NASHVILLE, Tenn. –The Titans return home to LP Field to host the New York Giants in a battle of two teams desperate for a win. The two teams have 13 combined losses with New York coming in losers of its last seven contests.
Tennessee (2-10) is coming off back-to-back road losses in Philadelphia and Houston and will play three of its final four games at LP Field.
The Giants (3-9) play their second straight AFC South team after losing 25-24 to Jacksonville in Week 13. In that game, New York blew a 21-0 lead as Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee nailed the game-winning field goal in the final minute of the game.
The two franchises have split the 10 games in the all-time series. New York took the first five with the Titans winning each of the last five.
This is the first meeting since November of 2006 when the Titans pounded the Giants 29-10 at MetLife Stadium.
After leaving last week's game with a shoulder injury, rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger is expected to be in the lineup on Sunday. Mettenberger's season passing totals stand at 93-of-155 passing for 1,287 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions. His 87.8 passer rating leads the four NFL rookie quarterbacks who have recorded at least one start this season, ahead of Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater (79.0), Oakland's Derek Carr (74.4) and Jacksonville's Blake Bortles (72.2).
Milestones on the Horizon
Michael Griffin (785 career tackles) needs four tackles to move past Blaine Bishop (788) for most tackles by a safety in franchise history.
Brett Kern needs four punts to reach 400 for his career.
Dexter McCluster needs four punt returns to reach 100 for his career and six receptions to reach 200 for his career.
Delanie Walker (673 receiving yards) needs 96 receiving yards to set a single-season franchise record for receiving yards by a tight end (Frank Wycheck had 768 in 1998). Walker can also become the first tight end in franchise history to post three 100-yard performances in a single season since Alvin Reed in 1968.
Nate Washington needs four receptions to become the ninth player in franchise history to reach 300 receptions in a Titans/Oilers uniform.
Five Things to Watch
1. Start Fast
The Titans have found themselves in early game deficits of 10-0, 17-0, and 17-0 the last three weeks. All the talk this week has been that a return to LP Field will help the Titans jump out to a better start, something they desperately need in order to right the course.
2. Establish/Maintain a Running Game
It's been since Week 5 against Cleveland since the Titans have run for 100 yards as a team. That's a streak of seven consecutive games under the century mark. If there was ever a game to end the drought, it is this week against the Giants.
New York ranks 31st against the run this season, allowing 140.6 yards per game. Now is the time for Bishop Sankey and company to get loose.
3. Force Bad Eli Manning
Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings. He can be great. But it's also no secret that Manning has a propensity for turning the ball over. New York's 25 turnovers are third most in the league; with Manning's 12 interceptions the fourth most among NFL quarterbacks.
It all starts with the pass rush forcing Manning to move in the pocket. The Titans didn't sack Fitzpatrick once in Week 13 and he burned Tennessee for six touchdown passes. The opportunities for takeaways will surely be there for the Titans on Sunday -- it will just be a matter of taking advantage.
- Contain Odell Beckham Jr.**
Beckham might be the last receiver that Tennessee's defense wants to see after DeAndre Hopkins piled up 238 yards and two touchdowns last Sunday. The two are similar in breed. Young, fast, and a homerun waiting to happen at all times.
The rookie from LSU has five straight games of at least six receptions and 100 yards to go with five touchdowns this season. That includes a seven-catch, 108 yard performance against the vaunted Legion of Boom in Seattle.
He will make a few plays, but the Titans defense needs to keep Beckham from taking the game over the game completely like Hopkins did a week ago.
5. Inactive List
All signs point to Mettenberger playing Sunday despite being listed as questionable. Other Titans won't be able to say the same. Kendall Wright, Taylor Lewan, Michael Oher, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson are all questionable as well. The absence of Wright and any of the offensive tackles would be particularly costly for the Titans.
Tennessee is already without the services of center Brian Schwenke (knee) and Justin Hunter (lacerated spleen), both of whom are on injured reserve.
On the Giants side, running back Rashad Jennings is expected to be a game-time decision.