The Tennessee Titans travel to Denver to take on the Broncos in Sunday's Week 6 game at Empower Field at Mile High. (Photos: Donald Page)
NASHVILLE -- The Titans face the Denver Broncos on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High.
Here's a look at six things to watch:
Mariota at Mile High
Hey, it always starts with the quarterback, right? Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota still hasn't turned the ball over – he's the only QB to start every game in 2019 who can say that. In five games, Mariota has thrown for 1,116 yards and seven touchdowns, with a 103.0 rating. Look at the stats and Mariota is having a great year. But the Titans would love to see him make more even plays to change games. Will that happen on Sunday?
It's a shame it has to be a storyline, but it is. After Cairo Santos went 0-for-4 last week against the Bills, the Titans were left with no choice but to replace him. Enter kicker Cody Parkey, most recently with the Bears. Parkey will handle kickoff and field goal duties for the Titans and he'll do so in a kicker-friendly stadium. Let's just hope the kicking game is friendly to the Titans this week and beyond.
Slowing Down Von
Coaches always talk about game-wreckers. Well, Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller is one of those guys who gives offensive coordinators, offensive linemen and quarterbacks nightmares. Miller is a seven-time Pro Bowler who has 106.5 career sacks, including two this season. He's tallied 10.5 sacks in his past 10 home games. The Titans need to give Mariota time – and they need to keep him from getting hit by Miller and Co.
The Titans offensive line will largely be responsible for protecting Mariota from Miller and others, and that's been an iffy proposition so far this season. In five games, Mariota has been sacked 22 times, including five last week against Buffalo. Left guard Rodger Saffold beat himself up this week after a shaky start to his season, but he hasn't been the lone ranger when it comes to having some issues. The Titans need better play across the board. Left tackle Taylor Lewan should be better in his second game, while right guard Nate Davis settles in even more.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel has talked all week about Denver's one-two punch in the running game with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Lindsay had a team-high 147 scrimmage yards last week, and Freeman has 100-plus scrimmage yards in two of the team's past three homes games. It's tough to knock Tennessee's defense, which has played well enough to win all five games this year. But the team has had some lapses on run defense, which explains why the team is 14th in the NFL in rushing defense.
Henry continues to be a consistent force for the Titans. He ran for 78 yards last week, and he has 388 yards on the season. The Titans need to be able to run the ball against the Broncos, because it would open up things for the entire offense. Denver is ranked 22nd in the NFL in run defense, allowing 126.4 yards per game. If the Titans can get Henry going early, it could mean successful plays in play-action, and big plays to receivers downfield.
Titans Online looks back at the all-time series against the Denver Broncos. (AP Photos)
Rookie WR Marc Mariani records his first career NFL touchdown, returning a kickoff 98 yards for a TD to give the Titans a 17-13 lead in the third quarter over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2010. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)