NASHVILLE – The Titans face the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
Here's a look at six things to watch in the contest:
5th start for Will Levis
Quarterback Will Levis took over as the Titans starter back in Week 8. The Titans are 1-3 with Levis at the controls, as he's thrown for 857 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions in four games. The Titans haven't been afraid to throw deep with Levis – he's thrown four touchdown passes of 30-plus yards since taking over. Levis threw four touchdowns in his NFL debut at Nissan Stadium, but he hasn't played a home game since. Can the rookie help right the ship?
The Titans need to give Levis time to work. An offensive line that's been shuffled plenty will be challenged once again this week, with a new look. Rookie Jaelyn Duncan has worked at left tackle in practices, and he'll start alongside another rookie, guard Peter Skoronski, on Sunday. With Chris Hubbard out, Dillon Radunz is expected to start at right tackle. This group needs to be better – the team is allowing a 42.9% pressure allowed percentage, which is third highest in the NFL, and 33 sacks in 10 games.
Titans running back Derrick Henry is just two rushing yards away from becoming the 38th player in NFL history with 9,000 rushing yards. Despite his reduced snaps, Henry has accounted for 42.7 percent of the team's touches in 2023 (3rd highest in NFL). He's one of just three players with 40 percent of his team's touches in 2023 (Josh Jacobs, Christian McCaffery). The Titans need to find more success in the run game, however. The team's 105.0 rush YPG would be the fewest since the 2015 season (92.8 YPG).
Defending Bryce Young
Panthers quarterback Bryce Young has been sacked 36 times this season, the third-most sacks taken by a QB in 2023. Per Pro Football Focus, in eight of the 10 games played, the Panthers have allowed 15-plus QB pressures, which trails only the Giants. The Titans need to fluster the rookie, who has thrown for 1,683 yards with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions this season.
Back at Home
The Titans have played just three homes game in 2023, the last one coming way back on October 29 against the Falcons, the throwback uniform game. Yeah, it's been a while. The Titans have been a different team at home – they're averaging 27.3 ppg game in Nashville, compared to a measly 12.3 away on the road. The Titans are 3-0 at Nissan Stadium in 2023. Can they keep the winning ways going at home?
Importance on Week 12
OK, things are getting pretty bleak here, but we're keeping this going. The Titans are favorites for just the second time in 11 games this season, as the Titans are favored by 3.5 points. Since 1990, teams that started a season 4-7 have made the playoffs 3.3% (5/153) of the time, won the division 2.0% (3/153) of the time and won the Super Bowl 0.0% (0/153) of the time. The percentages for teams that started 3-8: 0.0% for playoffs, 0.0% for division and 0.0% for Super Bowl.