The Tennessee Titans (8-6) are in the midst of a three game winning streak as they attempt to sneak into the AFC playoffs. They are coming off of a shutout win in New York and now get to finish up their season in Nissan Stadium where they are 5-1 this season. The first of their final two games is against the Washington Redskins (7-7). Despite still being firmly in the playoff race, the Redskins don’t seem to be a formidable opponent. The top two quarterbacks on Washington’s roster are out for the season and now they have turned to Josh Johnson who won his first career game last week. The Titans are heavily favored in this game, but they can’t overlook Washington as this is a must win game to get into the playoffs.
Time: Saturday, 4:30 ET
Place: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: NFL Network, Curt Menefee, Nate Burleson, and Steve Mariucci
Offensive Player to Watch: HB Derrick Henry
Henry has erupted over the last two games with over 400 yards and six touchdowns. He has taken over this offense and led the Titans to two straight wins. Since Week 9, the Redskins have allowed their opponent to rush for 100 yards every single week. Their rushing defense has steadily gotten worse as Washington has allowed 399 yards in the past two weeks. This seems to be an opportunity for Henry to continue his hot streak and get closer to his first 1000 yard season in his career. Expect Henry to continue to finish his runs and allow the Titans to rely on him once again. The former Heisman winner is hitting his stride late in the season and it couldn’t come at a better time for Tennessee.
Defensive Player to Watch: CB Leshaun Sims
Logan Ryan announced this week that he would be out for the season after breaking his fibula against the Giants on Sunday. His replacement will be Leshaun Sims who hasn’t seen a lot of playing time this season. He was a key contributor last year in the back end, but Malcolm Butler’s arrival kept Sims on the bench more often than not. Now, Sims gets his chance. He made some big plays last year including a game-saving interception against the Texans, but hasn’t proved he is a consistent starting-caliber cornerback. These final two games will be his opportunity to do that. Ryan was an extremely reliable player for the Titans this year, so expectations will be high for Sims. Saturday will be telling about whether the Titans’ secondary can continue to shut down opposing offenses without Ryan.
Matchup to Watch: WR Corey Davis vs. CB Josh Norman
Corey Davis has shown flashes of dominance this year, but in many games he hasn’t been given many chances. The Redskins will almost certainly key in on the run on Saturday. This will leave a lot of one-on-one opportunities for Davis against Norman outside. I would expect Davis to see a lot of targets from Mariota especially if Tajae Sharpe is unable to go on Saturday. Norman is still a top cornerback in this league and can make game-changing plays. It will be crucial for Davis to win this matchup and have a big day for the Titans to win this one at home.
The Titans always seem to lose the games everyone thinks they will win, but that will change this week. There is too much on the line and the Titans will be playing desperate for the fourth straight game. Tennessee pulls away in this one and gets one step closer to a second consecutive playoff birth.
Titans 30 Redskins 13