The Tennessee Titans are one of two AFC teams (Baltimore is the other) that have yet to face an NFC opponent.
That ends Sunday when they kick off a stretch of three straight against the NFC West with a trip to Seattle to face the Seahawks (3:05 p.m., CBS).
Traditionally, the Titans have accomplished a lot against teams from the other conference. Since the current scheduling format was implemented in 2002 they have gone 29-15 against the NFC.
Only twice, including last season, did not they not at least break even versus the NFC. The first, though, was 2005 when they were matched with the NFC West and went 1-3.
Three reasons to believe the Titans will have success Sunday
• Bouncing back: • It is a modest stretch, to be sure, but it is a sign of progress. Dating back to last season’s victory over the New York Jets, the Titans now have gone eight straight games without back-to-back defeats. That sort of resilience is imperative this week because the Seahawks and their fans will expose any emotional uncertainty.
• Battered line: The Titans have relied heavily on their defense to keep them in games through the first five weeks. They have allowed just one run of 20 yards or more and are tied for fifth in the league with 15 sacks. And this week, they face a Seattle offensive line that has played without three injured starters in its last two games.
• Been there, done that: Ryan Fitzpatrick has started just one game and might not be at peak form yet. However, he played Seattle last December with Buffalo. So the Seahawks’ scheme and personnel ought to be familiar to him. We will overlook the fact that the Bills lost that game because they lost a whole lot of games last season.
Three reasons to believes the Titans will struggle Sunday
• Fueled by anger: Under coach Pete Carroll, Seattle plays at an emotional level more commonly associated with a college team – and in stark contrast to the much more business-like Titans. That bunch is bound to be angry in the wake of its first loss this season, 34-28 at Indianapolis. With that as motivation and at home for the first time in three weeks, expect the Seahawks to be particularly amped.
• Next men up: Sure, Seattle has played the last two weeks without three projected starters on the offensive line. However, the offense has rushed for better than 100 yards each of the last four weeks, including a season-high 218 last week against Indianapolis when quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch each topped 100.
• Home sweet home: The first thing most people talk about when they mention the Seahawks’ home, CenturyLink Field, is the amount of noise the fans make. The team’s results, though, speak for themselves. Since the facility opened in 2002, only Green Bay has a better home record than the Seahawks’ 61-29. They have won their last 10 at home and in those games have outscored the opposition by an average of 20.2 points and have been plus-19 in turnovers.
The bottom line
There’s no denying this is a tough spot for the Titans. Seattle is a popular pick to win it all this year, and a lot of that has to do with just how well it plays at home.
That being said, the Titans have been in front in the fourth quarter of every game this season. If they can keep it close once again – and keep the crowd from getting too involved – they will give themselves an opportunity to steal a victory with one big play.
- BRASWELL, ROBERT
- GARRETT, JOHNNY C EXECUTOR; GARRETT, JOHNNY C IV EXECUTOR; GARRETT, ANN BIGGER ESTATE; GARRETT, TIMOTHY M EXECUTOR
- GARRETT, TIMOTHY M EXECUTOR; GARRETT, ANN BIGGER ESTATE; GARRETT, JOHNNY C EXECUTOR; GARRETT, JOHNNY C IV EXECUTOR
- GARRETT, JOHNNY C IV EXECUTOR; GARRETT, JOHNNY C EXECUTOR; GARRETT, ANN BIGGER ESTATE; GARRETT, TIMOTHY M EXECUTOR