NFL Game of The Week: Browns vs. Titans
Week 13 is officially underway in the NFL as Baker Mayfield and the visiting Cleveland Browns (8-3) travel to Nashville to take on Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans (8-3) on Sunday afternoon. The Browns lead the overall series 35-32, but Tennessee pulled out a victory in the last three meetings.
Each of these teams has experienced an array of success moving towards the latter end of the season. Tennessee is currently leading the AFC South, positioned as the No. 3 seed in the conference behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs.
After failing to make the playoffs in the last 20 years, the Browns are looking for their first playoff berth since 2000, as they have pulled off three straight victories and currently reside in the No. 5 seed in the AFC.
During the winning streak, the Browns have found ways to win despite the absences of Odell Beckham Jr. (Torn ACL), Nick Chubb (MCL Sprain) and Myles Garrett (COVID-19). The team pulled out a narrow victory last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars with the efficient play of quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield threw for 258 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Chubb and Kareem Hunt also controlled the clock, bullying the opposing defense with a combined 206 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The defense struggled mightily against the Jaguars and running back James Robinson, but expect the return of Myles Garrett to put them back on track this week.
After hitting a bump in the road a few weeks back, the Titans have found their groove, winning back-to-back games against playoff caliber teams in the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts. Ryan Tannehill has been an efficient quarterback to say the least, but the consensus MVP of this team has been Derrick Henry.
During the current winning streak for the Titans, Henry has 311 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He also leads the NFL in total rushing yards with 1,257 yards. Another young star who has made Tannehill’s job much easier is wide receiver A.J. Brown. Last week, Brown took a simple slant route and took it 69 yards to the house for the score. He also contributed on special teams, jumping an onside kick and using his breakaway speed for an additional touchdown. Brown’s unique combination of speed and power makes him a matchup nightmare for opposing cornerbacks.
Despite the success on offense, the Titans defense has been a problem all season. Over the last three weeks, the team has allowed an average of 28 points per game to opponents. The pass rush has been nonexistent as the team is ranked No. 25 in sacks (16). The unit will need to step up with the Cleveland Browns coming to town.
Despite the Browns finding success during their three game winning streak, the Titans appear to have the momentum moving into Sunday. This matchup has the potential to be a low-scoring affair as each team is built around running the football. Look for the Titans defense to step up and force a few turnovers to edge out a narrow victory.
Prediction: Titans 20, Browns 17
Austin Boley is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at email@example.com.