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Tennessee is one of those teams…one of those ‘secretly a bad football team’ teams. They’re on a three-game winning streak…against three of the worst football teams in the NFL – IND-CLE-BAL. They had to fight for their life to beat Cleveland on OT…that’s how bad they are. They barely held off Baltimore.
Last season, the Titans had great O-Line play and ran the ball, controlling clock and opening up the passing game. Now, this season, they’re constantly in 2nd and 3rd and long…and Mike Mularkey has a lot of Jeff Fisher/Mike Zimmer ancient offensive secrets in the passing game – offenses time has passed by. Mularkey and his 50+ years experience of a defensive coordinator might be a tad out of touch with the modern game. It’s possible.
The Titans have games with Pittsburgh, LA Rams, and Jacksonville by season’s end…three likely losses. The Titans have 6 losses kinda locked in…they have to win the rest of their other games to get to 10 wins. The schedule is so easy, it’s possible. CIN, IND, HOU, ARI, SF are all winnable games ahead. I just don’t think Tennessee is good enough to win their ‘winable’ games. The line in the sand comes Week 10. Hosting Cincy, a game they should win…but we smell an outright upset coming. Tennessee loses to the Bengals and the wheels may start coming off.
The Ravens needed this win to pretend to be in the playoff picture, but losers of three of their last 4 games and five of their last 7 aren’t going anywhere. It’s a really bad team. It’s an easy schedule ahead, mostly, so 7-9/8-8 is very possible. Had they won this game…a 9-win season could have been stumbled into. It’s just such a bad team…
This game was painful to watch. I really despise every Ravens re-watch every week. Probably the least interesting team of the 32 units I watch week-to-week.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- We know Marcus Mariota (19-28 for 218 yards, 2 TD/1 INT) is better than this. We all saw it last season. The offense is regressing because they cannot run the ball (the past five games+), and when defenses don’t respect the Tennessee run their garden-variety pass plays are expected and don’t work as well as in 2017.
Mariota has 6 TD passes and 5 INTs this season. He’s actually been ‘not bad’ for fantasy because he has rushed for 3 TDs…before he hurt his hamstring. Now, the added threat of Mariota running is gone too…29.0 yards per game rushing before his injury, and 4.7 yards per game rushing since the injury. If Mariota is not running…you’re in a lot of trouble with him for fantasy output.
Your hope from here with Mariota is (a) he starts running again, to help settle the pass rush on him and (b) the schedule upcoming. Weeks 12-15 is going to be a better opportunity – IND-HOU-ARI-SF.
If you can hold him as a QB2 to see how he is improving (or not) Weeks 10-11 vs. CIN-PIT…then you can see if you want to get excited about Weeks 12-15. It’s dicey… He’s not a given with Mike Mularkey as the head of the snake.
-- There’s no help coming from the run game apparently. The Titans run game was white hot the first few weeks of the season and has since gone in the tank. 156.3 rushing yards per game Weeks 1-3, and 94.8 yards per game rushing from Week 4 on…and much of that pushed by one big game, one big game-ending garbage time run.
For several weeks, I’ve watched Demarco Murray (9-19-0, 2-22-0/2) look terrible on every touch. He may be hurt. He may not care. The O-Line may be a disaster. Whatever it is…he looks awful.
41.4 yards rushing per game the past five games.
Take out his fortunate 75-yard TD run versus Seattle Week 3, and Murray is averaging 39.5 yards rushing per game otherwise.
…and Mike Mularkey keeps pushing him.
The problem is when Derrick Henry (8-26-1, 2-10-0/2) comes in…it looks as bad or worse than awful Murray. One long, late-game/garbage-time run against Indy a few weeks ago and a bunch of nothing otherwise.
I don’t see a run game turnaround…except for the fact that the schedule is coming to potentially give them a boost in Weeks 12-15. If you can hold them until then…good luck.
-- Speaking of awful RBs…
You should have bought and sold Alex Collins (13-43-0, 1-3-0/1) last week because this was coming…reality, his ‘norm’. He opened the game with a 14-yard run and then rushed for 29 yards on 12 carries the rest of the way. He’s not a real starting NFL RB…as I’ve said…over and over.
I would also like to repeat myself on Javorius Allen (7-21-0, 8-98-0/9)…I don’t know how he does it. I think my brain goes into ‘sleep mode’ watching the Ravens, I swear, I don’t think I’ve seen Allen actually play in a Ravens game this year. Even on the re-watch. I don’t register that he’s on the field doing things…at least not 8 catches for 98 yards.
All I know is…enjoy him while you can. Danny Woodhead will come back and take that all away.
-- Jeremy Maclin (8-98-0/9) had his best day as a Raven. He’s a WR3 any given week with the hopes he can score a TD. On favorable matchups, he’s worth WR2 consideration.
-- I watched all of Corey Davis’s (2-28-0/5) targets in this game…it didn’t take long. I don’t see any effort to push him like a true #1 WR. That day may come but it’s not here yet. Davis looks like any decent WR on an NFL team…a guy who is not the #1. You wouldn’t know him from Jaron Brown or any other #2-3-4 WR from an NFL team with several capable WRs.
No special routes. Mostly deep ball stuff. One bubble screen. He made a wonderful catch on one of his two catches. Mike Mularkey doesn’t know what to do with a passing game…he hates passing. Mariota throws quick and to who is open…and his comfort zone is Rishard Matthews is Delanie Walker. There’s no room for Corey Davis to matter at this point.
-- Rookie LB Jayon Brown (6 tackles) keeps creeping up with more snaps and more output.
2.7 tackles per game his first 6 games, and 4.5 tackles per game the past two weeks. He’s starting ILB material in the NFL. He will be soon. You’ll see him on our IDP Stash report coming out in the next week or so.
Snap Counts of Interest…
42 = Rishard Matthews
39 = Corey Davis
23 = Eric Decker
37 = Demarco Murray
19 = Derrick Henry
35 = Javorius Allen
29 = Alex Collins