The Tennessee Titans (1-2) will host the Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) at Nissan Stadium on Sunday. The Titans will be attempting to bounce back following an abysmal showing against the Cleveland Browns last weekend. Bengals starting quarterback Joe Burrow is 3-0 against the Titans, so the challenge will be significant. Both teams have superstar players that will help determine the outcome. We’ve identified three key matchups.
ANDRE DILLARD VS. TREY HENDRICKSON
Titans left tackle Andre Dillard allowed Myles Garrett to rack up 3.5 sacks and completely wreck the Titans’ offensive gameplan last weekend. Dillard has now allowed a league-high 6.0 sacks through three contests. Dillard’s impending challenge against Trey Hendrickson will be monumental. Hendrickson totaled a career-high 10 pressures in Week 3. Hendrickson is one of the league’s most underrated and underappreciated pass rushers. Dillard will have his hands full.
#Titans LT Andre Dillard has given up 6 sacks in 3 games, per PFF— Wes on Broadway (@TitansStats) September 25, 2023
That’s twice as many as any other Tackle in the NFL
JEFFERY SIMMONS VS. CORDELL VOLSON
The Titans must must make a hobbled Burrow uncomfortable by impacting the pocket. If there’s one matchup they’ll love, it’s Jeffery Simmons against sophomore left guard Cordell Volson. Volson scored an unimaginable 0.0 pass-blocking grade (Pro Football Focus) against Aaron Donald on Monday. Simmons, like Donald, is one of the premier 3-techs in the league. Volson now has a season-long pass-blocking grade of 5.2. Simmons could be in Burrow’s face often and early.
SEAN MURPHY-BUNTING/ROGER MCCREARY VS. JA’MARR CHASE
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor shifted to a quick passing attack in order to protect Burrow’s injured calf. Part of that strategy included Ja’Marr Chase spending significantly more time in the slot in Week 2. It was a resounding success with Chase posting 12 receptions for 141 receiving yards.
I imagine Chase will continue playing slot receiver with increased frequency against the Titans, taking him away from Kristian Fulton, and pitting him against Sean Murphy-Bunting and Roger McCreary. The Titans’ secondary is aiming to respond from Sunday’s embarrassment, but the challenge will be massive against Chase and Tee Higgins. Keeping Chase in check is a crucial key to victory.