NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans face the New York Giants Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Here's a look at six things to watch:
Talk about a tough act to follow. Titans running back Derrick Henry went for a franchise-record 238 yards and four touchdowns the last time out against the Jaguars. Now he'll face a Giants team ranked 22nd in the NFL in run defense, allowing 122 yards per game on the ground. The Titans can't expect Henry to go for 200-plus again. But a Henry-Dion Lewis combination that's able to have some success would sure be nice.
Mariota's NFC Success
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota didn't have to do a whole lot last week, as the running game took over. But he'll likely have to make more plays against the Giants. Mariota has fared well against the NFC. I mean really well. In 13 career starts vs. NFC opponents, Mariota has 26 touchdowns vs seven interceptions for a 105.4 rating. He has a 99-plus rating in three of his past four vs the NFC.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley is a handful. He already has 1,124 rushing yards on the season, including a career-high 170 yards last weekend against the Redskins. He showed his speed on the 78-yard run. But Barkley is more than just a runner – he also has 78 catches for 629 yards and four scores. The Titans need to be wary of his speed, but what's key is wrapping him up before he gets going with gang tackling. It's a big game for the linebackers.
The Tight Ends
No Delanie Walker, and now, no Jonnu Smith. The Titans have lost two top-line tight ends, and now they'll rely on others to keep the train moving. Anthony Firkser has been productive of late, with 16 catches on 16 targets. He's quickly becoming a fan favorite. Titans coach Mike Vrabel said his role should expand after the team lost Smith vs. the Jaguars. Tight ends Luke Stocker and MyCole Pruitt are also on the spot, especially as blockers.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been doing this for a long time -- 15 years to be exact. He's helped the Giants win four out of their last five games, and quieted talk about the team looking at some of its younger QBs down the stretch. Manning is a distributor, and if given time he's capable of picking defenses apart. The Titans need to find ways to get to him, with pressure up front, and possibly from a secondary that leads the NFL with seven sacks.
Vrabel is preaching road mentality this week, which means get off to a fast start, and sustain it. It also means bringing extra energy to the stadium, while not doing things to get the home crowd jacked up. The Titans haven't fared well in their past two road games, getting outscored 72-27 in losses to the Colts and Texans. The team is just 2-5 away from home this year, with the win in Dallas serving as the biggest highlight. The Titans better be ready to step up in the Big Apple.
The Tennessee Titans take the field for practice on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the New York Giants. (Photos: AP, Donn Jones)