Browns vs. Titans: 5 questions with Titan Sized before the Week 6 matchup
We caught up with Matias Wodner of FanSided’s Titan Sized to learn more about the Tennessee Titans before this Sunday’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
The Cleveland Browns began the 2015 season with a loss, but were able to pick up a win in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans. At 0-5, the 2016 Browns are looking to once again pick up the first win of the season against the Titans.
Things will be a bit harder in 2016 as Marcus Mariota is no longer a rookie and the Titans’ rushing attack now features both Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray. The Browns have also gone through three starting quarterbacks this year, unlike last year when only two had been used by the time these two teams met up.
The goal is always to win, but it would be wrong to say that this is a “must-win” game for the Browns. At 0-5, any chance at a playoff berth is gone, not that the chances were too high when the season began. Any wins at this point will come as surprises and serve as motivation for this extremely young team.
The Week 6 matchup against the Titans presents a realistic opportunity for a Browns victory, but a loss would be less than surprising. To learn more about this week’s opponent, we caught up with Matias Wodner of Titan Sized to learn more about the Titans.
1. Do the Titans have a legitimate shot at winning the AFC South this season?
MW: I really think we do. It won’t be because we’re lighting the league on fire with our performances, but given the nature of the AFC South we have a legitimate chance. We’re currently second in the division with the best point differential of all four teams at -9. The Texans don’t look imposing at all.
On the remaining schedule, we have the Browns, the Jaguars and Colts twice each, the Chargers, the Bears and then some pretty good teams. If the defense continues to play to the level they have been and the running game continues to dominate, we can finish 7-9 or 8-8 and possibly sneak into the playoffs as the division winner.
2. How is Marcus Mariota progressing in his second season in the NFL? What must he continue working on to be great?
MW: It has been a bit of a rough start to his second season. Too many times it has seemed like he’s trying to force plays that aren’t there to offset the talent deficiencies that our offensive weapons present. There have been moments where you’re just left thinking, ‘what is he doing?’. But there are still so many times where he leaves you in awe of some of the things he does.
Against the Lions in Week 2, he threw an absolute dime to Delanie Walker for a long touchdown and then led a late-fourth quarter comeback to give us the win on a 4th down. The flashes are so great, but he needs to work on being more careful with the ball.
He also must improve his deep accuracy. A lot of his deep throws are either too weak and he allows the safeties to get there in time or they’re overshot because he’s scared of underthrowing and being picked off.
3. Is the play of DeMarco Murray a surprise, or do you see it as he is just playing up to his ability, which was mismanaged in Philadelphia?
MW: To me it isn’t entirely a surprise, although I didn’t think he’d be arguably the best running back in the league so far. It was so apparent to many football watchers last year that Chip Kelly was completely misusing him in Philadelphia. Murray is a traditional running back. He needs to be set up behind the quarterback in order to pick up momentum going downhill before getting the ball handed to him.
Kelly kept fitting him into his system and running him horizontally out of shotgun, which was never going to work. As many doubts as I have about Mike Mularkey’s exotic smashmouth offense, he’s using Murray in the style that made him so dominant in Dallas and it’s working out great so far.
4. What is the mindset of the Titans fan base when seeing the Browns are next up on the schedule? Any thoughts that a loss is possible?
MW: Considering the Browns are 0-5, we’re more optimistic than usual to play the Browns. That being said, we are so very used to being let down by this team that we know not to take any opponent for granted. I remember being confident after Week 1 last year going into a game against the Browns and being totally let down after being beaten handily by a Browns team that went 3-13 the whole year (and we were just as bad).
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In the NFL, so many things can go wrong within one game that a win is never guaranteed. So as confident as we may be going into this game as we try to start a winning streak, we know a loss to any team, good or bad, is always possible.
5. What is your prediction for the game?
MW: I think the Titans are going to win this game 23-17.