NASHVILLE – The Titans face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
Here's a look at six things to watch:
Derrick Henry was a busy many in the opener, carrying the ball 31 times on a night when he went over 100 yards for the 14th time in his career. Now it's time to face the Jaguars, a team Henry has had an enormous amount of success against. Henry ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 12 contest against Jacksonville last year, and everyone remembers his 238-yard rushing contest against the Jaguars in 2018, when he busted off the 99-yard run. Since taking over as the team's full-time starter in 2018, Henry has 498 rushing yards against Jacksonville, which is more than any other opponent. Can he keep it rolling?
Tannehill Time (Without A.J. Brown)
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns in the win at Denver, with a 97.9 passer rating. It was another nice outing, and it continued a trend. Since stepping into the starting lineup in Week 7 of last year, Tannehill has posted nine games in which he completed at least two touchdown passes without throwing an interception. No other NFL quarterback has more such games than Tannehill, with Baltimore's Lamar Jackson and Drew Brees of New Orleans – with six games each – the next closest. Tannehill aims to stay hot against a Jaguars defense that allowed 357 passing yards in their opener last week vs the Colts. One challenge facing Tannehill and the offense: Receiver A.J. Brown has been ruled out for Sunday's game.
Dial Back "Minshew Mania"
Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew came out smoking hot himself in the opener, a 27-20 win over the Colts. Minshew completed 19-of-20 passes with three touchdowns in that game, with a 142.3 rating. He became just the fourth quarterback in NFL history with a 95 percent completion (minimum 20 attempts) in a single game. Now, the Titans have to find a way to dial back the "Minshew Mania." Minshew passed for two touchdowns and a 108.2 rating in his only career game with the Titans last year. With cornerback Adoree' Jackson out and some youngsters in the mix to step up, the Titans need to clamp down.
Of course another way to keep Minshew in check is by keeping the pressure on him. With new addition Jadeveon Clowney added to the pass rush prior to Week One, the Titans flashed in pressuring Broncos quarterback Drew Lock in the opener. Harold Landry and Kamalei Correa had some nice rushes as well. But the Titans didn't record a sack on the night. Can the Titans turn up the heat, and get Minshew on the ground on Sunday? The longer down-and-distance situations would certainly help the cause.
OK, no one needs a reminder of the struggle before the success in Denver. New Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed three field goals, and an extra point, in the opener before kicking the game-winning field goal in the closing seconds. Gostkowski made a wardrobe change – he took off his right sock as a changeup – before booting the game winner. No one cares whether Gostkowski wears a sock or not, just as long as he makes his kicks. The Titans hope to put their kicking issues in the past on Sunday.
A Quieter Nissan Stadium
Hopefully, this will mark the only time this ever appears as a category in here. With fans scheduled to return for the next home game – on October 4 vs the Steelers – it looks like that will be the case. After attending the opener at a quiet stadium in Denver, I'm curious myself how the Titans will pull the empty-stadium game off on Sunday. The team has sold roughly 1,000 fan cutouts, and the bunting around the stadium will feature some of the team's biggest fans. The game presentation – with the intros and scoreboard and sound system – will all be the same. The Titans need to bring their own juice to the stadium once again, and find a way to get to 2-0 for only the third time in the Titans era.