ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Titans face the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night at AT&T Stadium.
Here's a look at six things to watch:
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has finally ditched the glove he'd been wearing on his throwing hand since Week One. All indications are he's as healthy as he's been since the start of the season. Now, the Titans need him to settle in and get into a groove, while helping the 30th ranked offense take things to another level. Mariota has had a lot of success against NFC opponents. In 12 career games vs NFC teams, Mariota has 3,039 passing yards (253.3 per game) with 24 touchdowns and 7 interceptions for a 104.3 rating.
Corey Davis and the WRs
Mariota, of course, is going to need better play around him. So far this season the Titans receiving corps has been inconsistent, with drops being a problem all season. Corey Davis had a nine-catch, 161-yard game vs the Eagles, but he's caught just eight passes for 83 yards in the three games since. The Titans need more consistent production from him. In the team's last game, Tajae Sharpe had a career-high 101 receiving yards, so that's a good sign. Davis, Sharpe and Taywan Taylor all need to play well for the Titans moving forward, starting tonight.
Slow Down Zeke
The Cowboys have relied on running back Ezekiel Elliott all season, and that won't change on Monday night. Elliott has 619 yards on the season, and he's averaging 132.8 scrimmage yards per game and has 14 TDs in 16 career home games. Since entering the NFL he leads the NFL with 15 games of 100-plus rushing yards. The Titans are ranked 18th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed on defense, allowing 112.3 per game. If the Titans don't rise up and slow down Elliott, it could be a long night.
The Titans are 11-6 on Monday Night Football, having won five of their last six. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
Stop Amari Cooper and the Deep Ball
One wild card the Titans face on Monday night is the presence of Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper. Monday night's game will be the first for Cooper in a Cowboys uniform after he was acquired in a trade with the Raiders. Just how much the Cowboys target him remains to be seen. Cooper joined the Cowboys during the bye, so the extra time should have him relatively comfortable. One thing is certain: the Titans need to keep from getting victimized by the deep ball, which happened twice vs. the Chargers.
Titans Run Game
Titans running back Dion Lewis had a season-high 155 scrimmage yards against the Chargers, with 91 of those yards coming on the ground. It was a positive sign for a team that's struggled to get the running game going in too many games this season. What the Titans really need to see is more production from running back Derrick Henry, who vowed leading up to the game to be more physical in the second half of the season. The Titans need to get the running game going vs Dallas, but it won't be easy – the Cowboys are allowing just 96.3 rushing yards per game.
When the NFL schedule game out, this looked like a marquee matchup. But the Cowboys and Titans are each 3-4, and the Titans are on a three-game losing streak. With the nation watching, it would be a great time for the Titans to get back on track. The Monday Night Football stage is a big one, and the Titans have fared well on it in recent years, winning five of the last six and seven of the last 10 on MNF. Will this game prove to be a turning point in the season? Tune in to find out…
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Dallas Cowboys. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)