The Titans are about to experience life without Derrick Henry, and their first try will come against one of the NFL’s best teams. Tennessee will make the trip out west to meet the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football.
Henry underwent surgery on his foot this week, and will miss the next several weeks — potentially the rest of the season. The Titans are left with Jeremy McNichols and the newly signed Adrian Peterson and D’Onta Foreman. Few players in the league mean more to their respective teams than Henry does to the Titans, so watching Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones operate without him is going to be fascinating.
Their first test comes against the 7-1 Rams, who just added Von Miller to their defense. He joins Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, as Les Snead and company have gone all in to win it all this season.
The Rams’ only slip-up came against the Cardinals in week four. Since then, they’ve beaten up on some of the NFL’s worst teams — now they have a showdown with the current No. 1 seed in the AFC.
However, without Henry in the lineup, the Rams are big favorites, as expected. Following that news, Los Angeles has settled in as a 7.5 point favorite. The total sits at 53.5.
Tennessee has won games without Henry being a huge statistical factor before, look at the Chiefs and Colts games for examples. But he demands so much attention from defenses — Adrian Peterson won’t strike the same fear. So it’s going to fall more on Ryan Tannehill’s shoulders, and they whether or not the offensive line can keep him upright. The Titans have given up the fourth most sacks (24) so far in 2021, and Henry’s absence could make that number soar even higher.
On the other side, Sean McVay’s offense is humming, thanks to Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp. The Tennessee defense will have its hands full on the road Sunday night, and the offense has a tall task ahead of them in trying to keep up.
It’s a fascinating spot for the Titans, and quite honestly, it’s tough to predict how they’ll respond.