The Tennessee Titans enter Sunday’s matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals coming off back-to-back wins against the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers.
The Titans will host a Bengals squad that enters at 6-4 and is also coming off back-to-back wins, including a 37-30 win on the road in Pittsburgh last week.
While the Titans players insist that last year’s AFC Divisional Round loss to the Bengals has nothing to do with Sunday’s matchup in Nashville, it’s hard to imagine that game hasn’t at least been a thought leading up to this weekend’s showdown.
As the Titans prepare to take on the Bengals and win three in a row, here are three players to keep an eye on for the Cincinnati Bengals.
#1. Ja’Marr Chase
Cincinnati’s WR1 has missed the last three games, but reports indicate that Chase will likely make his return from a hip injury this Sunday in Nashville.
When healthy, Chase is one of the top wide receivers in the league and before the injury that has sidelined him the last three weeks, Chase had 47 catches for 605 yards and 6 touchdowns.
In the two games prior to his injury, Chase recorded at least 130 receiving yards and two touchdowns in each game.
Cincinnati’s offense has been one of the best in the league this season, and that unit becomes even more dangerous with a receiver like Chase in the fold.
It’s not a guarantee he plays, but it seems like things are trending that way, so if #1 is on the field, he’s a player to keep an eye on.
#2. Joe Mixon
Another key offensive playmaker who is dealing with an injury issue, Joe Mixon is a player to keep an eye on.
The Cincinnati running back has over 900 yards from scrimmage this season, along with eight total touchdowns and is just two weeks removed from a five-touchdown performance in the Bengals win over the Carolina Panthers.
Mixon has been in concussion protocol this week after suffering a concussion in last week’s win against the Steelers, so it’s not certain he plays, but if he does, he’s a guy to keep an eye on as a running back who can be a threat catching passes out of the backfield.
If Mixon doesn’t play, Samaje Perine should be in line to handle a lot of backfield duties, but Mixon’s status still seems to be up in the air.
#3. Trey Hendrickson
Hendrickson is the player to watch on the Bengals defense.
The Cincinnati pass rusher leads the team with six sacks on the season and has two forced fumbles.
Hendrickson is coming off one of his best games of the season last week, where he finished with five tackles and two sacks against the Steelers.
Considering the difficulties the Titans have had in pass protection, Hendrickson presents a challenge as he has been among the league’s best in QB pressures and pass rush win-rate.
The Titans offensive line will have to be at its best to keep Hendrickson out of Ryan Tannehill’s face Sunday afternoon.