2, on the road last Sunday.
The Titans might be able to stifle Wentz at times. It doesn’t help the Eagles that they’re still missing some skill players (Darren Sproles, Mike Wallace, and maybe more).
3) Special teams could be a factor
The Titans rank fourth overall in special teams DVOA while the Eagles check in at 29th. Tennessee is averaging 10.3 yards on punt returns and they’ve returned one kickoff for a touchdown. The Eagles, meanwhile, are averaging just 4.2 yards per punt return and 19 yards per kick return. Last week, the Eagles used Corey Clement at punt returner in place of Darren Sproles and he muffed multiple return attempts. Perhaps the wet and rainy conditions were to blame but it’s not like he has a ton of returner experience so that’s something to keep an eye on. If this turns out to be an ugly game, a special teams mistake could make all the difference.