One question has been buzzing through the minds of Tennessee fans as we approach a week 4 matchup with the defending champions: Where do we stand amongst the league’s best? A victory last week over the Jaguars surely does indicate us at least being a formidable force in the NFL, but the task of taking on Philadelphia will certainly prove difficult. Carson Wentz, who looked to be the certain MVP last season before a derailing ACL tear, seems to finally be back in prime shape for the Eagles. He managed a victory in less than ideal weather conditions last week against the Indianapolis Colts, and should only improve production once the game’s familiarity comes back to him. Will Wentz and the Eagles be too sharp or can the Titans continue to impress to start the season?
The usual Super Bowl drought hasn’t struck the Eagles yet, and quite frankly it probably never will due to the way this roster has been developed and the powers of head coach Doug Pederson. He has racked up some serious accolades in short time, gathering the respect of not only his players but the entire nation by now. Pederson looks to lead an aggressive bunch, which comes as no surprise considering all the above. Will the Titans be able to match this aggressiveness of the opponent? The defense touts the ability to fight with this Eagles offense, but will the offense of Tennessee muster up enough play to score points against this top tier defense of Philly? The Eagles’ front seven will look to expose a weak interior line, however the return of LT Jack Conklin certainly will help solidify the fort. Philly’s secondary expects to bully a young receiving core literally losing fire power by the day- the potential for a few jumped routes will be their focus. Who will be able to step up and fight back to the big bullies of Philly?
A palpable rejoice in the play of Mariota last week carries the hint of optimism we might be able to contest the reigning champs. Mariota proved his ability to be back on the field, but his teammates constantly let him down with dropped balls. Missing catchable passes hopefully was a top priority of this team’s plan for Philadelphia. The Eagles’ defensive backs apply the pressure, and by now the default option for all eyes have shifted towards Corey Davis, the one player who has yet to create the slightest chemistry with Mariota. Leading into the season, I remember noting my excitement to see the two finally connect and start making an impact; My prediction was for them to go off week 1. This impact still cannot be seen significantly, but I am here to come back and double down on my hope. Davis steps up knowing the last man to step up became him the second Matthews walked out the door. A decision bewildering to me, but nonetheless Davis’ role only intensifies as the receiver depth dwindles by the week. This week could be the best week of his career to break out for 100 yards and a touchdown. To get him open, Tennessee must set the tone with an aggressive running game. Not by running fifty times, but by Henry knocking the hell out of the defenders. We need tangible evidence to appease management’s decision to hand the starting keys over to Henry. It certainly goes for all players given the magnitude of the competition, but this game would be a massive opportunity for Davis and Henry to have a breakthrough performance. The chance to take over as the clear #1 RB and WR sits waiting, and its because Davis and Henry have yet to take them. Decide to be leaders and take the damn level of your game up a notch. The promise of this youthful team rests in the hands of more than just Mariota.
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